WARNING: May Contain Trace Amounts of Amateur Critic
Poor Jeff Richards. After a promising but uneventful fifty-episode stint as a featured player/cast member on SNL, the network told Lorne to fire him the week after the Simpson/Lachey/G-Unit episode. There are people in the current cast that are far more worthy of being dismissed than Richards, but apparently the upper management talking heads that invested in such tripe as Coupling and Good Morning, Miami thought he was an ill fit in the show's plans for the future. That must've been very sobering news for Drunk Girl.
This week's host is Drew Barrymore, and it's worth noting that back when Comedy Central or E! aired reruns, they rarely repeated any of the episodes with her hosting. The absence of her first hosting experience in 1982 is understandable, because Lorne put the kibosh on any episodes that do not credit him as executive producer, but why don't her appearances in 1999 and 2001 ever seem to be rebroadcast is a mystery for the ages. I guess that only makes tonight's episode even more of a novelty. The recent calvacade of eclectic choices for musical guest status continues with potential one-hit wonder Kelis, whose reputation as a Diana Ross-OutKast hybrid might be tarnished by her new-found fame as the chanteuse of a certain top five smash about thick girls.
Watch out! It's a sketch-by-sketch analysis!
COLD OPENING: Al Gore (DH) calls John Kerry (SM) to let him know that he has the ex-veep's support, but the decorated war hero can't seem to hide the fact that he doesn't want it. What's scaring me is that this was a great leadoff skit, with Hammond giving a sense of honesty to his delusional Gore. Hopefully, this momentum will carry on through the rest of the show.
MONOLOGUE: The "50 First Dates" star mentions that this is her fourth appearance on the show in twenty-two seasons, and then ET (WF), C-3PO (SM), Zelda Rubinstein, aka the old lady from Poltergeist (RD), and Darth Vader (DH) pop out of nowhere in a desperate search for a valentine. So Darth Vader is not only the father of Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia, but Drew Barrymore too? He might be evil, but boy, does he get around.
"A Very Special Versace Valentine's Day": It's yet another holiday-themed smorgasbord from the husky-voiced hussy (MR), as she invites Elton John (HS), Madonna (AP), and an inebriated Courtney Love (Drew) to celebrate the patron saint of TLC. Despite the in-joke about Rosie O'Donnell (also played full-tilt by Sanz) and a non-sequitur involving a beloved Precious Moments collection, Ms. Rudolph was pretty much working through the motions here.
"Jarret's Room": Man, it's been awhile since we've visited that New Hampshire dorm room. DJ Jonathan Feinstein (SM) spoofs Andre 3000's offensive outfit at last Sunday's Grammys, while Jarret (JF) hits on Gobi's sister (Drew), leading to a romantic fantasy with the Grateful Dead's "Casey Jones" as a love theme. Once again, the drug humor works but everything else is hit and miss. And where, might I ask, was Jarret's roommate Jeff? Oh wait, never mind.
"Access Hollywood": Pat O'Brien (JF) interviews Charlize Theron (Drew) about her tendency to take "ugly" roles such as one in the film "Monster." A good use of makeup (or lack thereof), yet the sketch itself seemed to lack a real punch.
"Octane": A dead-on spoof of film previews for "Biker Boyz" and "2 Fast 2 Furious" featuring "tricked-up" motorcycle action scenes. That's writer JB Smoove (not Dean Edwards) as one of the bikers.
MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: Kelis wants you to try her "Milkshake." Dig that crazy rhythm!
WEEKEND UPDATE: This relatively brief edition of "Update" has lots of dated Clinton and slightly fresher Kerry jokes, plus a live-from-the-clink interview with Diana Ross (MR) and her roomie (FM).
"Mike's Bar, Circa 1968": This inspired piece of political satire ponders what it would've been like if younger incarnations of Kerry (SM again), Dubya (WF), Clinton (DH), and a hyper-feminist Hillary Rodham (Drew) hung out at the same New Haven, Connecticut pub. This was absolutely outstanding, though Forte's Bush looked way too much like Randy Quaid's Ronald Reagan. Of course, that could be a metaphor for something.
"Larry King Live": Wow, another teaming of the comedy stylings of Fallon & Barrymore. This time, he's the CNN chatterbox, and she's a loopy Anna Nicole Smith. Once again, I'm apathetic.
"Spy Glass": It's that British gossip show, complete with a hilariously promiscuous co-host (AP), a "scooter report," and a very brief appearance from Fallon's aforementioned and seemingly overused Pat O'Brien impression. It was alright, but the bad puns were more forced then it should've been.
"The World of Scott Wainio" (film): Man oh man, it's been a while since they've had a short film on the show. Has it really been three seasons since Adam McKay and his digital shorts jumped ship? Anyway, the longtime staff writer does a man-on-the-street segment with a non-existent microphone. Offbeat, original, and charming.
"The White Stripes": Meg and Jack (JF and Drew yet again) prove to be remarkably ineffective crime-fighters, as their focus on amateur, Shaggs-like jamming proves. Chris Parnell, who happens to be limited to supporting roles tonight, seems a little bored as the police chief.
MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: First, you have a song about the sex appeal of normal-sized women. Now, you have "Trick Me," a ditty about selling your body. Frankly, it wasn't as energetic as the first song.
"The Prince Show": Another spoof of the '04 Grammys, with The Artist (FA) and Beyonce (MR) faux-grilling Pink (Drew) and George Clinton (KT). Quirky albeit carbon-copy, with Maya opening a talk show sketch with a musical number for the twenty thousandth time this season.
After the near-triumph of the Megan Mullally show last week, the show goes down a notch but doesn't completely disappoint. There's a reason why Drew Barrymore is in a three-way tie for most hosting appearances by a woman, and that's because she brings a charming peculiarity to her performance, a quirk she's had since childhood. Unfortunately, I think it would be redundant to say that the host had minimal chemistry with not only her sparring partner Jimmy Fallon, but the rest of the cast as well. Especially disappointing were the half-awake efforts of Maya Rudolph and Chris Parnell. Kelis was asi asi as musical guest, though she had her moments.
Sketches That Will Probably Be Removed Once It Airs In Reruns On Comedy Central or E! or Milwaukee Public Access Channel 17, Depending on the Outcome of the Lawsuit: "Access Hollywood," "Larry King Live," "Trick Me," and "The Prince Show."
Next Week: Christina Aguilera becomes the third singer this season to attempt acting, with the soulful LA-based quintet Maroon 5 being only the third rock band to appear on the show in the last twelve months. While you can hear a distinct Jamiroquai influence in this pop-rock quintet, it's a little too mainstream for me.
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