Saturday Night Live

Season 31 Episode 2

Jon Heder/Ashlee Simpson

Aired Saturday 11:30 PM Oct 08, 2005 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (7)

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  • “Pedro offers you his protection.”

    A Review by HelloStuart, Veteran Amateur Critic

    As several people pointed out, I neglected to mention in last week’s review that this was the first live broadcast of SNL to be featured in high-definition. Though I did neglect to mention this noticeable change, I was aware of the transition from analog several months beforehand but simply overlooked it in my review. Though this letterbox format will take a little getting used to, I can now proudly say that the show can now be enjoyed with a clearer, more definitive picture even if you have to get used to the sight of Horatio Sanz’s pores.

    This week’s show is hosted by Jon Heder, the gawky twenty-something that found unexpected fame as the star of the 2004 hit indie movie “Napoleon Dynamite.” As obscure as his name is, he’s not the first quickly forgotten master of ceremonies SNL has had in its long history; he could very well be a good host like Nia Vardelos in Year 28 or a bad host like Michael Sarrazin in Year 3.

    The musical guest is a far more interesting story- it just so happens to be Ashlee Simpson, she of lip-syncing infamy. Though her infamous appearance last season wasn’t as astoundingly controversial as, say, Sinead O’Connor thirteen years ago, Ashlee is apparently worthy of some sort of deliverance. So here she is, promoting her second album and praying to the man upstairs that she doesn’t screw up.

    And now, the sketch-by-sketch analysis:

    COLD OPENING: President Bush (WF) and the Big Dick (DH) have a private conversation with Justice Nominee Harriet Miers (RD, naturally). After using the Outback Steakhouse for a mixed metaphor, Dubya later confronts a disappointed Alberto Gonzales (HS, another obvious choice). This was an improvement over last week’s press conference, but only marginally.

    MONOLOGUE: The second coming of El Dorko fields a question from the audience before being confronted by his old buddy Leopold Samsonite (AS) and his cohorts (FA, WF), a moment could be seen as an easy way out of your typical self-serving monologue.

    “Taco Town”: Three fawning hipsters (BH, AS, JS) are bewildered by an enormous taco. The only joke of the sketch is that the delicacy just keeps getting larger and more monstrously unhealthy.

    “Caitlin’s Science Project”: Our spazzy heroine (AP) and her “thespian” partner (Jon) act out their research on insects for their fourth grade science fair. Despite having a sitcom-like quality, I was pleased to see that Poehler toned down the annoyance quotient on this obvious Gilda Radner homage.

    “Werewolf Date”: Every full moon, a very unassuming man (Jon) freaks out and grows a mustache, much to the initial shock and gradual annoyance of his new girlfriend (AP). Though it seemed like an above-average “date from hell” sketch, you had to admit that there should’ve been a more energetic actor portraying the so-called werewolf.

    “The Misadventures of Tom Delay and Bill Frist”: The GOP’s two most scrutinized members (WF, JS) drive across America’s badlands in search of a clean break, and along the way pick up a hitchhiking Bill Clinton (DH). If this “Thelma & Louise” variation is as tight as the topical material is going to be, then we should all hope for a better season to come.

    “Showbiz Grande Explosion!”: The manic Ferecito (FA) makes fun of Manuel’s (HS) indecisiveness as well as mocking his bandleader’s slow-witted cousin (BH) before scrutinizing the host for giving Pedro the shaft. Long story short, this was a by-the-numbers Ferecito sketch.

    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: Ashlee sings the SNL-inspired ballad “Catch Me When I Fall.” Hey, at least it was authentic.

    WEEKEND UPDATE: Horatio continues his fill-in gig without adjusting last week’s hit-and-miss approach and Amy throws in some vicious barbs, but the highlight of the night was the return of Tim Calhoun. Now nominated for the Supreme Court (or so he thinks), Calhoun (WF) addresses everything from his cocaine addiction to his years of experience at the food court with the mousy, awkward demeanor that we’ve all come to love.

    “Wilson Brothers Funeral Home”: A group of old friends meet “Big Chill”-style at the wake of dearly departed buddy (BH) before dying off one by one. It turns out to be foul play, but the twist that ends the sketch was an ill fit.

    “Hubbard Systems”: During a conference, a middle-management stooge (SM) addresses a situation involving pranks at an office party the previous night, complete with cartoon eyebrows and mustaches. This might’ve worked as an improv bit, but on TV it loses something in translation.

    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: Ashlee continues to truly, honestly caterwaul with her current single “Boyfriend.” I’m serious, she really did!

    “Operator Date”: In a “date from hell” sketch that actually ends well, a United Airlines automaton (RD) connects with her fuddy-duddy suitor (Jon). Otherwise, there was hardly a laugh in the whole sketch.

    “The Black Eyed Peas”: Fresh off their integrity-draining Best Buy commercial, a spokesperson (JS) announces that the funky fresh foursome (FA, FM, AP, KT) are available of bar mitzvahs and office parties at varying prices. As much as I like their music, this is probably a harbinger of things to come, which in turn makes it a savage critique in an SCTV vein.

    Despite some concerns earlier in the week, this actually turned out to be a strong show. Jon Heder played to what little strengths he had, and in the end everything worked out. Ashlee Simpson put in an earnest though unmemorable performance, though it’s obvious that she knew her priority was redemption. If there were any positive trends that I saw in this show, it was that Sudeikis, Hader, and Samberg are slowly turning into a potential power trio, not dissimilar to the glory years of Fallon, Sanz, and Parnell in the late nineties/early aughts, and that the writing might actually be improving. No Maya, Tina, or Chris? No problem!

    Sketches That Will Probably Be Removed In Repeats: “Taco Town,” “Hubbard Systems,” “Operator Date,” and “The Black Eyed Peas.”

    Next Week: Though it was rumored to have been delayed until December, in lieu of a Year 30 repeat we have “The Best of David Spade.”

    In Two Weeks: Last year’s Euro-centrism makes a brief resurgence when Catherine Zeta-Jones hosts with musical guest Franz Ferdinand.

    Stuart is probably best known under his old TV Tome handle “Heystu,” until he was forced to change it under mysterious circumstances. Feel free to contact Stu at
  • This had to be one of the worst episodes...ever.

    I had to force myself to watch this so I could see Ashlee's first song....the curiousity of seeing how Ashlee would handle the situation was the only thing that kept my finger away from the remote....I am a big SNL fan, don't get me wrong, and also loved John Heder in ND - but the skits were just awful....was the point to get him to dance like ND in every skit? I feel bad for the guy - he had horrible material to work with....and thank God Tina Fey is coming back...did she take a break from writing too? Awful Awful Awful. I didn't make it to Ashlee's second song...
  • Holy crap! I actually laughed!

    Alright, there's no real need to say it, but everyone knows Saturday Night Live's been in a bit of a rut lately. So many of the more recent episdoes have been amusing, sure, but funny? Laugh-out-loudable? Not quite.

    So, imagine my surprise when I'm sitting at home watching, excpecting maybe a chuckle or two in the entire hour and a half, and wham! I laughed! Out loud! For at least 2 minutes!

    Alright, the entire episode was pretty much better than what they've been doing (although I can't wait for Tina to get back: I can't stand Horatio on Weekend Update), but the main highlight for me:

    "Hey Amy, you wearin' a bra?"
    "Yeah, Lorne, I am."
    "What the hell for?"
  • You make me wanna LaLa, in the kitchen on the floor. I’ll be a French Maid, when ya meet me at the door. I like a alley cat, drinking milk up off the floor, ya make me wanna, ya make me wanna . . .


    This week was Napolean Dynamite, Jon Heder, and the girl who is living in the shadow of Jess Simpson, lil sis Ashlee Simpson. I wasn’t sure about either. I was half right.

    HOST: Of ND fame is Jon Heder, someone no one heard of 2 years ago. He was an okay host. Pretty funny, though nothing to get excited about. Not much to say about him either. He was in about every skit, and only slipped once. B-

    MUSICAL GUEST: Livin in the shadow, of last year’s SNL hoe down. Live from New York, its Ashlee Simpson. I don’t exactly like any of her songs, except La La, which I love, but I was glad that she actually sang. She is not a good singer, but she did sing. Her two songs, “Catch Me When I Fall,” about last years performance and “Boyfriend,” about the fact that Lindsay “Media Wh0re” Lohan accused her of stealing Wilmer Valderrammas, of however you spell it, were really not that good, but she did perform them live, or performed a great trick, so I give her an average. C

    “George W. Bush and Harriet Miers:” It was okay. I’ve seem better. B-

    “Taco Town:” I was laughing so hard my stomach hurt and I had tears in my eyes. A+++

    “Catlin’s Science Fair:” Hate this skit, and this was no exception. F

    “Werewolf Date:” C’mon, are they running out of ideas, but it was alright. B-

    “The Misadventures of Tom Delay and Bill Frist:” Anything with Bill Clinton gets my vote. A-

    “Showbiz Grande Explosion:” I hate this skit. F

    “Wilson Bros. Funeral Home:” Clever, but I figured out most of it. C

    “Hubbard Systems:” Considering how I don’t even remember this, it must not have made any effect. D

    “Operator Date:” I liked the concept. Ya gotta wonder what happens when that type of person goes out. C+

    “The Black Eyed Peas:” That was such a great concept. So true, so funny. A

    BEST MOMENTS: The Taco Town skit and the BEP skit. Those were funnier than anything on last week combined. That Taco concept was right on. And the BEP appearing at everything was so exact. These were the things I loved. Plus Clinton gets an honorable mention.

    WORST MOMENTs: Catlin and Fericito. Hate them both. Nough said.

    SURPRISING MOMENTS: Ashlee sang, and didn’t do a lil hoe down. That was a surprise. At least last time Jude Law was on.

    This episodes rating: 5/10 Sparkling Diamonds.
  • I love the new writers.

    Hello Again to all of those who have read my review. To start out this week, I want to say that I will not have any unprofessional holes in my review, and that Bill Hader played Al Pacino, not Andy Samberg. I got the faces wrong, sorry.

    And now, on to the review:

    Pre-Show thoughts: Jon Heder is hosting. This week, I bought Napoleon Dynamite for research. I was hesitant, because half of everyone I know love the movie, and the other half believed that their IQ has dropped consistently after viewing it. I saw it, and I didn’t appreciate the humor very much, but I was able to appreciate it as an indie. Ashlee Simpson returns to the scene of the crime as Musical Guest. I’ll bet 10:1 that the show will open with a backstage bit with her.

    COLD OPEN: “Bush Cheney Chat”
    President Bush(Forte, again I the cold open as Pres) and Vice Cheney(Hammond) chat about Bush’s nominee for Supreme court Justice. Dratch’s first line made me chuckle. The audience appreciated Hammond’s “I like the onion bloom”. And for the first time in a long time, Horatio gets to start the show. I know he’s done it before, but I can’t remember when.

    MONOLOGUE: Jon does the Q+A schtick, when someone asks im if Napoleon was based on anyone, and the Anyone comes out. Not so great writing, but the performances were good, especially from Sudeikis as the Napoleon Character.

    COMMERCIAL: “Taco Town” Poorly written, but it shows that the new guys wont be denied. I don’t know how to critique this, but a still from a later sketch interrupts this. Chris Parnell’s only role tonight, as a voiceover.

    SKETCH: “Kaitlin in Class”
    Sudeikis in his Third sketch of the night. The new season looks like it is depending on recurring characters, but that isn’t necesarily a bad thing. Kaitlin has always been good to me. I was surprised that there wasn’t any applause for her, though.

    SKETCH: “Werewolf Date”
    The Romania line left me wondering if the ND randomness would show up in this episode. Jason shows up yet again, this time as a cop with Hader, and an Andy cameo w/ a mustache. Not that great, but it was entertaining.

    SKETCH: “The Misadventures of Tom Delay and Bill Frist”
    Jason again. He is on a roll tonight. No laugh out loud moments, but greatly written. I guess it just proves you don’t need new cast, but new writers. The return of Clinton was great, too. How long has it been?

    SHOW: Showbiz Grande Explosion!
    Another recurring bit, with Ferecito! Bill as the new guy in the band was better than nothing, I guess. “It’s not funny” to the movie made me chuckle.

    If it weren’t for last time, I would have nothing to say about this. For a while, it looked like she was repeating the crime, but that would be near blasphemy.

    WEEKEND UPDATE: Horatio is still behind the desk. The abortion and “Lost jokes were good. Then Tim Calhoun. Who expected him to be back, not that I’m complaining. “Have I mentioned I worked in a food court?”. Not up to par with regular Tim Calhoun, but still far above other sketches. Just gives backbone to my theory that they’re really relying on recurring characters. Who wants to bet that we’ll see Andy (OH NO!) next week? Osama and the smoking chimp were good. A lot of people will hate me for saying this, but I think that Amy and Horatio have good Chemistry. The View joke was good, and some joke I can’t remember about Chemotherapy, and so was the harrassment clip. Pretty strong Update.

    SKETCH: “Wilson Funeral Homes”
    This was the one that the still was shown earlier. Here is the order in which people died: Bill, Will, Finesse/Rachel, Kenan, Andy, Amy, Jason. It started out as a concept sketch, then turned into a twist in the end, and then was a commercial. I applaud the writers.

    SKETCH: “Hubbard Systems Retreat”
    Seth’s only sketch for tonight. A one joke premise, Employees play pranks on Drunk employees.

    I thought that there was a bit of Irony in that the drummer had what looked like sound proof walls around him. By this song, I could tell she wasn’t syncing.

    SKETCH: “Automated Teller Blind Date”
    Very well written.

    COMMERCIAL: “Black Eyed Peas”
    A loose satire of Best Buy commercials. I liked this Much better than the Taco Town earlier.

    GOODBYES: Cut off early.

    Post show thoughts: A decent show by the host. Jason Sudeikis was in 7 sketches, which impressed me. Will gets player of the night, thanks to Tim Calhoun. Ashlee didn’t mess up this time. I love the new writers. I was surprised there was no backstage bit.

    Next week: David Spade gets his Best of. A few weeks later, Catherine Zeta-Jones hosts with Franz Ferdinand.
  • Was Chris Parnell fired?

    I\'m an avid SNL watcher and Chris Parnell was not in the opening montage.

    It makes one wonder if he gave up completely or if he got fired.

    I\'m surprised that SNL gave Ashlee another chance after her first performance on the show. I\'m not a big Ashlee Simpson fan at all but I could definitely tell that she was performing live.

    The funeral season was a great idea to get most, if not, all the cast together but I really didn\'t like that sketch. This sketch was hilarious in the fact that you can see the corpses breathing and the hands moving. The constant cutting to the \"living\" characters was necessary.

    But where was Chris Parnell?
  • Another chance, another failure.

    Ashlee Simpleton was given a chance to redeem herself on Saturday Night Live. She proved that she was not lip syncing, because she croaked out an off key rasping piece of crap. Maybe it was because she's pregnant. Maybe she's not pregnant, and just thought the maternity dress was a good look. (it isn't)

    It’s a shame that SNL would waste this opportunity on Simpson. Jon Heder is a funny man and he deserved to have a half-way decent musical guest. Nothing that he did will be remembered. The only thing people will remember from this episode is that A. Simpson was given a second chance and blew it. Why don’t people just acknowledge that she serves no function in society and let her fade into obscurity as she deserves.
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