Saturday Night Live

Season 36 Episode 2

Bryan Cranston/Kanye West

Aired Saturday 11:30 PM Oct 02, 2010 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
44 votes

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Episode Summary

Live from New York, it's... Andy Samberg! Sketches include "Emanuel Bows Out," "Pepto-Bismol Ice," "The Miley Cyrus Show," "What Up With That?," "Shanna the Cheerleader," "Rescue Dogs 3D" (Digital Short), "Kid Smartz," "Biennan Brothers Concert," "Henry's Self-Defense Lesson," and "i-sleepPRO." Kanye West performed "Power" and "Runaway" (feat. Pusha T).moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • There's No Going Back Now!

    Our host tonight is Bryan Cranston with musical guest, Kanye West. I'm excited to see how Cranston does, and I'm especially excited to see how Kanye West performs "Power" with the SNL verse.

    Emanuel Stepping Down: This was a good opener. Bobby's facial expressions while he was crying was great.

    Monologue: I enjoyed the dance number, and the screwing up of his name, and spelling of his name. It was a decent enough monologue.

    Pepto Bismol Ice: This was okay. It wasn't anything too funny, but the idea was good.

    Miley Cyrus Show: I like Vanessa a lot, now. Her impression of Miley Cyrus was so spot on. Yes, if you don't know Miley Cyrus, she really is that annoying. The scene featuring Miley was hilarious too, with her smiling at the end. And, Paul Brittain as Johnny Depp was really good, too.

    What Up With That: Wow... Morgan Freeman and Ernest Borgnine! That was pretty impressive. This was just as enjoyable as it usually is. I know people are sick of this sketch, but it never gets old with me.

    Basketball Game: And, we get Shana back... I wasn't too much of a fan of this. I liked the Shana sketch a lot back when it originally aired 2 years ago, and when they brought it back for Charles Barkley, it was okay, but not this time.

    Rescue Dog 911 App: This was a good digital short. The hilarious commercial was great.

    Musical Performance: Kanye West performs "Power". It was a great performance, and the cool effects from the dancers and such added on to it.

    Weekend Update: Update was alright tonight. It inevitably featured Cathy, since the comic strip is ending. But, once again, my favorite was Bobby as Anthony Crispino.

    Kids Smart: This was a pretty funny sketch. It was a good way to show how weird the kissing in real game shows, such as Family Fued, is. Kenan being the defiant one was pretty good too. Especially when he brought Bryan down.

    Bjelland Brothers: I thought this sketch was okay. It was pretty striaght-foward and one-note. I liked when they had the audience participate.

    Musical Performance: Kanye performs "Runaway", which was a really good performance.

    Henry: Nasim's character, Henry, was hilarious. She really knows how to capture the kind of characters she's going for. This was a pretty good last sketch of the night.

    i-Sleep Pro: This was a pretty good commercial. The "Black Noise" was really clever, and all the different noises were hilarious.

    The episode was pretty good tonight. Some of the sketches were copy-pastes, but others were original and funny. Bryan Cranston was a good host, and Kanye West was really impressive. It was something new, not just performing on the same stage, but draping it over, and having the dancers. I felt like we got more acquainted with Vanessa Bayer and Paul Brittain, along with getting even more acquainted with Jay Pharaoh. I am excited to see Taran's break-out sketch.

    Next week: Glee's Jane Lynch hosts with Bruno Mars.moreless
  • Not that great, failing to utilize guest host Bryan Cranston in an effective manner, and also missing a great opportunity to do something with a Kanye West/Taylor Swift rematch

    The cold opening "Emanuel Bows Out," had Rahm Emanuel leaving The White House staff; handing the baton to the new guy. Andy Samberg played Rahm with action hero body language. I was struck by how much he resembeled Keanu Reeves in Point Break. The new guy was very low key and frightened, played by Bobby Moynihan, looking like Captain Kangaroo. Very good contrasting body language. Moynihan has those Barney Google eyes that sometimes distract but here he blended right into his character. Bobby and Andy flanked Fred Armisen as Obama. I would like to see Jay Pharaoh play Obama for a change. Armisen has copied the speech patterns and attitudes pretty well, but he just doesn't look enough like him. I saw Obama himself on TV and Fred doesn't give me the same impression. Obama smiles more. He seems happier. He is aloof, and Fred has that air of aloofness, but Fred is kind of a sour puss, even when he is smiling. It is not that Armisen's skin color is too light, but the new Black guy just might be the new black. In tonight's SNL I only saw Jay Pharoah briefly doing A Bootsy Collins character in What Up With That?. Last week he did Will Smith. The cold opening was rather weak, but great body language from Bobby and Andy. Fred did his Obama, which is very polished but he has taken it as far as he can go and I'd like to see Jay Pharoah have a chance. Pharoah, let my people go! The opening monologue by Bryan Cranston was a song and dance number where they all wore straw hats and red and white striped shirts. It concerned the fact that people often confused his name or misspelled it. Not that great of a concept. The best part was how the dancers sold the finale, like Al Jolson on bended knee, and their shoulders all heaved and quivered as if they were short of breath because they had given it their all.

    The obligatory fake commercial was "Pepto-Bismol Ice" a product that combined a vodka cooler with Pepto Bismal. Not that great. Then there was "The Miley Cyrus Show," a parody of Miley Cyrus with a talk show. Cranston played Billy Ray Cyrus. Miley was played by one of the female cast members who has a big mouth full of teeth. Why a talk show when they were already doing What Up With That? Why Miley Cyrus? Why not Taylor Swift? Kanye West was the musical guest, and they could have made some hay with that. I guess he doesn't want to go there, remind people of that. One of the other new guys was the guest, Johnny Depp. He was OK, not great. Cranston was good on Malcolm in the Middle, doing comedy, and he is good on Breaking Bad in a dramatic, darker role. ON SNL they never really knew what to make of him. Justin Timberlake, Alec Baldwin, he's not. He did what was asked of him, no matter how humiliating or questionable, yet he just wasn't that funny, at least on this SNL.

    I really like Kenan Thompson's "What Up With That?" Though it always follows the same familiar formula, I just love it. Justin Sudekis, who wasn't doing that much that I can remember elsewhere on the show, is a dancer who comes out in a jogging suit. Something about his unbridled enthusiasm just cracks me up. There is a Kenny G. wannabe, played by Fred Armisen, though he plays alto, not soprano or even tenor sax, like Kenny. Bill Hader plays Lindsey Buckingham, who always gets bumped when they run out of time. When Zack G. was on, he played a double barreled flute solo. Cranston came out in an outrageous costume featuring tight white briefs. That is his thing, as he pointed out in his monologue. Jay Pharoah did a great Bootsy Collins-like character who danced with Cranston. The guests were Morgan Freeman and Ernest Borgnine, two Oscar winning actors. And they barely got a chance to say anything because the host would always break into the What's Up With That? theme song. It was really them, too. Not people playing them. There was a good digital short with Andy Samberg trying to call 911 on his iPhone while his house was being robbed. He kept getting interupted by apps and ads for Rescue Dog in 3D. Andy always seems to be up on the latest trends. This bit actually made me laugh out loud. For the rest of the show, I felt like a scientist measuring the comedy bits with a slide rule, determining if it was funny or not. This bit got an actual laugh from me, and what further proof is needed? Kanye West had an interesting presentation for his hip hop numbers. He had an array of female dancers, that looked really classy wearing unitards with their hair up. They looked like ballet dancers doing a modern dance. It seemed like it was filmed over a green screen and then a white background was dropped in. The lighting was weird, too, and Kanye wore a sharp red suit that really made him stand out. The only problem was that Kanye West has to be the lamest rapper to ever wear a baseball cap backwards. He might have been saying something if you saw the words on paper, but he lacked any kind of flow, any rhythm. He made lame hand gestures. It was a total hip hop cliche. The emperor had no clothes, even though he was rocking that rad red suit. Yet, the emperor wore no clothes. In the second number the dancers did more ballet like dance moves, and Kanye played some kind of a mini keyboard with samples, kind of like scratching with a turntable and doing it with a lap top. He even sang part of it using Autotune! How Lame was That? Kanye is arrogant without the talent to back it up. There was a parody of a game show for kids, "Kid Smartz," like Family Feud, where the host kissed the guests. Cranston was a good sport, even kissing Andy Samberg on the mouth, many times. Anything for a laugh. Kenan played a young black girl who was having none of it. Didn't really go anywhere. Another skit had Cranston as a dad trying to teach his small and artistic son karate. The son was played by a female cast member. She has done similar characters before. One was about a kid who looked up to her parents but couldn't relate to kids her own age. That skit had a point, unlike this one. Seth Meyers did Weekend Update, and I can't recall any really funny jokes, but he had Andy on doing a reprise of his Cathy from the comic strip that is thankfully ending soon. Aack! Kristen Wiig did a bit as Shannon. Like Kenan's What Up With That? this is a recurring bit. Shannon talks in an exagerated sexy voice, like Betty Boop or Marilyn Monroe. They are in a high school gym and Cranston plays the coach who is totally into her, and Kenan and some others are students who are into it at first but grow disenchanted as Shannon gets rather gross. Cranston plays his part well enough, but it is Kristen Wiig who does the heavy lifting. One last lame bit with Cranston and Armisen as two BeeGeesque singers. Armisen recycled his Kenny G. wig and sequined jacket from the other bit, and Cranston had a similar wig and sequined jacket ensemble. His wig was recycled from the Billy Ray and Miley Cyrus bit--which BTW should have been a mullet. Their one semi hit song kept repeating the line "I sent you a bottle of sparkling cider. Did you get it?" ad infinitum, or ad nauseum, more like it.

    The Bottom Line is that this episode was not that great, failing to utilize guest host Bryan Cranston in an effective manner, and also missing a great opportunity to do something with a Kanye West/Taylor Swift rematch. Even if Jay Pharoah had played Kanye, the real Kanye could have interrupted it or something. I am sympathetic to Taylor Swift about the Kanye incident, but then, when she was on The Grammies, with Stevie Nicks from Fleetwood Mac, she hit so many bad notes I was shocked. Though Kanye should be the last person to say ANYTHING about ANYONE's singing, it would have been funny. My take on Taylor is that she may have sold the most albums but she is just not that great of a singer yet. In the studio they fix it with multiple takes and Pro Tools, but she lacks experience. Her daddy wrote a check to some people in Nashville for a million dollars and said 'make my daughter a star.' The Kanye West flap really saved her, because people talked about that instead of how bad she sang live. Remember when Ashley Simpson was caught using a prerecorded tape on SNL? She never heard the end of it. I like Miley and Taylor Swift, but the Miley parody was lame, especially since they chickened out on the Swift/West rematch.moreless

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Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

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  • NOTES (2)

    • Sketches not shown in the 60 minute version: "Sexy Shana," "Bjelland Brothers in Concert," "Henry's Self-Defense Lesson," "I-Sleep Pro," and Kanye West's performance of "Runaway."

    • Sketches cut after dress rehearsal: an America's Got Talent-esqe program auditioning new CNN anchors; during production of a film, a gunshot scene is ruined by the actor's (Fred Armisen) refusal to play dead; a sketch where a man runs over his wife's cat for the third time; "American America: I, Hippie"-- in a cartoon, a hippie (Dana Carvey) reminisces of olden days and on Weekend Update, Vice President Joe Biden (Jason Sudeikis) gives thoughts about current events and Georgia minister Eddie Long (Kenan Thompson) gives thoughts on his sex scandal.