Saturday Night Live

Season 34 Episode 24

Thursday Night Live (2)

Aired Saturday 11:30 PM Oct 16, 2008 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
18 votes

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Episode Summary

Thursday Night Live (2)
Live from New York, it's... Chris Parnell! This half-hour special consisted of a spoof of the third presidential debate between Senators Barack Obama and John McCain, followed by another election-themed edition of Weekend Update.

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  • They've mastered elections, but can they master debaters?

    A Review by "HelloStuart," Amateur Critic and Celebrity Plumber

    After last week's inauspicious bow, we arrive at the second of the three prime-time specials. We all sort of assumed that tonight's broadcast would spoof the third presidential debate, but the real wild card is what SNL will take on for next week's cold opening. I can only assume that it'll be a send-up of an election-related news story that will have more impact on the election than the four debates combined.

    That wishful thinking brings us to the opening sketch, which parodied the third well-choreographed war of words between Senators Obama and McCain (FA, DH). I was half-expecting Bill Hader to play moderator Bob Schieffer, but the juicy part went once again to SNL alum Chris Parnell, who played the ex-anchorman like Tom Brokaw with a faint southern twang (that is to say, not very convincing). The Hofstra University grudge-match will probably be best remembered for McCain's frequent references to "Joe the Plumber," an average guy in Ohio who became an overnight celebrity because he thought an Obama presidency would be bad for fledging small businesses. The writers of the show took this to an absurd extreme, turning Joe and his friend Simon into a figment of McCain's imagination. To me, this is where the wheels fell off; instead of digging up a rich goldmine of topical satire, the sketch opts to focus on this increasingly pointless and serendipitous tangent. Worse yet, the writers pulled all sorts of punches in these debate sketches; where McCain was portrayed with light strokes of delirium that barely befits the real thing, Obama was depicted as a bland straight man completely immune to any form of lampooning, the Zeppo to McCain's Groucho.

    Where the debate sketch disappointed (again), Update turned things around and finally brought the funny. The segment was dominated (conquered?) by Kristen Wiig, who portrayed the peculiar McCain supporter that popped up in a recent viral clip. In this case, playing a mentally unbalanced character actually benefited the show; the old bag wanders around the stage, mumbling that she doesn't trust Obama because he's a closet Muslim and "chats with terriers." That alone was enough to make this a marginally more entertaining affair than last week's special. The Wiig bit almost overshadowed a witty commentary by Jesse Jackson (DH), who analyzed the "Tom Bradley effect" of race in heated political contests, which morphed into a riff on fickle white folk.

    One last thought: did anyone notice that only five cast members appeared in tonight's show (six if you count Parnsy)? Kudos for not shoehorning everybody in like last week, but it made this broadcast feel somewhat sparse.

    Two Days from Now: Josh Brolin hosts with musical guest Adele.

    Do you have any comments or questions about this review? If so, send Stu a private message or e-mail him at
  • Where was Forte, Hader, Samberg, Moynihan, Wilson Sudeikis, and Thompson? With such a limited cast on this episode, it suffered a bit from being too heavy on Hammond, Meyers, and Poehler. It was a bit of a let down after last week's show.moreless

    McCain/Obama Debate 3 - Unfortunately, debate 3 did not have a lot of great moments to parody and the writers did not have much time to put it together considering that it happened the night before. Joe the Plumber was an obvious choice but it was done much differently than I had expected with Joe the Plumber eventually revealed as a figment of McCain's imagination. I was a bit disappointed the writers did not do anything with McCain's remark that he was not Bush and that Obama should have run four years ago if he wanted to run against Bush. There were definitely some missed opportunities with that one. Not a great debate as Obama did not say much, but Hammond had McCain down pat with the incessant blinking and grandfatherly demeanor (not that there's anything wrong with that). Good but not as good as the first two, just like the real debate. Grade: C+

    Weekend Update - Kristen was spectacular as the crazy woman from the McCain rally. Idiots like her are the reason why McCain has stopped taking questions from the audience during his speeches. Can't say I blame him. Rev. Jesse Jackson was just OK explaining the Bradley effect and the new segment where Amy and Seth find positive things to say wasn't nearly as good as the Really!? segments. Maybe Seth is suffering from hoof in mouth disease contracted during the Michael Phelps episode, but he was really struggling to get through a sentence without flubbing his lines. The best joke? A follow up question to "would you vote for a black candidate?". "Really?" WU could have used some of the zaniness that Forte and Armisen brought last week. Grade: C+moreless
  • Simon ... is a unicorn...

    Sorry for the late review. I've had a busy birtheve...

    Boy this cast is doin it. Last year, right around this time, the cast couldn't go 3 episodes without being burnt out, and containing horrible writing. Now, SNL is doing consecutive weeks of work, and keeps their stamina up. Even during the Phelps show, you could tell that the cast and writers tried to salvage it. So far, they have done 4 1/2 weeks of writing/working/acting to make a show. Tonight's special shouldn't be different. The cast had about a 3-4 day break, so, they are minorly charged.

    Thursday Night Live has it's second special tonight. Will it float like last weeks? Let's just hope...

    Debate: Chris Parnell's time is slowly coming to an end as 'surprise' cameo. But, for his final (or maybe not) go-around, he plays the moderator for the third time, Bob Scheiffer. As this was a harder debate to write for, I'll give them credit for making a good sketch up. Last week's town hall debate was pure gold for SNL, and they took it up. Obviously, Bob The Plumber took up most the jokes. The twist of the imaginary friend was great. I'm proud of SNL for keeping the 3 debates funny, and not dragging them down and making them too long that the point is lost, like 04/05.

    Update: Most jokes were pretty funny, while the crazy McCain/Palin supporter was great. Kristen is just too funny to measure funniness from... if that makes sense. One thing that brought this down was the chokes that Seth and Amy had. (6 or 7?) You can't help but notice that. I understand it's hard to perform live, but, c'mon they've been doing this for weeks now. The "We LIked It" bit was ironic and funny, while Jesse Jackson commentary was also a low-light, in some ways. But funny in others.

    Tonight's show broke decent. I'm not sure if they're saving stuff up for this week's show, or if they're just flat out of ideas. I am interested to see how they do this Saturday. The stamina should be fine (considering that not even half the cast was on tonight's special). It's the writing that concerns me. But, after these past few weeks, you can tell that Amy and Seth are going to miss eachother. And, even though it took some time to warm up, we're going to miss them a lot too.

    This Saturday: Josh Brolin/Adele. It should be interesting to see what goes on this week.

    Next Thursday: We wrap up Weekend Update Thursday.moreless
  • Parody of the third Presidential debate.

    Another weak effort put into this SNL Thursday Weekend Update episode. The debate sketch had its funny moments, but we didn't need 2000 jokes about Joe the Plumber. We didn't need him to be 3 1/2 inches tall or an imaginary friend named Simon either.

    The Weekend Update scene was equally as disappointing. Amy Poehler just isn't funny and I cannot wait until she departs and somebody else takes her spot at the desk. Kristen Wiig is not anybody and all of her characters are exactly the same. I understand SNL is low on females, but just get anybody else and kick her to the curb.

    No Jason Sudeikis, Kenan Thompson or Andy Samberg? No Tina Fey to portray Sarah Palin, the one thing this season people have been talking about? I understand they have a show on Saturday, but come on SNL you're better than this.moreless
Kristen Wiig

Kristen Wiig

Crazy McCain Rally Lady

Amy Poehler

Amy Poehler


Seth Meyers

Seth Meyers


Darrell Hammond

Darrell Hammond

John McCain/Jesse Jackson

Fred Armisen

Fred Armisen

Sen. Barack Obama

Don Pardo

Don Pardo


Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions