Saturday Night Live

Season 32 Episode 8

Annette Bening/Gwen Stefani, Akon

0
Aired Saturday 11:30 PM Dec 09, 2006 on NBC
7.0
out of 10
User Rating
40 votes
9

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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Live from New York, it's... Jason Sudeikis!

Sketches include "The Iraqi War Report," "SNL Movie Trailer Re-cut: Apocalypto," "Good Morning I Hate This Town," "Diddy Kiddies" (cartoon), "High School Romance," "Two A-Holes at a Live Nativity Scene," "Fast Food Pep Talk" (film), "Buyer Beware," "Monster Under The Bed," "Valtrex," "Socially Awkward Officemates," and "Stanfield & Partlow."

Gwen Stefani performed "Wind It Up"; Akon performed "I Wanna Love You."moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • “This baby doesn’t look like Santa”

    5.0
    A Review by “HelloStuart,” Amateur Critic and American Beauty



    Well, they finally did it- after years of questions without answers, the first season of SNL belatedly joined the TV-on-DVD ranks last Tuesday. After tons of speculation about licensing and the pricing of such an unwieldy compilation (24 episodes on 8 discs), it landed in stores to moderate acclaim but most importantly a reasonable $50 price tag. Not to sound like I’m shamelessly selling a product, but yes, this is near the top of my Christmas wish list.



    This week’s host is Annette Bening, the Oscar-nominated actress perhaps better known for being married to Warren Beatty. High-quality thespians haven’t always been dependable hosts (as Kate Winslet and Robert DeNiro will surely attest), but at least they make some sort of effort. For the first time in a number of years, tonight’s broadcast will feature two separate musical guests: the first one, Gwen Stefani, makes her fifth overall appearance on the show to promote her new CD, while Senegal-born R&B singer Aliaune “Akon” Thiam, a promising newcomer, takes second billing.



    And now, the sketch-by-sketch analysis:



    COLD OPENING: For the third straight week, the show opens with Suds’ fair mimicry of President Bush. Tonight, he addresses the ISG’s report on the conflict in Iraq, and then accepts strange advice from the American public that seems feasible only in his own eyes. Having given him enough time to be analyzed, I would say Jason’s impression of Dubya is in the middle of the pack; it’s inferior to Will Ferrell and Will Forte, yet still tops Chris Parnell and Darrell Hammond. The sketch in itself was nothing memorable.



    MONOLOGUE: Mrs. Beatty decides to go down the audience questions route, which turns into a berating for her acclaimed performance as frazzled professional Carolyn Burnham in “American Beauty.” Alec Baldwin pops out of nowhere (presumably to save the day), but instead he mentions that he once played a real estate agent himself in “Glengarry Glen Ross” and he enjoyed Bening’s nude scene in “The Grifters.”



    “Apocalypto”: One of the show’s writers re-imagines the new Mel Gibson film as a ham-handed anti-Semetic parable. This was so clever, yet so predictable; weren’t his comments played out in the media nearly three months ago?



    “Good Morning I Hate This Town”: The hosts (JS, Bening) of a typical local morning news/talk program have an affinity for calling their core audience dumbasses without much rhyme or reason, and only the Rachael Ray surrogate (AP) that handles the cooking segment sees through them. The performances were spot-on, but the writing was just plain sloppy.



    CARTOON: Am I seeing things, or was this a rare clunker from Bobby S? The only thing “Diddy Kiddies” focuses on is Sean Combs’ inexplicable fame and pointless existence, a joke that wore thin nearly ten years ago.



    “High School Romance”: A lonely but very literate English teacher (Bening) watches her romance with her unresponsive, Playstation-obsessed student-boyfriend (AS) crumble, only to boink the next thing that walks in the door (BH). Amusing and all, but was the torch ballad really all that necessary?



    “Two A-Holes at a Nativity Scene”: Tonight, America’s favorite belligerent urbanites (JS, KW) portray Mary and Joseph in a local church production, with their Carol Brady look-alike director (Bening) as their latest foil. This actually turned out to be one of the more memorable A-Hole vignettes, with the male p****’s obsession with a live donkey (he thinks its two little people in an elaborate costume), not to mention a few solid non-sequitors.



    DIGITAL SHORT: The manager (FA) of an anonymous fast food franchise demonstrates a lack of patience and communication skills towards his employees during a pep talk in a piece that was obviously cut from the previous week’s dress rehearsal. I’m sad to say that this may very well be the first time I’ve ever been bored by a digital short.



    “Buyer Beware”: Something about this screams “short-lived recurring sketch.” Long story short, this Brooklyn-based public-access talk show finds a old man named Mason (KT) and his Marla Gibbs-esque neighbor (MR) giving out tips to being a better consumer. Like the previous segment, I was bored senseless; the lack of energy demonstrated in this sketch almost felt like a cry for help on Kenan’s part.



    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: From her new album, it’s her utterly dreadful single “Wind It Up.” For the love of all things good, why would anyone use a sample from “The Sound of Music” soundtrack? Worse yet, she looks like the bastard offspring of Edgar Winter and The Riddler.



    WEEKEND UPDATE: I'm starting to sense an imbalance on this segment; it seems that while Seth takes the segment seriously and actually spins a few one-liners, Amy seems to rely on puns and clichés. Case in point? Her headline about chicken tainted with salmonella and salmon poisoned with "chickenella." I'd say to that like last week, WU felt a little slow; Al Gore's (DH) commentary about a bizarre conversation with Lindsay Lohan felt pieced together and never went anywhere, while an appearance by "flatulence bomber" Gloria Patrick (KW) started off well but devolved into an obvious fart joke. Once again, Will Forte waltzes in to save the day to sing a protest song about gay marriage (with guitar accompaniment by FA) that's light on any credible arguments but heavy on the ham.



    "Monster Under The Bed": Two parents (WF, Bening) appear to be nuts, but are actually imposing serious psychological damage on their daughter (AP) as they battle the boogeyman (BH). Granted, the ending was cruel, but for once I didn't see what was coming next from a mile away. This was actually well-written but hampered by Bening's frozen attempt at hysteria.



    “Valtrex”: The first repeat ad of the season is (somewhat fittingly) from the Baldwin/Aguilera broadcast. I never thought I’d ask this, but what took so long?



    “Socially Awkward Officemates”: This is essentially a rewrite of an already forgotten sketch from last year’s Lohan/Pearl Jam broadcast, right down to the irrational fear of dancing and the suggested three-way. I’ll give points to Forte for becoming king of the weird yet pensive voices.



    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: Akon gets bouncy on his current hit “I Wanna Love You.” It didn’t even bother me that Snoop Dogg didn’t show up.



    “Stanfield & Partlow”: A savvy lawyer (Bening) presents a financial plan for cats that inherit money from their crazy old spinster owners. Though this is definitely thinking outside the box, I couldn’t help but notice how suspiciously clichéd this felt.



    After two weak broadcasts, the show finds its footing but still finds room for an occasional stumble. Ms. Bening, as I all but guaranteed beforehand, was a largely ineffective host; so far, she’s been the most blatant cue-card reader of the season. Tonight’s musical performances was like a case example of Jekyll and Hyde; where Akon set up a clean, subtle groove, Gwen Stefani gave us arguably one of the worst songs to be performed on SNL in recent memory. In all, this was a middling show, not one of the season’s best but certainly not a bottom-feeder either. Sadly, this is only making my scope of the current season even more negative.



    Sketches/Segments That Will Probably Be Removed in Repeats: “Buyer Beware,” “Socially Awkward Officemates,” and “Stanfield & Partlow.”



    Next Week: Justin Timberlake becomes the third person in SNL history to serve as host and musical guest in the same broadcast twice.



    “HelloStuart” is a writing minor at Illinois State University. Feel free to contact him at sma17kc@aim.com.moreless
  • There were some funny bits but it could have been much stronger with more development of the sketches.

    4.5
    Bush Cold Open - The Bush sketches could use a different setting, but this Bush sketch had the best Bush jokes all year from SNL so I'll cut it some slack. Sudeikis has shown improvement as Bush but still nowhere as funny as Forte's whiner.



    Monologue - It was the cameo by Alec that really drove this one home. Other than that, it was just OK.



    Apocolypto Trailer Re-Cut - Did nothing for me and I'm not Jewish.



    Good Morning, I hate this Town - This sketch could have gone somewhere but failed to deliver. Taking an on-air call from a hostile family member or secret affair or something like that could have been funny.



    TV Funhouse: Diddy Kiddies - Was this supposed to be funny or instructional?



    Student, Teacher Relationship - Boring. It would have been funnier if she had several student boyfriends and they all discovered the secret simultaneously. Chaos ensues.



    Two A-Holes in a Live Nativity Scene - Carboard characters doing their usual annoying routine.



    SNL Digital Short: Explosive Anger - Great! A bit esoteric, but I've KNOWN managers like that (except for the exploding head part).



    Buyer Beware - I didn't see anything funny about this at all. Maybe it's because Thompson can't lead a sketch? Maybe Hader telling the Phillip-Morris story in a wicked conspiratorial tone would have sold it a little better.



    Weekend Update - This is becoming the only outlet for Hammond anymore and I don't have a problem with that. Two or three minutes is about all the Hammond I need for the week. And they brought out one of his best impersonations: Gore. The gassy passenger was really funny. Wiig did a great job as somebody suffering from massive bowel explosions.



    Monster in the Closet - This was one of the most creative pieces on SNL in quite some time. No Hardball or Nancy Grace or O'Reilly junk, but a new premise executed well. I really felt sorry for the monster who was gunned down so ruthlessly. He was actually a friendly monster like the girl suggested he might be. Just one question: Why were they so insistent on finding the cell phone when the land line was within arm's reach? Part of the sketch or a set design flaw?



    The Three [awkward] Amigos - The payoff is not worth waiting for. Still, pretty amazing that they were able to get away with substituting the word "mess" for the F word. So that Annette's character says "I have to say I wasn't sure at first, but I'm really warming to idea of getting butt messed." I wonder if this sketch will survive in re-runs.



    Cat Attorneys - Pretty funny concept, but there were no actual cat testimonies. I think this would have been the perfect time to bring back Toonces!moreless
  • I have nothing to say here. And that's sad. When the episode is lacking on creativity, I lack on something clever to say here.

    5.7
    Here is a broadcast I was only looking forward to because of the musical guest, the first one really. I have nothing much to say about it, except that Andy wasn’t in it enough, and it was in need of improvement. You know when an episode is meaningless to me? When I can't think of anything to say on the review. And I normally have so much to say. And now, I will begin.



    HOST:

    This week’s host is Annette Bening, who is married to Warren Beatty. That’s all I know about her. She seemed to be reading her cue cards too closely. I don’t know if I see her returning. I really have no opinion of her. Though, for an Oscar nominated actress, she needed improvement. Her monologue was strange. Women complained about her character in “American Beauty,” where she played a crazy real estate agent. And Alec Baldwin made a guest appearance, saying he lived there. That wasn’t too bad, but it could have been better. C-



    MUSICAL GUESTS:

    We have two this week. So I’ll do each separately.



    First is Gwen Stefani, who performed her song “Wind it Up.” I thought she did a good job. Her song was very well performed and her stage look was great. I enjoyed this performance. I don't like the song, but it all looked good. B+



    Then we had Akon. His performance sounded the exact same way it does on the radio. He sang “I Wanna Love You.” His performance wasn’t bad. I don’t understand what the point of the back-up dancers was though. I didn’t hate the performance and I could watch it. B-



    THE SKITS:



    Cold Opening: The Iraqi War Report – I just wanna say I doubt a five year old would be that blood thirsty. That’ll be my child one day. Mostly, people were writing in letters about the Iraq situation. I laughed a bit, but this seemed odd to me. B-



    SNL Movie Trailer Re-cut: “Apocalypto” – This was so funny. The sub titles for the movie were changed to being anti-Semitic. This was clever and funny. I enjoyed it. It was unexpected. A+



    Good Morning I Hate This Town – Talk show hosts complain about the dumb a**es in their town, and the town in general. It you hate it, than move! Strange skit, but not annoying. B-



    TV Funhouse: Diddy Kiddies – What does Diddy do? A lot, but only really samples it all. I loved the bathroom scene. This was clever because it seemed so true. A-



    High School Romance – I hate Annette in this cause I am so jealous of her. She was all over Andy. A teacher has a thing for 16 year old boys. How original. I enjoyed it just cause Andy was in it. A-



    Two A-Holes at a Live Nativity Scene – Pretty funny skit here. I like the A** Holes and love their rudeness. I liked when the guy asked who or what was in the donkey. I enjoy this skit. A-



    Digital Short: Fast Food Manager – Foxy, aka, Matthew Fox, was in this. As was Andy, making this his last appearance of the night. The boss gets angry and has strange requests. This seemed dumb to me, but parts were funny. B



    Buyer Beware – Not a bad skit, but I thought this was dumb and a waste of time. I hope this doesn’t return. Two older African Americans discuss products and big business. Not the best plot in this. C+



    Monster Under The Bed – A girl complains about a monster being under the bed and her parents take it seriously. I have never seen this before. I thought the monster looked like the thing from “Jeepers Creepers.” Strange skit. Funny but strange.



    Valtrex – Repeat from Alec Baldwin’s ep where a husband is acting strangely suspicious. Cleverish and somewhat funny. B+



    Socially Awkward Officemates – They said a DJ, so I figured Andy would be the DJ. Then no DJ. I hated this from Lohan’s ep last season. And I didn’t like it here either. They seem like accountants to me, Though I wanted more of that kinky talk at the end of the skit. C



    Stanfield & Partlow – This skit was cut a bit last night, but it had attorneys for cats. What I saw was pretty funny. B+



    BEST MOMENT:

    Maybe Gwen’s performance, Diddy Kiddies, and that Apocolypto trailer thing. But this episode had nothing to rave about for me. WORST MOMENT:

    Not enough Andy.



    SURPRISING MOMENT:

    The host needed some improvement, and she has been nominated for an Oscar. Plus, this episode wasn’t how I thought it’d be. It was a decrease from last week. Major decrease!



    SKIT RATING – 3.2/4 B-



    SHOW RATING – 5.7/10 Sparkling Diamonds



    Next week is annoying singer Justin Timberlake, who serves as both host and musical guest. And this is the second time this season that that has happened, He was funny the first time he hosted, but I hate the music.moreless
  • I smell Bagels

    5.0
    Looks like SNL is going back downhill to Lindsay Lohan quality. I will also review the Preformances now since I need more to crituiqe. Lets cringe in terror and read [looks on at screen and reads]



    COLD OPENING: More "Bus r dumi" jokes, who cares I can hear that every night on "Leno". At least they did not have him jump on the table and start drooling.



    4



    MONOLOGUE: Real Estate burns... yawn, grifters nude scene... [looks it up] ehh not that good.



    4



    “Apocalypto”: A high point of obvious Gibson Jew Jokes, that is sad. But still this was a decent one. Other than that nothing of importance.





    6



    “Good Morning I Hate This Town”: This was so crappily written but I had to enjoy the preformance which jumped this one up a little bit.



    5



    CARTOON: Diddy is nothing, and I enjoyed the look at the king of K-Feding through life.



    7



    “High School Romance”: A Student Banger and a Droll Playstation obsessed idiot [Wii and XBox 360 kill the PS3 btw] going through a screwy affair, then EMO boy leaves and we get an unneeded Musical.



    4



    “Two A-Holes at a Nativity Scene”: Americas most beloved ****** in a nativity scene, this was another high point and the ***-Holes are growing on me now. The A-Holes are so annoying and stupid that they are funny.



    7



    DIGITAL SHORT: A Fast Food Manager gets P-Oed at the Emploees blows up, fine.



    5 “Buyer Beware”: Well well well, SNL hates the Wii, but other than that this was just painful to watch and brutaly annoying.



    3



    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE “Wind It Up": Stefani sang "Wind it Up" and I had to mute my TV and cry.



    1



    WEEKEND UPDATE: Al Gore's emotionless discussion on never again appearing on SNL after this fire-***** Lindsay Lohan and the Anti-Gay Marriage song as well as some bad one liners. only the Gay SOng had some remote entertainment in it.



    5



    "Monster Under The Bed": This was okay, but Bening killed it with her crappy preformance. Nice twist at the end as well.



    6



    “Valtrex”: I won't rate this again.



    “Socially Awkward Officemates”: I'm not eving going to touch this tale of Menage a Toising losers, but I must give kudos to Forte for his mastery of the creepy voices.



    6



    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE “I Wanna Love You”: Akon was MUCH better than Stefani and did not rape my ears, nice R&B groovein [honkey alert].



    7



    “Stanfield & Partlow”: Crazy Cat ladys and crappy writing, at least the bumper cut out a few seconds of this one.



    3





    Overall this Season is plummeting and they better improve soon!moreless
  • In this episode, the usually great actress Annette Benning reads lines with no clear enthusiam or character, and Gwen Stefani plays a grating song, as well as the mediocre Akon.

    2.1
    Judging by the episode summary, you may think I thought the episode was awful. It wasn't awful, it was kind of tolerable, just forgettable. Annette Benning was just plain boring, and while a few skits got some chuckles out of me, such as the teacher-student affair, the "Good Morning, god I hate this town" skit got very boring. It was a very uneven show, and this 32nd season is the worst season ever in SNL history. The season 1 dvd is much funnier, and that was just the show starting out, sure it was shaky, but yet it was much more professional than this season. Other than the Hugh Laurie and Alec Baldwin episodes, this season is painfully unfunny.moreless
Annette Bening

Annette Bening

Herself

Guest Star

Gwen Stefani

Gwen Stefani

Herself

Guest Star

Akon

Akon

Himself

Guest Star

Alec Baldwin

Alec Baldwin

Himself

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (1)

  • QUOTES (6)

  • NOTES (6)

    • Sketches cut from the 60 minute version: "Stanfield and Parlow," the Al Gore segment on Weekend Update, "Good Morning I Hate This Town," "Student-Teacher Alliance," "Pep Talk" (Digital Short), "Buyer Beware," "Valtrex" (rerun from 11/11/06), and Akon's performance of "I Wanna Love You."

    • NBC never reran this episode.

    • Sketches cut after dress rehearsal include: a sketch where Mrs. Claus (Annette Bening) has an affair unbeknownst to Santa Claus; The Showners (Fred Armisen, Maya Rudolph) receive a package in the mail; Celebrities eating (3 parts)- 1. Liberace (Fred Armisen) eating spaghetti bolognese at a rapid pace, 2. Gregory Peck (Bill Hader) eats clams at a rapid pace, 3. Julie Andrews (Annette Bening) drinks a root beer at a rapid pace; and a commercial where soap actors Michael Park and Kim Zimmer advertise their condom of choice for sex scenes.

    • During the "Stanford & Partlow" skit, time was running short, so they ended it with a 10 second-long bumper of Bening.

    • The SNL Digital Short "Pep Talk" was cut from the dress rehearsal of the Matthew Fox/Tenacious D broadcast. It was co-written by John Lutz and Fred Armisen.

    • Warren Beatty was in the audience for this broadcast, but opted not to appear in any sketches.

  • ALLUSIONS (2)

    • In the digital short "Fast Food Pep Talk," the title sequence reading "Happy Holidays" is a take off of the show LOST's opening title, with the words appearing than zooming in and fading out a bit.

    • The song during Weekend Update is an obvious spinoff of the 1990 Aerosmith hit "Living on the Edge."

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