Cold Open - This saw three former senators/governors John Ensign, Mark Sanford & John Edwards commenting on the Tiger Woods affairs and the media's treatment of the story, in comparison to the media's treatment of politicians' affairs. So I thought that the sentiment was there - seriously media, it was a lot worse when Mark Sanford betrayed his constituents that elected him and headed off to Argentina to be with his South American lover than it was for Tiger Woods to have affairs. Beyond his family & friends, it's not really our business. However, not enough funny to sustain the sketch. Once again, the idea was there but the execution was off.
Monologue - So in Season 35's tradition of getting hosts to dance/sing/perform, Taylor Lautner performed some seriously cool karate stunts while "beating up Kanye West" for what he did to Taylor Swift. Not hilarious, but the kid works well with what he's got.
Rose Bowl Promo Shoot - Simple idea - maybe a little too simple? A quarterback who is not at all comfortable in front of a camera struggles to get his poses right. Taylor Lautner played the quarterback, and showed off some funny facial expressions and Bill was pretty good as the shoot director/photographer. Andy Samberg had a nice cameo at the end too. Funny enough, but like I said, a little too sparse of a concept.
Aunt Sue - This saw Kristen Wiig reprise her character of Sue, that lady who just loves surprises. We saw Abby Elliott & Taylor Lautner play a newly married couple who are going to tell her parents that she's expecting their first child. Of course Sue goes bananas, can't control herself etc. I really liked this character in the Christopher Walken show, but everytime it's been repeated, it's been the exact same sketch, so I can't say that I loved it. I did like where Sue literally climbed up the chimney though.
PGA Tour (1-3) - These were probably my favourite bits of the night. We saw the PGA Commissioner gradually grow more depressed at the prospect of the PGA without Tiger as the sketches went on, and Jason Sudeikis did such a terrific job. My favourite part was where they were sponsored by Major League Soccer, the letter "Q" and Old Dogs.
Middle School Jingle Jam - So with the overwhelming success of Glee, I thought that this was a nice premise, that was unfortunately ruined by a pointless appearance from Andy Samberg. We see a show choir being harassed by their classmates, jeered off the stage & such. The songs are pretty funny in how pathetic they are - "When I say Christmas, you say wrap!" And it would have been all fine & dandy had they not introduced Andy Samberg's character to the stage to taunt them up there. WHAT? Kudos to Taylor Lautner who fully committed to his foreign student character, and props to Jenny Slate & Abby Elliott who did good jobs here also.
Weekend Update - Was it just me or was something other than Seth's evident sore throat causing WU to be a little off? I just wasn't completely feeling it this week. The jokes were pretty good & I laughed, but more out of a recognition of something being funny than involuntary laughter. Am I making sense? I thoroughly enjoyed Fred's reprisal of Billy Smith the Native American Comedian. "Let's see, uh, what else?" That alone had me in hysterics. Nasim Pedrad's character however was kind of awful? Girl can do a Kathy Griffin impression, but anything beyond that she uses the exact same voice that is incredibly irritating. I think that she has shone in a lot of sketches, like Kickspit Underground Rock Festival, the best friends one with Taylor Swift, but keep her off Update!
Twilight Science Partners - This saw two girls from opposite ends of the Twilight love-spectrum, i.e one loves Jacob, the other Edward, refusing to be partnered up in science class. So I enjoyed this one, because I have borne witness to similarly nonsensical arguments about the merits of Jacob and Edward as a boyfriend. Did I think that the idea that they would be forced to fight it out in front of the whole class was totally stupid? Yes, even with the recognition that it was stupid from one of the students in the class, I still thought that it was stupid. But Jenny Slate & Taylor Lautner did terrific jobs and this sketch had one of my favourite lines of the night "Well the guy who plays Jacob should win an Oscar or something!"
Yogurt Shop - I had read good things about this one prior to watching the episode, so initially I was like "Really? People liked this?" But as it continued, I did find myself laughing at the complete weirdness of Taylor's character and the awkwardness between the pair. Kenan sliding in and out of scene was a pretty funny sight gag also, but Taylor really made it work here.
Doorbells & More - I can't help it, I'm very partial to some Jenny Slate. So while she seemed a little nervous here, I found the sketch and her voice hilarious. Was anyone else sort of reminded of Sofa King with this sketch?
So, it was not great. An improvement on last week's for sure, but it still hasn't picked up majorly. They utilised Taylor Lautner far more than they used Blake Lively last week, and I think that's a testament to his comic timing and willingness to participate in a variety of sketches. Yeah, they were a little tween oriented, but what else did you expect when the ultimate teen heartthrob who's still only 17 is hosting? So I can't criticise Taylor at all - he surpassed my expectations & actually left a good impression on me. Kudos, bra!
Writing-wise, it wasn't a great deal better than last week's. While I enjoyed most of the sketches in the moment, there was none that really stood out that I would wish to view again anytime soon. However I am pleased to see that there was only one recurring sketch this week (Aunt Sue) and the rest were all original. Yay, originality!
Cast-wise, Taylor acted opposite Jenny Slate & Abby Elliott a lot, which I was glad to see, as neither lady has had the opportunity to shine this season. Both did great jobs and I hope this isn't the last we see of them for multiple episodes as usually happens with featured players.
Overall, not bad, not great. Still waiting for that one great episode this season. Perhaps James Franco will deliver it next week?
(I'm taking into consideration that I had 0 expectation for Taylor, he's 17 & I kinda guessed what the content was going to be like.)