Saturday Night Live

Season 34 Episode 13

Rosario Dawson/Fleet Foxes

Aired Saturday 11:30 PM Jan 17, 2009 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (7)

Write A Review
out of 10
52 votes
  • "Four more days! Four more days!"

    A Review by "HelloStuart," Amateur Critic and Handsome Stevedore

    Is it really over? Has President Bush's eight-year term come to an end? Now that they're devoid of their favorite punching bag, what will SNL's crackerjack crew of topical satire writers (i.e. James Downey and… that's about it) stay fresh and relevant these next four years? Will they ever find an angle for which to jab Obama? Stay tuned…

    This week's host is Rosario Dawson, the multi-ethnic starlet best known for her work in the movies "Alexander," "Rent," and most recently in "Seven Pounds." The musical guest is Fleet Foxes, the Seattle-based folk-rock quintet behind the indie hit "White Winter Hymnal."

    And now, the sketch-by-sketch analysis:

    COLD OPENING: On an ABC News special, Diane Sawyer (KW) conducts one last interview with Vice President Cheney (DH) before he leaves office. When asked about certain controversial events from his term as second-in-command, Dick plainly states that he regrets nothing and keeps doing so when the questions become increasingly philosophical and imperceptive. It seems fitting that Darrell would have one last go-around as Cheney, especially since he was the only cast member to serve on the show for the duration of the Bush administration, but the brunt of the comic weight went to Wiig's Sawyer impression, a case study in cream-puff journalism.

    MONOLOGUE: Rosario brags about her very modest upbringing on the Lower East Side, setting up a personal-experience joke that completely tanks. An Obama name-check segues into an appearance by the long-dormant Ferecito (FA), who throws around a few dated Latino jokes while there's still a WASP in the White House.

    "North American Savings": A commercial parody for the bank that plays it safe; by rejecting 95% of their loans and literally stuffing money under a mattress, NAS hasn't lost a dime since mid-October, 1987. A fairly obvious joke with a clever set-up.

    "Da Learnin' Train": Somewhere on some obscure cable channel, a kids' show that fuses bright colors, hip-hop, and anthropomorphic raccoons overshadows its minimal educational value. It's not until celebrity guest star Harry Connick Jr. (JS) calls their bluff that Riznatch the Reading Raccoon (KT), his hype-man (Rosario), and their dance crew go on the defensive. Like the bank ad from earlier in the evening, the concept is simple but the course it takes is slightly more interesting.

    "Gitmo Clearance Sale": With the new president ready to shut down the controversial detention center; an NSA operative (JS) liquidates Camp X-Ray's assets in a manner akin to a used car dealership. Everything must go, the pseudo-salesman claims, and everything from shower togs to jumper cables are being sold at humungous discounts. I'm sensing a pattern, so I'll just move on…

    "Aladdin & Jasmine": On a 10th anniversary carpet ride, the early '90s Disney lovebirds (Rosario, JS) express their marital tension in song. Their whole new world has stagnated, the spark is gone, and the genie is crashing on their couch. This sketch was actually tolerable; bickering lovebirds are always ripe for humor as long as it doesn't stray into predictable, Leroy and Loretta Lockhorn territory, which this sketch just barely avoided.

    DIGITAL SHORT: "A Couple of Homies" finds Andy and Army's slightest movements evoking brief musical montages by a pantsless Will. If anyone thinks the Lonely Island guys are running out of ideas, here's more fuel for the fire; everything about this segment felt slapped together, and there was no energy to the randomness whatsoever.

    "Bridgewater Academy": A by-the-books schoolteacher is exasperated by the increasingly sociopathic behavior of puckish problem child Gilly (KW). If this was supposed to be a homage to Nancy or Little Lulu, this sketch might've worked better had it been written 60-odd years ago.

    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: "Mykonos" is driven by haunting lyrics and rich harmonizing. The casting producer dug deep for this act and it seems like that paid off big-time.

    WEEKEND UPDATE: The general feeling of autopilot inches its way into Update, but it's not Seth's fault. The U.S. Airways crash was all over the news in the 48 hours preceding tonight's show, so there was no way it could be overlooked. The opening gags were okay, but Andy's discourse as Larry the Goose was a drag. Kristen's third go-around as nervous wreck Judy Grimes just as much of a verbal challenge as ever, but it's starting to feel like old hat.

    "La Policia Mexicana": A cop drama written entirely by fourth-graders finds two streetwise detectives (Rosario, FA) and their boss "El Jefe" (BH) interrogating a thief (BM). The dialogue is unsophisticated, but that's all part of the fun; this sketch wasn't awful, but I probably would've appreciated it more if I hadn't taken French when I was younger.

    "The View": Salma Hayek (Rosario) fills in for Sherri, a giggly and self-depreciating Ricky Gervais (JS) is the guest, and Elizabeth (KW) still believes everything she reads online. At least when they poked fun of Debbie Matenopoulos a decade ago there was some level of spontaneity; it still feels like the writers jumped on this wagon two years too late.

    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: "Blue Ridge Mountains" evokes nature and pleasant childhood memories via tambourines, a mandolin, and more amazing harmonies.

    "Good Excuse!": Live on Public Access Channel 25 in Logan, OH, a husband and wife (WF, KW) make up outrageous excuses on the spot for their conflicted guests and their ridiculous (fake?) names. Not to get too personal, but the wife reminded me a lot of my fourth-grade teacher, right down to the spiky blond hair and her dated "Annie Hall" get-up. Other than that, there was nothing terribly memorable about this talk show spoof.

    Everything about tonight's show felt like going through the motions, and even though Dawson displayed a versatility and comic timing that we can only wish from most hosts, the cast was not playing their A-game. Tonight was heavy in pre-taped segments, and the decision to put so much emphasis away from the live aspect of the show also hurt more than it helped. This broadcast also enforced the long-standing hypothesis that a strong musical guest will justify an otherwise flaccid show; Fleet Foxes hit two left-field home runs where the cast could barely muster infield singles. If it weren't for the cold opening and the two songs, watching tonight's broadcast would've felt like a chore.

    One further comment: as much as I hate to say it, I'm starting to wonder if Casey or Abby are ever going to find their voices on the show; where Elliott is still relatively new and very much a wild card, Casey has been on SNL almost a year now and has only asserted herself in brief flashes. Mike Watkins is making good progress, but Kristen can't carry all the lead female parts forever.

    Segments That Will Probably Be Removed in Repeats (depending on whether or not E! will ever air any shows from after 2006): "Bridgewater Academy," most of Weekend Update, "The View," and "Good Excuse!"

    In Two Weeks: Steve Martin becomes the first member of the fifteen-timer's club with musical guest Jason Mraz.

    Stuart is the author of "The State of Restaurant Dining 2009: A Nation Fills Up on Bread." Contact him at
  • Do you regret watching this episode?

    As I state in my blog, I have a very big feeling tonight's episode will be mediocre. No, not because of any guests, but just because last week's episode was such a delight, that I just know SNL will go for the easy joke. But, you know what? I may be wrong. Maybe we could have two delightful episodes of SNL in a row.

    May I mention right now that I don't base SNL on a political schedule. I don't say this is "the inauguration episode" or "the election episode" or the "post-election episode". In my eyes, this is just a mid-season episode.

    Rosario Dawson is hosting. I wonder if she'll either be a stiff serious actress, or a funny versatile one. Fleet Foxes is a nice indie rock band whose musical guest tonight. We'll see how it goes.

    Dick Cheney's Final Interview: Wow. Talk about setting the tone for the night. In a bad one-joke premise, Dick says he does not regret anything. This sketch was a terrible way to start of the evening.

    Monologue: Basically the whole monologue is Rosario trying to say how Hispanics will overcome all their stereos, while a certain character we haven't seen in a whle tries to stick to all the stereo types.

    North American Savings: Just watching the characters cry was a little entertaining. The whole idea was pretty clever, but the delivery was just dull and drawn out.

    Learnin' Train: Right when it began, I knew the sketch was going to be a bad lead off. Everyone in this sketch was very funny, but the writing was way, once again, too drawn out. Couldn't we have gotten a more kid-kind of star other than Harry Connick Jr.? That was really random for a celebrity impersonation.

    Going out of Business: It was a pretty good spoof on all these crappy local commercials. I really didn't get the bleep out of the name. I guess I'm just dumb.

    Aladdin: This was actually a really funny sketch. It actually went by really smoothly.

    Homies: Until Forte came on, I was asking "what the hell is this?" but , right when that script came on about the drugs, I started laughing a lot.

    Gilly: Wow. Kristen keeps on getting these wicked bad characters. What is wrong with this? Shana, the sexy girl was actually a really funny [one time] character. I did get a chuckle at a few parts, but the sketch in and of itself was not funny at all.

    Musical Performance: Fleet Foxes did an awesome job singing Mykonos.

    Weekend Update: Slow jokes tonight, and, 2 out of 3 slow commentaries. The Madoff commentary was actually really funny. But, really, Judy Grimes is not working. She needs to stop. Kristen is really good at talking fast, but we need to mix the character up a little. Meanwhile the Canadian Goose commentary was kind of alright, but it was just slow.

    La Policia Mexicana: While the idea was pretty funny, it was just a really really bad execution. I mean, I got laughs at the way I would have written this, if I had to do it in Spanish, but, it was just a slow paced kind of sketch, like "okay, here we go... we're going to do this first... then this..."

    The View: Not as good as the first shot around. Partially because it was the same story line with Hasselback. She's a crazy right-wing radical, we get it! And Rosario's Selma Hayek was funny, but did not help the sketch at all. Jason's Gervais was really funny, especially with the giggles, and the sketch moved a long nicely. But, still, no cigar. But, I'm glad SNL realized it wasn't as funny as the first time, there by putting it at the 12:45 spot, instead of the post-monologue spot.

    And, we could tell that Lorne was about a minute and a half off or so, with the 40 second band intermission, and all the other band segue-ways.

    Musical Performance: Fleet Foxes pull out "Blue Ridge Mountain". Another great song.

    Good Excuse: Man, thank goodness this was a 12:55 sketch. It was so not funny. The only part I actually laughed at was the cats screaming "GOOD! EX! CUSE!"

    That's the show. Wow, what a disorganized show. We had a few (very few) bright spots, but nothing really stuck out as a sketch I'll look back at. I kind of expected a fall-out show, especially after last week's pure bliss show. Notice how I said disorganized. Yes, it was a disappointing show, but not too much. Musical guest was great, and you could tell there was SOME effort in the show. But, for once, I see that the cast really didn't put in their full effort this week. But, it was just really disorganized. The time of the show was underestimated by 2 minutes (which is really big for television), so, instead of plugging in another taped segment, we showed a bunch of band segueways.

    Rosario was actually a really versitale host, and helped the show a lot. Fleet Foxes was really good, and will definetely be one of the better musical guests of the season. As for the show, who knows? Maybe they're saving their energy for the next show... which brings me to...

    In 2 weeks, Steve Martin comes for his 15th hosting gig!!! Jason Mraz will acompany by performing "I'm Yours" and probably some crappy album cut. There has been some speculation that maybe he'll play "Remedy", but I'm not putting money in on it. So, hopefully the writers and cast will... well try.

    Next week is a repeat of the nice John Malkovich/T.I. broadcast.
  • LOL funny! I thought the cast was tighter and hit their stride on this episode!

    Not sure why everyone hates this episode....!?
    It was a great episode, where I found myself surprised to be cracking up more frequently than any other this season. I agree it may not have been the most memorable, but the memorable ones usually have only one or two moments where I laugh. Almost all the skits in this one had a few fantastic lol moments!

    And who cares is Rosario Dawson isn't "A" list at the moment, I never thought she was anything great until I got to see her range on this show, now I'd give her some props. Also thought the SNL Band did a good job being featured on this one. MAN, they needed that lead guitar back in front, guy was shredding, I liked it, more please!

    Now I'm gonna do something I haven't done with SNL for years, I'm gonna watch it again!!
  • Without question the worst episode in recent years. Horrifyingly bad.

    I don't really know much about Rosario Dawson. I had heard the name, but I couldn't have recalled a single credit of hers.

    The opening was flat and never went anywhere. It was as though they wanted DH to have one last chance to do his great Dick Cheney. KW's Diane Sawyer was quite good, but the material didn't give her a chance to shine.

    From then on the show went right downhill. The only times I was even mildly entertained were the Judy Grimes bit (this never gets old for me) and the digital photo of Obama.

    There was way too much JS tonight. He simply cannot do impersonations. I had thought his Rod Blagojevich in recent weeks was dreadful; Blagojevich with a New-York-tough-guy accent? But his Harry Connick Jr. was even worse. What was the relevance of a bad Harry Connick Jr. impression, especially if he didn't even sing?

    The Aladdin thing did nothing for me, and once again, JS. I ff'd through this just because I was tired of looking at him and enduring his blah performances in sketch after sketch.

    The digital short was the worst I've ever seen. Period. Just embarrassingly bad.

    I'm normally a big KW fan, but what the hell was that Gilley thing? Painfully unfunny. And did anyone else notice that she was using her Suze Ormond voice when saying, "Sorry." ?

    The Spanish cop show had some cuteness to it, but the story never really went anywhere.

    One of the biggest weaknesses in recent seasons has been the lack of recurring characters that: a. are really entertaining, b. can sustain in different sketches, and c. are memorable and funny. This makes for huge inconsistencies from week to week. Had the Gilley sketch received a better audience response, would we then be forced to see Gilley on a field trip in a couple weeks? Please, no.

    We can only hope for something more entertaining in coming weeks. The good news is that there's nowhere for the show to go but up.
  • A very weak episode. Rosario is kind of a third-stringer in Hollywood and turned out be very unimpressive as a host. She did nothing to help her career tonight.

    Cheney Interview – A very lifeless cold open. Having Cheney respond the same way to an increasingly series of irrelevant questions did not become more funny. In fact, it just grew wearisome. The only spark was Cheney's reaction after being asked if he regretted shooting his friend in the face. Bye Cheney (Hammond). Grade: D

    Rosario Monologue – This started out very badly, but Fred's long absent Ferricito saved the day with a series of funny and mildly offensive Latino jokes. Grade: B-

    Northern American Savings – So the funny part is supposed to be the reactions to getting rejected? Well, it didn't really work out too well. These "ironic" commercials like this one and Jar Glove are usually not too funny and are boring more often than not. Grade: D

    Da Learnin' Train – Another show for kids. Certainly not Jingleheimer Junction quality, but there were a few good moments like presenting the mathe problems and not solving them and then having Forte the K lead the group in a series of misspellings. Other than that, this was pretty flat. Grade: D

    Gitmo Closeout Sale – Some of the items for sale were kind of amusing like Polaroid cameras and film, water and boards. A fairly good parody of those local furniture store closing commercials. Grade: B-

    Aladdin's Tenth Anniversary – A nicely written piece that reminded me of those great relationship sketches that Marilyn Suzanne Miller used to write so many years ago. The conflict between the two was mostly realistic and, consequently, poignant. I would gladly welcome more sketches that hold the mirror to our own shortcomings as people. Grade: A

    Friends Digital Short – The digital shorts have really gone down hill this year. Last week's with NPH was an exception. This one was a lame meeting between Andy and Fred in Fred's dressing room with song narration provided by Will. It was a just a long windup to a poor payoff: Will's butt cheeks. Grade: D

    Gilley – Wow, Kristen's new character is a complete disaster! She has gotten into playing these weird characters and this one has nothing to offer than a mentally challenged take on Annie. The sketch was very poorly written with far too much repetition and absolutely no surprises or funny payoffs. This 4 ½ minute sketch seemed more like 10 minutes of pure torture. This kind of crap is the reason people love to rip on the show. Gilley should be buried post haste and we'll all pretend it never happened. Grade: F-

    Weekend Update – A really good series of opening jokes, especially the digital photo. Fred's Bernie Madoff slowed the pace a bit, but Seth recovered with a string a of decent jokes. Judy Grimes did the same thing as usual and still managed to impress with the fastest and longest string of nonsense I have ever heard. Larry the Goose was a real letdown. I was expecting a lot more, from Larry but it turned out to be a poor ending to an otherwise fine WU. Grade: A-

    La Policia Mexicana – Anyone who has ever taken a Spanish class in school understands where this sketch is coming from. The limited vocabulary of the students who wrote the episode made for a few amusing moments, but this just didn't have any payoff and the SNL writers forgot to give this an ending. It's pretty sad when the opening credits of the sketch get more laughs than anything else in the sketch. Grade: C-

    The View – I'm not sure why they keep bringing this back. Is there really such a huge overlap in the viewership demographic of The View and SNL? I have no idea who Fred and Kristen are supposed to be. Kenan and Kristen had the exact same exchange last time about not believing everything on the Internet. Rosario made a poor Selma with the only thing in common being the chest. I enjoyed Michaela as Barbara Walters and Sudeikis as Gervais was a delight with the girlish giggle that he always does. Grade: C-

    Good Excuse! - A timefiller and a sad excuse for a sketch. It was very repetitive and boring. Why have each guest repeat the excuses back to hosts? It just gets very old. The audience full of cats was about the only good part. Grade: D
  • just a slow a painful episode to watch. nothing funny, really.

    This episode was extremely boring. Even the normally entertaining Weekend update and Digital short was lacking!

    Maybe a number of writers were off on vacation for the MLK holiday. In fact, I don't recall any promos for this episode. I was certain that because there were no promos and because of the holiday, that this week was for certain going to be a re-run. Sadly, a re-run would have been more entertaining. No joke...I was so bored that I hopped online after weekend update and muted the TV (which leads to a question in a moment). Someone has already left a pretty thorough recap of the episode, but I want to ask a few questions of the viewers.

    1) Was there a problem with the musical guest tonight??? At one point, I looked up, and the NBC band was playing (not too uncommon). It is normal for the house band to play between commercials. But a while later, I looked up again and the in-house band was STILL PLAYING! Any ideas? was the musical guest not ready? Were they short on material?

    2) What has Rosario Dawson done recently that warrants her being a host this week? All she seemed to say was that her latino voting project registered 35,000 voters? The election was TWO MONTHS AGO!
  • Nothing memorable, or at least I hope I don't remember this garbage tomorrow.

    Tonight's host is Rosario Dawson most recently seen in Seven Pounds. She was also in Kevin Smith's Clerks 2. I had a feeling this would be the worst episode of the season as humor is not the first thing I think of when I think of Rosario Dawson, but I went in with an open mind. So, how did the show end up? We open with a political sketch (I know, I couldn't believe it either, this is so against the norm) with Diane Sawyer interviewing Dick Cheney. The extent of it is that he has no regrets, except it lasted for what seemed an eternity instead of the 30 seconds it warranted.

    After the usual awkward monologue (maybe SNL could cure this by having a stand-up comedian host? Maybe, maybe, just an idea) we get a skit with a writer mocking the bank/economic situation. Honestly, I don't know how SNL gets these fresh off the press topics into scenes so fast!

    This leads to an urban-themed kids education show. I honestly would rather be watching Nickelodeon than this. This leads to a segment with Guantanamo Bay having a closing sale. As creative as it sounds, except for Jason Sudeikis yelling, there was very little to laugh about.

    Aladdin Marriage Troubles followed. Mildly funny, but it was basically a poor man's Marie and Frank from Everybody Loves Raymond. And the off-streak for the Digital Shorts continue. God, what happened to what used to be the best part of SNL?

    For the love of God, another Kristen Wiig character that is supposed to be funny because she makes a stupid face. Who comes up with that crap?

    When are we going to get a second Weekend Update anchor? Seth Meyers certainly isn't one of the legends who is able to man this on own. Kristen Wiig went on probably her longest Judy Grimes rant ever. While it is a sight to see, it's just not funny. I did like Seth Meyers mocking Larry the Goose's references, but overall a pretty forgettable WU.

    A Ricky Gervais impression! Yes! Never thought I'd see that but this is the first good thing about this episode. Jason Sudeikis didn't really sound like him, but he did capture his dialogue and mannerisms perfectly. That saved an otherwise dull and poorly-written The View segment.

    The final segment "Good Excuses" was a mildly clever concept, but just executed poorly. Will Forte yelling was funny, but this was the concluded sketch for a reason.