It's been awhile since we've had a chance to visit "Saturday Night Live," but besides missing what turned out to be a popular hosting stint by none other than Taylor Swift it seems this season hasn't necessarily turned around yet aside. So, it was with great hope that we tuned to catch "Mad Men's" January Jones inaugural stint as host. Who knew Jones would be forced to resort to potty humor and it would turn into Jason Sudeikis' night to dominate the show instead?
Intro: A Message from the Vice President
Sudeikis gives us a taste of things to come as he appears once again as Vice President Joe Biden. Seems Biden has crashed the Oval Office while President Obama is overseas in Asia. Biden admits he's not allowed in the White House, but explains "Why am I here? Because Joe Biden follows his heart and not instructions." He also promises that while Obama's gone he'll solve one of the three following problems: Afghanistan, Economy or Health Care. Afghanistan? Not possible, "It's worse than Scranton." Fix the economy? "We already did it. The stimulus is working. Remember: the stimulus is working!" Health Care? "We're gonna crave in like crazy. [The President will] literally sign anything. Remember that public option? Poof!"
Instead, Biden promises to get Health Care passed and add a middle class tax cut. "Joe, how are you going to pay for a 1.2 trillion plan by cutting taxes? Finally..."
...it's live from New York, blah, blah, blah...
Monologue: January Jones
The gorgeous Ms. January Jones walks out and is immediately besieged by three "Mad Men" super fans or she calls them "Monies." They are diehards who dress up like the characters on the show and memorize all their lines. She notes they are like Trekkers, but they insist, "Trekkies are losers who dress up like 'Star Trek' and live with their parents. We live with our parents and pretend we're in advertising." They then beg Jones to say one of her signature "Mad Men" lines as only she can. "Do Betty!" "Guy's I'm not going to say 'Don.'" She finally relents, "OK, 'Don.'" The trio then jump on stage to sing lyrics they've added to the "Mad Men" opening theme. Doesn't sound that funny does it?
Grace: C. What have we learned? January seems nervous and it's going to be a long night.
The Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda
It appears Jenny Slate is now playing Hoda alongside Wiig's goofy Kathie Lee (didn't one of the girls who was kicked off play her before?). It doesn't matter much as the whole bit continues to just be about how crazy Kathie Lee is. She just rips Hoda ("Everybody leaves Hoda's body, they leave it alone!") and talks way too much about her sex life with Frank ("All he needs are just old tapes of WKRP in Cincinnati or his 'Loni tapes.' And then we are ready to get it on!"). Meanwhile, The Black Eyed Peas appear off stage as "Today" guests who are getting increasingly annoyed by Gifford. When the talk show host begins to serenade a "regular" couple flown in just for her to sing to them, Fregie comes over and punches Kathie Lee and then the rest of the Peas slam on her. But, of course, she won't stop singing.
Grade: C. A few giggles until Fergie punches her which we'd love to see in real life. Just for kicks.
Jimmy Stewart (Sudeikis of course) is working with Alfred Hitchcock (Bobby Moynihan) on the set of the classic film "Rear Window." January Jones appears as Grace Kelly. She looks beautiful. They begin a take from the film and all of a sudden one of the actors lets one rip. "Oh, my goodness. I think that was me. I had a big lunch," Kelly says. They shoot it again. And she lets an even bigger one rip. "Did I do it again?' I'm sorry I must be nervous to work with the great Jimmy Stewart." Stewart tries to be patient, but she can't even hold it in while the try to slate the next take. He finally complains, "It's so strong can someone open up the front window?" At that point Hitchcock asks, "Should we continue tomorrow?" Kelly insists, "I'm sure that's the last of it. Oh, hold on. That definitely was." As Kelly keeps farting, it's obvious January is trying not to laugh and y'know it's the most endearing moment on the show.
Grade: B+. Yeah, it's fart humor, but Jones almost cracking up made it 10 times funnier than it should have been.
Desperate Closeted Lesbian Reporter
Jones is a Dairy Queen employee who is interviewed about an attempted robbery at her restaurant, but instead, the television reporter (Kristen Wiig) can't help but be overwhelmed by her beauty. Jones, "A man in a ski mast burst in..." Wiig, "I'm sorry, I didn't hear what you said. I was starring at your mouth. Looking at your lips. Not you're pretty face! I like it." Typical uncomfortable Wiig character you've seen numerous times before. And there really is nothing for Jones to do here.
Wait, is this bit still going on. Really? I turned away...
Wait, is this bit still going on and Wiig is just in a bra?
Grade: D. Another Wiig character we've seen before that outlasts it's welcome about a minute into the skit.
The perfect cocktail party
January does a 50's style "how to" movie for a perfect cocktail party. She's a bad cook and gives stereotypical and racist examples of how to treat your guests. For example: "If a black person arrives, just kidding. A black person won't arrive. That's just an example of cocktail humor."
Grade: B. Jones appears to do much better in the taped bits than the live ones.
Black Eyed Peas: 'I Got A Feeling'
Couldn't this band just be Will.i.am and Fergie? Do they really need the other two guys?
Grade: Um. It may not be necessary for the Black Eyed Peas to perform live.
A couple of quick reminders why we miss Tina Fey and Amy Phoeler from the always charming Seth Meyers.
- "Dow hit a 52 week high, but at least this putz is happy (Etrade baby)."
- "Palin she says her interview went so badly because Couric...asked questions."
- Regarding the pilot who was taken into custody for allegedly being under the influence, "Authorities could tell he was drunk because he was sitting in 22F."
Thankfully part-time "SNL" retiree Darryl Hammond shows up as recently departed CNN anchor Lou Dobbs.
- "Either I could stop ranting and raving or I could leave CNN and Seth that's no choice at all. In recent years it's clear the letter C in CNN is the word si as in 'Yes, the mexicans are coming and they are here to stay."
- "Juan King. He claims he's American but he's got that Latin tinge."
- "Last time I checked the programming of Telemundo was 99% in Spanish. I'm going on to a better place. Like the radio or the roof of my house."
- "I won't rest until all of us, not just the illegals have the right to sell oranges alongside the highway."
[Sigh, sure you don't want to un-retire Mr. Hammond?]
Kim Kardashian appears to comment on the wedding of her sister Khloe to Lakers forward Lamar Odom.
- "It was so fun. There were a lot of really famous people there. Ryan Seacrest, Kelly Osborne. My butt. It was my plus one. Oh, Khloe was so stunning when I saw her walking down the aisle, I looked so beautiful." Meyers, "You mean your sister?" "Uh, yeah,...no."
- On reuniting with Reggie Bush: "They call us the Bush an the Tush. You get it Seth. I'm the tush because of my butt." Meyers asks if they are going to tie the knot themselves. "Well, Reggie and I had a really rocky year, but I'm happy to report we're back together." She receives a text. "Oh, wait. We just broke up. He was always a third wheel. Reggie, me and...my butt."
Bon Jovi opposite band Jon Bovi are the final Weekend Update guests. Not sure why this bit is that funny to the writers or cast, but the dumb duo (Sudeikis and
Bill Hader Will Forte) whip out "opposite" lyrics to a number of famous Bon Jovi songs such as "You're hated is like good medicine. Good medicine is not what I need." They end with some bizarre Ebony and Ivory opposite song.
Grade: B. Hammond and the Kim Kardashian bits were good enough to merit a stronger grade, but then Jon Bovi had to tear all the goodwill down.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
A black and white scene from years gone by finds Dr. Jekyll (Bill Hader) appearing alongside his wife (Jones) before a panel of his peers to ask for more funding for his research. And it turns out this Mr. Hyde isn't who you think he is.
Jekyll says "When I'm Mr. Hyde I have sex with men. But I have explained it's the serum. It's Mr. Hyde who does things" with men."
A colleague asks, "Can we see this serum?"
"Ahh, I forgot to bring it."
He also notes, "Even though men have sex with Mr. Hyde. Let me clarify, Mr. Hyde has sex with men."
Someone asks, "How many men?"
"For awhile many men. But more recently one man. Julius."
Enter Fred Armisen as Julius, "Are you almost done? Are we going dancing?"
Jekyll continues, "I want to do some experiments at a place called Fire Island."
A peer, "That sounds like hell!"
Jekyll replies, "If that's hell, sign me up. Trust me I'll be fine."
His wife asks, "But Fire Island is too dangerous for me right?"
"Yes, its no place for a woman."
Another scientist asks how long can he go on like this?
Julius, "Oh, don't worry. when he's Mr. Hyde he can't last more than five minutes."
Grade: B. More gay "SNL" humor! Gotta love it. Plus, it actually had some damn funny lines.
In what must be something of an in joke, Armisen keeps opening the door on Andy Samberg siting on the toilet in different buildings, rooms, elevators, the gym, on the sidewalk, etc.. At the end, he doesn't think Samberg is in the bathroom and pulls down his pants to sit on the toilet. Oops! There's Andy!
Grade: C+. But only that high for the payoff.
Black Eyed Peas - 'Meet Me Halfway'
Fergie delivers while wearing an odd looking headdress, Will.i.am sports a slick white jacket and the other two dudes look like they have no idea why the are there.
Grade: Abstaining. It's just not worth it.
Bad First Date
Sudeikis and Jones are spending a first date lying on the grass looking at the cloud above them. It's painfully obvious either Jones character just woke up from a deep freeze (the last movie she saw in theaters was "The Wiz") or she's crazy. Sudeikis character tries to find something positive about her personality before finally giving up and sticking with the date because it looks like he'll get laid when all is said in done.
Grade: C-. At this point I'm just being kind.
The show mercifully ends with the "Black Eyed Peas" singing/speaking their massive summer hit "Boom Boom Boom."
A couple of questions for Lorne:
- Is Andy Samberg still on this show? If so, can we get a little bit of him more than once a month?
- Is the idea to showcase one cast member a week? Because, to be completely honest, unless the host is stellar like Ryan Reynolds, Gerard Butler or Swift, it's just not working.
- Where was Kenan Thompson this week? He's the most consistently funny guy they've got this year. It seems like the show can't survive without him.
- Can we have some more pop culture humor? If the season is gonna be a waste, at least get some cheap but funny laughs instead of the sophomoric fart humor.
- Jones is a beautiful and talented actress, but how about some hosts who have a bit more comedy experience? It can't be that hard to land hosts these days can it?
Next week: The laugh riot known as Joseph Gordon Levitt and the Dave Matthews Band. (Yeah, we know Gordon Levitt was on "3rd Rock From The Sun" and he's a heck of an actor, but have you interviewed him lately? Not a barrel of laughs.)