Tuesday, November 24, 2009

JGL/DMB Review

This week saw an energetic puppy host Saturday Night Live. Oh sorry, I mean this week Joseph Gordon-Levitt of GI Joe & (500) Days of Summer fame host. He certainly wasn't short of energy, enthusiasm & excitement but how did he really fare? Let's check it out.

Cold Open - So, this was a press conference with President Barack Obama & Chinese President Hu Jintao. The first section was a little yawn-worthy as basically Fred Armisen was saying things that Barack Obama would say i.e not funny things. However once Nasim Pedrad began interpreting Hu Jintao (Will Forte), it began to get much funnier. "Will you kiss me? Not as good as the Fox Cold Open from a few weeks ago, but pretty entertaining as far it goes.

Monologue - Well, best monologue of the season and actually as far as the season goes, we've had some pretty decent monologues. Here, Joseph Gordon-Levitt recreates the classic "Make 'Em Laugh" dance number from Singin' In The Rain. Now, I know some people were like "Boo! It's not as good as Donald O'Connor!" and it wasn't, but what is? But JGL did all of this LIVE and in ONE TAKE. It's a pretty amazing feat & the boy can dance for sure! I know it left me with a big stupid grin and pumped me up for the rest of the show. Only gripe - why was Bobby Moynihan even there? Unnecessary!

Palin 2012 - What can I say? Loved it! Anything that incorporates the dumbest movie ever with Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck is awesome. Not saying that Sarah Palin as president would cause an apocalypse, but y'know. Also, the clip of Glenn Beck they used was the most Glenn Beck clip ever.

Secret Word - What, really? You had to go all SNL Season 35 on us again, and have a super lame game show sketch. Okay, it wasn't awful. Kristen Wiig's character did make me laugh, at least initially and I liked what Jenny Slate was doing. JGL's character was kinda creepy, and not in a funny way, just a South American way. The concept was two contestants didn't understand a game where people had to guess a word. Looks even worse when I see it written down.

Digital Short - Okay, so this was a digital short in the bizarre vein. Kenan plays a guy with a red wig, who Andy thinks is Reba McEntire, despite all the signs pointing to the fact that "Reba" is a man. I literally don't even know how they come up with this stuff. So, it wasn't hilarious but the song was ridiculously catchy and Kenan's facial expressions and Andy's general obliviousness made me laugh. I actually really like the chemistry between Kenan and Andy, so I guess any sketch that highlights that is good, or at least okay.

The Mellow Show- So, we've seen this one done before. Jack Johnson (Andy Samberg hosts a mellow show with other mellow artists such as Dave Matthews (Bill Hader) and Jason Mraz (JGL). First half felt very old, though the "freaky fiddle player" from DMB made me laugh and JGL did a great impression of Jason Mraz. Who really surprised me though was the real Dave Matthews who did a super impression of Ozzy Osbourne and made fun of himself in the process.

What's Up With That? - This seems to be the star sketch of Season 35. There is something about What's Up With That that is so joyous and hilarious that I can actually overlook the fact that there's not tons of comedy going on. This edition saw Al Gore, Mindy Kaling and Fleetwood Mac's Lindsay Buckingham (Bill Hader) join DeAndre Cole to discuss the issues of the day. Mindy Kaling was left silent but pretty for the sketch, but Al Gore managed to get a line or two and a few bewildered gazes in there. JGL came out as Klaus armed with a keytar and Bobby Moynihan came out as a tap-dancing wrestler. Will Forte also came out and danced with a clown wig on. In short, the whole spectacle makes me super happy and Kenan kills every time.

Weekend Update - Very short this week, I'm guessing to make room for What's Up With That? Jokes were decent. I enjoyed the one about the pardoned turkey and the kosher soup kitchen. Al Gore dropped by to announce that he's trying a new method of getting people to care about the environment - being crazy. Gore has a pretty decent comedy timing and manages to make me feel guilty for not caring about the environment! Nice job!

Thanksgiving Dinner - Remember when this was on the Hugh Laurie episode and it was about Christmas dinner, and I reviewed it by saying "This seemed to run on a such a flat premise, it had me a little confused." Well, they brought it back! Basically, it's a dysfunctional family sitting down to dinner and being super angry with one another. It's more uncomfortable than funny. The one part I did laugh at was "Lot of traffic on the way here. There must be a concert". Other than that, it fell completely flat. How did it even make it out of dress rehearsal?

Woman To Woman - Yet another talk show sketch where Fred Armisen played the producer forced to take over for a female-oriented talk show due to the regular host being sick. Thing is, he's basically deaf and in no position to be dispensing advice to women. Okay, so thinking about it, I actually kind of enjoyed it. Fred did a great job as the obnoxious replacement host, and the girls did a good job too, particularly Jenny Slate who was wonderfully endearing as the girl who couldn't achieve an orgasm with her boyfriend. "Go to the flower store, get a bunch of flowers, give them to your husband and you say 'I'm sorry!"

Say Anything - Another delightfully random sketch to close the show. Here JGL plays the John Cusack character from Say Anything and Jason Sudeikis and Kristen Wiig play his ex's neighbours who are curious as to why he's standing on her front lawn playing Peter Gabriel. It was a nice premise and pretty well-executed. Jason did a great job.

Like Taylor Swift, Joseph Gordon-Levitt came to SNL with an uncanny level of enthusiasm which served him well. He didn't get as many starring roles as I would have liked, but he fit in seamlessly with the cast and seemed to get on well with them. He might not have had an enormous capacity for comedy, but the guy is an out-and-out performer, and someone needs to put him in a musical pronto. I'm pretty sure everyone was aware of how badly last week's show sucked and that's why the pulled out all the stops. From getting Al Gore to appear, to having possibly the liveliest sketch ever - it's okay SNL, we forgive you. Just don't let it happen again.

I'm gonna give MVP of the show to Kenan Thompson for anchoring What's Up With That? In a season where SNL is not achieving the levels of greatness it once reached, Kenan along with Jason Sudiekis has been consistently bringing his A-game, and I feel like both of their contributions can sometimes go unnoticed. Rest assured guys, I recognise and appreciate your level of performance and commitment each week.

Overall - 7.5/10

Next week - Repeat of Gerard Butler/Shakira
December 5 - Blake Lively/Rihanna - oi.


Levi said...

So, as novel as "What's Up With That?" was the first time, and as good of a sketch as it will be to put on Kenan's best-of DVD someday, it's still too pointless and not hilarious enough to be brought back. That's just my opinion, and aside from a few funny spots, my friends and I had the general consensus of "uh...what's up with that?" You could argue that's the point, but then it's not funny.

Thanksgiving dinner has always been frustrating and hard to sit through. There's a similar Will Ferrell one from back in the day, but his was actually funny.

The Palin thing seemed dumb to me. They took trailer clips from 2012, a couple clips from Fox News, said "Palin" once, and it's a funny short? I mean, I'm open to political satire on both sides, etc., but they weren't even trying.

I truly thought this was way better than last week though. There were more hits than misses. The cold open was funny and I think that really carried through to the end of the show. The Woman To Woman sketch was hilarious, the final sketch was funny, and Dave Matthews made a great sketch guest. Overall a good show, it's just easier to talk about the negatives I guess.

amyfairycakes said...

Yeah, I agree with the What's Up With That? thing. As happy as they made me, I don't want to see it brought back this side of Easter, but being SNL, I'm sure it'll be back this side of Christmas. It is pretty pointless -it's literally just singing and dancing and pure silliness, and a reason to bring on surprise guests like James Franco & Mindy Kaling. But in a season where not a lot has been going on, I'll take it.

Ryan said...

In "What up with that?" It can't be Will Forte in the clown wig. Will was doing the show announcing in the light blue suit, he then came out in the end to do the robot, and he and the clown wig guy are dancing at the same time.
Who the hell are you clown wig guy?

amyfairycakes said...

I never noticed Will at the end! How weird! Maybe it's Andy?

Anonymous said...

the clown guy was ANDY SAMBERG obviously