Saturday Night Live: Melissa McCarthy 5/13/17

SNL Melissa McCarthy

Last night Melissa McCarthy became the 19th member of the illustrious “Five-Timers Club” joining such luminaries as Steve Martin, Tom Hanks, and Tina Fey as a five-time host of the legendary late-night show. It was a by-the-numbers appearance from McCarthy, and while she is always game and a delight to watch, the show didn’t really stand out as anything special.

The formula seems to be about the same. Step one: get McCarthy to dress up in a crazy outfit. Step two: spray her with, or dump something on her during a sketch. Step three: bring out recurring characters. On their own, all of these things are great. It just feels a tad lazy and predictable. The first appearance from McCarthy as Sean Spicer was incredible. The seventh? It’s impact is a little diminished.

All that said, McCarthy is a national treasure and should be treated as such. It would just be nice to get some new stuff to let said treasure really stretch her legs.

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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

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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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Saturday Night Live: Kristen Stewart 2/4/17

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Despite her laid back, nonchalant image, Kristen Stewart was pretty fun as a first time host. The monologue may have been her highlight, as she dredged up her history (at least, Twitter history) with our now president. If you thought it was creepy for a man in his 60s to be commenting on the relationship of 20-somethings, well, you’d be right. And it didn’t get any better when Stewart read the President’s tweets urging Pattinson to break up with her and to come hang out with Trump at the Miss Universe pageant. You know, typical 66-year-old bro stuff.

The monologue was capped perfectly with Stewart dropping an accidental f-bomb while proclaiming her excitement to be hosting. It was followed swiftly with a proclamation that she likely wouldn’t be asked back.

Stewart was game, and there was some really good stuff in this show, but this episode was great largely for one reason, and one reason alone. Melissa Freaking McCarthy.

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