Saturday Night Live

Season 30 Episode 3

Jude Law/Ashlee Simpson

Aired Saturday 11:30 PM Oct 23, 2004 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
35 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Live from New York, it's... Darrell Hammond! Sketches include "Hardball," "Green Screen Filming," "Dyson Toilets," "The Ninth Presidential Debate," "Paris Hilton Apologizes," "President Bush and Tony Blair," "Apprentice Halloween Promo," "Jane Eyre," "Bear City" (film), and "The Adventures of Peter O'Toole and Michael Caine." Ashlee Simpson performed "Pieces of Me" (refer to the episode recap to see what happened on her second performance).moreless

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  • A Lemon and a Limey

    A Review by the Former "Heystu," Amateur Critic and Honorary Sweet Potato Queen

    Hello again, everybody. I know I do my best to avoid discussing the goings-on of my life, but I am just so pumped about the Red Sox-Cardinals World Series. Watching the Yankees collapse after taking a 3-0 lead is something only miracles are made of, and that's coming from an agnostic. At least with Fallon out of the picture we won't have to worry about the inevitable championship-themed "Boston Teens" sketch.

    This week's host is British actor and Academy Award nominee Jude Law, who just so happens to be appearing in a whopping six movies this fall. Mr. Law, as most of you know, fills the usual quota of having at least one English host SNL per season. Serving as musical guest tonight is Ashlee "I don't want to be remembered as the sister of Jessica" Simpson. I recall reading in the tabloids that Ash is somewhat flaky, so let's see if she brings any of that energy into the show.

    And now, the sketch-by-sketch analysis:

    COLD OPENING: With the presidential election in dead heat, it must be time for another "Hardball." This time, the ever-so-irked Chris Matthews (DH) chats with the annoyingly cheerful Bush supporter Ed Gillespie (SM), googly-eyed homophobe Mary Beth Cahill (AP), and Chris' new best friend, Senator Zell Miller (WF). Suffice to say, this was the most fun I've had watching this recurring sketch in ages, from Hammond's line-flubbing to Forte's incredibly pink face.

    MONOLOGUE: Jude walks out, starts bragging about how he started out on the East End stage like all the other British hosts have, and segues into a narcissistic song-and-dance number. Nothing special, but I liked the Beatles reference near the end.

    "Dreamscape Studios": The weird thing is, I wasn't expecting a "Sky Captain" spoof. Then again, who was? Anyway, the star of a computer-enhanced fantasy film (Law) is quickly vexed by the film's clueless director (SM), moronic co-star (AP), and a doofus in a green-screen bodysuit (WF). Once again, the show relies on the absurd-is-funny formula, and dadgummit, it worked!

    "The Dyson Toilet": Spoofing those charming vacuum ads, our favorite British inventor (FA) invents a new, affordable, and "perfected" commode. It was funny without getting too nasty.

    "Debate #9": In an apparent attempt to milk one last debate sketch out of this year's election, we are now treated to a spoof of Debate #3 that came just ten days too late. Okay, so John Kerry keeps emphasizing the fact that Mary Cheney is a lesbian, whoop dee doo. Outside of a couple good lines, this overwrought stab at political satire has more than run its course.

    "Paris Hilton Apologizes": The overexposed heiress-cum-bimbo (MR) admits to feeling sorry for inadvertently using the n-word in one of her sex tapes. Joining her in this admission is her just-divorced kid sister Nicki (Law, who was hilarious) and a clueless Nicole Richie (RD). I would've found this to be a riot if not for the fact that the sight of Paris Hilton now makes me nauseous.

    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: The child of a lesser Simpson performs her hit song from three months ago, "Pieces of Me." True, it was nothing more than whiny pop piffle, but who am I to complain?

    WEEKEND UPDATE: In the third outing of this mock media marianismo, I can now officially say that the Fey-Poehler combo is working out very well, perhaps improving upon the sluggish year Tina had with Jimmy last year. While they were a little less reliant on actual news clips this week (which was good), the ladies also received a visit from Horatio Sanz as the ghost of Babe Ruth (which was largely tepid). Oh, and by the way, "you're welcome."

    "C-SPAN Live Coverage": Dubya (WF) and Tony Blair (Law) hold a joint press conference to prove that the war in Iraq was justified and that there is a coalition fighting the increasingly pesky insurgents. Law pulls off another great performance, accurately displaying the prime minister as a pushover and a buffoon. Good thing I don't live in Britain.

    "NBC Promo": The Donald (DH) manhandles the recording of a Halloween-themed promo for his sinking reality show "The Apprentice." Hammond flubs a line for the third time in two shows, but it still works.

    "Jane Eyre": Pardon my metaphors, but after a string of sketches that went for extra-base hits (no homers, of course), we end up with a ground out to first. While it was moderately amusing, this revisionist yet slight look at the Charlotte Bronte opus finds our very plain heroine (RD) being completely oblivious to the attic goings-on of Mr. Rochester (Law) and his other wife (MR). The problem with this sketch wasn't just the squirrels, folks.

    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: A pretty good show comes to a screeching halt. Jude introduces Ashlee, as the vocal track from "Pieces of Me" plays while the band is revealed to be only pretending to play their instruments. After a few seconds of awkward posing from the singer, she does a goofy little monkey dance for a little bit before walking off the stage in mid-performance. Several million viewers look in confusion and ask, "what the hell was that?" The answer, my friends, was LIP-SYNC!!!

    I'm sorry, but what just happened is perfect example of how SNL is going down the tubes in terms of overall quality. I mean, if you can't sing on live television, then why bother? And if you can't sing period, then what's the point? The fact that this is the second time Ashlee has been caught pretending to caterwaul (the first time being when she bombed at the MTV Video Music Awards) will almost certainly sidetrack, if not destroy, whatever career she had as a pop singer. At least when ABBA lip-synced in on the show in 1975, nobody noticed and nobody cared. And here's the worst part: during the goodnights, she actually had the balls to blame her band in what could go down as one of the single worst musical performances in the three-decade history of the show, though calling it a performance might be putting it too gently.

    "Bear City, Part 1": This short film by T. Sean Shannon (of "The Adventures of Harold" fame) finds all civilization taken over by bears in suits and ties. In this first installment, the great Fred Willard narrates an incident between two bears in a fender-bender. Well, at least it kept my mind off Ashlee Simpson.

    "The Adventures of Peter O'Toole and Michael Caine": Two caricatures of the great thespians (SM, Law) drunkenly discuss the art of acting with the customers of a Taco Bell/Pizza Hut Express. Kenan Thompson serves as straight man to the old souses, ad-libbing as a reluctant Othello. It's not the fault of the actors or the writers that this sketch went four minutes without a real laugh, but at least they tried.

    "Bear City, Part 2": A bear climbing the corporate ladder gets caught insulting his boss, providing an anticlimactic ending to a very unusual show.

    The third show of Year 30 was actually quite amusing, with Law effortlessly putting on a above-average performance as host, though one can hope following what happened tonight that he will host again. On the bright side, at least for once an episode like this wasn't the fault of the cast. And where were Fred and Finesse?

    Sketches That Will Probably Be Trimmed Out For E!: "Debate #9," both "Bear City" films and both musical performances.

    Next Week: The British Invasion continues with Kate Winslet as host and rapper Enimem as (God willing) musical guest.

    If you have any comments, feel free to send them to sma17kc@netscape.netmoreless
  • Pistols at dawn Matthews!!! Oh, hey Jude. And good-bye Ms. Simpson.

    Little Note: This is the episode that will for some reason remain known for one reason: Ashlee Simpson. She messed up, and this episode remains immortal. But a year later, she returns, and does fine. The songs aren’t that great, actually much worse, but she performs them, or is better rehearsed with old Mr. Back Track. Anyway, this episode has the man everyone makes fun of for being in almost every movie in 2004. And for having an affair with his good old nanny. But, he isn’t the only one to be in a lot of movies in a year. Anyway, now to discuss the episode.

    This is the episode that I think is the best of Season 30. Sure Miss Simpson messed up, big time, but the skits were very funny and creative. I really did enjoy watching the rerun. The episode had its faults, since nothing is perfect, and had two cheaters on it, but all that is forgotten. But, let’s start the review.


    Six movies. Wow. And that wasn’t in the whole year. That was between October and December. This week’s host was Jude Law, an actor I had heard of because he was in a movie with my favorite actress. After having heard of him, he wouldn’t disappear. But, it really doesn’t matter, having seen what he looks like. He was a great host, since he did do theatre a while back. He was well suited for it and did well in his skits. And his monologue was funny too. Sure, singing about the fact that you are “so good looking” is pretty stupid, but I did laugh at it. Can I just say this: Hey Jude. You are good looking, but dude, ya ain’t that great. You sure as hell ain’t the best looking man I’ve ever seen. That goes to another British actor. A

    Musical Guest:

    Do I really have to tell you about this? She sang “Pieces of Me” and for her second song, decided to do a little jig. A hoe-down if you will. If she would have performed “La La,” I wouldn’t have been that mad. But she isn’t the only SNL guest to have lip synched, but she was the one who got caught. D-


    Hardball: PISTOLS AT DAWN!!!! This was an incredibly funny skit because of that one line. I love the Hardball skits, and this was one of the bests. A

    Sky Captain Filming: Take off of “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.” This was pretty good. I do like when the director hit the actor with the fireball. That was clever. B

    Dyson Toilets: Um, this is the example of some of the lesser skits of the night. It’s a takeoff a the vacuum cleaner. C

    The Ninth Presidential Debate: Another one? Now many do we need? Yeah, it seemed that way. I am just glad this did not make the E! version. C

    Paris Hilton Apologizes: She can burp her own name. Wow, she can do something. I liked this skit too. But can I say that Jude does not make an attractive woman. Hilton names all the black guys she would sleep with, and apologizes for using the N word on Tape #537. B

    President Bush and Tony Blair: Hate to embarrass you, but it’s pronounced nuclar. I loved that. This is one of the better skits. A

    Apprentice Halloween Episode Commercial Taping: Trump can’t even do a freaking TV commercial right. But I do like his concept for him turning into bats. It was a good idea, and did work pretty well. B

    Jane Eyre: So Rachel is some plain girl living with Jude who is secretly married to Maya? What a concept. See, this should have made the E! cut. I do like this one. More skits should be like this. A

    Bear City – Fender Bender: I do not like this skit. And this is no acceptation. D

    The Adventures of Peter O’Toole and Michael Caine: I believe that this was the best skit of the night. Two drunken old men lost in Detroit. What an idea. So the whole thing is that they are lost, and first think that they are doing a talk show, than are teaching an acting class. And they finally leave because the Pizza Hut/Taco Bell combo doesn’t serve booze. Now is it just me, or does Keenan look a lot like Mike Jones. A

    Bear City – Getting Fired: See, even bears can’t make fun of the boss. Why they needed two of these is beyond me. And why they kept these in the E! rerun and didn’t have the Jane Eyre skit is beyond me. D

    Best Moment:

    There were so many in this show. The fact that I believe that this was the best of the season sums that the whole show was great, well, with the acceptation of Ashlee’s ordeal. But I love the whole Pistols at dawn Matthews!!! Mostly, everything expect the 2 Bear Cities and Ashlee was the best.

    Worst Moment:

    Ashlee lip-synching really sums it up. Need I say more?

    Surprising Moment:

    Well, this was a really good episode, and Jude was a good host. He should return I think, when he has another 6 movies to promote.

    Rating: 9/10 Sparkling Diamonds

Jude Law

Jude Law


Guest Star

Ashlee Simpson

Ashlee Simpson

Musical Guest

Guest Star

Fred Willard

Fred Willard

'Bear City' Sketches' Narrator

Recurring Role

Featured Episode Clip

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • During the Dyson ad spoof, they showed two different types of the Dyson toilet. One of them had a black toilet (the picture with the revolving dyson toilet with a black backround) and then one with a clear toilet (When Fred Armisen showed you it`s "powerful suction").

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Peter O'Toole: Michael, I have one question for you: where in God's name are we?
      Michael Caine: Well, let's figure it out. (looks around him) A group of people...a Taco Bell/Pizza Hut Express sign...and we're wearing tuxedos. We must be hosting a talk show.
      Peter O'Toole: Excellent!

    • Amy Poehler: First Lady Laura Bush said Tuesday that if her husband is elected to a second term, she would like to help juvenile delinquents with substance abuse problems. When asked how she would do that, Mrs. Bush replied, "Just as I always have- by marrying them and bearing their children."

    • Tina Fey: Election offices across Florida opened last Monday to give black voters the option of being turned away early.

    • Tina Fey: According to a new study, almost half of all New York City high school students have lost their virginity.
      Tina Fey & Amy Poehler: You're welcome.
      Tina Fey: Hi Jimmy.

    • Zell Miller: Pistols at dawn, Matthews! You and me, 40 paces! You're a dead man! PISTOLS AT DAWN!!!

  • NOTES (13)

    • Sketches/segments not shown in the 60 minute version: "Dyson Toilet," "Presidential Debate #9," "Trump's Promo," "Jane Eyre," and Ashlee Simpson's infamous attempt a second song.

    • This episode features the first appearance of Will Forte's Zell Miller impression.

    • This episode marks the first appearance of the recurring T. Sean Shannon film short "Bear City." A total of seven shorts would air throughout Season 30.

    • Sketches cut after dress rehearsal: A TV Funhouse cartoon about George W. Bush's machine that turns gay celebrities straight (this is also be cut in the dress rehearsal of the Liam Neeson episode before finally airing on the Luke Wilson episode), a sketch centered around Greyhound bus drivers, a sketch called "Cool Police" where Jude Law, Amy Poehler, and Fred Armisen dictate what's cool and what's not cool to Ashlee Simpson, and a Merv The Perv sketch with Jude Law as Merv's cousin at a Halloween party (this sketch is redone in the Colin Farrell episode and has the Halloween party changed to a Christmas party).

    • Chris Parnell and Ashlee Simpson appeared in the week's promo with Jude Law. It went as follows:
      Jude Law: "I'm Jude Law and I'm hosting SNL this week with musical guest Ashlee Simpson. (pause) You can take your hand off my butt now, Ashlee.
      Ashlee Simpson: (sheepishly) Sorry.
      Jude Law: You too, Chris.
      Chris Parnell: (embarrassed) Right.

    • Backstage elements on the writing and production of this episode were presented on CBS's 60 Minutes a few days later.

    • When NBC originally aired this episode on October 23 on tape delay on the West Coast, they had edited the audio of Ashlee Simpson's second performance, removing the embarrassing vocal track, leaving West Coast viewers wondering exactly what happened. However, on the rerun on December 4, it was left unedited.

    • The Dyson Toilets fake commercial was in the dress rehearsal of the Queen Latifah episode (the second time she hosted, not the time where she hosted and the musical guest was Ms. Dynamite).

    • Ashlee Simpson is now the only SNL musical guest to walk off the stage during a performance.

    • The Jane Eyre sketch was originally supposed to air on the Colin Firth/Norah Jones episode, but didn't make it past dress rehearsal.

    • The NBC rerun of this episode keeps in (?!) the second performance where Ashlee Simpson stops "singing", does a stupid dance, and walks off the stage.

    • Ashlee Simpson's second music set was put to an abrupt halt when her band began playing "Pieces of Me," the song Ashlee had sang in her first set.

    • The band actually did not play the wrong song. As described in this excerpt from a news article:
      "Though Simpson's first performance in the show — her hit 'Pieces of Me' — went off without a hitch, the second, 'Autobiography,' was derailed when a pre-recorded track of her voice (singing "Pieces of Me") began playing while Simpson was holding her mic to the side and had her mouth closed. When the track came on, Simpson tried to dance a little jig instead, but after about 30 seconds, she exited the stage as her band continued performing. The show cut to a commercial.

      At the end of the show, host Jude Law tried to help Simpson brush the moment aside by shrugging, "What can I say, folks? Live TV." For her part, Simpson initially placed the blame on her band. "I feel so bad," she told the audience. "My band started playing the wrong song. And I didn't know what to do, so I thought I'd do a hoe-down. I'm sorry. It's live TV. Things happen. I'm sorry."

      An 'SNL' spokesperson said that Simpson had planned to use a backing track, a common concert aid that allows singers to either lip-synch or sing along with a guide-vocal track, to augment her voice. A statement from Simpson's record label blamed a "computer glitch" that triggered 'a cut from her album' to play instead of a drum cue."

      Simpson since claimed responsibility, as the article states, saying her work schedule was wearing down her voice.