Sunday, October 5, 2008

SNL - Still Barely Hangin' In There

Saturday Night Live is struggling lately.

It seems that new head writer, Seth Myers, and his team have done away with recurring characters this season, like Kristin Wiig's "Target Lady" or the "Two A-Holes" sketches that all run in the vein of the successfully time-tested strategy of SNL's formula. Instead, after they do a (usually very good) cold open sketch, always based on the current political drama, the show invariably goes on to showcase one-off sketches about nobody in particular where nothing very creative is happening. It's mostly just shocking lines or goofy actions, but there seem to be an ousting of memerable charcters or recurring set-ups.

Where's Toonses The Driving Cat, for God's sake? Where is Mr. Bill, or The Spartan Cheerleaders? Where's Mango or Mr. Peepers? The Ladies' Man? CAROL? Those kinds of sketches were repeatable and always exciting to see pop up again and again. Now, the writers have backed themselves into a corner where they have to introduce new, nameless, featureless characters to each and every skit, and therefore give us - the viewer - no expectations to play off of. And it's getting old... FAST!

Thankfully, they're still pulling off some decent shows, even without the traditional style, (which I still would recommend they get back to... and fast!) This week's episode had me cracking up a few times, even sitting there watching it all by myself.

Anne Hathaway hosted and did a very good job. Her skills as an actress really worked well and her comedic timing was superb. Here are a few clips of the sketches I rather enjoyed.

The Cold Open - VP Debate: Biden/Palin

Tina is riding this wave to it's peak, which hopefully will end around November 5th. Props to Queen Latifa as debate moderator Gwen Eifel - she was great. And I'm noticing Bill Hader's ability to be hilarious by shouting ridiculous things in his unique voice. The Cold Open sketch is proving to be the longest of the evening, so it's always important to tune in on time - 11:29 PM, people! ELEVEN-TWENTY-NINE!
(10:29 PM, central)

Then, there was a good sketch which was based around characters we already know. It was a revealing Mary Poppins sketch about the true meaning of that famous word; "Supercalafragalisticexpialadocious". (And why men should avoid Ms. Poppins at all costs.)

(This sketch reminded me of another great sketch from earlier this season, featuring my cousin Sean's best childhood friend, James Franco, and new featured cast member, Bobby Moynaghan, based on characters from John Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men. Have a look.)

There was a pretty good SNL Digital Short, from the brilliantly-twisted mind of Andy Samberg and his "Lonely Island" gang. Featuring Mr. Samberg, Will Forte and the lovely Kristin Wiig, (and a quick appearance by Kenan Thompson,) this one is called: Extreme Activities Competition.

My favorite sketch of the night simply featured an unexpected, yet amazing impression of actor Mark Whalburg by Andy Samberg. This kid is a genius.

All in all, it was a decent show, with a great Weekend Update segment (thanks to Will Forte and four separate, but equally-funny jokes about the world's heaviest man getting married,) but I sure hope Producer Lorne Michaels, head writer Seth Meyers and the rest of the team can learn something from the amazing past of this great show - this Saturday Night Live - and not try to reinvent the wheel. Plus, The Killers sucked.

Here's one last sketch - just good ol' goofy, live, nationally-televised, comedic theater. The Lawrence Welk Show. God bless that Kristin Wiig.


Schwartzilla said...

Funny story, one of my brother's went to Pepperdine U for his higher education, one of his roommates had a brother who looks EXACTLY like Samberg. When I say exactly - I mean, exactly. We're talking getting hounded at the mall and at resturants and stuff. That guy was awesome to have at parties in Malibu when I visited becuase he always brought a crazy posse of chicks with him. Good times.

Anyways, back to the real Samberg. Totally kick ass impression of Whalberg. I want to see him do Marky Mark's character from The Departed. That would be most rad.

erin said...

the Mark Whalburg impression was the BEST!!

Katie said...

how could you mention running skits and leave out Wayne's World?! You are a disgrace to anyone who ever over-wore flannel!

Brad said...

I always disliked most of the running gags, generally they're the same jokes over and over again (e.g., Toonses can drive, just not well) rather than putting new jokes into a similar situation (which they did do well in Waynes World)

Vanilla Ice said...

How dare you rip SNL on your blog...after all the good times we've had together (and after you include clips of and/or praise 75% of the show). It takes up 90% of my DVR! Bad Mike! BAD MIKE!! Isn't it more impressive that they are still making critically acclaimed shows (even if you don't a-claim them) without resorting to the same old characters? ALL HAIL THE NEW GUY!! I'm sold on him...

Thanks for the shout out...funny story (II), I actually used to play sports with James Franco's brother Teddy...but same difference.