Could the Round Mound of Rebound and the first Idol start 2012 off right?
Tonight marks the third time that Charles Barkley has hosted “Saturday Night Live.” I completely forgot that he initially hosted the show in 1993 until doing a little digging in preparation for tonight’s recap. I remember his 2010 appearance well, albeit unkindly. So I’m slightly dreading his presence tonight in this, the first “SNL” of 2012. It doesn’t help my confidence that he spent seemingly half of today inside NBC’s “Football Night in America” studio plugging his appearance rather than working on his sketches. He’s a larger-than-life personality outside of this show, but seems to shrink in this particular spotlight. Oh well. If nothing else, the original “American Idol” herself Kelly Clarkson may brighten tonight’s proceedings.
As per usual, only one way to find out. I grade each sketch, you get mad, and then we all move on with our lives. Deal? Deal.
A strong season finale, but was it worth the lame hours leading up to it?
Back in the 1980’s, Wendy’s ran a successful ad campaign based around a single catchphrase: “Where’s the beef?” You could apply the same question to “Terra Nova,” which we can now safely say was a 4-hour television movie that managed to also have nine inconsequential hours between the season premiere and season finale. (We might be able to eventually substitute “series” for “season,” but as of the time I’m writing this, that’s still up in the air.) It’s not that there wasn’t another nine hours of story here. It’s that the writers/producers of the series didn’t know how to fill those hours with compelling characters, interesting action, or philosophical inquiry. They knew the starting point, and they knew the ending point. Everything in between wasn’t an opportunity so much as an obstacle.
Surprise guests join an 'SNL' veteran to close 2011 on a high note
So putting my cards on the table up front: I didn’t particularly care for Jimmy Fallon during his run on “Saturday Night Live.” I thought his impressions were great, and his energy was always on point. But there was a sloppiness to his work that always irked me. Either he was busy butchering the English language on “Weekend Update” or overtly trying to make Horatio Sanz break on live television. Still, his late night show has turned around my impression of him entirely, and he’s truly grown into his own as a confident comic performer during his tenure in Conan O’Brien’s old slot. Will he excel tonight in his old stomping grounds, or will he revert to his previous ways? Will musical guest Michael Bublé stick to simply signing, or will Christmas come early and give us all “Hamm and Bublé II: Electric Pork-a-loo?”
Only one way to find out: onto tonight’s recap!
New Directions splits its attention during the holidays, and HitFix starts a tradition of its own
“Well, tonight thank God it’s them, instead of you!” That line, sung by Bono in “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”, has always bothered me. I’m sure it’s bothered a lot of you as well. I understand the meaning the song was probably going for, but it comes off completely condescending at best, and totally tone-deaf at worst. Is Bono sarcastically berating those who have the technology to listen to the song? Is he mocking those in Africa who might not get MTV, satellite radio, or Spotify? For reasons only Ryan Murphy can probably answer, New Directions sang this song, including that infamous line, AT A BUNCH OF HOMELESS PEOPLE TONIGHT. Essentially, New Directions said, “Look, you’re down and out, but at least you don’t live in Africa.” I think. I honestly don’t know. All I know is that when I heard, “Well, tonight thank God it’s them, instead of you,” I heard “Glee” singing it at everyone no longer watching this program.
A familiar friend helps us break down why this show was such a missed opportunity
To call tonight’s penultimate episode of “Terra Nova” an exercise in stalling would imply that the rest of the season has been chock full o’ narrative momentum. That clearly isn’t the case, as it’s pretty obvious by now that this series has, at best, a 4-hour mini-series worth of story. Why else would the second to last episode of the season (and maybe series) devote 10 minutes on Maddy trying to find a battery for her prehistoric iPad? Sure, education’s important, but I’d wager there are slightly bigger concerns at this moment in the colony’s history. “Within” set up the fireworks for next week, but it will more than likely be sound and fury, signifying nothing.
A strong Digital Short, some cameos and Stefon boost Katy Perry's episode
I have to confess my excitement about the possibilities inherent with Katy Perry hosting “Saturday Night Live” tonight. I wouldn’t exactly say I’m a fan of her musical output, but she’s certainly shown ample willingness to spoof herself in the past. Her appearance on last year’s “Bronx Beat” sketch was also quite strong, and not just because of her choice of low-cut Elmo top, either. Can she sustain a full show with such energy and aplomb? It’s hard to say. I don’t think anyone’s expected Justin Timberlake levels of success tonight, but I wouldn’t be the least surprised if this turns into a highlight of the 2011 Fall season.
Which pretty much means I probably just doomed the show to being a 90-minute rendition of “The Manuel Ortiz Show,” interspersed between musical performances by Robyn. I sincerely apologize in advance. Onto the recap!
Which model would Tyra Banks crown as most fierce?
We’ve come to the finale of the very first "Top Model" All-Star edition. It’s down to Allison, she of the big googly-moogly Muppet eyes; Angelea, the bus-depot-sleeping, socially challenged Buffalo girl; and Lisa, who is, well, Lisa.
Sectionals doesn't push the show forward so much as hit a huge reset button
So here we are, near the end of the Fall run for “Glee.” Next week is the holiday episode, which pretty much exists out of continuity. Well, continuity as far as this show goes. It’s a stop-gap episode filled with holiday sweaters and Artie’s Magic Legs. But let’s not worry about that now, because we have before us the task of analyzing what went down at Sectionals. In the first season of “Glee,” Sectionals provided the majority of the narrative thrust, given every episode some overall context as New Directions tried to get its act together in order to eventually compete. Now? Sectionals is something that “Glee” tries to get through as opposed to strive for. If it could avoid actually having to go through these motions, it probably would.
Could the 'Boardwalk Empire' bring the 'SNL' funny?
After a one-week hiatus, “Saturday Night Live” is back for the first of three consecutive episodes to end 2011. Kicking things off tonight: Steve Buscemi and The Black Keys. Given Buscemi’s cinematic track record, I wonder if Adam Sandler might pop by tonight. After all, Buscemi seems to appear in nearly every Sandler big-screen jam. Will Sandler appear tonight? Unlikely, but color me curious all the same. Also, color me curious if “SNL” will attempt any “Boardwalk Empire”-related sketches tonight. Bill Hader as Richard Harrow? Sign me up for THAT, please.
Guess we’ll have to break down each sketch as they air to find out. Onto the recap!
The models get to live their dreams by blogging and working with Tyra
Only four aspiring glamazons remain in this All-Star cycle of “America’s Next Top Model!”
So what are the challenges this week? Well, in case you haven’t heard, Tyra Banks has “written” a best-selling “novel” called “Modelland.” And this is great news for the Top Model contestants. Why? Because they get the honor of acting this
ghost-written crap masterpiece in a brand-new video ... editorial ... thing!