October 10, 2010
By Rebecca Greene
SNL - I laughed, I cried, I wondered why...Here are the themes of Saturday's episode.
Host and musical guest, Jane Lynch; oh yea, plus Bruno Mars
Jane Lynch, comedian and star of the hit comedy, Party Down - I mean Glee - hosted
the 3rd episode of the 36th season of Saturday Night Live. I found Lynch funny and
entertaining and was impressed by her vocals, making me wonder why the doo-wop
throw back Bruno Mars was even necessary as musical guest. Admission: this was my
first time hearing of him, but I was impressed with what I heard.
Lynch opened her monologue with a few jokes, assuring the audience "You all look taller
in person, too"and then sang a theme song for Glee she co-wrote with her friend "Jose
Cuervo." Lynch also sang her way through one of the night's funniest sketches,
impersonating Faith Hill performing NBC's Sunday Night Football theme song. In the
sketch, the theme song seems never-ending, diverting into Michael Vick's dog fighting
past and providing a lengthy nacho recipe, that by the time she's finished, the game's
score is already 14 to 3.
Lynch and Samberg made a killer duo
The best sketches of the night were when Lynch and SNL funny man Andy Samberg
teamed up. These included: a commercial for a damn-it-my-mom-is-on-Facebook
feature that sanitizes kids Facebook profiles when their mother's are online, "The New
Boyfriend Talk Show," in which a promiscuous mom's son interviews a new boyfriend
every morning with the opening question: "Are you my new dad," and a digital short
about a psychologist experimenting with a new hypnosis technique in which she knees
her patient in the testicles after luring him to his "happy place."
There was a lot of hype this week in anticipation of Jane Lynch and the hoards of Gleeks
she was expected to draw to SNL's TV audience. The show sought to exploit the wild
popularity of the musical comedy-drama not only through Lynch's monologue, but
also in a Glee-themed Gilly sketch. Jason Sudeikis and Abby Elliot failed miserably as
wannabe Mr. Schuester and spot-light hog Rachel Berry, but Keenan and Fred Armisen
were great as the sassy Mercedes Jones and dorky, wheel-chair bound Artie Abrams.
Funniest part of the sketch was Artie's insistence that his glasses was the only thing that
made him different from the rest of the Glee club members.
I miss Will Forte
The Gilly sketch also made me yearn for the return of Will Forte who left the show at
the end of last season. Forte used to play the role of the teacher in that recurring sketch
and his deep, disapproving voice could not be matched by Sudeikis. Additionally, that
the sketch ends with Gilly blowing up the school by detonating a bomb reminded me of
my favorite SNL sketch of the last several years: MacGruber. Though the movie didn't
breakeven at the box office, I laughed uncontrollably through most scenes. Some other
Forte characters/sketches I will miss include: ESPN announcer Greg Stink, Jon Bovi, the
dancing coach and that closet organizer guy.
It's the Kristen Wiig, Andy Samberg and Jason Sudeikis show
The departure of Will Forte makes it even more obvious that SNL has become the Wiig,
Samberg, Sudeikis (WSS) show. Out of a cast of 9 "repertory players" and 5 "featured
players, " - 14 cast members in all - one of the WSS crew played the main character in 8
of the 11 sketches this week (excluding weekend update and the host's monologue). This
means the show is incredibly imbalanced in terms of talent and diminishes the comedic
value of WSS who are forced to play their recurring characters way too often. I would
like to see more of Bobby Moynihan this season who I think has potential to be a long-
standing cast member if given the chance.
Abbey Elliot Survival Guide to inexplicable firings
I'm definitely not the first to say it, but I think Abbey Elliot is the biggest deadweight
on the show, and can't believe she's made it past two rounds of cuts, which saw the
premature departures of the promising talents Michaela Watkins and Jenny Slate.
Watkins was best known for playing "Bitch Pleeze" blogger Angie Tempura and Hoda
Kotb, while Slate was known for playing personalized doorbell, car horn and alarm
clock pitchwoman Tina-Tina Chaneuse and for dropping the F-bomb in her debut sketch.
On the other hand, in two years, the only worthwhile contribution from Abbey Elliot
has been her impression of Angelina Jolie. In my opinion, the reason she's still on the
show is because her personal connections, which include: her father and former SNL cast
member, Chris Elliot, her grandfather Bob Elliot of the popular comedy duo Bob & Ray
who were featured on SNL, and her boyfriend and current cast-member Fred Armisen.
Even Elliot's Wikipedia page lists her claim to fame as her family lineage and mentions
nothing of her SNL characters.
The newbies don't inspire much confidence
Finally, I know it's probably too soon to judge the four new cast members this year -
Vanessa Bayer, Paul Brittain, Taran Killam (formerly of MADtv) and Jay Pharaoh - but
I'll give it a go anyway. Aside from Jay Pharaoh, none of them have been given much
screen time in the first three episodes, and the time they have been given hasn't been very
impressive, e.g., this week's Gilly/Glee dud.
Jay Pharaoh is obviously the highest hope, already commanding outsized airtime
compared to the rest. While his celebrity impressions of Will Smith, Chris Tucker and
Denzel Washington have been spot on, unlike Darrell Hammond, Pharaoh doesn't add
his own spin or unique interpretation to the celebrities he impersonates. For example,
Hammond's impressions of Sean Connery portrayed Connery as a relentless sex-fiend
and jokester. If Pharaoh can add his own spin to the characters, he has a chance at
survival, but otherwise I predict he'll go down as a one hit wonder.