Saturday Night Live

Season 32 Episode 11

Jeremy Piven/AFI

0
Aired Saturday 11:30 PM Jan 20, 2007 on NBC
8.0
out of 10
User Rating
55 votes
9

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

EDIT
Live from New York, it's... Amy Poehler!

Sketches include "Hardball," "Urigro," "The NFL on CBS," "Frontline: 2007 Year in Review" (cartoon), "The First Person in History to Dance," "MacGruber" (three parts), "Two A-Holes at an Adoption Agency," "Common & Blizzard Man," "The Unicorn Forest," "Nurse Nancy" (film), and "Lansford Brothers & Associates."

AFI performed "Love Like Winter" and "Miss Murder."moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

SUBMIT REVIEW
  • "Pain promotes growth"

    5.0
    A Review by "HelloStuart," Amateur Critic and Flustered Super-agent



    As the second half of the season starts tonight, I wonder what could bolster the show as a means of salvaging an underwhelming season. I’ve alluded to certain ideas in my reviews as well as in the forums (more Forte, shake up the writing staff, let Maya go), but I’ve started to wonder if things can improve without making any major changes. If that’s feasible, the there’s more pressure on the depleted writing staff than ever before.



    This week’s host is Jeremy Piven, a veteran character actor of television and stage who recently won an Emmy for his work as the mercurial, scummy Ari Gold on the HBO comedy “Entourage.” The musical guest is the black eyeliner-clad hardcore punk-revivalists known as AFI, whose current album “Decemberunderground” has been a linchpin on alternative-rock radio for the last six months or so.



    And now, the sketch-by-sketch analysis:



    COLD OPENING: Tonight on “Hardball,” a surprisingly patient Chris Matthews (DH) has an in-studio chat with Senator Hillary Clinton (AP), who dodges questions about the War in Iraq, then creates a faux double-standard by stating she’s half-black to compete with Democratic Party favorite Barack Obama. When Chris catches her bluff, Hillary turns the dial from nervous laughing to a full-blown, profanity-laced tirade. For once it seems that a topical sketch met its target; I laughed a couple of times, and I didn’t even mind that it was eight minutes long.



    MONOLOGUE: In an effort to make himself more likable to the audience, Jeremy makes a “singular connection” with a middle-aged woman sitting in the front row. I liked his romance-novel approach, but even a cute puppy can’t hide the aimlessness we’ve grown so used to this season. “Urigro”: Crude imagery dominates an ad for improving your urine stream. In a word, flushable.



    “NFL on CBS”: The usually cool and collected Jim Nantz (Piven) contends with a Make-a-Wish recipient (AS) in the announcers’ booth who won’t stop using the same football terminology over and over again. Even with a befuddled Phil Simms (JS) playing middleman, this sketch felt a little mean and simply never moved the chains.



    SMIGELTOON: Fun With Real Audio (“and stuff”) goes forward looking backward at 2007, observing some of the bizarre media-centric trends that briefly gave the Bush administration a distraction from its various gaffes. What are those tactics, you ask? Why, “chipmunkification” (cartoon rodents with warped voices) and digitally adding waist-deep water and farting noises. Yes, it’s just as overindulgent and messy as it sounds.



    “The First Person in the History of the World to Dance”: Here’s proof that a simple concept- a caveman (BH) inexplicably busting a move to an old Chemical Brothers song- can be cute as well as funny.



    “MacGruber”: In an obvious send-up of a certain late-80s Richard Dean Anderson TV show, our hero (WF), his trusty, mulleted sidekick Jojo (Piven) and some middle-aged lady (MR) are stuck inside some booby-trapped control room. Just when it seems like he’ll save the day, Jojo won’t pick up an absolutely integral piece of dog poop. A bang, followed by a whimper.



    “Two A-Holes at an Adoption Agency”: I’m starting to get the idea that an A-Holes movie is coming to fruition, but that’s just conspiracy theory. Tonight, they want to adopt a baby but only succeed in harassing the agency manager (Piven). The fact that Jeremy and Suds almost came to blows was a nice touch, though.



    “MacGruber”: Jojo won’t give up his pubic hair in the clutch. The bomb blows up anyway. Hmm… do I sense a triptych?



    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: The gothic aesthetic and sexual ambiguity become an art form with the pouty electro vibrations of “Love Like Winter.”



    WEEKEND UPDATE: I have reason to believe Seth is starting to recycle jokes; granted, Chevy Chase and Norm Macdonald were noted for doing the same thing, but wouldn’t you think we’d expect more inventiveness than that? As the case has been in recent weeks, the guest commentaries simply didn’t work; Rich Little’s (DH) celebrity impressions were a feeble attempt at further criticizing President Bush, and the sarcasm-heavy “Really? with Seth & Amy” was overlong as well as heavy-handed.



    “Common & Blizzard Man”: The Chicago-based rapper (yes, it’s really him) is baffled by the mystique of the pale white, stuck-in-the-90s rhymer (AS), but his manager (Piven) shows him what he’s really about. It’s basically a sequel to that Ludacris sketch from two months ago, so you could everything coming from a mile away; strangely, I think the Blizz as a recurring character is actually moderately amusing.



    “MacGruber”: Now this is turning into Mad Libs- this time, it’s the engine room of a cruise ship, and the mullet guy doesn’t want to hand our hero a bucket of goat sperm. “Kaboom,” indeed.



    “The Unicorn Forest”: The residents of a small town are largely supportive of the teardown of a magical forest for a shopping mall, with an elf in disguise (AP) being the only voice of reason. This had an interesting buildup, but the PSA ending was a copout.



    FILM: Andy (or should I say, Scott Garbaciak) sends up the promo of the upcoming sure-to-fail-miserably, Eddie Murphy vehicle that is “Norbit.” The sad thing is, “Nurse Nancy” looks like it could be a much funnier movie than Eddie’s 90-minute fat joke.



    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: Not even a malfunctioning microphone can stop Davey Havok from pouring his guts on the band’s previous single, the top 40 hit “Miss Murder.”



    “Lansford Brothers & Associates”: How weirdly fitting to end the show with sketch about public hangings. Even weirder is the fact that this is the second show in a row to end with a legal ad spoof; maybe they’re suggesting that we can sue SNL if we don’t think it’s funny anymore. And what the hell was the deal with the Sammy Hagar tribute?



    After hitting a nadir of sorts last week, it seems that the show is back on track… sort of. The sketches were (for the most part) short and sweet, but just as erratic as they normally are. Jeremy Piven was fair game but occasionally annoying, hamming it up when it wasn’t completely necessary, especially in the “NFL on CBS” and “Blizzard Man” sketches; on the other hand, at least he wasn’t Jake Gyllenhaal. Though they don’t sound anything in common, AFI is a compatible My Chemical Romance in terms of style and their appeal to a younger audience; for that, they were a tolerable musical guest.



    Sketches/segments that will probably be removed in repeats: the entire “MacGruber” trilogy, “The Unicorn Forest,” and “Lansford Brothers & Associates.”



    In two weeks: Drew Barrymore becomes the second female member of the Five-Timers’ Club with musical guest Lily Allen.



    Questions or comments? Send them to sma17kc@aim.com. GO BEARS!moreless
  • And guess what... you're pregnant

    5.5
    Jeremy Piven is our host tonight. AFI is our musical guest. I'm really not looking forward to AFI, while Jeremy is great in Entourage. I really don't know how tonight's episode will go. Last week was the nadir of the season, thus far, and I'm not sure if SNL's ready to look up again. I guess we'll just have to see.



    Hillary Clinton on Hardball: Talk about a long cold opening, with more straight talk than jokes. And most of the jokes were pretty slow. I chuckled at Hillary's swearing spree, but that's it.



    Monologue: This was a great monologue. It was really creative and fun, and you could tell that she was a real audience member. I really want SNL to do more monologues like this in the future.



    Urigro: This commercial wasn't really funny. I kind of watched it like I was watching a real commercial.



    AFC Championship: I guess this was a decent sketch, but nothing special. Jeremy really over did his anger part. Who would really freak out that much over misunderstanding a mental disorder?



    Cartoon Politics: I really thought this was one of the cartoons we've had so far this season, but it was still only decent. Nothing too special.



    First Man In The History Of The World To Dance: This was a really silly fun sketch, but nothing too too special. This song is a pretty catchy song to dance too. My favorite part was when Jason brought out the glow sticks.



    MacGruber (All three parts): This was something different. Obviously a spoof on the Mgyver show? It wasn't too too funny, though. But, if they make this recurring, I'm sure I'll begin to like it. You can never dislike a Forte character/sketch.



    A-Holes At An Adoption Agency: I was glad to see them again, even though they were just on in December, and this was probably the best-written sketch of the night, other than the monologue, but it wasn't even knock your socks off good. It was good, though. I was surprised with the applause they got. It was nice.



    Musical Performance: AFI performs "Love Like Winter". I'm going to say, this was a pretty boring song.



    Weekend Update: It was a quick Update tonight, but I liked it. Darrell as Rich Little was funny, and most of the jokes were good.



    Blizzard Man: Ohhhh this sketch again. Yuck. This was just as slow as the first one, if not slower.



    Unicorn in the Town: This was a decent sketch, but the energy really never took off.



    Nurse Nancy: This was actually a really funny spoof on Eddie Murphey's Norbit, but, it got old after the first few. I did laugh at the Chinese woman being Scott Garbasiac.



    Musical Performance: AFI performs "Miss Murder" which was better than "Love Like Winter".



    Lansford Brothers & Associates: Wow. Another Law sketch?!? Just as slow as the other two.



    Tonight's episode was a little, just a little below average, but a big improvement over last week's crap. Jeremy hammed up some parts, but for the most part was a good host. AFI was not my favorite musical guest of the season. Instead of shooting for really good sketches, with some stinkers, the show tonight shot for mostly average, with some below average, but not many stinkers. So far, though, a lot of this season is feeling really phoned in. I've only found two shows this season truly mostly enjoyable so far. Of course, there were others that were decent or better, but I'm really sick of how this season is going. This cast is really thriving with talent, but it's just the writing.



    I'm just blaming these two weaker episodes on that January 'whatever' feeling... for now.moreless
  • A solid show overall that was drug down by two stinkers: Hardball and Unicorn.

    7.5
    Hardball cold open - Another uncreative opening. Was it really necessary to spend 7 minutes to portray Hillary as a lying b*tch? Point taken. Grade: F



    Monologue - Pretty good monologue. I liked the line "Have you ever made love to a porpoise?" Not great, but good as far as most monologues go. Grade: B-



    Unigro commercial - Nice parody of those urination enhancement drugs. This time for urination! Probably my favorite fake commercial of the year. There haven't been many though. Grade: A



    NFL Announcers - Simple, one joke sketch. What made it work is that it was performed well by all. Grade: B



    TV Funhouse - I didn't care for the chipmunk part, but enjoyed the flatulence in the pool bit. Grade B-



    First Dancer - My favorite sketch of the night has no words and is only choreography! Strange? You bet, but it was done so well. I love seeing things from left field. Grade: A+



    MacGruber - In 3 separate filmed bits Will Forte does his parody of the 80's show MacGuyver. Part two was my favorite when MacGruber askes for the pubes. Even going so far as saying he will extract them from his partner himself if time allows. Overall, the parody was OK, but would have been funnier 20 years ago. Too much TVLand for Forte while he waits for a cast call? Grade: B-



    Two A-Holes - I usually don't care for this sketch, but it was done pretty well tonight. Just the thought of such two self-centered people even considering adopting a child is ludicrous. Grade: B-



    Weekend Update - The jokes were so-so as usual. Two things caught my attention tonight: Hammond's Rich Little and the Really?! segment. The Really?! segment was a nice change from bringing in a typically horrible commentator Grade: B-



    Blizzard Man - The Blizzard Man returns! OK, so there is not much to this other than some guy singing rap in a style whiter than Bing Crosby. I thought it was OK tonight. What made me laugh was Jeremy's expression as he was grooving to the crazy raps. Grade: B-



    Unicorn - I usually love crazy ideas, but this didn't catch me. First of all, it was highly reminiscent of the far superior "Magic Fish" sketch. Second, Amy got tiring very quickly so that it was kind of hard to watch. Not a good resolution either. Grade: D



    Nancy Nurse digital short - Another Andy showcase. We're seeing a LOT of him lately. Nothing special about this movie-trailer parody. Kind of amusing, but that's it. Grade: B-



    Hangmen at Law - Hader and Forte need more airtime! This should have been performed in a far more outrageous manner such as Mel's B-B-Q. Such an over-the-top concept deserves a crazy performance. Still, it was good to see these two get a little screen time as a couple of Texans ready to sell their hanging expertise to the Middle East. Grade: B-moreless
  • Well worth watching

    9.3
    This was one of my favorite episodes this season. "The First person in the history of the world to dance" was hilarious(His name was Eric by the way) but the MacGruber skits were the best of the show. I also liked the chipmunk bit. Usually I skip the intro because it is almost always political and I really could care less about that when it comes to comedy. I also think that the Weekend Update was average as usual.moreless
  • Another great Saturday Night Live episode.

    9.0
    This episode makes up for the painfully unfunny Jake Gyllenhall episode. AFI is a good band, and the skits were completely priceless! Such as some funny stuff like "The First Person in the History of the World to Dance". LOL!!! Jeremy Piven is a great host. Saturday Night Live has really gone down in funniness since Will Ferrell left, but they do still have funny stuff. Like this cool stuff. Some episodes could turn out to be stupid, but this one makes up for all the real stupid episodes Saturday Night Live has made since Will Ferrell, Adam Sandler and Jimmy Fallon left.moreless
Jeremy Piven

Jeremy Piven

Himself

Guest Star

AFI

AFI

Themselves

Guest Star

Common

Common

Himself

Guest Star

Featured Episode Clip

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (6)

    • Sketches not shown in the 60 minute version: Rich Little segment on Weekend Update, the third MacGruber segment, "Urigro," TV Funhouse: "Fun with Real Audio," "Blizzard Man," "Nurse Nancy" (Digital Short, "Lansford Brothers," and AFI's performance of "Miss Murder."

    • During the "NFL on CBS" sketch, Jeremy Piven mispronounces Colts player Joseph Addai's name, and also states that Colts quarterback Peyton Manning passed the ball to Brandon Stokley, who has not played due to injury since December.

    • At the start of the "Common & Blizzard Man" sketch, Jeremy Piven's mic malfunctions for about 10 seconds.

    • In at least two NBC affiliates, the first thirty seconds of Weekend Update were cut off due to a satellite miscue.

    • During AFI's second performance, technical gaffes with the microphone are prominent throughout the song with the sound going in and out.

    • During the "Unicorn Forest" sketch, a boom mike can be briefly seen at the top of the screen.

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Seth Meyers: Last Tuesday night, an estimated 37.3 million viewers watched the sixth-season premiere of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" (photo of Paula Abdul).

    • Amy Poehler: During an interview with "60 Minutes" on Sunday, President Bush defended the invasion of Iraq saying, "We liberated that country from a tyrant. I think the Iraqi people owe the American people a huge debt of gratitude." Said the Iraqi people, "We've been meaning to send a card, but our Hallmark store keeps blowing up."

    • McGruber: Casey, the bomb's about to explode! Hand me three pine needles! Jojo, I need that paper cup! Casey, a gum wrapper! Jojo, hand me that dog turd!

    • Rich Little: (impersonating Johnny Carson as Carnac, holding an envelope to his head) A burning car, Star Jones, and Iraq.
      Amy Poehler: A burning car, Star Jones, and Iraq.
      Rich Little: Name three things nobody wants to get into.

  • NOTES (5)

    • First appearance of "MacGruber."

    • This is the last episode featuring Budweiser as the sponsor for the musical guest. For the rest of the season, SNL becomes its own sponsor of sorts with the T-Mobile Black Jack. Starting with the next season, there are no sponsors following the musical guest's first performance, returning to a practice pre-October 2002.

    • Maya Rudolph did not appear in the live broadcast.

    • This episode was dedicated in the memory of Michael Dibari, a cameraman on the show that had passed away from cancer earlier that week.

    • Jeremy Piven is the first cast member from the HBO series Entourage and second cast member from Ellen to host SNL.

  • ALLUSIONS (3)

    • The exclamation of "Welcome to Baltimore, Punk!" in the Digital Short is a line spoken in a Lonely Island short featuring Samberg and SNL writer Akiva Schaffer as Baltimore City policemen.

    • The song used in the "The First Person in History of the World to Dance" sketch is "Sandstorm" by Darude.

    • Hillary Clinton's exclamation "Heavens to Murgatroid!" is a fleeting reference to the catchphrase of the 60s cartoon character Snagglepuss.

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