A Review by “HelloStuart,” Amateur Critic and Thrillbilly
Entering this week’s show, it appears that there’s been another cast addition. According to some sources, Groundlings alumnus Kristen Wiig has become a featured player to fill the vacancy left by Maya Rudolph, whose maternity leave has allegedly left her SNL future in question. Through another female presence has been needed, the cast is beginning to look overcrowded and it’s putting a cramp in what has been so far a middling season. (Yes, the show is still very uneven, but why should I flog a dead horse?)
This week’s host is Jason Lee, the veteran character actor and star of my favorite new show of the season, “My Name is Earl.” The musical guest is Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters, who are now making their fourth appearance (Dave’s sixth) on the show. I’m not sure if they can top the Jim Carrey cameo for their last SNL performance three years ago, but that shouldn’t distract from the fact that they’re a formidable live act.
And now, the sketch-by-sketch analysis:
COLD OPENING: Oh joy, it’s “Hardball” again, and this time Chris (DH) berates and makes weird analogies for a sweaty Scott McClellan (JS) and a strangely reserved Nancy Pelosi (AP) before handing it off to Zell Miller (WF) and his obtuse theories about torturing our enemies. Once again, the show takes a stab at the possible collapse of the GOP and the tree falls in the forest without making a sound.
MONOLOGUE: Banky Edwards struts to the stage, compliments himself on his killer mustache before showing video footage of him teaching the cast how to skate. Where everyone from Samberg to Kenan fails to get their jolly ollies, Lorne’s body double comes out of nowhere to show who’s the boss.
“J.J. Casuals”: Laid-back singer-songwriter Jack Johnson (AS) endorses a new style of shoes that resemble plastic feet. I’d buy them, but wouldn’t they feel kinda sweaty after awhile?
“Good Morning Meth”: It’s about time crank addicts got their own talk show, especially now that Domino Harvey’s gone. This sketch had the good, the bad the ugly; the “good” was Jason, who turns out to be a pretty convincing tweaker, the “bad” was Amy, who comes off as a cross between a zombie and her allegedly popular Caitlin character. And as for the “ugly,” what’s the deal with Bill Hader and funny voices?
“The Falconer”: In their latest misadventure, Ken Mortimer (WF) and his feathered life partner Donald are nearly torn apart by an amorous contractor’s (Jason) indecent proposal. Incredibly hot man-bird action ensues.
“Thomas & Dobbins”: A broker (FM) explains that there are investments for “the rest of us,” as evidenced by a carnival worker (AP) with a yen for playing the lottery. Like the majority of SNL ad spoofs, the humor lied within the concept, and even then it made for a decent throwaway sketch.
“The Soaking Wet Killer”: A seemingly aloof yuppie couple (JS, KW) pick up a hitchhiker (Jason) that might be a prison escapee, all the while trying to give him a sense of trust over the most minute details of their private lives. Though the twist ending could be seen from a mile way (as usual), Kristen was surprisingly sublime as the female archetype of suburban banality.
“Refurbishments”: Holy cow, if you say “caulk” too many times, it begins to sound like a phallic metaphor! Despite the good intentions of Chris, Rachel, and Jason, this sketch was way too derivative of “Colonel Angus” from Year 28 and seems as if it was written by an intellectually and physically stimulated 15-year-old boy.
MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: From their recent double-disc release “For Your Honor,” Dave and the boys tear the roof off the dump with the leadoff single “DOA.”
WEEKEND UPDATE: When analyzing “Update,” it’s best to look at what worked and what was hard to sit though. The “live” coverage of the French Minister of the Interior (FA) was… how should I say… incredibly stupid, but when the going gets tough you had another appearance by Donovan McNabb (FM) and his nagging, self-important mom (KT) trying to explain their side of the Terrell Owens controversy. Tina and Amy’s Barbie-doll reenactment of the Carolina Panthers cheerleader scandal was silly yet struck a nerve, while Tina’s chat with teenage small-town mayor Michael Sessions (AP) covered no new ground and only enforced dorky-teen stereotypes.
“Baby Shower”: A “butt pregnancy” that would make Bob Widette proud disturbs partygoers at a baby shower, and to hide the fact that this sketch had no real ending it turns out to be an autobiographical detail of Will Forte’s upbringing. Amy is right, though- a butt pregnancy would make things a whole lot easier.
“Stachin’”: First it was crystal meth, and now it’s facial hair. In this latest demographic-specific talk show spoof, a panel discusses the state of lip-fur while helping a woman (RD) come to terms with her own mustache. This peculiar and scattershot sketch leads into…
“McNulty & Sons”: …an ad spoof for mustache rides (Very unfunny and sophomoric) with Horatio Sanz (Equally unfunny and sophomoric) cracking up every ten seconds (So unfunny it falls completely off the radar).
MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: Foundations continue to be shaken during the rocker “Best of You.” What, no leg guitar?
“American Tasar”: With a series of hot new self-defense toys with names like “Pink Pulse” and “The Domesticator,” wouldn’t you be bound to get a little trigger-happy?
In spite of some late shakiness, this turned out to be the best episode of the season so far. Granted, an abnormal amount of sex jokes can only be funny if executed masterfully, and with a handful of exceptions (“McNulty & Sons,” for example) this hormonally enhanced show hit more targets than it missed. What was also evident tonight was the consistency that the show has been lacking recently; there were no outright classic sketches but you were guaranteed a good chuckle in almost every sketch.
Sketches/Segments That Will Be Removed In Repeats: “Thomas & Dobbins,” about two-thirds of Update, “Stachin’,” “McNulty & Sons,” and “American Tasar.”
Next Week: It was almost inevitable- a Desperate Housewife jumping network lines to host SNL. Brace for yourself when Eva Longoria takes one for the team with musical guest Korn.