Saturday Night Live

Season 33 Episode 11

Ashton Kutcher/Gnarls Barkley

0
Aired Saturday 11:30 PM Apr 12, 2008 on NBC
7.9
out of 10
User Rating
43 votes
8

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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Live from New York, it's... Will Forte! Sketches include "General Petraeus Hearings," "The Cougar Den," "Outside the Nightclub," "Daiquiri Girl" (Digital Short), "Activia Commercial Shoot," "Amie," "Death by Chocolate" (three parts), "The Mellow Show," and "Paraplegic Exotic Dancer." Gnarls Barkley performed "Run" and "Who's Gonna Save My Soul."moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • "Chocolate" Reign

    6.0
    A Review by "HelloStuart," the Underemployed Amateur Critic



    For those of you haven't heard by now, there are going to be some intriguing adjustments to next season of SNL. For starters, to compensate for the shows that were lost during the strike, two shows were added to Season 34. Also, the season premiere has been moved up three weeks, given SNL it's earlier premiere ever (with a couple of exceptions, the first show of the year is somewhere around the first weekend in October). Just when you thought that was enough to quench your sketch comedy thrist, a string of special half-hour Thursday night shows will be airing in October. I'm still wrapping my head around all this extra work I have to do…



    This week, Ashton Kutcher hosts for the third time, and he is joined by the quirky R&B duo Gnarls Barkley. I'm going to assume that Ashton is on SNL to plug his new TV series "Pop Fiction," which could be described as "Punk'd" in reverse (i.e. the celebrities prank the papparazi). Plus, he has that schlocky movie coming out with Cameron Diaz.



    And now, the sketch-by-sketch analysis:



    COLD OPENING: C-SPAN presents coverage of the General David Petraeus (WF) hearings, a topical skit that serves two divisive purposes: it's an excuse for the cast to brush up on their politico impressions, and it's a jab at Congress' indifference towards the Iraqi conflict. Amy's Hillary, DH's McCain, and Fred's Obama are tried and true, but Bill's mimicry of ornery West Virginian Senator Robert Byrd is a revelation.



    MONOLOGUE: The Artist Formerly Known as Kelso gloats about his status as a go-to TV producer, then walks around backstage proving otherwise. At least we got a self-referential gag involving Kenan's recent marijuana bust.



    "The Cougar Den": Some might argue that is a blatant jab at Ashton's marriage to Demi Moore, but this might have more to do with the trend of May-December relationships in general. Three half-centenarian women (AP, KW, CW) host a talk show where they discuss "pouncing" on younger men, then introduce their guest (Cameron Diaz), who has written a book on said subject. As they act catty, their producer (KT) just stands there, frustrated and a little grossed out. The idea was executed well, though I'm sure this was a big hit in the 50-year-old skank demographic.



    "Outside the Nightclub": Ashton watches as an eccentric bouncer (KT) lets a bunch of riff-raff (including Lyle Kane, of all people) into a party hotspot, but not him. Consoling Ashton is Oliver (FA), a potential recurring character that seems like a cross between Ferecito and Frondi. I was much more interested in the banter between Kutcher and the bouncer, but it sort of morphed into a bipolar ensemble sketch.



    DIGITAL SHORT: "Daiquiri Girl" is deliberately phoned in by the Lonely Island boys, who were apparently still smarting from some sort of Gnarls Barkley no-show. Perhaps this was a stab at all the third-tier viral videos that have consumed YouTube in the wake of "Lazy Sunday" and "D*** in a Box," but it bucked those conventions to the point that Andy, Jorma, and Akiva subconsciously admitted to being on the brink of selling out, if they haven't already. Either way, it was a funny confession.



    "Activia Shoot": During a commercial shoot for the fiber-rich yogurt, Jamie Lee Curtis (KW) threatens to go topless, then craps her pants as a result of digesting the product she's pitching. My summary makes it sound like a two-joke sketch, but Jamie's reaction to her bowel movement was priceless.



    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: "Run" is a rich blend of hip-hop, '70s rock, and Sam & Dave-style wailing. Granted, I don't think anything in the Gnarls Barkley songbook will ever top "Crazy," but this comes damn near close.



    WEEKEND UPDATE: Nicholas Fehn again? Are you kidding me? It's like I've seen the same bit three times over. Regardless of one that letdown, this was a moderately entertaining Update; the jokes were good (especially Amy's comment about Donald Rumsfeld's "List of Horribles"), though travel expert Judy Grimes (KW) and her nervy fast-talking lacked rhyme or reason.



    "Amie": Following in the tradition of "Danny's Song" and "The Weight," four guys in a bar (Ashton, WF, BH, JS) share peculiar stories while singing the chorus of a certain Pure Prairie League song. I had my doubts the last time they did this sketch, but it works on a recurring basis as long as there's an infinite supply of perverse love stories.



    "Death By Chocolate": An anthropomorphic chocolate bar (Ashton) stabs a homeless man as he digs through a dumpster. I get the pun, but is there anything else to this?



    "The Mellow Show": Soft-rock troubadour/neglectful pet owner Jack Johnson (AS) hosts a talk show about all things chill. Dave Matthews (BH), Boyd Tinsley (KT), and John Mayer (Ashton) join in on the mellow action, though the continuing interaction of impressions and recurring characters is starting to give the show a sparse, me-first feel.



    "Death By Chocolate": The same chocolate bar from earlier shoots a doctor (JS) and shuts down an old lady's life support. At least this one had some sort of plot.



    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: Cee-Lo channels Solomon Burke on the R&B ballad "Who's Gonna Save My Soul."



    "The Rusty Pony": Four colleagues (WF, AS, JS, KT) at a strip club are deeply disturbed by a proud paraplegic woman's (CW) "return" to pole dancing. I don't know if this is an indicator of Casey's abilities, but her stab at physical humor felt more like a basic improv exercise than a fully-concocted sketch.



    "Death By Chocolate": Andy walks out of the previous sketch in a lumberjack costume (what?), only to fall victim to the chocolate bar and his misplaced chainsaw prop. I'm well aware of the Rule of Three, but this felt like one too many.



    Coming into tonight's program, Kutcher had hosted one decent show (in Year 28) and one forgettable show (in Year 30). Tonight's broadcast leans more toward the first show than the second; there were no standout sketches, but nothing really bad, either. Instead, the show was adequate in every way, shape, and form; where SNL generally tends to hit for power, tonight they hit for average. Where Kutcher has proven himself an affable but merely passable host, Gnarls Barkley stole the show with their manic, retro-soul stylings. Kristen and Bill were the MVPs of the evening, but the selection of sketches didn't do much to enhance the cast chemistry.



    Sketches/Segments That Will Probably Be Removed In Repeats: "The Mellow Show," all three "Death By Chocolate" segments, and "The Rusty Pony."



    Next Month: Season 33 comes down the home stretch with Shia Labeouf hosting for the second time with reverb-obsessed musical guest My Morning Jacket.



    "HelloStuart" had Memphis over UNC on his Final Four bracket, but he still managed to win $130. You can contact him at sma17kc@aim.com.moreless
  • Boniva Break!

    6.0
    This week, Ashton Kutcher hostsSNL with musical guest, Gnarls Barkley. Ashton returns for his 3rd time, while this is Gnarls Barkley's 1st time. Let's go.



    Senate Meeting on Iraq War: General Patraeus takes questions from the senate, on an update on the Iraq war. We also see all of the presidential hopefuls. This was actually a really funny cold opening. Especially Hader's Byrd impression.



    Monologue: This was a pretty good monologue. I loved when Andy asked Kenan for weed and the timing of him handing it over was perfect!



    The Cougars Show: An indirect joke on Ashton's marriage. I thought this was a pretty good sketch, and I guess having Cameron on is always nice.



    Waiting Line: Ashton can't get in because a guard doesn't now who he is. He has to hang out with some wierd guy, while he watches millions of other people coming in. What made this sketch? Lyle Cane!!!



    Digital Short: A Drunk Song: Andy, who is supposedly drunk, sings about his girl. Scrolling words apologize for the quality of this digital short. I don't know... this seemed a little bit on the weaker side.. oh wait, this was terrible.



    Activia Commercial Shoot: Jaime Lee Curtis poops her pants. I thought Kristen was hilarious in this. The idea was kind of predictable, but, what could they do?

    Musical Performance: Gnarls Barkley performs "Run". Awesome song. Not as good as Crazy, but Gnarls Barkley knows how to bring it to the stage.



    Weekend Update: Jokes were pretty flaccid at times. I loved Kristen in this. Nicholas Fehn, once again, totally died, and I wanted to puke while watching him. But, Kristen's Judy Grimes was actually pretty funny.



    "Amy": Another one of these 4 guys at a bar sketches. The punchlines were so dull, that this sketch was bawged down. Only good one was Will's story.



    Death By Chocolate: Random bit. But, funny.



    The Mellow Show: I have to say, this was the worst sketch of the night.



    Death By Chocolate (II): This was the best of the 3 bits. Jason's dramatic dying was great.



    Musical Performance: Gnarls Barkley performs "Who's Gonna Save My Soul Now". Great, great song, once again.



    Paralized Stripper: Casey's first character. I thought this shouldn't have been the last sketch of the night, but anyways, it was great. Casey has told us how good she'll be at physical humor in the future.



    Death By Chocolate (III): A very short clip of Andy getting killed by chocolate. Decent, I guess.



    This episode was a slight improvement over last week's, but Chris was a lot of a better host than Ashton. The writing didn't seem to go over the top tonight, so it would fall on it's face. Ashton was an adequate host, while Gnarls Barkley was one of the better musical guests of the stage.



    In 4 weeks: Shia LaBeouf returns with musical guest, My Morning Jacket. I'll have to do research on them.



    Repeats



    Next week: Amy Adams with musical guest Vampire Weekend repeat. I have to get this on DVD. It glitched last time .



    April 26: Chris Walken episode again.



    May 3: The delightful Jonah Hill with musical guest Mariah Carey.moreless
  • This first half of this episode was a real letdown, but the second half was better.

    5.0
    Petraeus Testimony cold open – The cast shows some impression chops, but sadly it is wasted on an unfunny sketch. As Forte said of Hillary's book it was "badly written, long and boring." At over nine minutes, it was one of the longest and most boring cold opens in recent memory. Grade: D-



    Monologue – Another "backstage" monologue. We've seen many before and some have been good. This was OK, but not great. The best part was Ashton breaking Will's vase. Grade: B-



    The Cougar Den – A new Bronx Beat? This time instead of bored Bronx housewives, it's older horny women who prey on young guys. Bad accents (sounds like Charro) and a cameo by Cameron Diaz are not enough to make this a memorable sketch. Obviously, Ashton's part was a play on his own relationship with Demi, but so what? Grade: D



    Fat City – If this club lets in all of these losers, why would Ashton even care about still getting in? Armisen's Jersey disco boy was easily the best part. Forte's Lyle was pretty random Grade: C



    Daiquiri Girl digital short – The worst digital short ever. Intentionally bad to draw attention to the fact that Gnarls Barkley reneged on a deal to appear in the digital short. Still, not funny. Grade: D-



    Dannon Activia – Kristen did a good job as the perky Jamie Lee Curtis. She was especially convincing during her unanticipated bowel movements. Not great, but the best so far tonight. Grade: B-



    Weekend Update – The jokes were decent. Kristen's new character, Judy Grimes, was similar to Penelope, but a much quicker talker. She is really good at doing these types of characters and was the second best part of WU tonight. The best joke easily goes to the Miller diss. The Polish joke was also pretty funny. It's a bit surprising that they brought back Nick Fehn yet again without adding anything different. I love Armisen, but this is getting old. Grade: B



    Friends at the Bar – This marks the third time now for this sketch. The one with Rainn Wilson was the first and best. This one was still pretty good. I love the second punch lines best of all. They build nicely on the first punch line and lead right into the chorus of the song. Forte easily had the best story and punch line: "A pedophile? Pretty big word for a ten year old." The YMCA ending was a nice touch and provides a way to end a sketch that won't easily end. Grade: A



    Death by Chocolate 1 – Strangely dark humor. The stabbing was so realistic that it was actually too painful for me to laugh at. I understand the humor, but the execution left me cold. Grade: C



    The Mellow Show – Andy finally gets a sketch bringing back his Jack Johnson impression. Bill Hader was particularly good as Dave Matthews and Ashton did a great job portraying the always facially expressive John Mayer. Could have used something more though. Grade: C



    Death by Chocolate 2 – Better than the first one, but still pretty out there. Grade: B-



    Rusty Pony – A crazy concept that was played very well for all of the non-PC laughs they could possibly wring out of it. This is the first sketch where Casey really delivered the goods. Personally, I love physical humor and Casey can do this very well. Grade: B+



    Death by Chocolate 3 – Too short to review. Grade: N/Amoreless
  • Are you ready to get Punked again by Ashton Kutcher hosting SNL again?

    6.5
    Cold Open: Surprisingly well done. Forte was good enough as General Petraeus, a great nod to the weird protesters, and the writing allowed all three presidential candidates to play off each other really well. Bill's Senator Byrd was a hoot, and Fred's Obama is better than it used to be. The canned cheering for the opening montage starts a good second before the live audience.



    Monologue: Ehhhh, they shoulda gone farther. For somebody who loves overacting so much, Ashton could've amped up the peskiness. The drug jokes were too obvious. Oh, and I suppose American Idol singlehandedly brought back indoor scarfs.



    Cougar Den: A good sketch, all things considered. The three lady castmembers treated this like pros, and Cameron Diaz fortunately knew to have fun with her 300% Latina character.



    Bouncer sketch: Did the writers care at all about the central joke? If Ashton's supposed to be set aside in favor of five freaks, which he was, then why DIDN'T they let Oliver inside? Meanwhile, Fred seems to be low on inspiration lately.



    Digital Short: Good premise-- no, no, Andy, this doesn't mean you can bring it back a second time. The trio is right to mention how some Digital Shorts can be lazier than others. And it helped having the right musical guest-- with Wilco or Vampire Weekend or whatever, this would not have been as funny.



    Activia ad: Kristen, you can try a little harder at getting Jamie Lee Curtis right. It was good, but far from great. And to throw this in a poop yogurt sketch? This topic is appropriate for a throwaway Weekend Update joke, say from Tina Fey, but not a whole sketch.



    "Run (I'm a Natural Disaster)": Awesome performance



    Update: Absolutely loved Kristen's character. This was pure gold, definitely one she must've rehearsed over a million times. Hope it comes back. As for Nicholas Fehn, well, you know. Kill it already. By the way, Amy: please come clean and admit you blatantly reworded an old joke with the "flu shot" one.



    Amie: Flashback to last year, where they brought back every single recurring bit in their arsenal during the season's final three shows. This hasn't been as bad, yet still the occasional jukebox sketch appears.



    Death by Chocolate (all three): Their heart was in the right place. IMO if they took Ashton's smirk off his face and gave him a blank stare, he'd appear more like a serial killer-- which would make the chocolate bar suit that much funnier. Then again, nobody understands dark humor.



    The Mellow Show: Oh please, this is like the NBC McCain Is Old sketch. Real newsflash here, Jack Johnson is crazy mellow. At least Bill Hader had a dynamite Dave Matthews impression, much more precise than Jimmy Fallon's ever was. The 92nd John Mayer impression was totally the worst one.



    "Who's Gonna Save My Soul": A captivating performance. Paraplegic Stripper: Apparently they hired Casey because she can commit to doing anything in front of a crowd of strangers. That's all well and good, but it doesn't equal talent, honey. I fear she may not have any decent impressions inside her. Kristen had a prime opportunity to just use her Cougar character in this sketch, since the voice was the same.



    The shows with young mainstream hosts always tend to have a real consistency to them. This means nothing will fall flat in front of the 18-49 crowd, and SNL will rely on what kinds of jokes have worked before, but you have to look elsewhere for any real brilliance. That's just what happened tonight, in 90 minutes of predictability with flashes of talent (The Cold Open was funny. So was Kristen on Update). Like on his last two shows, Ashton turned out OK.moreless
  • ... I HAVE TO TELL YOU. I THINK THE WRITERS STRIKE WAS THE BEST THING TO HAPPEN TO THIS SHOW IN A FEW YEARS. THE SHOW WAS HORRIBLE LAST YEAR AND NEAR HORRIBLE AT THE START OF THE SEASON... BUT SINCE THE BREAK IT HAS BEEN NEAR PERFECT.moreless

    10
    At the end of last year I had pretty much reserved myself to the fact that SNL had long since jumped the shark, as far as quality was concerned. And a few episodes into this year it looked like my guess was correct.But something strange happened in the middle of the season... They went on strike and got their MOJO back. Since the break this show has been POINT ON. For the first time in years I actually catch myself laughing out loud. That hasnt happened since the early 90's. So I say, "Writers go on strike once a year." I will be waiting at my tv when you get back from strike!moreless
Gnarls Barkley

Gnarls Barkley

Themselves

Guest Star

Demi Moore

Demi Moore

Herself

Guest Star

Ashton Kutcher

Ashton Kutcher

Himself

Recurring Role

Cameron Diaz

Cameron Diaz

Kiki Deamore

Recurring Role

Featured Episode Clip

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (1)

  • QUOTES (3)

    • Kiki: Hit the bars at closing time, or what I like to call "Open Season."
      Toni: I met my current boyfriend at 1:50 AM at a Bennigan's. I drove him to his dorm and we've been together ever since.
      Kiki: See, somebody has read the book. Last -and this is muy importante- Be direct.
      Dierdre: That's what I do. I just walk up and say "Look, it's not going to be as gross as you think."

    • Toni: Then later I gave him a blow joy on my wicker fan chair.
      Jacqueline: Joy?
      Toni: Well, it's certainly not a job!

    • General Patraeus: You opposed this war from the beginning?
      Hillary Clinton: Of course. What do you mean?
      General Patraeus: I thought you voted for the war, and supported it until you ran for President.
      Hillary Clinton: Who told you that? That's crazy. Everyone knows I have been against this war my entire life. The whole reason I got into public service way back in 1974 in Arkansas was to prevent our going to war with Iraq, in case anyone might one day suggest it. So when you imply that I was ever for this war that's incorrect and a lie and don't say it. Now, could I ask you a question about sniper fire?
      General Petraeus: Okay...
      Hillary Clinton: Would you say that sniper fire can often be very quiet and hard to detect? Especially on video tape?
      General Petraeus: I suppose.
      Hillary Clinton: I have no further questions.

  • NOTES (2)

    • Sketches not shown in the 60 minute version: the Nicholas Fehn segment on Weekend Update, "The Mellow Show," "Four Buddies sing 'Amie,'" "Daiquiri Girl" (Digital Short), "Cougar Den," "Death By Chocolate" (parts 2 and 3), and Gnarls Barkley's performance of "Who's Gonna Save My Soul?"

    • Sketches cut after dress rehearsal: two policeman (Bill Hader, Will Forte) try to help a man (Ashton) avoid jumping from a ledge; a man (Ashton) wants to end his relationship with his girlfriend (Casey Wilson) only to find she's unwilling to let it go; a commercial spoof profiling the ever-terrible New York Knicks; a backstage bit where Ashton meets Charles Barkley and asks about his band; and the awkward office duo Jean and Neal (Kristin Wiig and Will Forte) are bottomless on a boat with yet another fellow co-worker (Ashton).

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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