Saturday Night Live

Season 33 Episode 7

Ellen Page/Wilco

Aired Saturday 11:30 PM Mar 01, 2008 on NBC
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Live from New York, it's... Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton! Sketches include "MSNBC Democratic Debate," "Clinton's Response," "The Dakota Fanning Show," "The Obama Files" (cartoon), "The College for Excellence," "The Other Boleyn Girls," "Nightmares" (Digital Short), "Shopping with Virginiaca," "The Continuing Adventures of Peter Pan," and "Melissa Etheridge Concert." Wilco performed "Hate It Here" and "Walken."moreless

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  • Pantsuit Riot

    A Review by "HelloStuart," Amateur Critic and Oscar-Winning Exotic Dancer

    She gone. With little fanfare, Maya Rudolph gracefully fazed herself out of SNL during the writers' strike (perhaps earlier, as she wasn't under contract for Year 33), limiting herself to a voiceover in the "Annuale" sketch in last week's show before heading out the door. Though Maya's dominant presence in the Zach Braff/Maroon 5 broadcast was a much more fitting climax, at least she was willing to stick around until another female cast member was hired. Maya may have been a little grating at times, but she was probably one of the most versatile cast members the show had ever seen and she'll be missed… sort of.

    This takes us to the second episode of Season 33 ½, hosted by Oscar-nominated actress Ellen Page, best known for her work in the films "Hard Candy" and "Juno." The musical guest is Wilco, fresh off their critically acclaimed 2007 album "Sky Blue Sky."

    COLD OPENING: Following the media's acclaim for Jim Downey's work in last week's debate sketch, he serves up more of the same, this time with Brian Williams (WF) and Tim Russert (DH) giving Hillary the short shrift. A remark about supporting NAFTA brings out evidence in sandwich baggies and a pointless cameo by "Criminal Intent" scenery-chewer Vincent D'Onofrio. This sketch is followed by an editorial response from Senator Clinton herself, who uses her cameo to thank the show for its breezy satire before shamelessly stumping for this Tuesday's primaries. On that note, does it bother anyone that Fred's Barack impression sounds like Yogi Bear?

    MONOLOGUE: An ego-tripping Diablo Cody (AS) chides Ellen for not reading the pop culture-laced, pun-heavy monologue speech that she wrote for her. Those nude photos that were leaked onto the internet are funnier than this.

    "The Dakota Fanning Show": The world's most intellectually over-stimulated eighth grader (AP) continues to be a complete mismatch to her teenybopper peers, including Miley Cyrus (Page). The best part of the sketch was "Kid Speak," where Dakota hilariously proves how detached she is from the common pre-teen. Severely disabled, indeed.

    SMIGELTOON: "The Obama Files" finds the presidential hopeful derailing Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton's constant attempts at influencing his campaign. Granted, this sketch was overlong and ridiculous, but it's nice to see Smigel back at work.

    "The College for Excellence": A Rafael Alonzo-type (FA) promotes a workshop on how to say vague, clichéd office banter like "Have you seen the Johnson file?" and "I think he's at a meeting." The context of the closing disclaimer didn't entirely make sense (commercials like this pop up on YouTube all the time), but the idea of a "college" above a Korean savings and loan is funny in itself.

    "The Other Boleyn Girls": King Henry VIII (JS) discovers that there's more to the Boleyn brood than just Natalie and Scar-Jo. A threadbare premise built on what's been hyped as a forgettable, miscast costume drama.

    DIGITAL SHORT: A girl (Page) keeps having visions of a zombie-like creature (AS) as she wakes up from one nightmare after another. These realistic fantasies evolve to include Dracula (JS) comforting his needy wife Debbie (KW). If the repetition of "Dear Sister" was a home run, than this was a bloop single to left.

    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: Jeff Tweedy turns a tale of sterile suburban living into a festering rant with the standout track "Hate It Here." Nels Cline's guitar solo sounds even better live. WEEKEND UPDATE: Hizzoner Rudy Giuliani (yes, the real one) drops by to endorse McCain and explain that his own campaign was derailed by his hosting stint ten-plus years ago, and not (as some people would assume) sitting out the first part of the primaries. If he was willing to make fun of himself like Huckabee last week, that's fine, but I don't want this to turn into a trend. Following a goofy bit involving German napping techniques, we are reacquainted with Nicholas Fehn (FA), the supposed satirist that can't formulate any real thoughts. Rudy had the right idea; this segment had a strong start, than wheezed to the end.

    "Shopping with Virginiaca": Obnoxious recurring character in drag + yet another black-poseur step-daughter (Ellen) + buying shorts at Baby Gap = predictable, unfunny sketch.

    "The Continuing Adventures of Peter Pan": Captain Hook (BH) is mystified by Peter's (Ellen) ability to distract his crew with his musical numbers. Rather than take a cue from "Family Guy" and actually shoot Peter in the head, they go the kid-friendly, Mary Martin route and revive Tinker Bell with the audience's applause. Talk about pulling punches…

    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: "Walken" starts off as a honky-tonk boogie in the Gram Parsons vein, then crescendos with a dark, fascinating underbelly. Too bad weird songs like that don't fly with people that listen to Puddle of Mudd or The Jonas Brothers.

    "After the Concert": A girl's (Ellen) recap of a Melissa Etheridge concert makes her brother (AS) wonder if she's really gay or just posing. This sketch gave off a Marilyn Suzanne Miller vibe; it was a short play with a dry wit and an ending that didn't exactly go for laughs, but as a sketch airing in 2008 and not 1976 it feels like a quaint anomaly.

    For someone that gave a quirky, lovable performance in "Juno," Page was a disappointing host, hamming her presence up with an unpleasant, bratty swagger. I'm a Wilco fan, and I try my best to be non-partisan with musical guests regardless of whether I like them or not, but in an evening loaded with minor idiosyncrasies they held their own. After a strong first outing, Casey Wilson was relegated to bit parts throughout the evening, which isn't much of a surprise; for someone who dropped the ball, a veteran presence like Amy or Andy had to pick up the slack. Outside of the salvo of celebrity cameos, this was just a modest, forgettable mid-season show. Sketches/Segments That Will Probably Be Removed in Repeats: everything after Update, though I could go either way on "Shopping with Virginiaca" and "The Obama Files."

    Next Week: 2005 Oscar nominee/pretty redheaded chick Amy Adams hosts with musical guest Vampire Weekend.

    "HelloStuart" played himself in the made-for-TV movie "Striving for Failure: The HelloStuart Story." Find out about his less-than-inspirational tale at
  • Ellen Page hosts

    Ellen Page, the star of Juno, is your host tonight. While I hated the film, she impressed me a bit tonight as she was able to make me laugh a few times with very weak material, so often the case for SNL hosts as of late. They rely on recurring characters too much and just do not take the risks they used to.

    The Melissa Etheridge Concert segment was an instant classic in many eyes, and was replayed multiple times on the internet. While funny, and probably the best sketch of the night, it was not a classic in my opinion.

    I have a feeling Page will do better the second time around, if she ever gets it.moreless
  • Hmm... looks like we have two good episodes in a row... oh wait.. never mind

    Last week Saturday Night Live came back live after the writers strike. Lorne pledged he'd do 4 episodes in a row. This is episode 2 out of four. Juno's own Ellen Page is hosting this week with musical guest Wilco. After last weeks show, I'm expecting another hopefully good show, if not at least decent.

    Democrat Debate, Week 2: Another great Downey sketch. Downey himself said "I don't want to write any other debates after this, but he actually does a better job writing Debate sketches other than George W. Bush sketches. Haha, I laughed so hard when They didn't change Obama even after all that controversy. Pretty good writing, as I just said. Looks like we haven't focused on the republicans yet. But then again there's no pub-pub drama. But there's a lot of Crat-Crat drama between Hillary and Barack. But, maybe next time, let's not copy the EXACT same premise.

    Hillary's Editorial Responce: I already knew it was coming. There was an article two hours before the live show saying that she was spotted in Dress Rehersal. She actually did a good job. She should have done this a long time ago.

    Monologue: This was a very long monologue which didn't pay off as much as I hoped. I laughed when Andy first stepped on stage, but asides from that, the language kept on going on. We get it, Juno's language made little sense.

    Dakota Fanning Show: I always find this sketch joyful.The Kids Speak segment was hilarious, and Kenan's response was great. Ellen kind of layed down the line on how she was going to be for the rest of the night when she appeared as Miley Cyrus...

    Cartoon: Obama Files: Another Smigel cartoon that didn't pay off. Just little snid-pits were worth giggles, but the whole cartoon was slow.

    The College Commercial: Another cheap commercial for a cheap education. This whole "It's so bad, it's good" premise that they used for this and Laser Cats is getting old. This really had nothing funny in it, except for Kristen mouthing Kenan's lines nervously, and Andy peeping in and acting all scared.

    The Other Boleyn Sisters Promo: This was actually a really funny spoof. Kristen always knows how to make me laugh, and this was no exception. Kenan and Will were also pretty funny, but it was all Kristen.

    Nightmare: I always love these Lonely Island Digtial shorts that can go off the edge with randomness.

    Musical Performance: Wilco performs "I Hate It Here" which was just AWESOME with the horns.

    Weekend Update: The effort this week for Update dropped significantly, with Nicholas Fehn who was an alright 1 time commentary, and Guiliani was great in this. But, most of the jokes were just a miss.

    Virginica Shopping: Same old Virginica. I didn't get the point of the introduction by Don at the beginning, but whatever. This was probably Ellen's best effort of the night.

    Peter Pan Adventures:The sketch premise was predictable, while the pay off was a mixed bag. Funny? I guess. Ironic? No. The audience interaction was interesting, though.

    Musical Performance: Wilco performed one of my favorite songs of theirs, "Walken". Once again, the horns just complement this song greatly.

    Coming Home From the Concert: Okay, at, I was saying how I thought this was standing for both the character and both from the player. (her being a lesbian, I mean) And everybody was disagreeing. That's how Ellen Degeneres did it. She came out on her tv show, as both her character and self. I really liked that harmonious note at the end. It was a good way to end the episode.

    The effort this week was mixed. It was a fair, and about average show, but the glass was half empty. Not full. Ellen's performance was very much so what I wasn't expecting. She was slacking her deliveries at times, and I'm not sure if she was even having fun. Wilco, on the other hand, was a very enjoyable musical guest.

  • This episode had some really good stuff (Peter Pan, the debate, and the digital short) mixed in with some real dreck like Virginiaka, the Dakota Fanning Show, and the Lesbian.

    Democratic Debate - One new impression and Hammond's rarely seen Russert impression. Forte really nailed Brian Williams with the unique cadence of his voice. This sketch was definitely a continuation of last week's, but came off quite a bit better, probably because of the decent Williams and Russert impressions. I did see most of the MSNBC debate and the writers did pick up some of the funny bits, especially when Hillary mispronounced the name of the Russian successor to Putin. I guess the cameo was from Law & Order but I can't say for sure since I don't watch that show. The Editorial Reply by Hillary was actually quite funny and I didn't think in any way was a plug for Hillary. A very well done debate that recalled some of the great Bush-Gore debates. Grade: B+

    Monologue - I'm not familiar with Juno, but still got a kick out of the Juno-slang. Samberg looked good in drag as always. ;-) Short and sweet. Grade: B+

    Dakota Fanning Show - This talk show continues to disappoint. Amy's impersonation has too many aspects of her Hillary and Kelly Ripa impersonations. This recurring sketch has been given a number of different chances but still hasn't improved. Grade: D-

    The Obama Files - Nice idea for Obama to try to find ways to minimalize the potential negative impact that Al and Jesse could have on his campaign. Grade: B-

    The College for Excellence - The same thing as was done as the School for Computer Skills. Not great, but kind of amusing. The best part was definitely seeing Kristen mouthing the words as Kenan spoke the lame phrases. A template sketch that probably doesn't need to return. Grade: C

    The Other Boleyn Girls - I've only seen the trailer for this movie, but this sketch captured the spirit of that cheesy trailer perfectly. The horniness of the girls escalates which obviously reaches the climax with Kristen. The sketch could have been better if they would have stopped with Kristen's character and just had her do more obnoxious things to try to seduce the king. As usual, nice job with the sets and costumes. Grade: C+

    Horror Digital Short - I'm not sure if this is referencing a specific movie or just the stereotypical horror movie scene in general. But regardless, it was well done with a nice twist about the ghost being haunted by the girl. Not sure about the Dracula scene, but that's OK. The scene of Andy licking his lollipop in the mirror more than made up for any weaker parts. The stupid orchestral hits were dead on too. Grade: B+

    Weekend Update - Again the jokes were pretty hit and miss. Nice cameo by Giuliani. His remark about the strong beginning and weak ending for the sketches was funny and all too true. The Nicholas Fehn bit was identical to his last appearance so came across a bit weaker and it was far too long. Three and half minutes are way too much time to devote to a Fehn segment. They will need to change this up a bit if they plan to continue using him. Grade: B-

    Shopping with Virginiaka - Why does Kenan seem to star in some of the worst recurring SNL sketches of all time? Deephouse Dish and this obnoxious mother are truly awful. This sketch never gets any better and is always painful to endure. Deep six this this turkey for good. Grade: F

    The Continuing Adventures of Peter Pan - A lost sketch from 1991? It really does hearken back to better days of SNL when they would take an improbable idea and explore the sillier aspects of it. Everybody did very well and Hader as Hook was just obvious and perferct. I would love to see more sketches in this vein that are non-recurring and somewhat bizarre. Bring it on! My only true laugh-out-loud moments of the entire episode. Grade: A+

    Maybe a Lesbian - Not quite sure what they were going for with this one, but it didn't have much impact. Just a chance for Ellen to crazy for a few minutes. The audience seemed confused and only clapped at the end because the Applause sign was lit. Grade: Dmoreless
  • She's as bad as Gyllenhaal.

    When I heard she was hosting I knew it was gonna be a wreck. I didn't see Juno but I've seen Ellen Page and I could see she's as dull as dishwater. I think the skits were good but she ruined them. Like one of my favorite skits, the with Keenan playing Virginika Hastings a skit that should be funny now matter who's opposite Keenan, she someone how managed to take the funny out of it. I think SNL should start to think more about who they get as the host and stop getting people just becasue they're really popular at the moment.moreless

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Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

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  • NOTES (3)

    • Sketches not shown in the 60 minute version: "TV Funhouse: The Obama Files," "College for Excellence," "Other Boelyn Girls," "The Mirror" (Digital Short), Rudy Giuliani segment on Weekend Update, "Ms. Hastings Goes Shopping," "Adventures of Peter Pan," and Wilco's performance of "Walken."

    • After Senator Barack Obama, Senator Hillary Clinton is the second Democratic Presidential candidate to appear in the cold opening and say "Live from New York."

    • Sketches cut after dress rehearsal: "HD Ultrasound" (rerun from Seth Rogen/Spoon), news anchors (Ellen Page, Will Forte) are unable to inform another anchor (Kristin Wiig), on location via satellite, of various occurrences; a baseball coach (Bill Hader) talks to a girl (Ellen Page) about steroids; and a group of people (Bill Hader, Fred Armisen, Will Forte, Ellen Page) are involved in a botched Powerpoint presentation.