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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Saturday Night Live: John Goodman & Kings of Leon


Another cromulent if unexciting episode. Few of the sketches were awful, with most having at least one or two funny bits, but there were very few top-to-bottom successes. John Goodman, a seasoned pro at this,  certainly gave it his all and acquitted himself well, playing everything from straight men to more whacky characters, but overall the sketches seemed to have a hard time coming together.

Other Thoughts
Thirteen hosting gigs for John Goodman is pretty impressive, but his consecutive streak from 1989 to 2001 impresses me even more. I mean, Roseanne likely earned him most of those spots well into the nineties, and Monsters, Inc. likely landed him his last hosting gig, but there's at least a few years there where he wasn't doing much of note and was getting asked back just on the strength of his talent (he's third on the all-time hosting list between Alec Baldwin (16) and Steve Martin(15)). 

Two weeks in a row with a monologue song. 'Tis the season?

Making fun of Guy Fieri is like shooting fish in a barrel, but I will never tire of it. His impression just lands so firmly in the realm of "funny cuz its true." I also particularly enjoyed that Bobby Moynihan played all the Pawn Star guys.

The winter concert sketch that led off the night wasn't anything special, but it did build nicely, first from character to character and then in the level of craziness as we swung through the group several times. I laughed at Keenan's character having to deal with an unwanted boner despite myself.

So that "The Three Wiseguys" sketch was a sketch. Yikes. Some of the lines were actually pretty funny (like the whole "do we even know his last name?/Christ, I don't know" bit) but the delivery just killed it. I'm not sure if it's just because Stallone and DeNiro are old and/or were thrown this bit at the last minute, or half asleep, or if the slow pacing was part of the act, but whatever the reason, the whole thing was painfully stilted and low energy.

This was the first Weekend Update where it really felt like Cecily Strong was the lead anchor, with Seth backing her up (she handled most of the news bits aside from the first ones, and interacted with Keenan's Santa, leaving the Drunk Uncles for Seth), and for the most part it worked. She's definitely grown more comfortable in the role over the course of this season.

John Goodman's Drunker Uncle, unfortunately, didn't get much to do (having the two uncles sing the Billy Ocean song would have been funnier if Drunk Uncle hadn't done it already himself, I think), but mostly skates by just for the fact that making John Goodman Drunker Uncle is so obvious in retrospective you can't NOT do it.

The whole "John Goodman's an attractive lady" sketch didn't do much for me (though Taran Killam's disbelief that everyone found Goodman attractive was played really well, and I liked his string of objections), but as with the giant baby sketch a few weeks ago, Goodman sold the hell out of the bit (no surprise, given his recurring role as Linda Tripp in the 90s), and I can appreciate that. 

Least Favorite Sketch: Putting aside "The Three Wise Guys", which was a special kind of awful, I'll say "The Christmas Whistle". I get what they were going for, and obviously the point was that the whistle was annoying, but, well, the whistle was really annoying. 

Favorite Sketch: "Shallon". Nice to see this one back, and to see Pedrad in a recurring sketch, but as before, it's the little details on the edges that elevated this one: both Aidy Bryant and Bobby Moynihan had some great lines, and Kate McKinnon's weary teacher was fantastic in a low-key way.

Santa: You’ve heard of Secret Santa. Well here’s a secret for you, I’m black as hell.

Drunker Uncle: All I want for Christmas is my two neighbors not to be Chinese anymore.

Captain Lemke: If you want to do something nice for Santa, surprise him with some nice milk and cookies. 
Shallon: If you really want to surprise him, you can hide in the oven where the cookies are.
Noel: Or I'll hide in the refrigerator, where the milk is!
Aidy: I'm gonna hide in a dry cleaning bag!

Shallon: Then come to my house and put me out! 
Lemke: I don't want to come to your house!
Bobby: Do your damn job you coward! You're letting a child burn!

Episodes Featuring a Game Show: 2/9
Episodes Featuring a Talk Show: 7/9
Episodes with a Monologue Featuring a Song: 4/9
Episodes with a Monologue Technically Featuring a Song That Is Not a Song for the Purposes of "Episodes with a Monologue Featuring a Song": 1/9   

4 comments:

  1. Overall this episode was pretty mediocre. You're right about the three Wise Guys. It's like they thought getting Sylvester Stallone and Robert DeNiro was cool enough on its own and forgot that it should be funny too.

    I thought last week's episode was the final one before Christmas so now I have a slight bone to pick. On Weekend Update they brought back the 19th century critic and even commented on how soon it was to be bringing him back. Why not save him for this episode? You could have had Drunk Uncle last episode. Was John Goodman's Drunker Uncle worth it? Or is it wrong to assume the SNL writers preplan at all?

    Also, Jay Pharoah's H&M song was kind of funny but it bothered because it reminded me too much of Thrift Shop. Not the melody itself but the song's central theme. It was kind of a parody of a song that's kind of a parody already. But not completely...I don't know...I guess another way to put it is it was song making a joke that has already been made recently in song form.

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  2. I agree with your opinion of mediocre.

    The wise guy skit had some nice lines, but horrible delivery.

    It was nice to see the prediction of the returning Shallon skit.

    Oct 29th comments quote: I'll be surprised if we don't see that skit again. Probably with the fire marshal.

    I'd guess we'll be seeing Shallon and the class again. Probably a life guard doing water safety.

    -Geno

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  3. @Dr. Bitz: Or is it wrong to assume the SNL writers preplan at all?

    Probably.

    Assuming, however, they do plan ahead somewhat, at first I assumed they were saving next week's Weekend Update for some kind of big sendoff for Seth Meyers, but I've heard he's actually sticking around into or through February, in which case, yeah, they probably could have held the 19th Century critic for next week's episode.

    Unless, of course, they still have something big planned for next week (Stefon returning wouldn't surprise me), or they don't in fact plan ahead this much...

    .I guess another way to put it is it was song making a joke that has already been made recently in song form.

    I didn't necessarily catch the "Thrift Shop" vibe when I was watching it (probably because this was about a specific store, rather than a type of store), but now that you mention it, you're not wrong that both songs are essentially riffing on the same thing.

    @Geno: The wise guy skit had some nice lines, but horrible delivery.

    Exactly.

    I'd guess we'll be seeing Shallon and the class again. Probably a life guard doing water safety.

    Yeah, towards the end of the season, as kind of a "summer is coming" setup? I could see that. Or something with a paramedic, thus completing the "civil servants kids say they want to be when they grow up" trifecta.

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  4. The Wise Guys sketch really did fall apart thanks to the inability of De Niro and Stallone to deliver their lines. I recall that being a problem with De Niro for pretty much the entire episode the last time he hosted.

    Most of this season has been a string of episodes that are just sort-of there, even when the guests are game, excepting the odd standout — and, for me, the standouts usually are the odd ones.

    I was glad to see the return of Shallon. I'm totally up for more, although if Pedrad is headed to that Fox sitcom after all, I do hope we finally get another Bedelia sketch — as well as a visit by Jason Sudeikis so that he can play DJ Supersoak to her Li'l Blaster in an Under-Underground Records musicfest ad one more time (not because she has much do there but because, like with Drunk Uncle and The Girl Who... and Stefon, I just love the gonzo randomness).

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