Three guys talking about comic books, sports, movies, TV shows and the numerous other pastimes that make us Gentlemen of Leisure.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Saturday Night Live: Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timberlake


It's always tough to be critical of the Christmas episode. Unless it completely bombs, there's usually an effervescent energy to it that manages to smooth out the rough edges, especially if they manage to get a seasoned/favorite/recurring host to do the show (and they usually do). So while this episode definitely finished weaker than it started, there were quite a few highly entertaining bits. Both Fallon and Timberlake (who essentially co-hosted, at least in the first half) performed well, had a ton of energy, and seemed genuinely happy to be hosting. Maybe it's that energy, or just the holiday season, but I really enjoyed this one.

Other Thoughts
Using the cold open to get the singing mascot sketch out of the way was a nice touch: it saved us from a potentially lifeless topical political sketch and got that box checked off right away. Plus, the inclusion of Fallon helped keep it from feeling entirely like the same old thing.

The studio audience was really, really, really into this episode. Lots and lots of screaming throughout. 

The impressions in the "Celebrity Family Feud sketch" were hit-or-miss: Fallon's Sheldon was spot-on, but he was supposed to be playing Jim Parsons, not Jim Parsons' character, and Noel Wells' Alyson Hannigan seemed like something lifted from the actress' early American Pie days, while Taran Killam's Ashton Kutcher and Timberlake's Fallon were pretty great. You want to ding the pair for breaking as much as they did, but they were clearly having such a great time with it that it's hard to be critical.

Also, I thought the sketch was a nice use of Keenan's Steve Harvey. I'd rather see him in a ensemble sketch like that, where his random bon mots are allowed to be part of the humor instead of the only source of it. And the fact that the charity the NBC stars were playing for was NBC cracked me right the hell up.

I've never been a big fan of the Barry Gibb talk show, but I know it's a favorite of some. I don't mind it, even if I don't get terribly excited about it. Though Madonna was pretty terrible in it, wasn't she?

Most of the post-Update sketches were pretty blah, though I did enjoy the "Waking Up with Kimye" sketch (and was surprised to see it dusted off again so soon) simply because I never tire of the low-hanging fruit that is mocking the Kardashians. And the episode ended on a strong note with that "Baby It's Cold Outside" sketch, which I appreciated for being about something other than the fact that the song is kinda date rape-y (which it is, but that joke's been done to death already).

A good example of why I always watch the goodbyes, much to my wife's consternation: Chris Rock was on hand for...some reason? Was his planned guest appearance cut for time at the last minute? Was he just hanging around the studio? 

Least Favorite Sketch: On a night that already had one "excuse for a calvacade of celebrity impressions" sketch, the "Now That's What I Call Christmas" sketch did nothing to suggest a return to that well was necessary. Most of the impressions were so-so, at best, and by the end, they were lampooning the songs more than the singers. That gay Scrooge sketch was pretty awful too, but this sketch at least had potential that was squandered. 

Favorte Sketch: I hate to give this to another pre-filmed bit, but "Let's Do It In My Twin Bed" easily got the biggest laughs of the night from me, from the general concept to the performances to that killer Winnie the Pooh line. Frankly, it's one of the standouts of the season. 

Seth Meyers: The Internet announced that it will be open all the time always forever.

Billie Jean King: There is no demographic that gives less of a flip than 70-year-old lesbians 

Episodes Featuring a Game Show: 3/10
Episodes Featuring a Talk Show: 8/10
Episodes with a Monologue Featuring a Song: 5/10
Episodes with a Monologue Technically Featuring a Song That Is Not a Song for the Purposes of "Episodes with a Monologue Featuring a Song": 1/10  

3 comments:


  1. The episode wasn't great but was pretty much as solid as any we've had this season. I still think Kerry Washington has every host including Fallon beat purely in terms of her own contributions. When it comes to the pre-break Christmas show, however, there's no shame in putting both the cast/crew and the audience at ease with a former player like Fallon or Tina Fey or a tried-and-true repeat host like Timberlake, Steve Martin, or Alec Baldwin.

    // I've never been a big fan of the Barry Gibb talk show, but I know it's a favorite of some. //

    For both the pure strangeness of the concept and the fact that I'm a child of the '70s, I get a kick out of it. Having the real Barry Gibb pop up at the end was fun, too, but I sure wish he'd been given something to do like storm onto the set faux-angry like Fallon's version ( "My baby ate a dingo!"), and attack Fallon for playing him or attack his younger self for being a clone or something rather than just being a novelty-applause cameo.

    // Fallon's Sheldon was spot-on, but he was supposed to be playing Jim Parsons, not Jim Parsons' character, and Noel Wells' Alyson Hannigan seemed like something lifted from the actress' early American Pie days //

    I was really confused by and disappointed in the impressions here, Timberlake as Fallon aside.

    // I never tire of the low-hanging fruit that is mocking the Kardashians //

    Ditto.

    "Let's Do It in My Twin Bed" was indeed a standout of the night and frankly the entire season — heck, so good that it's not necessarily a condemnation of the entire season to say that.

    I also enjoyed McKinnon's Billie Jean King on Update. Weird thing, though: Somewhere I read a comment on this episode that McKinnon should be given more to do than impersonate famous lesbians (King; Jane Lynch on Feud). Now, McKinnon's Ellen in particular is fantastic, but I happen to think that she's given a lot to do besides impersonate famous lesbians; what I don't get is why, given that she's the first out female SNL player, she was taking a boy back to her room at home in "Let's Do It in My Twin Bed".

    ReplyDelete
  2. @Blam: When it comes to the pre-break Christmas show, however, there's no shame in putting both the cast/crew and the audience at ease with a former player like Fallon or Tina Fey or a tried-and-true repeat host like Timberlake, Steve Martin, or Alec Baldwin.

    Well said.

    what I don't get is why, given that she's the first out female SNL player, she was taking a boy back to her room at home in "Let's Do It in My Twin Bed".

    I've seen that been pointed out a few places on the web, and I definitely agree with the confusion. Not only would it have made sense vis-a-vis McKinnon's own sexuality, it wouldn't have taken anything away from the sketch either.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Jimmy Fallon. Christmas episode. Tons of special guest cameos. And yet I have to admit, as entertaining as this episode was (and I was one of the better ones this season), I was disappointed that they didn't/couldn't bring Horatio, Tracy, and Chris back for their Christmas song (again). Everything seemed to be perfectly set up for it.

    ReplyDelete

Comment. Please. Love it? Hate it? Am mildly indifferent to it? Let us know!