Oh no! Oh nooooo! Saturday Night Live has been going so well and all of a sudden this week it just isn’t! I guess it could just be a one-off, but last night’s episode was the pits. The Passion Pit. Yeah, you like that? See what I did there? It was hosted by Christina Applegate and the musical guest was, yeah…Passion Pit. I didn’t have a specific problem with anything, but I also didn’t really laugh the whole time. Or chortle. Or chuckle. Or even smile, really. I’ve made it clear that I love me some Jay Pharoah and Kate McKinnon, and I’ll always have a soft spot for Jason Sudeikis and Seth Meyers, but I’ma need everyone else to get on board and start pulling their weight, because there was no part of last night that wasn’t stiff and awkward.
(That’s what she said. BOOM.)
Probably the most successful sketch of the night was the cold opening, which was the Vice Presidential Debate, so kind of a gimme. We had an ‘old man strong’ Joe Biden sparring with an extremely thirsty Paul Ryan, as moderated by my girl Kate as the anti-Jim Lehrer. It was good, but not great, although I would’ve paid a lot more attention to it at the time if I’d known that was as good as it was gonna get.
Another the other successful sketch was ‘Give Us All Our Daughters Back’, a trailer for a parody movie combining all our modern day action stars trying to get their daughters back. There were strong impressions of Denzel Washington and Liam Neeson, and then other people wearing wigs attempting to imitate Harrison Ford, Uma Thurman, Mel Gibson, and Steven Seagal. I can’t find it online to show you, but the execution was about as strong as the content, so I’d recommend you just use the power of your brilliant imagination.
The rest of the show was a mishmash of ‘meh’, but for different reasons. The Californians was a meh sketch because it turns out that sketch is only funny once, unless Kristen Wiig is in it and trying not to laugh. And guess what? She’s off the show now so she wasn’t in it last night. Usain Bolt was, oddly enough, but that sketch just turned into a long reminder of what we lost when we lost Kristen. Siigh.
Also got a little ‘meh’ with the decision to have stereotypical Chinese workers (with accents and all!) in the ‘Tech Talk: iPhone 5′ sketch. The concept was maybe not funny, but at least humorous, with American tech bloggers complaining about the new phone on Christina Applegate’s show and then being confronted by the Chinese peasants who make the phone. Again, I liked the concept, but something about the execution of it was bordering a little on offensive?
And speaking of offensive! For some reason it was necessary for Jerry Sandusky to be a part of a parody Gilette commercial. Wait what? Why? It wasn’t like he was being praised or lauded or anything, so it wasn’t offensive in that way, it was just a weird-ass decision, and not in a funny way. Maybe it’s too soon? Or it wasn’t necessary? Maybe other people thought it was funny, but I just didn’t find it necessary. Man I’m a real asshole this week.
Even Weekend Update couldn’t bring it back from the brink, with guests Arianna Huffington and Jean K Jean. It was funny, theoretically, but nothing like the uncontrollable giggles I got from the Cecilia Gimenez sketch last week, or the Cecily Strong bit in the first episode where she keeps getting interrupted by her Dominican boyfriend. Hmmm. I was strangely okay with that bit of stereotyping, I wonder why. I guess it just has to be done well, which the Tech Talk segment wasn’t.
And everything else was a jumble of ‘I don’t need to watch that again or the first time’, including a Halloween Ball to promote literacy, a dance class with a Bob Fosse protege who won’t use real counts in her choreography, and even Christina’s monologue itself, with the Fruppets. I’m really really hoping it gets better next week, because I really want to love it! Come on, SNL, you can do it! Hint: use some of the new people! Put them in the game! You’re welcome for the free advice and long critique of your television programming from a literal nobody!
(Image: Side Reel)