Saturday Night Live

Season 34 Episode 1

Michael Phelps/Lil' Wayne

Aired Saturday 11:30 PM Sep 13, 2008 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (14)

out of 10
81 votes
  • Phelps was a terrible host (not even a bronze for him), the writing was pretty tired (already). Not a very auspicious debut for the season.

    Palin/Clinton cold open - Fey was the obvious choice to play Palin given the physical resemblance, except that she's not on the show anymore. An entertaining opening, but it could have been better. They played to the obvious stereotypes of Palin as a glamorous airhead and Clinton as a bitter shrew. Admittedly these are funny stereotypes, but it might be funnier to have the two act out of character to some degree. Oh, and they should have made more of the lipstick joke. Obama's remarks over the past week about lipstick were considerably funnier than any of the political satire I have heard over the entire campaign season. Somebody get his speech writer a job at SNL (and I don't mean for political content)! Somebody previously mentioned that Fey was doing a Fargo-type impression for Palin. I noticed the same thing and found it a bit odd since Palin doesn't really sound like a North Dakotan to me. Just Fey's range (or lack thereof) I guess. Grade: B+

    Phelps monologue - Michael is kind of a stiff out of the water, so hand it to the unflappable Shatner to come in with the save (one of the best hosts of all time BTW). Grade: B (thanks to Shatner)

    Quiz Bowl - Bobby's first appearance and he comes off a bit as a Belushi type. The old debate about public school education vs home schooling is given a pretty weak treatment here. At first we are made to think that the public school kids will outshine the homeschoolers in science, but they inevitably turn out to be just as ignorant. The moral of the sketch? Your kids are screwed (unless you are among those who can afford to send his/her kids to an expensive private education). Grade: C-

    Jar Glove - Pretty weak late night commerical parody. At just over 1 minute, it actually felt a bit long. Grade: C-

    Locker Room - I guess this sketch is the new de facto sketch to break out whenever an athlete hosts the show. I enjoyed it more when Peyton Manning hosted. Forte does great moves, but Phelps is a bad actor and worse dancer. Grade: B- (just for Will)

    Spaz Kids - Another reprise sketch. Not nearly as good as when Seth Rogen hosted and it did nothing to expand on the original. Sure, Kristen is great as a weirdo and her awkward dance is strangely funny, but the reactions from the couch were so bad and the sketch so stale, that not even Kristen could save it from the dregs. Grade: D

    Weekend Update - Some decent jokes. Forte's Alaska Pete was a great characterization. The return of Nicholas Fehn was not welcomed by me. Armisen has added nothing new to this and it is getting very old. Samberg as Cathy was a surprise Grade: B

    The Charles Barkley Show - Kenan is still searching for a recurring sketch. Keep searching Kenan. Better yet, stop the search and take a job down at your local Sbarro. No range, no sense of comedic timing and poor impressions. What's to love? Thanks for reminding us that Darrell is still on the show. Nearly as old as the character he was portraying, Darrell is the only link back a better, funnier time on SNL. They keep him around as some kind of good luck charm. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be working so well. Whose brilliant idea was it to get Phelps to host? Apparently they had never seen him do an interview. I've seen cardboard figures with more personality than this guy. Grade: D

    T-Mobile - A one-joke sketch that went nowhere and was stuck a pretty lame joke. The American Beauty thing has been done to death, but this was a feeble attempt at that style of mid-life crisis fantasy. Grade: D

    Space Olympics Digital Short - I just and watched it and wondered when it was going to get funny. I'm still waiting. Nice costumes and effects, but not much biting humor. Not much humor at all for that matter. Remember that one time when Farley was an Olympic skater? That was awesome! Grade: C-

    Uno Pizza Waiter - Bobby's big introduction, though I'm not quite sure why he was saddled with the oh-so tired big black lady stereotype. He's got some chops (and I love the Belushi resemblance) but he'll need to work on some better characters before he'll secure a place as an SNL great (or evern a regular cast member for that matter). A common theme with this episode, but the sketch went nowhere and we were left pondering the fate of a heartbroken waiter after his irritated customers stormed out. The recurring pepper theme was not all that great either. Remember that one time when Carvey and Sandler played waiters with big pepper shakers? That was awesome! Grade: C-

    Michael Phelps Diet - Yeah, we know the guy eats like a pig and burns more calories than a race horse. Pretty slim premise for a sketch. Then again it was a throwaway 5 minutes to one 'o clock sketch. It might have been better if:
    1. Phelps had a pulse (get that guy in the water and he's the world's fastest corpse)
    2. Phelps could read better than a 3rd grader (one of the sacrifices he had to make to win all that gold). Grade: C-
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