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Saturday Night Live “Chris Pratt/Ariana Grande” Live Blog and Review (40×01)

27 Sep

saturday-night-live-chris-pratt

We’re back! As always, check periodically for updates.

STATE OF THE UNION: This is a fine start to the season–predictable, of course–especially considering we’ve had a plethora of bland political cold opens before this. Kenan Thompson’s descriptions of the school bus (“it’s yellow”) are definitely the best parts of the sketch, and Jay Pharaoh’s physical comedy makes for some laughs as well. I was expecting Beck Bennett=Roger Goodell, though. GRADE: B-

RIP, Don Pardo.

MONOLOGUE: Chris Pratt messing up several times just makes it even better, and I like him asking Anna Faris if she remembers giving birth to their child, but this isn’t a very polished monologue. Also, another song? Whatever, it’s Chris Pratt, and he’s endearing in pretty much any situation. GRADE: B-

CIALIS TURNT: The secret is ecstasy. This short segment essentially relies on pure physical comedy, what with people dancing around while on Cialis Turnt, and it’s successful enough for what it is: not much. GRADE: C+

HE-MAN AND LION-O: This sketch consists of masturbation and kitchen destruction, and those are easily the highlights of the segment. Everything around is pretty shaky, though, and it takes a while to get going. GRADE: B-

ANIMAL HOSPITAL: I’m not sure this works as a recurring sketch, but it’s certainly funny watching the horrified reactions of all those who’ve just been nonchalantly told their pets died. In general, though, the concept probably isn’t one that can sustain itself. GRADE: B-

MARVEL: There’s our Guardians of the Galaxy sketch! It allows the writers to get creative with the Galaxy cast idea, and my favorite has to be Pam; the shot of her walking down the hallway is hilarious. There’s nothing that special in here, but it’s a nice idea for the parody segment. GRADE: B

WEEKEND UPDATE: Okay, so let’s get this out of the way first: Colin Jost is just as bland as ever. The Weekend Update success now seems to ride on Michael Che, who messes up a few times, but is perfectly fine in the role; hopefully, the two can build some sort of chemistry as the season progresses. As for the guests here, ex-Update anchor Cecily Strong returns as The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started A Conversation With At A Party, and her malapropisms are as hilarious as ever. Leslie Jones is great as well, but the absolute highlight is newcomer Pete Davidson, who makes a bigger first impression good any of the new cast members did last year combined. The repetition of “going down on a guy” makes this segment brilliant, and Davidson’s immediately endearing. GRADE: B+

LEGENDS: Eh. The premise is used up within the first minute after Aidy Bryant breaks out into “Anaconda”, and although her energy is infectious, this all doesn’t gel into anything past the initial laughs. Asses. So topical. GRADE: C

ROOMMATES: The Mooney-Bennett sketches are always either terrible or fantastic, and I’m leaning toward the latter with this one. It’s just so strange that it’s funny, and the classic sitcom jabs work well here. Favorite moments: the castle, the gun, the “I called the park” line. GRADE: B+

NFL ON CBS: I like the premise, but there aren’t many laughs to be found here aside from a few quotes like “involuntary prostitution”. It’s interesting to see Jost and Che in a sketch, though. GRADE: C+

ARIANA GRANDE: I’m not a fan of “Break Free” (also, the grammar in the song bugs me), but the slow version at the beginning allows Grande to show off her pipes rather than her non-existent dancing skills. Also, her switching stages is a cool idea, and they should let more musical guests work the stages like that; Kanye West does it the best, of course. As for Grande’s second song with The Weeknd, it’s just fine. GRADE: C+

VIDEO GAME TESTING: This could use a bit more padding out, because it seems like a half-formed idea that was tacked on at the end to fill a few minutes. Essentially, it epitomizes the main problem with this episode: underutilizing Chris Pratt. GRADE: C+

OVERALL: B-

It isn’t a bad show, but it’s a bit disappointing considering what we know Chris Pratt is able to do. He’s definitely underused here, as are cast members like Kate McKinnon, but we get a refreshing start to a new Weekend Update desk and some solid sketches to go along with it. The episode sputters to its conclusion, but then again, most episodes do.

I’m surprised there wasn’t more for Don Pardo. He definitely warrants more.

Next week: Sarah Silverman and Maroon 5

Photo credit: NBC, Saturday Night Live

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4 Responses to “Saturday Night Live “Chris Pratt/Ariana Grande” Live Blog and Review (40×01)”

  1. #peggyatthemovies September 28, 2014 at 1:34 pm #

    I had to wait till I could watch it though I was oh so tempted to read the review before it was on here!! I liked the new guy Pete Davidson and it wasn’t a bad or good show..It was def. in the middle..ah well.. and you’re so fast at reviews I love it.. Takes me a day just on movie ones! ha!

    • polarbears16 September 28, 2014 at 5:26 pm #

      Haha yeah, this one was a live blog so it was updated throughout the show. Film reviews usually take a while for me as well.

  2. Hepburn3 September 28, 2014 at 1:47 pm #

    I adore Chris Pratt, he is funny, charming and very cute.
    I said it and I am very happy that he is having this wave of success because he has earned it. I liked his opening shout-out to his wife Anna Faris, and I liked the Marvel movies sketch because that for me sums up Marvel at this moment, they will put anything out and people will come and watch and say it is the best thing ever. I agree with you that Pratt was way under used and that was a shame.
    I was also letdown by the fact that Kate McKinnon was not used at all! For me what made me want to watch this show was the fun and funny previews of the show that she did with Chris Pratt, they were funny together and had comedic chemistry.
    I was happy to see Aidy Bryant she and Kate always makes me laugh and are a great addition to SNL, and I really like Jay Pharaoh, but I have to be honest and say that the NFL sketches, the opener and the one in the middle of show just went past me because I have no idea who they were portraying/parodying and I absolutely LOATH American football.
    Weekend Update could be better but agree with you that Colin Jost IS bland, but the new anchor Michael Che has potential. The new cast member Pete Davidson for me was just okay, I know everyone raved about his spot on Weekend Update but he was rather background bland in the video game sketch, but that sketch was bland, but he really did not stand out at all.
    The Roommates sketch made me laugh because it was so bizarre and 70’s sit-com formulaic.
    One person who I cannot really abide and do not find funny at all is Taran Killam, he just seems pushed out in front of everyone like they are trying to make him into the new Will Farrell or Jason Sudekis who I found hilarious, Taran is not funny and I find it annoying that he even gets more stage time that Kennan Thompson who is funny. But I guess its because he is the ‘best looking white guy” left on the show so he gets centre stage.
    This does not really surprise me as they are now making amends by having more women and people of colour on the show. This seems to be the most they have ever had in their 40 years which is pathetic.

    I liked Arianna Grande, she has a pleasant voice and I became impressed with her after watching her on PBS Women of Soul at the White House. She held her own with Patty Labelle, and the GodMother of Soul Aretha Franklin and you could see the respect she has for these women. Arianna’s songs were poppy and fun I do not care if she can dance.

    A better tribute/goodbye to Don Pardo was warranted and I was sad that not much was made of his contribution to SNL.

    Next week is Sarah Silverman who I love and find funny but I may just flip through because
    Maroon 5 and Adam Levine give me hives.
    Thanks for your review! 🙂

  3. Thom Bartleman September 28, 2014 at 8:36 pm #

    I really hate to point this out but Leslie Jones and Zamata are not the same person. NOT EVEN CLOSE.

    I also have to say that I haven’t finished watching it (stopped at the news), and my overall impression up to that point is very mediocre.

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