A Review by “HelloStuart,” Amateur Critic and Self-Proclaimed Center of the Universe
For those of you that have been living under a rock for the last week, Lindsay Lohan hosted SNL for the third time last weekend. The fact that Lohan is even involved has instigated a hullabaloo amongst the SNL diehards, and though she’s been unexceptional as a host she seems to be a cast favorite. SNL has overcome bad hosts in the past, and even in this recent slump I remain (as I usually am) guarded optimistic. Losing streaks have ended in far stranger ways.
The musical guest tonight is far from controversial, unless you hate grunge-rock or worked for Ticketmaster in the mid-to-late 90’s. I’m obviously speaking of Pearl Jam, whose new album suggests not only a comeback to commercial relevance but also a return to form; it must be worth the hype if this band is making their first SNL appearance in twelve years.
And now, the sketch-by-sketch analysis:
COLD OPENING: Tonight on CNN’s “The Situation Room,” Wolf Blitzer (CP) comments on the defection of several members of the Bush Administration, a situation that reaches its nadir when Chief Justice Roberts’ teenage babysitter (Linz) becomes the new White House press secretary. Strangely, her high school rhetoric is a hit with the press to great comic effect, even if Lindsay’s raspy voice proved to be a trivial diversion.
MONOLOGUE: Shortly after making the obligatory self-referencing car crash joke, the newly brunette Double-L tries to sober up the Easter Bunny (KT) in an obvious parody of her recent personal problems.
“Neutrogena Coin Slot”: At long last, a moisturizer for the visible part of a woman’s butt-crack. The most useless products always seem to be the funniest, don’t they?
“Deep House Dish”: I still don’t get it- is Tiara Zee (RD) supposed to be brain-damaged from Ecstasy or just really thickheaded? It’s starting to get a little distracting. Even so, in this decidedly ordinary third go-around of MTV4’s electronic dance music smorgasbord, Frontal Assault and Demetrios (FA, BH) remix the theme from “Brokeback Mountain” as DJ Dynasty Handbag (KT) continues to stifle his dippy co-host.
SMIGELTOON: Two brave children follow a sheepish Mickey Mouse into “The Journey to the Disney Vault,” where Walt’s skeletons drop out of the closet and lousy direct-to-DVD sequels to cherished children’s movies thrive. Robert Smigel has used Disney as a target for satire in the past, though his opinionating seems to be getting the best of him.
“The O’Reilly Factor”: If you’ve seen one of the sketches, you’ve seen them all. Tonight, Bill plays Mr. Smartypants to New Yorker scribe Seymour Hersh (FA) and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (WF) with the usual amount of self-absorbed befuddlement.
“Le Rendezvous”: A delicious chocolate pastry has a drug-like, animalistic effect on four restaurant patrons (Linz, FA, RD, JS). I don’t know why, but I really enjoyed this sketch; maybe it was because the intense physical humor didn’t border on the obnoxious.
FILM: “Laser Cats!” is an el cheapo Hader/Samberg production that pretty much speaks for itself. I wasn’t expecting something this amateurish and stupid to be this funny, but there’s a brutal honesty to their dorky posture that makes this film work. Also, extra points for Lorne’s grimacing and Forte’s cardboard box getup.
MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: As expected, Pearl Jam performs a scathing rendition of their comeback hit “World Wide Suicide.”
WEEKEND UPDATE: Tina and Amy banter with in-house meteorologist Stormy Windbreaker (SM), who dryly explains how global warning, tornados, and the pending apocalypse will be affecting our seven-day forecast. Also, “American Idol” hopeful Taylor Hicks (JS) covers his latent creepiness with a nuclear bomb of enthusiasm. All in all, this was a more focused Update compared to recent weeks; then again, any news segment that ends with the phrase “Your Mouth Can’t Get Pregnant” is good in my book.
“Debbie Downer”: Egad, it’s the recurring sketch that won’t die! I believe at this point in the movie, I’d be the grizzled old farmer who asks his wife “Maw, get me my shotgun.” But in all seriousness, this time around the perpetually despondent Debbie hampers a Vegas bachelorette party. Just add water (and Bill Hader’s man-bulge) and you’ve got yourself a Debbie Downer sketch.
“Socially Awkward Officemates”: Three very bookish colleagues (Linz, WF, KW) go to a local eatery and slowly loosen up in spite of their anal, introverted personalities. Was it just me, or did Lindsay’s character resemble Glenda Goodwin? Might this be another connection to Maya’s latest (albeit unexplained) hiatus from the show?
MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: Eddie Vedder shines a light on the plight of the homeless with the album cut “Severed Hand.”
“Atlantic City Fever”: Robert Osborne of TCM fame (another solid DH impression) analyzes this lost 60’s cinematic romp between Ann-Margeret (Linz) and Liberace (FA), a film marred by Lee’s blatant lack of attraction to women and an overall lack of chemistry. This was an above-average ten-to-one sketch, though I can picture this being on Fred’s best-of DVD, if and when such a thing will ever be released.
After nearly two months of mediocre shows, tonight’s broadcast came out breaking even. “Laser Cats” proved to be one of the stronger digital short films that has aired on the show, and “Le Rendezvous” was probably one of the best physical sketches of recent memory, but otherwise the writing was its usual shaky self and the cast did its best to pick up the pieces. Though Pearl Jam might seem like an out-of-the-blue choice for musical guest, they sure as heck delivered; after several years of mediocre albums and Bob Dylan covers, Eddie and the boys ripped through their two songs with all the incense and gusto that most of us had feared lost around the time they cut “Vitology.”
Sketches/Segments That Will Probably Be Removed in Repeats: “Deep House Dish,” “The O’Reilly Factor,” Taylor Hicks’ commentary on Update, and “Socially Awkward Officemates.”
In Three Weeks: The “blast from the past” theme rolls on with Tom Hanks hosting for the first time in nearly a decade and musical guest Red Hot Chili Peppers making their first SNL appearance since Year 17.
Contact “HelloStuart” at email@example.com.