SNL Makes Magic with Ed Helms and Paul Simon

images/genie_images/story/2011_usa/e/ed_helms.gif

There was a certain something special hovering over the SNL proceedings this week. I’m going to give the credit at least partially to Paul Simon, who was the second person to host Saturday Night Live ever, and who just brings a certain, impish magic with him wherever he goes. And then there was host Ed Helms, a talented and likable presence who nevertheless went underused. (His baton twirling routine in the opening monologue was a highlight, but NBC hasn’t posted the video. Darn music-licensing rights!) So what could it have been? Might it have been the all-star, live-action return of The Ambiguously Gay Duo? Yes. I do believe that was it!

But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, there was a trip back to the "What’s Up With That?" set, a sketch I’ve previously asked be put into cold storage—but which may have a little life in it yet! On the random celebrity panel was the delightful Chris Colfer, a.k.a. Kurt from Glee, who was clearly enjoying the requirement to sit completely mute, for once. There too was Paul Simon, just as adorable when he politely asked why Lindsay Buckingham (Bill Hader) was always on the show but never allowed to speak. Then Ed came out to play his sexy banjo, and then the real Lindsay Buckingham played an acoustic guitar solo. And the California Raisins! It was an embarrassment of WUWT riches! (Okay. Now we can retire it.)



Now we can talk about "The Ambiguously Gay Duo," a Robert Smigel classic that hasn’t been on the show for years. It felt like such a special occasion! Like when The Grateful Dead trotted out “Dark Star,” or something. I really don’t know what led to this amazing encore. I’m guessing the glut of superhero movies inspired Smigel to sell Lorne Michaels on the idea of a live-action version. The casting was mostly inspired—particularly Jon Hamm as Ace (voiced in the cartoons by Stephen Colbert) and Steve Carell as Bighead. I would have liked someone other than Jimmy Fallon as Gary, though. Think about how much funnier it would have been if the show had cast someone who could poke fun at the rumors of his own, ambiguous sexuality. (Cough cough Anderson Cooper cough cough.) But whatever, it was totally awesome. That eel! OMG.



Finally, I’d like to give a shout-out to my favorite, ill-prepared homenerds, Garth and Kat. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Garth and Kat are hilarious. Keep not rehearsing, guys!



Well, that’s it for this week. Next week is the big season finale, with Justin Timberlake and Lady Gaga! Let’s make a party of it! I'm making a giant, papier-mache egg special for the occasion.

Comments (9)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
I fast forward through Garth and Kat. I can't stand Kristen Wiig. Other than the live action AG Duo, this episode was mostly forgettable.
Reply
Flag
The Ambiguously Gay Duo cartoon/sketch was GREAT!!!! I've never liked the What Up With That sketch, but this one was kinda funny thanks to the real Lindsey Buckingham. The opening Obama sketch was good. The Corn Sugar commercial parody was still funny the 2nd time around. The short Ann-Margret sketch was kinda funny (I'm probably the only person who thinks so). But Weekend Update was not good. Seth's jokes were not funny, the Second Hand News was as boring as watching paint dry, and Garth & Kat were still as horrible as ever.
Reply
Flag
I have to disagree this sucked and with only two skits highlighted in this write up, it obviously means there wasn't much to talk about.
Reply
Flag
liked the Obama bit at the opening "we killed Bin Laden"
Reply
Flag
I am in agreement with most of the stuff you said about SNL. I liked the Corn Fructose faux commercial but it has been on before. I liked the Live Action Smigel bit. Ed Helms was a bit underused, I'll agree, but he did OK. Liked Paul Simon, especially in the song about the Viet Nam Vet where he rubbed the strings on his guitar while the guy behind him played the solo. That was really funny, like he was in character. The opening was a classic. What Up With That? was the best ever. Maybe that bit should be retired, but I still love it. And Ed got to play the banjo. I loved Lindsay Buckingham's acoustic guitar solo, too! Timberlake and Lady Gaga should be killer, too. Hope to see Gaga in some comedy bits with Justin.
Reply
Flag
I'm sorry, Garth and Kath is a severely tired bit. They do the exact same things - and Seth Meyers has to say the exact same things - every time. It is irritating to listen to, boring to watch. But that is what results when you follow such a strict formula. If they would change it up a little it would be forgivable for being so irritating. I did like the opening monologue with Ed Helms. He does seem to be a likable guy, and Paul Simon too. But they just didn't use Helms enough. There were also funny moments in the live action short, but it relies too much on not-so-ambiguous gay jokes. "What's Up With That" should have been kept out a long time ago, although this one was probably the strongest. Overall, though, I thought the episode was boring and was surprised that the writer of this article gave it so much praise.
Reply
Flag
overall it was a letdown, here's hoping next week's Justin Timberlake episode will be better. Ed was severly underused. i always thought the Gay Due shorts were funny, and i was surprised when this came on. the live action part was nifty and random celebs doing it was a nice touch too. and honestly, Garth and Kat annoy the crap out of me
Reply
Flag
i thought it was a pretty poor episode as well, the only highlight was garth and kat/ the weekend update in general.
Reply
Flag
wow, and i thought it was a pretty poor episode. The gay duo was one of the best shorts of the season though
Reply
Flag

Like TV.com on Facebook

  • 8:30 pm
    Judge Judy
    NEW
    CBS
  • 9:00 pm
    What Would You Do?
    NEW
    ABC
  • 10:00 pm
    ABC