Well, folks. That was a bitter disappointment. This week’s episode of Saturday Night Live was, in my honest opinion, one of the worst episodes I have seen in quite awhile. Don’t get me wrong, there were some strong performances in this episode; however, none of these included host Joseph Gordon-Levitt. As much as it pains me to say it, I would have rather watched ice melt than watch that episode again…which I did this morning, because it was so terribly dull and unfunny that I couldn’t even stay awake last night long enough to last up to Weekend Update.
The cold open was not what I was expecting, but definitely something I have anticipated the show to cover – a spoof of Live with Kelly and Michael, with Nasim Pedrad as Kelly Ripa and Jay Pharaoh as Michael Strahan. The skit was poignant (pointing out that these two actually get paid to sit and talk about absolutely nothing), but wasn’t as brutally honest as SNLskits typically get. Honestly, I would have rather they gone with a political skit, as this cold open was lacking both momentum and laughs. Still, I did get a kick out ofBill Heder’s impersonation ofRobert Pattinson, who stands in the corner and broods.
On to the monologue, which was a total cop out. Joseph Gordon-Levitt comes out and gives us a few one-liners, then comments on how his favorite superhero movie is Magic Mike. Surprise! He jumps right into a strip tease, thusly ruining one of my favorite songs (It’s Raining Men – don’t mock me).
The commercial spoof was amusing at best. New cast member Cecily Strong plays an advocate for America’s undecided voters. These voters are not only uninformed about the election, they have a severe lack in common sense. Some of the questions they ask are, “Can women vote?”, or “What are the names of the two candidates? Be specific”. It could have been funnier, but just as everything that had happened so far, I didn’t feel like there was enough momentum in the skit to really pull me in and get me laughing.
Another commercial-type skit featured Gordon-Levitt as the son of the most interesting man in the world…yes, the Dos Equis guy. Except that Gordon-Levitt’s character is selling Tres Equis. I don’t know, this one just wasn’t doing it for me either, and I absolutely love all the memes about the Dos Equis guy. The first bit was followed up by another, in which the real Dos Equis guy, played byJason Sudekis, comes out and rags on his son.
Another bland skit poses Gordon-Levitt as a man who has hired a private investigator, played by Bill Heder, to find out whether his wife is cheating. The PI has evidence of such affair taking place, but instead of showing the man pictures, he shows him caricatures of events. Heder was hilarious, as usual, but it felt like Gordon-Levitt was trying too hard to match Heder’s energy level, thus making everything seem forced.
At this point in the show, I thought, “oh yay, musical performance, then Weekend Update.” Wrong. Unfortunately, another skit cropped up along the way. In said skit, Gordon-Levitt plays a hypnotist who is foiled by the audience member he pulls to be hypnotized (played by Taram Killam). The multiple twists in the skit made this one slightly better, but such should be credited to Killam and Vanessa Bayer.
Bayer is featured in the next skit, as the woman in a tampon commercial. But these are no ordinary tampons, these are GOB tampons. They’re “made for a woman, by republicans.” This one did get a laugh out of me, but then made me sad, because it’s unfortunately oh so true.
FINALLY, the musical performance. I have to say, I love Mumford and Sons (love, love-love, LOVE). I have listened to Sigh No More on repeat many a day. Their first performance of “I Will Wait” (the lead single from their new album Babel) was stunning. Marcus Mumford has a voice like an angel, and their entire band is cut out so well for live performances; I just think it doesn’t translate well on TV, as it did get a little boring.
On to the best segment of the night, Weekend Update. Is it me, or does Seth Meyers just get better and better? His delivery is spot-on, and the little smirk he has after telling a joke makes it all the more fun. In this episode, he introduces the segment titled “What Are You Doing?”, in which he asks President Obama said question. It will make more sense if you watch it (click here for clip). Vanessa Bayer and Fred Armisen are back as the two best friends of -insert name of any tyrant/dictator here, in this case Assad- in which they talk nice about him, but then whisper their frustration and annoyance to the camera. This segment is ok, but it gets a little old. Finally, the best two performances of the night go to Kate McKinnon as Ann Romney and Jay Pharaoh as Stephen A. Smith. McKinnon is already showing that she has chops, and I certainly anticipate the writers utilizing her heavily. I just hope they don’t allow her to wear her welcome too soon, and pull a Kristen Wiig (in which we see her as the same character every freaking skit). If anything, Weekend Update is really the only part of this episode worth watching, so check out those segments here.
The only skit worth mentioning after this was one in which Gordon-Levitt plays a man getting married to a British woman, so all his friends come to London for the wedding. At the bar they are at, Beatles tribute band “Hey Dude” is played by Mumford and Sons.
I don’t know, maybe I expect too much and was far too harsh on this episode? If anyone feels differently, please speak up, because I didn’t find much of anything to be funny in this episode.
Regardless, I’m crossing my fingers for the next new episode of SNL, which airs on Saturday, October 6, and features host Daniel Craig and musical guest Muse. Craig was great in the Olympic opening ceremony sketch, and I hope some of that will translate to this upcoming episode.