+ I know we haven't seen Suds play Vice President Biden in awhile, though I don't think he was wholly necessary tonight. Obama's second-in-command is a frequent target of late night comedians, though he's been mostly a non-factor in the administration so far. Throw in a reference to that Chilean miner story from a few weeks ago -never mind that the miners' rescue was referenced in today's Rally to Restore Sanity- and you've got a topical sketch that felt dated and hackneyed on arrival.
+ Sex jokes are funny in moderation, but tonight's Vincent Price sketch was like a clearinghouse for gay jokes. Whatever gags the writer (or writers) were stockpiling for future Fred-as-Liberace scenes were pretty much exhausted tonight, so much that I nearly forget that anyone besides Bill and Army were even participating in the scene.
+ There was no reason for me to like "Lynette's Audition," but I found it funny regardless. After the frustrating failures of Starfish and Trina, Kristen might have something going with the quirky, standard-obsessed Lynette. Maybe it was that combination of wig/funny voice/peculiar mannerisms that we'd never seen before, or that whoever penned the sketch played to Kristen's strengths.
+ A lot of you old-timers (i.e. anyone who watched SNL prior to the year 2000) will remember a recorded two-part sketch from the Spacey/Beck Year 22 show where various actors appeared in screen tests for "Star Wars." Tonight's "Back To The Future" DVD feature was basically the same concept, but replacing '70s celebrities with '80s pop culture fixtures. There were no Kevin Spacey-as-Jack Lemmon moments, though Al Pacino's screen test as Doc stood front and center.
+ Weekend Update was steadfast as usual, though Bill playing James Carville was a tad more amusing than Garth & Kat's Halloween CD plug. The Ragin' Cajun is almost a caricature onto himself, but the American political scene provides so many twists and turns that Bill-as-Carville can make a clever, homespun metaphor out of damn near anything.
+ I should've bet ten dollars that "Highway Cops" was going to end with a man-on-man kiss. I really could've used the money.
+ That "Darlique & Barney" sketch really dragged… or did it?
+ Without much context, Rihanna was alright tonight. I had a weird feeling that they'd reprise Shy Ronnie, and parodying "03 Bonnie and Clyde" –yes, I know that song is eight years old- had a fun, expected quality. Both songs were okay, though "Only Girl (in the World)" was probably the more memorable of the two.
+ After being cut from each final dress of every live show this season so far, we finally saw "American America." Problem is, it's not the Dana Carvey/old hippie cartoon that we'd been promised for so long. Instead, we have David Spade doing his lecherous thing as the voice of a cartoon Chihuahua. Both shorts were written and produced by Fred Wolf, one of the more notable mid-90s SNL scribes, which explains the connection. Sadly, I don't think animation is his forte.
+ I rated tonight's show as a 7. It wasn't as strong as Stone/Leon, but it was steady and consistent throughout. Jon Hamm has become the reliably funny, go-to host that the producers nab maybe once a decade; at this rate, I wouldn't be surprised if he becomes a five-timer. He's not afraid of taking a supporting role in a sketch, and one could argue that he blends into the ensemble the same way Buck Henry and John Goodman used to. (Case in point: "I Didn't Ask For This.") For once, Bill Hader dominated the sketches, with Kristen in a close second; the featured players (save for Nasim) were AWOL from the first 30 minutes of the show, and Jay wasn't even in a live sketch.