Saturday Night Live

Season 32 Episode 14

Rainn Wilson/Arcade Fire

Aired Saturday 11:30 PM Feb 24, 2007 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
53 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Live from New York, it's... Darrell Hammond!

Sketches include "The Situation Room," "Danny's Song," "Corporate Headquarters" (film), "Art Dealers and Architectural Digest," "Peeping Tom," "The New Officemate," "White Possum Scream," and "River Bliss Recording Session."

Arcade Fire performed "Intervention" and "Keep the Car Running."

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  • Love, Rainn O’er Me

    A Review by “HelloStuart,” Amateur Critic and Typical Media Stooge

    I’ve noticed an unusual trend as we approach the two-thirds point of the season, an understatement given the unevenness of the past thirteen shows. With two consecutive tolerable broadcasts, it seems that the show might be hitting its creative high point of the season when it normally goes into autopilot between February and May sweeps. Either this is a new trend, or the truncated cast is finally starting to gel with a writing staff that’s been baffling itself all year. Keep a close eye as things develop…

    Tonight’s host is veteran character actor Rainn Wilson, whose performance as the aloof sociopath Dwight Schrute on “The Office” has not only made him a breakout star but also the most offbeat hosting choice of the season so far. The musical guest is Montreal’s very own Arcade Fire, which like Death Cab for Cutie and The Shins before them are an above-average “indie-rock” band on the cusp of breaking into the mainstream. Together, we have the makings of what could be either a very funny show or a big head-scratcher.

    And now, the sketch-by-sketch analysis:

    COLD OPENING: Tonight on CNN’s “The Situation Room,” Wolf Blitzer (DH) attempts to shift the media’s focus away from Anna Nicole Smith and more towards the pullout of British troops in Iraq, but it ultimately proves futile. Ace reporter Andrew Stuyvesant (Rainn) proves anything but by following an perceptibly false lead on the Smith controversy. The first half of the sketch was stronger than the second half, but a rare sight gag that worked is like gold for me.

    MONOLOGUE: Rainn wants to prove that SNL is nothing like the TV show he stars on, and to great comedic effect he’s dead wrong. Lorne’s channeling of Michael Scott was simply the icing on the cake. This had to have been the funniest monologue in ages- can they keep the momentum going?

    “Danny’s Song”: The answer is yes! Four guys in a bar (Rainn, WF, BH, JS) reminisce to the tune of a certain Loggins & Messina song, which each back-story getting weirder than the next. Even the random “Pulp Fiction”-style ending worked.

    FILM: A barrage of eccentrics (not to mention a talking turkey sandwich, the invisible man, and tonight’s musical guests) are pressed for ideas while a corporate stooge (Rainn) discusses money-saving ideas for the company. Four undeniably funny segments in a row; this must be a fluke.

    “Art Dealers”: If the fine people at Architectural Digest are tapping at your door, you know you’ve got it made. Alas, for the Showners (or is it Skerners?) their torrent of eccentricities will never get them their due respect by the mainstream media. “Peeping Tom”: A perverted witness (Rainn) is detrimental to the investigation of a murder handled by two lesbian police detectives (AP, MR). If the host was attempting to show some versatility here, then it must’ve got lost in this tolerable one-joke sketch.

    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: The soaring, funereal-sounding organ is the best part of their current single “Intervention,” but it was nice to see that everyone carried their own weight in this particularly amusing live workout.

    WEEKEND UPDATE: What didn’t work? A chat with Judge Larry Seidlin (FA) pretty much went nowhere, and Amy’s Aunt Linda (KW) really had nothing new to say. Seth’s interview with the dainty, Kipling-quoting Prince Harry (AS) was seemingly way too similar to a conversation that Norm Macdonald had with Will Ferrell, and by that I mean a dull setup to an overdone projectile-vomiting gag. On the bright side- no Kenan!

    “Socially Awkward Officemates”: Neil (WF) and Jean (KW) show their new officemate (Rainn) the ropes in their unseen-until-now workplace environment, and after gobs of awkward small talk the conversation devolves into suggestions of sexual deviance, pushing methamphetamines, and murdering the receptionist. For whatever reason, these particular characters are growing on me, though I don’t think there’s much unexploited material to work with after this point.

    “White Possum Scream”: A homage to the off-putting trailer to “Black Snake Moan” finds a drunken blues musician (KT) taking a scantily-clad white man (Rainn) hostage as his sex slave. Interesting idea, but I didn’t laugh at it.

    After this sketch came a ten-minute commercial break, interrupted only by the same old ersatz-jazz intermission music from the house band. What the heck?

    “River Bliss Recording Session”: A new age quintet (Rainn, FA, MR, KT, KW) with an inferiority complex nearly comes to blows while cutting their latest disc. This dreary piece of time filler was salvaged only by the fact that Rainn can play a convincing hippie.

    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: Even though letting the string section have their moment in the sun was a definite plus, I couldn’t help but be baffled by the incoherent jamming of “Keep the Car Running.”

    As it turned out, my theory proved true, and for the first time all season we’ve had three consecutive good shows. Rainn proved to be the strongest first-time host of the season, and I really hope he drops by again; unlike the equally incongruous John C. Reilly, Mr. Wilson demonstrated great flexibility and he refused to let himself be bogged down in the show’s usual autopilot banality. Even though the quality sketches were weighted towards the first half-hour, this was with little doubt a high water mark for Year 32. My only complaint was the musical guest; though it definitely harkens back to the early years of the show, some acts are just too obtuse to be on network television.

    Sketches/segments that will probably be removed in repeats: the Judge Seidlin commentary on WU as well as the entire last half-hour.

    Next week: a repeat of Gyllenhaal/Shins. You've been warned.

    In three weeks: Ex-cast member Julia Louis-Dreyfus hosts for the second time, with musical guest Snow Patrol.

    Contact Stuart at he knows you want to.moreless
  • Ugh, this Iraq stuff is soooooooooo boring! More Anna! ANNA! ANNA! ANNA! ANNA!

    Rainn Wilson finally gets to host! Rainn's character, Dwight, is probably one of my favorite from The Office, and I know he'll exceed as one of the best hosts of the season. Musical guest tonight is Arcade Fire, which is one of my favorite bands. At the time, Arcade Fire was a few weeks away from releasing their new album, "Neon Bible".

    The Situation Room: Interesting to see Darrell take over Wolf, after Chris left last summer. This was a great cold opening. The Anna Nicole Smith part was great. Perhaps the Rainn as the reporter thing could have been trimmed down, but it was an all-around great opener for the show.

    Monologue: This is definitely one of the best monologues SNL has done in recent years. Kristen and Jason were spot on as Pam and Jim, while the Rashida cameo was great, and Kenan's Stanley had me rolling on the floor laughing. But, it went even farther, with Amy as Angela, and Lorne as a spin-off as Michael. If Rashida hadn't been there, Maya would have been great at Karen, and I really thought they should have done Seth as Ryan. But, still, a GREAT monologue.

    Song Memories: This was great. All of the twists were hilarious. The only complaint is how Rainn said "the other guy's pee came out of my nose!", when you know it wasn't pee, but indeed, it was another bodily fluid.

    Digital Short: Business Meeting: This was hilarious! All of the diverse characters were great in this. Arcade Fire appearance was great, too.

    Nunis: Egh. This one joke group of characters got old after their first appearance. I got a chuckle out of the privacy glasses.

    Peeper: This sketch was pretty funny. Jason singing was great. You could tell he sang again in dress, with Rainn flubbing a line: "make him sing again!" The woman on woman thing at the end was kind of pointless, though. I mean, nice, but pointless.

    Musical Performance: Arcade Fire performs "Intervention" which is an awesome song with the organ itself. But, everything else in this song was perfect also. The only complaint was the almost-forced look of Win smashing his guitar at the end.

    Weekend Update: Jokes were great tonight! The Lerry Seidlin judge or whoever, was a really slow commentary, though. As for Aunt Linda, if you've seen one, you've seen them all. The Prince Harry commentary was kind of funny, but the throw-up ending was a little stupid.

    First Day At Work: The Inoverts are hilarious characters. It was good not to see them at a bar, again. I always love the twist they turn into at the end of the sketch.

    White Possum Scream: This was a really screwed up sketch, but it made me laugh a lot when I saw Rainn come out with Kenan leading him.

    River Bliss: A little bit of a one joke sketch, but it's basically the 5 to one sketch. The hate between them was hilarious. Maya always makes great facial expressions.

    Musical Performance: Arcade Fire performs their best song in their new album, "Keep The Car Running". Great, great, great song.

    Awesome show tonight. Rainn was an awesome host, while Arcade Fire was an amazing musical guest. Their live act is what they are. It's a shame how the majority of the American audience who watched this episode probably thought they were crappy, and annoying. But, once again, they're one of my favorite bands, and I'm not being biased. They really did rock the studio down.moreless
  • There were some weak sketches and some underdeveloped sketches. This episode had a great flowing feel to it other than the crappy music and the overly long Weekend Update. So, this is a case where the whole is truly more than the sum of it's parts.moreless

    Cold Open: This opening is already generating a bit of controversy. I don't know why. The coverage on the so-called "news" channels has been far more disrespectful of Anna, especially in light of the fact that they are supposed to be covering news, not the aftermath of a celebrity's downfall. Anyway, the sketch wasn't going much of anywhere until Rainn showed up. After just a few beats, it was pretty obvious that Rainn would make a great SNL cast member. Too bad he is already taken. I enjoyed both of Rainn's segments and thought the disembodied head of Wolf floating around was pretty funny if, for no other reason than Wolf takes himself far too seriously and comes off a bit as a pompous a$$. All in all, a much better opener than another political sketch, but not as hard hitting as it could have been.

    Grade: B+

    Monologue: I thought this was a pretty funny parody of The Office for those of us who watch the show. Both Kristen's "Pam" and Jason's "Jim" were spot on. Kenan, Amy and Lorne left a little to be desired, but the concept was still fun. It sure beat the hel1 out of a song and dance number. So was the part where Rainn stepped through the door pre-filmed? It kind of looked that way.

    Grade: A-

    Memories at a Bar: A simple premise that recalls everything from the Big Chill to old Docker's commercials. For the most part the stories were pretty good. What was great was how convincing the performers were. I loved the little touches like Hader punching Rainn in the arm. The writers need to do more sketches that feature the male cast members together like this. It really works. Of course, the highlight was the "pee through the nose" joke. The buildup was so great that I was laughing my a$$ off by that point and wondering how nihobbs would respond to such a depraved use of his beloved urine jokes in a sketch. The Pulp Fiction ending was pretty cool instead of the usual fade to commercial.

    Grade: A-

    SNL Digital Short-Budget meeting: A simple concept that was OK but could have been fantastic with better suggestions from the participants. "Consolidate marketing" "Cut HR" "Reduce IT" Come on! You can be more creative than that! How about "stop reimbursing employees' breast augmentation surgery" "hire less expensive strippers" and "limit employees to 2 alcoholic beverages per 8 hour day." OK, these aren't great, but you get the picture. There should have been some more outrageous stuff than a talking turkey sandwich and stuffed tiger's head.

    Grade: B-

    Noonis: For me this has always been a borderline sketch. It can be good for a few laughs, but it rarely truly delivers anything of substance. This sketch did not standout from the usual Nooni sketches in any way. The urination hose was kind of funny, but they have made several jokes in these sketches about using the facilities in public. The inability to pronounce names has become a tired joke. Really, this sketch relies on unique props and a strange visit from the housekeeper. Samberg did OK, but Parnell is sorely missed as Tato.

    Grade: C+

    The Peeper: OK, now things are getting very funny. The thought of a guy who cannot even ID somebody in a lineup without turning it into a voyeur show is pretty classic. Rainn really stole the show here with his brilliant and believable performance as a perv. Amy's timing kind of let down the sketch. She kept talking to Sudeikis BEFORE hitting the mic button. The ending seemed forced. Having the two officers kiss was out of context and contrived as nothing more than a way to give Rainn a chance to do some REAL peeping before the sketch ended. Still, it was my favorite of the night.

    Grade: A-

    Weekend Update: Has anyone else notice how LONG Weekend Update has gotten lately? Last night, it was over 14 minutes! Back in Chevy's day, it used to be around 5 minutes. I don't think the expansion with all of the guests has done much to help it. Armisen did a good job as the judge, but I couldn't help but think that nobody will no who in the hel1 that is when it goes into syndication a year from now. Aunt Linda was about the same as usual. Not too funny and kind of annoying. The Academy Awards bit had me recalling the wonderful times when Bill Murray would pick his choice for the Oscar winners. This was nowhere even close to that. Andy was very funny as Prince Harry. I love the rouge on the cheeks. This was my favorite part of WU. Yes, the vomiting bit was childish, but I always fall for this type of humor when it is set up well and when the performers do a good job with it. Andy was great during his puke scenes. Seth could have showed a little more concern or horror rather than just bemusement.

    Grade: C+

    Welcome to the Office: These characters were kind of funny the first time around primarily because it wasn't clear what the punchline was going to be. Now, we know it will be something outrageous after a LONG setup. The payoff was nowhere worth the wait last night and even worse there was no real ending. Kristen muttered something like "That's America" and the applause sign was lit and off to commercial. What the hel1? If you're going to make us wait that long for a joke, then the payoff better be HUGE. Weakest sketch of the night.

    Grade: D+

    White Possum Scream: This was amusing just for the sight of seeing Rainn chained to Kenan while in a half-shirt and white undies. It almost didn't matter what the dialog was with that visual. Not a great sketch, but scores points for being absurd.

    Grade: B-

    New Age Band: I kept thinking of Jack Black this entire sketch and how he would have taken it to the next level with a heavy metal harp jam. Not that Rainn was bad or anything. Some of the jokes were so underdeveloped it was almost painful. Like when Maya insists that her pan flute is in tune and Kenan replies "Really. Then I need to make an appointment with my ear doctor because that hurt my ears." Nice comeback. Sheesh! And yes, I understand that having the band members entirely incapable of delivering a burn is part of the joke, but still. Watching the band jam was probably the best part of this sketch (Armisen's jerky movements). And as weak as they were, they blew the pants off of Arcade Fire.

    Grade: C-moreless
  • "MORE ANNA!"

    This week, TV-superstar, who is also starting to evolve into film, otherwise known as "Dwight K. Shrute" from The Office, Rainn Wilson hosts, and also, my favorite indie-rock group(and band for that matter) Arcade Fire performs. To let you know, I am an avid watcher of The Office, and an extravagant fan of Arcade Fire, ever since Funeral recieved critical praise from everyone. I expected a lot from this episode. Lets see if it lived up to the hype.

    Cold Opening: "The Situation Room": Wolf Blitzer(DH), wants to discuss news on Iraq, not Anna Nicole Smith, but apparently, the news scroller on the bottom of the screen disagreed. Also, a promising news anchor, Andrew Sturdevant(Rainn) reports from the Bahamas to report on a false source.....twice. I could say I saw the Anna piece coming from a mile away, but I still found it quite amusing, and an outstanding start to the show. 9.5/10

    Monologue: Rainn talks about how he likes to come to New York, to actually work and be on a set, only to find Office co-stars Pam Beesly(KW), Jim Halpert(JS), Stanley(KT), Angela(AP), and an appearance by Karen(the actual actress; Rashida Jones), along with Lorne acting like Michael Scott. The appearances were self-explanatory, yet still pleasing. 9/10

    "Daniel`s Song": A group of four guys(JS, BH, WF, Rainn) talk about memories accosiated with "Daniel`s Song", like an "animal" attack, Down syndrome, setting a school on fire, and anonymous sex, with a guy peeing out his nose. Probably the best sketch of the night overall. 10/10

    SNL Digital Short: "Budget Cuts": A boss at headquarters(Rainn), wants to cut a budget in half by the end of the dy, with his random staff, consisting of actual workers, afisherman, an invisible man, and guessed it.........a talking turkey sub.3 things: 1) Extremely, extremely silly, 2) They should`ve put this towards the end of the show to help the struggling second half, 3) I assumed he would hold his employees for weeks because they would refuse, which I actually believe could`ve been a better idea. 6/10

    "Noonies": The Noonies(FA, MR) are back, and are as weird as ever, with two people looking for an interview for an arts magazine(Rainn, KW) I`m actually somewhat comforted to see something from last year, but with the writing staff they have to cope with, it quickly died, and should`ve been cut at dress. This sketch was mainly put in to fill up space. Also, Chris Parnell`s Tato character was replaced by Little Jo(AS) 6/10

    "Peeping Line-Up": Two deputys(AP, MR), bring in a physcdotic kid, who has a peeping problem(Rainn), and asks the lne-ups to do pretend to take a shower. This sketch had a good premise, but got wrecked, with it dangling from Rainn`s expressions and quirks. 6/10

    Musical Performance: The Montreal sextet play a bone-chilling rendition of a song from their highly-anticipated sophmore release Neon Bible, which is called Intervention. This band is just too damn good for this show, probably the best musical performance of the year so far, and it only helped that Win smashed his guitar. 10/10

    Weekend Update: Jokes about withdrawals from Iraq, Presidents Day, Tom Vilsak`s departure, Lent, snow angels, Howard K. Stern, Britney`s shaved head, American Idol tension, a smart dog from China, a Desperate Housewives extension and commentaries from Judge Seidlin(FA) from the Anna courtroom, Amy`s Aunt Linda(KW), and Prince Harry(AS) 7.5/10

    "Boring Co-Workers": The co-workers(WF, KW), are back with a new guy(Rainn), and you get the same old ideas for some foreplay later on. I found this sketch to be quite amusing for this struggling half of the show. 7/10

    "White Possum Scream": At first, I thought it would be like the SNL-Recut Trailer Apocalypto from December, but instead it was a spoof of the trailer starring Rainn as the guy chained up, and Kenan as Samuel Jackson, with Rainn trying to break free. A good idea, but just plain wrong and disgusting. 6.5/10

    " Dysfunctional Band Rehersal": A nature band full of fueds(KW, MR, KT, FA) and their leader(Rainn), struggle to get their composure and music together during a practice seesion in the studio. I knew this was a time-filler, so it stunk altogether. 4/10

    Musical Perfromance: Arcade Fire continue to play, with another song called Keep the Car Running, a mandolin-hurdygurdy-violin enduced anthem, that brings this otherwise magical night to a satisfying and climatic ending. This guys deserve so much more recognition for their work, but after all, they have to be indie......10/10

    Overall: 9.5/10

    Host: 9/10

    MG: 10/10

    Next Week: Enjoy the pain and misery that is the Jake Gyllenhaal/Shins epidemic, which sadly, is on my birthday.

    In Three Weeks: SNL almuni Julia Louis-Dreyfus comes back to host, most likely to save it, with yet another indie-alternative-rock group Snow Patrol.moreless
  • I've seen Fire and I've seen Rainn...

    Another solid effort. It really shows that the right guest (Alex Baldwin, Justin Timberlake) allows the writers the ability to create better characters when you have a performer who is comfortable in a skit show format – the peeping tom witness – This year has been getting much much better as quality is concerned.
Rainn Wilson

Rainn Wilson


Guest Star

Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire


Guest Star

Rashida Jones

Rashida Jones

Herself/Karen Filippelli

Guest Star

Lorne Michaels

Lorne Michaels


Recurring Role

Featured Episode Clip

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Seth Meyers' comment on having to clean Prince Harry's vomit off his sportcoat (and accidentally referring to him as Andy Samberg) was ad-libbed.

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Judge Larry Seidlin: You know, I tough, I tough that, I came up looking pretty good! But apparently, not everybody agrees. What I'm gonna do now is going to read some reviews in the newspaper. These are blurbs! Now when I read this, okay, let's keep out cool, I might cry. (pauses) Ah! (pauses again, then bumps the pencil) Hoooo! (sniffs and weeps) Gooo! (sniff) "Judge Seidlin is a bozo on a bench, (long pause and weeps) which tries to have the spotlight!" (sobs) I gotta look tough, Mama! Wanna be like Muhammad Ali!

    • Seth Meyers: Many critics said you turn the courtroom into a circus. I mean, how do you respond to that?
      Judge Larry Seidlin: Oh, you know, let me (Sniff and bumps the pencil), that makes me think of growing up in the Bronx, you know. When I was a kid I use to go to the circus everyday! (Sad look) And you know, one time, you know, I saw a clown on a tricycle get trample by a crazy elefant. And you know what I said? You know what I said?
      Seth Meyers: What? What did you said?
      Judge Larry Seidlin: I said, I want that clown to be buried with an elefant! (Sniff) They should be buried together! (Cries) In the Bahamas too!

    • Seth Meyers: A new bus in Tel Aviv has a yoga instructor onboard, who teaches passengers how to breathe correctly and relax. And if you can relax on a bus in Israel, you can relax anywhere.

    • Amy Poehler: Monday was President's Day and, as expected, President Bush was up at the crack of dawn, ready to open presents.

  • NOTES (4)

    • In repeats, the term "Down Syndrome" is bleeped out of the "Danny's Song" sketch after the use of the term received several complaints from viewers.

    • During the goodnights, Arcade Fire left the stage immediately after getting thanked because they were going to play three songs on stage, not unlike what U2 did two years earlier. Their first post-show song was "Rebellion (Lies)", followed by "My Body Is A Cage," and than they closed with "Wake Up". Several members of the cast, including Amy Poehler and Andy Samberg, are fans of the band and sat in the front row for their performance.

    • Sketches cut in dress rehearsal include: a talk show where the hosts have A.D.D., the weatherman has depression, and the guest has OCD; a Nike-type commercial where the male cast is playing basketball; a sketch where Will has various dieases and needs a buy a coffin from Rainn; "Out of Breath Jogger from 1933" with Andy Samberg (this is the second time this has been cut in dress rehearsal); and a sketch where Rainn, dressed as Michael Jackson, applies for a job. A "Falconer" sketch where Ken (Will Forte) finds out the falcon isn't real and later finds out that he himself is a robot only to find all of this to be a dream was scheduled to air during the live show, was cut do to time constraints.

    • Rainn Wilson is the second cast member from "The Office" to host SNL.