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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Saturday Night Live: Louis C.K. & Sam Smith


After an odd three week hiatus (after having been shelved during the Olympics), SNL returned this week with another episode that landed firmly in "middling" territory, one of those outings with no real stinker of a sketch but no real standouts either, despite the best efforts of the host. Like most hosts with a background in sketch and/or stand-up comedy, Louis C.K. acquitted himself well and seemed perfectly comfortable with what he was asked to do. For the most part, he simply played some combination of quirky or put-upon straight men, but that's what he does well, and he did it well here. But after all that time off, you'd have hoped the show would have come back with a bit more energy.

Other Thoughts
I know that at the end of the day, every season gets the same number of episodes, but the spacing out of those episodes this season seems odder than usual.

They must have put Nasim Pedrad in the promos because she was nearly non-existent in the episode.  

The cold open was pretty weak, but it's always a pleasure to see Kate McKinnon's Justin Bieber. 

It's always when nice when a comedian hosts, because then the monologue just gets to be an actual monologue where the host does his or her thing. No singing, no cast members pretending to be audience members, just the host delivering a humorous monologue.

That Joseph A. Banks commercial wasn't anything special, but I do appreciate that at least somebody out there shares my fascination/befuddlement with their seemingly-constant "buy 1 get 3 free" promotion (I mean, they have to be awful, cheaply made suits, as this commercial asserted, right? That's the only way the company could be turning a profit on this deal, isn't it? Even if that one suit is hella expensive, you're getting FOUR for that price). 

Weekend Update seemed especially off this week - only one guest (probably because the monologue was longer), which was fine, but it ended abruptly and awkwardly, as if someone was frantically giving the "cut" sign off camera.

I would absolutely not have any objections to seeing "Dykes and Fats" become a regular thing. Just their real names (Les Dykawitz and Chubbina Fatzarelli) cracked me up. 

Least Favorite Sketch: As expected, the whole "man with the body of a baby" thing has become a recurring sketch. As before, I can't deny that Beck Bennet commits to the performance, but as before, I still think it's incredibly lame, in part because the sketch is inconsistent in its portrayal of the character (he's NOT a man with the body of a baby, he's a man with the body of a baby who also randomly ACTS like a baby).

Favorite Sketch: I thought "Mr. Big Shot" was probably Louis C.K.'s best work of the night ("I'm Mr. Medium Shot, at best"), but I'll give the nod to the pre-filmed doctors office/Darth Vader up my butt sketch, which built nicely on an absurd premise. I especially liked Aidy Bryant's receptionist getting in on the action ("I’m a lady! There could be a General Grievous"), and the fact that Keenan's janitor was mopping carpet. Just one of those WTF sketches that played out exactly as you'd expect, but was nonetheless funny for it. 

Louis C.K.: I’m wearing a wifebeater and child murder shorts.

Episodes Featuring a Game Show: 6/16
Episodes Featuring a Talk Show: 10/16
Episodes with a Monologue Featuring a Song: 7/16
Episodes with a Monologue Technically Featuring a Song That Is Not a Song for the Purposes of "Episodes with a Monologue Featuring a Song": 1/16 

4 comments:

  1. There was some funny stuff in this episode, but the thing that cracked me up the most was Louis C.K. with a full head of hair a couple times. For some reason putting a hairpiece on him strikes me as really hilarious.

    Also, poor Nasim! I think she's great and very pretty, too, and she almost never shows up anymore. I miss that kid she played who was unusually, awkwardly chummy with her parents.

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  2. @Matt: I miss that kid she played who was unusually, awkwardly chummy with her parents.

    Same here. Bedelia. I had to look it up earlier this season after making basically the same comment. There's a sitcom Pedrad's been cast in that wasn't picked up for this season but is getting retooled, produced by Lorne Michaels' company, and my assumption is that she's been too busy with that unless she has absolutely terrible luck in terms of sketches getting axed. I really enjoy her, though, so it's a shame she's been so absent on SNL.

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  3. I'd rank this as easily one of the best shows of the season, meaning we actually disagree for a change.

    Not only did Weekend Update finish abruptly; what was there was subpar. (I was reminded of the old joke "The food was terrible — and the portions were so small!") Aside from that and the cold open, however, I thought it was an unusually strong episode. Although "Black Jeopardy" was probably my favorite of the night, most of the rest was admirably weird, from "Dyke and Fats" to "Mr. Big Stuff" to the odd sketch with Louis CK and Vanessa Bayer playing detectives maybe about to have sex while delivering their lines so woodenly I had to check my ears for splinters. (I don't know what was up with that one or with the one with CK and Bayer talking outside her apartment, but "shhhhh...ut up" was oddly hilarious despite the fact that the rest didn't really work.)

    You're right about the man-as-baby sketch being inconsistent, which does bug me. For some reason, though, I liked it better this time around than when it debuted. Maybe I was just in a really charitable mood that night.

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  4. @Matt: I miss that kid she played who was unusually, awkwardly chummy with her parents.

    Me too. Bedelia. I'm glad Blam knew that so I didn't have to look it up.

    @Blam: There's a sitcom Pedrad's been cast in that wasn't picked up for this season but is getting retooled, produced by Lorne Michaels' company, and my assumption is that she's been too busy with that.

    That would be nice. If she's MIA because she's off working on something else, so be it. At least she's not just sitting back stage every week, twiddling her thumbs. Unless of course she is, which would be sad.

    I'd rank this as easily one of the best shows of the season, meaning we actually disagree for a change.

    Eh, we don't disagree strongly. I didn't hate this episode, I just didn't love it. As I mention in my post on the Anna Kendrick episode, a lot of these middle of the road episodes seem to hinge on where I'm at while watching them. For whatever, the latest episode worked better for me than this one, but maybe I was just in a better mood watching that one. I certainly can't begrudge anyone liking this one more (or vice versa).

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