"Saturday Night Live" returned for its 35th season with "Transformers" and "Jennifer's Body" star Megan Fox as host and U2 as the musical guests tonight. After a politically charged summer with President Obama in the middle of a health care crisis, Bill Clinton saving journalists in Korea, Glenn Beck making a, um, name for himself on Fox News, the writers on "SNL" should have had tons to lampoon in their first new hour since May, right?
Oh, they've done that already on the first two episodes of "Weekend Update Thursday." Well, quite honestly we're more interested in seeing if Ms. Fox, who has been battling former "Transformers" director Michael Bay in the press, can show some of the comedic range she displayed in "Body" (not that many of you went to see it). So, without further ado...
Intro: Muammar Gaddafi back at the UN.
Fred Armisen appears as the Libyan leader to explain why he gave such a rambling speech at the UN earlier this week. And, of course, his excuses are just as crazy. He blames jet lag on a six-hour time difference. Also having problems with his giant tent which even Englewood, N.J. wouldn't let him put up (ah, where's Armisen's Gov. Patterson when we need him?). It's not bad, but it's already an old joke in the current 12-hour news cycle world we live in.
Verdict: B. Funny, but drags on way to long.
Megan Fox struts out in a sexy, black short cropped dress that appropriately displays her cleavage and yep, it's part of a joke.
"Feels like a dream", Fox says of hosting "SNL." "I guess it's a 13-year-old boys dream."
She then goes through a pretty smart rip of all the fake nude photos of herself that appear on line.
"Some of you may now me from 'Transformers,'" Fox says. "Most of you probably know me from naked pictures on the internet. Which is weird because I don't really remember posing nude."
She then displays numerous photos that are clearly photoshop jobs, but Fox lives by the "if it's on the internet it must be true" rule and there are some good laughs in it.
Verdict: B. Short, sweet and appropriately self-mocking.
[Less about the lame and unfunny Bladavvan peeing commercial as possible.]
Kristen Wiig and Fox play southern airline stewardesses constantly giving passengers bad news. We discover Fox can do a pretty good southern accent. Of course, Wiig blows her off the tube, but at least Fox doesn't seem like she's directly reading cue cards.
Verdict: B. Wiig makes it work, but it dies at the end.
Fox is one of two russian brides, with Armisen in drag as the other. As the prettier bride, Fox just has to stand and, um, look sexy. She appears to speak Russian in responding to questions, but maybe she's just mumbling? The joke is centered on the ugly bride being $10 cheaper. This seems like a skit that should be relegated to the final 10 minutes on a bad night. Instead, it's the second real skit. Yeesh.
Verdict: D. Did they even need Fox for this?
SNL Digital Short 1
It begins with Will Forte and Megan Fox on a date. Forte's character is supposed to be a bit "off," but it's unclear why, but the whole point o the sketch is that he's an overly emotional habitual liar and when Fox asks him to marry him (on their first date), his response is "No [expletive] way." Because, who could say no to Megan Fox? Lame.
Verdict: D. You almost feel bad for her with this one.
Brady Wilson's Burning up the Bed sheets
Keenan Thompson, probably one of the most underrated cast members (after six years no less!), has brought his A-game back from summer vacation with this funny skit about an older man who has come up with a self-help DVD with different love making techniques. Fox shows up as a dumb broad who helps him demonstrate The Teeter-Totter, The Stormy Seas, The Mother May I and The Wild Boar specifically. Our favorite? The Jabberwocky as Thompson continues to try and make "SNL" culturally relevant all on his own.
Verdict: B. Not for everyone in the room, but still memorable. Still, Megan's just doing the whole sexy chick thing though. Such a stretch.
Next up? U2 performs. Honestly, after you see "U2 3-D" actually in 3-D anything else besides being there in person is a let down.
Admittedly, laughed at the Larry King joke.
Best part of this week's segment: Thompson is returning character Jean St. Jean, the French Def Jam comedian commenting on the G20 summit. Favorite line: "You remember the Channel belt?" (went by so quick audience didn't catch it).
Another good zinger from Meyers: "Arkansas where even being pregnant doesn't stop you from being pregnant."
Then, oh lord, Kristen Wiig as the rambling Judy Grimes. I'm in the minority, I just don't get this character. As for the rest? Yep, doing the Thursday Update show is really killing some of the more timely and best bits for the rest of the week. Thursday Update may have worked during election season, but these guys can't keep up with "The Daily Show" and "Colbert." Zut alors indeed.
Verdict: C. Myers used up all his best stuff on Thursday.
You've seen this numerous times before (maybe decades before), a skit mocking telephone chat lines which seem to be back in vogue these days (are people over the internet?). Fox lays seductively on a couch while selling the virtues of calling in. It's a short one, but has some funny examples of people you may meet on the line including "People who are masturbating, people with social disorders, women who want o be murdered, people who are going to wait for so long they no longer have boundaries, people who do that belt choke sex thing and..."
[Wait for it.]
Really? A Duchovny sex addict joke? Isn't that like a year old? What is this, Jay Leno?
Verdict: C. Fox doesn't bring much to it, but it had chuckles.
U2 is back, this time they are bringing it down with "Breathe" which neither convinces me to go see them in concert or to buy their new album.
Biker Chit Chat
Oooh, it's time for the skit where new cast member Jenny Slate said the f-word in her very first episode! (Thank you Facebook and Twitter!) Will they bleep it or cut it for the West Coast? Do we really need to ask? Yep. It's gone, but her expression isn't! They just put "freakin" in where she said the F-word. FYI the point of this skit seems to be to say "freakin'" as much as possible. Fox shows up as Donna a tough biker chick with a leg cast. Fox is actually pretty good here sporting a Long Island/Queens/New Jersey accent. She might be able to star in a Scorsese movie after this skit (did I really just type that?).
Verdict: C. Freakin' repetitive, but at least they got Fox to show some miniscule range.
SNL Digital Short 2
Megan Fox and Andy Samberg (as themselves) arrive at Fox's apartment to find her roommate who is a guy in a bathroom and an Optimus Prime mask. Andy can't believe it's really Optimus. Every time Fox leaves the living room Optimus gets hardcore and tells Andy he needs to get the [expletive] out of there. Megan actually believes the guy in the mask is Optimus. It ends with the guy playing Optimus and another guy in a Bumblebee mask (no spoilers on who it was) "transforming" which really just means they get naked and, well, see, they, um....let's just say there was a reason this skit was after 12:30 PM.
Verdict: Um, bizarre to the 9th degree, but I'm sure someone found it funny. Maybe?
Your Mom Talks to Megan Fox While You Finish Getting Ready
Wiig plays a funny mom who really doesn't know who Megan Fox is or "Transformers" or can't get any entertainment jargon right. Wiig is pretty funny in this, but it totally peters out at the end.
Verdict: C. Megan, playing herself. Not much to do here.
U2 is back to close the show with "Ultraviolet" and Bono has a freaky cool microphone which he swings from on the stage. That might sell tickets. Or not.
And with that the show is thankfully over. Sadly, Fox doesn't provide any self-mocking moments about how bad "Jennifer's Body" has done at the box office or comparing Michael Bay to Hitler. Honestly, considering how the public may be turning on Ms. Fox these days, it might have helped.
And yes, fired cast members Michela Watkins and Casey Wilson are missed already.
What did you think of this week's show? Did Fox exceed your expectations? Do you miss Watkins and Wilson? Share your thoughts below.