Saturday Night Live: 11/4/17 Larry David

SNL Larry David

Another week, another Trump cold open. I get it. This dude gives us more stuff to roll our eyes at in a week than pretty much anyone else ever in history of everything, or whatever. At the same time, all the faux pas and general evilness don’t really play well in sketches. Somehow it doesn’t really play seeing Alec Baldwin play the president as he’s meeting with Paul Manafort, Mike Pence, and Jeff Sessions (Beck Bennett’s Pence and Kate McKinnon’s Sessions are super great btw) and trying to wrestle with indictments and, well, general evilness. While the jokes are fine, and everyone is really great in their roles, it just feels like Jimmy Fallon tussling Trump’s hair. I don’t know. Maybe I’ll get a sense of humor and start enjoying these at some point. Sadly, they’re going to be around for a little while.

Next, we get to Larry David as host, who was prettay, prettay, prettay good (I’m shocked that I didn’t hit this well in the first paragraph. If you would’ve set the over under at 1.5 paragraphs it would take for me to write make that reference, I would’ve gone under, easily). After spending the weekend traveling, I knew I was going to be late on this week’s recap, so I tried to shield myself from any spoilers or reviews before I could catch the episode myself. Unfortunately I wasn’t media savvy enough, and caught a whiff of some controversy surrounding David’s monologue. Following David’s career and his carefully cultivated persona, I was ready for the worst.

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Saturday Night Live: 9/30/17 Ryan Gosling

SNL Ryan Gosling

Coming off one of the highest rated, and most critically acclaimed seasons in the show’s history, Saturday Night Live entered its 43rd season last night, poised to build on the adulation and buzz. Early reports have the season premiere as a huge ratings success, but as a whole, the show is still a little uneven, and, stop me if you’ve heard this before, there’s a bit of a Trump Problem (TM).

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Saturday Night Live: Dwayne Johnson 5/20/17

SNL Dwayne Johnson 2

Last night marked the season finale of SNL, and the induction of Dwayne Johnson into the Five-Timers Club. The show started strong with a great cold open and monologue, indicating that a special show with a special energy was in store. It didn’t quite happen, for some reason. The show was good, but not great.

More importantly than putting a period on the show’s 42nd (!) season (and one of the craziest to date) SNL said goodbye to two cast mainstays. Last night marked the final show for Bobby Moynihan and Vanessa Bayer. While neither leapt off the screen and dominated the action like, say, a Kate McKinnon and Jason Sudeikis or a Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell, Moynihan and Bayer have been indispensable over last handful of seasons. Both have played the “straight-man” to perfection, while also creating zany, off-the-wall characters that we will always remember. Continue reading “Saturday Night Live: Dwayne Johnson 5/20/17”

Saturday Night Live: Jimmy Fallon 4/15/17

SNL Jimmy FallonApparently with SNL, it’s all about managing expectations (I guess the same is true about life, if you want to get really deep on it). Several times this season I’ve been excited by the host, or to see how different current events are handled by the show, and the delivery has just fallen flat. Coming into last night’s episode, I had low, low expectations.

I think Jimmy Fallon is very ok. He’s charming yet safe, and I never really warmed up to him as a cast member or conquering hero when he returned to host. His classic recurring characters were never my cup of tea. Whether it was “Jaret’s Room”, “Sully and Diane”, or “Barry Gibb”, I always found myself fast forwarding or flipping the channel. His calling card as a cast member was never being able to keep a straight face. It’s a great trait for a late night host, but a pretty terrible one for an SNL cast member.

Having said that, I really liked last night’s episode. And dare I say, I enjoyed Fallon. He started out hot with a Jared Kushner impression, (complete with blazer and flak jacket) and never looked back. I even usually dread the often lazy musical monologue, however Fallon took a detour. Instead of coming up with a song last-minute in the Writer’s Room, he basically covered Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” as he strolled through Studio 8H. It was pretty cool.

The lesson, as always: lower expectations.

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Saturday Night Live: Alec Baldwin 2/11/17

SNL Baldwin.png

This season of SNL has been the highest rated in over 20 years, and this week, the show turned to its most decorated host, a man who has helped contribute to that ratings spike (fittingly he’s plays the other person responsible for the huge viewership). I had high hopes for Alec Baldwin’s 17th stint as a host. And after last week saw a surprise cameo from powerhouse Melissa McCarthy, I thought the show would have plenty of tricks up its sleeve to build on the momentum.

Would Rosie O’Donnell come on to play Bannon? With Baldwin hosting, would they bring in Meryl Streep to don the wispy blonde-ish wig and play Trump? Would the show continue to surprise and push the envelope?

The short answer: not really. McCarthy was back as everyone’s favorite cartoon press secretary, and as usual, she was amazing. That said, I didn’t enjoy it as much as last week’s iteration and it felt as though the novelty had worn off a bit. I love Melissa McCarthy and want her to be in everything ever, but I really wish they hadn’t gone back to the well so soon.

The disappointment led me to another thought. Should SNL really stunt cast just to prickle the President? Sure it would be pretty funny (in theory) for Trump’s arch-nemesis to play his chief strategist, but is the point really to just elicit some mean tweets the next day? I don’t know. It feels weird, and I wish it didn’t. Last week’s episode felt fresh and the start of something while this week just felt…there.

Anyway…

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