After last week’s mostly-terrible effort from Saturday Night Live, I was confident this one, hosted by Ben Stiller, would prove to be a clear comeback for the show. The best I can say about last night’s episode was that it wasn’t worse than its previous week. And because it did have a handful of great moments, I wouldn’t call it a loss. But it wasn’t a win, either. Let’s call it a tie. That makes SNL 1-1-1 this season. Let’s get to the specifics, shall we?
Last night’s show opened with Jason Sudeikis’ Mitt Romney at a question and answer session with Republican fundraisers; Romney desperately tries to deflect the audience’s thinly veiled swipes at the politician’s staid personality and earnest pleas to get New Jersey governor Chris Christie (played competently by Bobby Moynihan) to take Romney’s place in the run for President.
This is what I love to see in parody commercials: a great target (those guilt-inducing save-for-your-future investment company ads) and an amazingly hilarious – and absurd – punch line. Check it out, and be sure to stick all your money into Lincoln Financial. That’s my plan.
Though this spoof on Fox and Friends is a bit scattered, I think it pretty much captures the idiocy behind the Hank Williams Jr. controversy. In the end the message is clear: Fox was stupid to have Hank on to talk about politics; people were stupid to take anything Hank said seriously and Fox and Friends is simply pretty much stupid.
Our second Lincoln Financial commercial doesn’t disappoint. This time Bill Hader is confronted with his future self. And it’s even more frightening than Jason Sudeikis’ future self we saw in the first ad.
In this week’s Digital Short, host Ben Stiller gets a little Zoolander-ish with Andy Samberg. Thank you, SNL, for pointing out the slippery slope that is the male v-neck T-shirt.
And now, let’s get to some Weekend Update highlights, shall we? There’s surely nothing groundbreaking here, but the writers make a few good points.
Later during Weekend Update, SNL audience favorite – for reasons, I will never understand – Stefon sits in to once again give tourists tips on where to go in New York. This time, however, he’s joined by Derek Zoolander (Stiller, reprising his role from his 2001 flick). This bit was one big pile of slop: Stilted cue card reciting, inability to stay in character and just pure lazy writing.
When I hear people say that Kristen Wiig can do no wrong on SNL, I tend to believe them. Any time she’s onscreen, you can safely assume you won’t be wasting your time by watching the next few minutes of the show. Every once in a while, however, Wiig doesn’t live up to her hype. And that’s fine. No one’s perfect and she’s still one of the best parts of SNL week after week. Allow me to submit this character, her party planner Nan Washington as evidence of her not being perfect. Seriously, what a waste. This would’ve been a perfect time to get Jay Pharoah or even Taran Killam some extra face time.
Holy shit. Really, SNL? Did you guys challenge yourself this week to prove that pieces starring Wiig can be more awful that what a high school sketch club could come up with in five minutes? Everything about this bit stinks.
And another Lincoln Financial commercial— this one starring Stiller.
I loved this send-up of those extended online videos that pop up each year promoting the annual Gathering of the Juggalos, the music festival founded by shitty rap group Insane Clown Posse. The folks at SNL call their version the Columbus Day Assblast; and they get it all right. I just wonder how many people watching at home got the full extent of the joke.
In this, Stiller does the very best Bruce Springsteen impersonation he can muster up. It seems The Boss is selling another box set, but this time it’s not about the music. Can you imagine a collection of Springsteen’s inane stories he tells in between the songs he plays live? SNL can.
If there’s one thing I learned from watching this week’s SNL it’s that Taran Killam can do an excellent Brad Pitt. Check out this movie trailer from the makers of Moneyball.
So, what did you think? Am I wrong about this episode? Was it light years better than last week’s show? Am I being too hard on SNL or not hard enough? Sound off in the comments section.