There are a few things that make me feel old. Not knowing the lyrics to a single Miley Cyrus or Jonas Brothers song. Thinking Taylor Swift is cute but can’t sing a damn lick. And being one of those people who whines about when “SNL” used to be good. Which really wasn’t that long ago (I’m thinking Tina Fey as Sarah Palin). But it’s such a traditional bitch about the show I hate to even drag it out. Still, this has not been a banner year for “SNL”, and I wonder if, without a bumbling idiot of a Republican or two in the headlines, if it’s just too much to ask for some pointed humor instead of potty jokes. But I’m going to think positive and dive right in tonight.
[Recap of Saturday (Feb. 6) night's "Saturday Night Live" after the break...]
Things do not start out well, I’ll say that much. The opening skit seems like it should have some bite but ends up gumming it like an old lady at a pudding eating contest. After all, it’s a Fox News roundtable discussion about repealing don’t ask, don’t tell. Kristen Wiig is Greta Van Susteren, Jason Sudeikis is Glenn Beck, I mean, this should be a slam dunk. But it isn’t. It’s just some feeble pot shots at an easy target (Fox News) and not a single barbed stab at what is, really, a hot topic. I’ve sort of suspected that the “SNL” writers don’t pay enough attention to politics to actually make fun of them, and this is just another example. But, as overused as she is, Kristen Wiig is always solid, and Sudeikis plays Glenn Beck as a total dumbass, which just makes me happy. Grade: C
This is Ashton Kutcher’s fourth time hosting “SNL.” And, because he’s turning 32, he’s going to act all grown up. And not freak out over the bulldog on a surfboard. Or a kid playing T-ball. Or an old lady dance-off. I could go on, but it doesn’t get funnier. If you care, Ashton takes off his pants. I’m not sure what this was, but it wasn’t a monologue. Grade: D-
In this skit, Ashton is a pool boy who bangs a rich old lady for ten years and gets nothing for his labors except STDs. It’s a one-note joke, but mercifully short, so that counts for something. And, of course, you have to wonder if Ashton got the Demi reference, which is pretty wicked either way. Grade: C+
A “The View” parody that tackles don’t ask, don’t tell (sigh) and the Oscars. Then, Ashton comes out playing Mel Gibson, which for some reason involves talking like a woman who smokes five packs a day. WTF? There was a time when “SNL” actually skewered “The View” effectively. Now it’s just pointless attacks on the women’s personality quirks, which aren’t even close to funny or accurate. Grade: F
Cialis ad parody. It’s... Cialis for three ways. Um, okay. There are a few funny moments in this, but it’s not one of the show’s better fake ads. Grade: C+
Ashton is a slave boy feeding grapes to a Roman emperor played by Will Forte. Kudos to Ashton for not cracking up when he’s referred to as a “horse-penised boy”. Considering the point of this skit seems only to be offensive to gay people, all the lameness over don’t ask, don’t tell is making sense now. Grade: F
Finally, it’s time for Them Crooked Vultures. Did you know John Paul Jones is 64? I love that Grandpa can still rock out just as hard as Dave Grohl. The sound mix is a little muddy for both performances, but it’s still good stuff. Grade: A
I’ll be honest – Seth Meyers solo is not my favorite Weekend Update. However, I do give him props for a good jabs at the Democratic supermajority and the Toyota recall. Still, Meyers looks like a comic genius next to Andy Samberg’s teenager who just woke up. Was there a point to that? I mean, other than to be irritating? Samberg just doesn’t seem to care if he’s funny anymore, which pains me to say, as I will always have great fondness for “Dick in A Box”. And I would be perfectly happy if Kenan Thompson never did his stupid French rapper shtick again. Does every routine this guy does have to cue laughs with a booty shake? And the less said about Kristen Wiig and Fred Armisen’s bad singing duo, the better – I guess I should be happy it cracked them up, so at least someone was laughing. On a happier note, Bill Hader as Elliot Spitzer was actually fun, albeit lowbrow fun, but at this point in the evening, I’ll take the laughs wherever I can get them. Grade: B-
I kind of like the idea of this skit – it’s a game show called, “What Is ‘Burn Notice’?” Because, sadly, I know nothing about “Burn Notice”. Not a huge laugh, but kind of clever. Grade: B-
Access Hollywood covers the Oscar nominations. This skit has the potential to be funny, and it is, for about a minute, as Abby Elliott and Fred Armisen read off a list that includes not only “Hurt Locker” and “Avatar” but “Bebe’s Kids”, the New Orleans Saints and “Jersey Shore.” Not bad, not great, but for this show, that’s passing. Grade: C
Next, an apology from Rahm Emmanuel (Andy Samberg). Why this didn’t run earlier in the show, I have no idea. It’s actually funny, topical and obscene. But maybe the expectation is that, if you’re up late enough to watch “SNL”, you don’t know who Rahm Emmanuel is. Sigh. Grade: A-
Okay, maybe I’m just getting tired at this point, but I kinda liked this skit. A father (Armisen) gets the band back together to play at his daughter’s wedding – and neglects to mention they’re a punk band. Of course Dad trashes the place, oh, and Dave Grohl makes an appearance on drums. There’s no real ending to the skit, which is unfortunate, but at least it was a good idea. Grade: B
So, not a great episode, but it could have sucked more. Is that faint praise? Yes, yes it is. It’s time for the writers to sharpen their knives, give Kristen Wiig (as talented as she is) a little more time off and, you know, bring the funny. Because lately, they seem to be leaving it at home on the dresser, next to the remote that’s permanently stuck on MTV and The TV Guide Channel.
What'd y'all think of Saturday's "SNL"?