Saturday Night Live

Season 34 Episode 23

Thursday Night Live (1)

Aired Saturday 11:30 PM Oct 09, 2008 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (4)

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  • So much for striking the iron while it's hot...

    A Review by "HelloStuart," Amateur Critic and Loquacious Mime

    For the first time in almost six years, our beloved show is going live on a day of the week other than Saturday. For some this will be a treat, as the election has given SNL some positive publicity, but it's more of a strategy to nab some of the limelight that "The Daily Show" hogs this time of year. SNL has a mixed history of doing live broadcasts outside of its normal boundaries; than again, SNL has a mixed history of everything, so why should I even weigh this factor? (Given the unusual circumstances, I will forgo my trademark sketch-by-sketch analysis.)

    The half-hour began with the inevitable parody of Tuesday's town hall debate at Belmont University, where Tom Brokaw (Chris Parnell again) has set extremely tight time limits on the candidates' responses. Senator McCain (DH) flavored all his responses by promising bipartisanship and admitting to abusing the trust of his fellow senators, from totaling Trent Lott's car to destroying Liddy Dole's credit rating. Senator Obama's replies are a bit more non-sequitorial, from (almost) sharing an alien abduction experience to acknowledging his best friend, '60s radical Bill Ayers. The growing monotony of topical satire was shook up a bit by the presence of Bill Murray, who lamented his beloved Chicago Cubs choking in the first round of the playoffs while simultaneously promoting a movie and hoping everyone forgets about his pending and nasty divorce. In the end, this debate sketch was more of a grab bag than the first two; the writers still haven't found a way to take on Obama, and I'm slowly losing favor with Fred's flat, Al Michaels-esque imitation of the Illinois senator. On the other hand, Darrell's McCain impression is flat-out delirious.

    The debate sketch gave way to Weekend Update, which consumed the remainder of the half-hour. Let me start off by saying that Amy looks absolutely glowing, as that is the only kind thing you can say about a pregnant woman's physical appearance. The one-liners themselves focused mostly on the American financial crisis and grumblings of a second great depression. "On the other hand," Seth Meyers quipped, "(I'm) looking forward to homeless people in fedoras." Where the usual Update zingers were there, the guest commentaries died their usual, painful death; financial expert Oscar Rogers (KT) spent the better part of three minutes emphasizing the words "fix" and "now" like somebody who knows the economy is in the dumpster but never reads a newspaper, while a song by Hall & Oates (FA, WF) had a hokey, slapped-together feel. These missteps were almost eradicated by an instant-classic "Really?!" segment where Seth and Amy discussed the controversial and poorly-timed AIG retreat… almost.

    In the end, this first of three prime-time specials was a wildly uneven affair. Part of this might've been attributed to creative burnout following four straight weeks of live shows, but you also argue that the cast and writers were phoning this in since these specials never get repeated anyway. Considering that Weekend Update Thursday aired after a pretty good episode of "The Office," this was a letdown.

    This Coming Saturday: A repeat of last month's Michael Phelps debacle. Maybe I'll read a book instead.

    Next Saturday: Josh Brolin (of "Goonies" and "W" fame) hosts with musical guest Adele.

    Questions or comments? Send Stu a PM, or e-mail him at
  • Personally, I would have enjoyed a shorter WU with one more sketch crammed in there. Still, it is a real pleasure to have some fresh SNL on a Thursday night.

    McCain/Obama Debate - A lot of good things here, especially the condescending tone of McCain toward Obama and the stumbling around in front of the camera. Also, I loved seeing Chris back playing the rules obsessed Tom Brokaw, as well as Murray asking Obama what he will do about the Cubs. Not as good as the first McCain/Obama debate, but it was a kick to get some new SNL on a Thursday night. Grade: B+

    Weekend Update - Obviously this is the centerpiece of this show since it is the title of the show, so it was pretty long. Not a bad WU, but not spectacular either. The good: Really?! with Seth and Amy and Hall and Oates, a revival of relatively unknown impersonations Forte and Armisen did once about 5 years ago. H&O is a strange choice given that were far more relevant 25 years ago, but Will and Fred did a very enjoyable take on the H&O standard "You Make My Dreams Come True" with altered lyrics. "McCain's good too." Pretty funny (not the part about McCain being good, but the lyrics). The bad: Another unimpressive guest appearance with Kenan yelling "Fix It" for a couple of minutes. What a waste of time. Grade: B
  • He didn't O.J. break up with her... he just broke up with her....

    Before I start, I wanna admit that I was wrong. I thought that the Orville Willis Forte IV name was a fake for a laugh, which would have been extremely lame, but that actually is his real name.

    But, anyways, part 1. Part 1 of 3. SNL is ready for prime-time. We'll see if they can do it.

    2nd Presidential Debate: As expected, they opened with the 2nd presidential debate. I guess they NEEDED Parnell again. But, most of t e sketch was funny. SNL has finally learned that they can't rely a long skit on one premise. They jumped all over the place, with John pacing, audience member's creepy reading skills, and what not. The Bill Murray cameo was way unexpected, but awesome.

    Weekend Update: Most of the jokes were funny. Immediately when Kenan went on, I did the sign of the cross. I'll admit, the writing wasn't funny, but I laughed everytime when Kenan said "Fix it!!!" Also, they did another "REALLY!??!" which was great! The "OH MY GOD, ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?!" was a hilarious touch. Afterwards a commercial break, Amy and Seth did about 6 more jokes, then Hall & Oates came on to wrap it up. They sang their song "You Make My Dreams Come True" twisting it to a political taste. I'll give them points for original content.

    In conclusion, I'm not sure how to rate this. A 7.0 is kind of wierd for a 30 minute program of SNL. But, most of it was enjoyable. It's going to be wierd what they do next week with Update. They'll have another 12 minute Update on Thursday, then like a 2 minute Update on Saturday. But, for now, the cast can enjoy their 3 day break.

    This week is a repeat of Phelps/Wayne. Dear god.

    Next Thursday is part 2 of Update Thursday.

    Next Saturday, my birthday, is host Josh Brolin, and musical guest Adele.
  • The first primetime Election episode.

    For a show that only required three scenes SNL really dropped the ball here. After a strong episode on Saturday hosted by Anne Hathaway these sketches felt more like "rough drafts" than what we've come to expect from the late-night show now in its 34th season. It was great to see Chris Parnell back again, but the debate sketch was not up to par. Fred Armisen's Barack Obama simply isn't cutting it, and there were too many "clever" political shots here and not enough simple jokes. The Weekend Update sketches were not much better. Kenan's appearance was completely unnecessary and outside of a few minor chuckles during the Hall and Oates song and Seth Meyer's bit about a cat after successful surgery giving you brief eye contact there wasn't anything funny here either.

    SNL really suffered without Tina Fey's portrayal of Sarah Palin. Hopefully they're able to get her next week.