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Saturday Night Live “John Goodman/Kings of Leon” Live Blog/Review (39×09)

14 Dec

John-GoodmanHere we go.

OBAMA COLD OPEN: So our weekly political cold open is poking fun at the sign language interpreter at the Mandela memorial service. Thompson is very entertaining here, and Kate McKinnon does a nice job, once again, as Angela Merkel; I love the “serious” and “fun” pictures they take. It’s a solid and silly cold open. GRADE: B

MONOLOGUE: “All I Want For Christmas Is Booty”. That’s great, guys, but this monologue isn’t all that entertaining. There isn’t much to the song, which I guess is the point, but come on; I expect a little more effort. Hey, it’s great seeing Goodman back, though. GRADE: C+

GUY FIERI’S FULL THROTTLE CHRISTMAS SPECIAL: Even the audience doesn’t seem that into it. Kate McKinnon as Big Ang is absolutely brilliant, but the rest of the sketch is a dud. The impressions aren’t particularly great, and the production of the sketch is awkward and choppy. GRADE: C-

DEARBORN COMMUNITY PLAYHOUSE HOLIDAY PAGEANT: Now, this is great. It’s a simple, creative sketch that combines some great movements and facial acting from the cast members with some increasingly absurd voice over. “On the way here, I hit a man with my car. I didn’t stop because I thought this was more important!” I love this. GRADE: A-

THREE WISE GUYS: Jeez, how awesome is it seeing Goodman, Stallone, and De Niro in the same sketch? They’re all fantastic, even given how awkward the sketch is; it’s way too choppy for the awkwardness to be endearing. Still, they do a great job, especially with a good amount of one-liners about camels and Jesus and whatever they want. GRADE: B

WEEKEND UPDATE: Well, it’s Seth’s penultimate episode here, and we’re finally seeing some transition to Cecily; I like her interactions with Black Santa Claus, and Meyers does some good work with Drunk Uncle, as always-““We got ‘Black Friday’ now? Wasn’t ‘February’ enough?” In addition, the jokes are pretty solid. GRADE: B+

Second “Inside Llewyn Davis” promo tonight. God, those are beautiful.

GENEVIEVE CIVIL SUIT: Okay, John Goodman’s outfit already makes this sketch. In addition, Killam’s toned-down character suits the sketch well, and Beck Bennett does some awesome dancing at the end of the sketch. The Goodman-Thompson dynamic in particular is brilliant. GRADE: B

FIRE SAFETY: I liked this well enough back in Norton’s episode, and this one is a step down, most likely due to the lack in novelty. Still, it takes a while to get going and doesn’t gel as great as it did a few weeks back. Pedrad’s energy is always great, though, and it’s fun watching the kids exasperate Goodman. GRADE: B-

HALLMARK CHANNEL COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS: Eh. Thankfully this is short, because the concept is just “Let’s roll out a bunch of funny titles and see which one sticks”. At best, some are mildly amusing, but this is a mediocre segment all around. GRADE: C-

KINGS OF LEON: I like the guys, but are they half asleep or something? Anyway, these are perfectly pleasant songs to listen to; they’re not great or anything, but they’re an enjoyable group of guys. GRADE: B

THE CHRISTMAS WHISTLE: Basically, this boils down to a bunch of people yelling at each other, and I’m not sure where the overarching humor is. For some reason, though, there’s something endearing about all the yelling; I can’t quite place it, but the sketch is good for a few laughs. GRADE: B-

H&M SHOPPER: Well, this is a catchy song. It’s not hilarious or anything, but it’s a good use of a few minutes; it’s really entertaining, and Pharoah does good work here. It’s a very well-done jab at H&M, and in addition, Wale drops by. GRADE: B+

DONNELLY’S: These are always great, and Goodman’s fantastic in this role. McKinnon, as always, is on fire, and to be honest with you, this is a scenario you could probably see happening in real life. Anyway, there are some awesome lines (“We could 66. That’s you and me upside down in bed watching TV”), and it’s really entertaining seeing the two and whipped cream and whatever the hell. GRADE: A-

GRADE: B

Next week, Jimmy Fallon, Justin Timberlake, and Seth Meyers’ last night on the show. I’ll be on the west coast then, so my live blog will follow accordingly, which is on a three-hour delay. So, expect it to start at 2:30 Eastern/1:30 Central, although I don’t know why you would still be up by then.

Credit to NBC and Saturday Night Live for all pictures. I own nothing.

Saturday Night Live “Tina Fey/Arcade Fire” Live Blog/Review (39×01)

29 Sep

tina-Fey-SNLThis season of SNL brings new changes, as well my system of weekly live blogs and reviews. Check back in after every couple sketches, as I’ll have updates every 10 minutes or so.

OBAMA COLD OPEN: The SNL political cold opens have never been all that great, but this one is good enough to kick off the season. The fact that Aaron Paul shows up is amazing, and Kate McKinnon does wonderful work here. However, there’s also a lot of unfunny stuff. GRADE: B

TINA FEY MONOLOGUE: Tina Fey’s absolutely amazing. She gets in some good lines here, but the sight of everyone dancing around her doesn’t really work as well as it should have. Anyway, hi to all the new folks. GRADE: C+

“GIRLS” PARODY: Now here is where Fey shines. Blertha is a new character in “Girls”, and everything that she does and says is absolutely hilarious here. Not only that, but the other cast members’ impressions are spot on. Bayer’s Shoshanna and McKinnon’s Jessa are great. GRADE: A-

EXPRESS AIR: This doesn’t really amount to much, except to make fun of a bunch of people that aren’t all that funny. Thompson’s huge suitcase is a hilarious visual gag and Monyihan’s creepy foreigner are great, but the sketch ends up feeling a bit overlong. Still, I liked it. GRADE: B-

NEW CAST MEMBER OR ARCADE FIRE?: Thompson is who makes this sketch work. The premise isn’t all that great, but him screaming at all the cast members and Fey is a joy to watch. While I’m bummed out that Hader is gone, it’ll give guys like Thompson and Killam some more time in the spotlight. GRADE: B

EMETH: As soon as the sketch started, I knew Aaron Paul was going to factor in somewhere at the end. It’s a short sketch, but is just long enough to get in some fantastic meth-smoker shots from the cast. McKinnon is always a treat to watch, and the sight of Thompson trying to grab a naked guy in his living room is hilarious. Also, Aaron Paul. Why not? GRADE: B+

WEEKEND UPDATE: (I’ll take a look at the two musical performances later on) I’m not sure about this yet. Cecily Strong is great, but the first update segment is a bit shaky. I like the bit where Fey gives her advice, but the news stories themselves aren’t all that great (save for maybe the Low Winter Sun slam). Newcomer Kyle Mooney shows up in a not particularly funny guest spot, but Drunk Uncle is able to close off the update on somewhat of a good note. Also, Aaron Paul again. GRADE: C

UNWANTED WOMAN: What? In what world is this funny? I tuned out somewhere in that awfulness, because all I saw was a bunch of stupid stuffed animals. GRADE: D+

RICK’S MODEL T’S: Okay, that late show fatigue is setting in. Fey does what she can as a wife of a car salesman, but her role amounts to nothing but spewing out random lines. Granted, that doesn’t sound all that bad, but nothing really lands here. Hopefully the last sketches can pick up the show a bit. GRADE: C-

ARCADE FIRE: I’ll admit that I’ve never really paid much attention to these guys. I like their style and use of visuals, though, and their sound is very unique; I don’t think I’ll be buying their albums anytime soon, but their performances here are very enjoyable. GRADE: B

MANOLO BLAHNIK: This sketch is consistently hilarious, and I probably will never get tired of it (okay, I probably will). Fey fits in well (“I saw you on House Hunters, and you picked the wrong house, bitch!”), and the other two get in some amazing lines as well (“What’s that thing you put stuff in?” “Your mouth?”). It’s a random sketch, and it’s great. GRADE: B+

Episode Grade: C+

Best sketch: I’m going with “Girls”. I had the grade at B+ before, but I’m bumping it up. It really was a perfect parody, and Fey was wonderful alongside the other cast members.

Worst sketch: “Unwanted Salesman”/”Model T’s”

Final thoughts: I was expecting more out of the premiere, especially with a powerhouse of a host in Tina Fey. There were some great moments, but the whole thing dragged on near the end. Aaron Paul was great, and I felt that Cecily Strong fit in alright Weekend Update. She didn’t get any of the guests, though, which is something I’m hoping we’ll see next week.

Next week: Miley Cyrus. Oh well.

Credit to NBC and Saturday Night Live for all pictures. I own nothing.

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