I'll be the first to admit that I have a hard time being objective about this week's Saturday Night Live, as I spent the weekend at the 50th Anniversary celebration of Second City. Seeing the cast of SCTV reunite and discuss their approach to the greatness of their sketch comedy makes forgettable blah like this week's show seem way worse than it even might be. I don't like thinking that this is how far we've come.
Making matters worse is that this week's SNL felt more of-the-moment than usual in a bad way, probably because it was hosted by Twilight star Taylor Lautner. That was a mistake, not only because it dates the show badly (two years from now, there will be a collective "who?" when this episode is referenced. I'm just kidding. This episode will never be referenced), but because it suggests that the show is pandering to the wrong demographic. I know wanting Saturday Night Live to aspire to SCTV's level of talent is asking too much, but it would be nice if they could at least try and achieve some that show's timelessness. I know you've got another show next week, SNL, but this episode is going to around forever, too.
And here's something interesting you may not know about. The NBC Saturday Night Live website now has entire episodes of the show available for online viewing, but only for a limited window. That means you can go back and catch up on the January Jones debacle on the off chance you missed it and now have no idea what everyone is referring to when they say things like "the January Jones debacle."
- "Cold Open: Adulterers Press Conference" - Stop doing political sketches. (Watch "Cold Open: Adulterers Press Conference" video)
- "Taylor Lautner Monlogue" - Here was our first BIG indication that Taylor Lautner maybe isn't going to have a career in comedy. And maybe a career once the Twilight well dries up. The jokes were stiff, and then he did a bunch of kung-fu. It was a little like a high school talent show. You are very good at kung-fu, Taylor Lautner. You = Sharkboy! The rest of the monologue was some strange adolescent fantasy, suggesting that not only is SNL being booked by 13-year old girls these days but written by them, too.
- "Surprise" - Just about any sketch centering on Kristen Wiig is going to get repeated a bunch whether it deserves it or not. This one, about a character who gets overly excited and can't keep a secret, gets trotted out regularly and is the exact same every time. I'm not a fan of it (or just about any of Wiig's regular characters, actually, though I won't deny she's talented and can be funny). Having said that, I did LOL when she jumped up the chimney. And a little when she carried the Christmas tree out the front door. I can't defend it.
- "Football Taping" - In the hands of another host, this sketch might have been amusing; not funny, as it's predicated on a single joke, but amusing. Taylor Lautner doesn't have the chops for it to work, so it amounts to him mugging and being "funny" but not being funny at all. Plus, like a lot of sketches this week, it never went anywhere. Too many static sketches, Saturday Night Live.
- "Show Choir" - I don't have much to say about this sketch, which was bad in that way that's totally forgettable. Abby Elliot's glasses almost made it all worthwhile. Almost. Not quite the new holiday classic they were going for -- but I won't be surprised if it doesn't pop up in one of those retrospectives the show cranks out yearly.
- "Update: Mistress 15" - I'm as happy as the next person that the females in the cast got more of a spotlight than they usually get this week (more than just Kristen Wiig, that is), but this bit DIED. A lot of Nasim Pedrad's characters seem kind of similar (this one owed a lot to both her Kim Kardashian and Charlene Yi impressions, neither of which are very much like Kim Kardashian or Charlene Yi), and the piece had nothing to say other than that the scores of women doing it with Tiger Woods are vapid and possibly opportunistic. Zing! (Watch "Update: Mistress 15" video)
- "PGA Tour" - This showed some promise early on, with Jason Sudekis doing quiet desperation nicely and trying to sell us on golf despite its dull suckiness. I even liked when the PGA tour started being sponsored by Old Dogs, because yuck that movie. But it overstayed its welcome and ran probably one (if not two) too many times.
- "Eternal Spark of Love" - There was half a good sketch in this piece about two tweens finding love at the mall, continually interrupted by Kenan Thompson's Barry White-esque narrator. Once the sketch began to turn, though, and show the promise of more, the bottom fell of it and we all realized there was nothing else to say. Still, I chuckled at the first few instances of Thompson's disbelief, and Abby Elliot was both incredibly adorable and totally wasted.
- "New Doorbells" - While this week's show featured a lot of screen time for the female cast members, none of them were able to capitalize on it much. Newcomer Jenny Slate came closest with this sketch that put her front and center (is this the first since her ill-fated "Biker Chick Chat" in the season premiere?). It wasn't god-awful, but it was just one joke and I'm not really sure how the cartoonish creator she created fit in with the premise; the two seemed slapped together from separate ideas. Maybe it's based on some local New York commercial. After all, I thought last week's great Underground Music festival sketch was an original. I should have known it's all about the Juggalos, my ninjas. (Watch "New Doorbells" video)
- Original Air Date: 12/12/09
- Host: Taylor Lautner
- Musical Guest: Bon Jovi