Sunday, December 8, 2013
Saturday Night Live: Paul Rudd & One Direction
Apparently, "mediocre" is this season's new baseline status, as this was another episode with neither a really strong standout sketch nor any overtly terrible sketches (and, frankly, "medicore" isn't a bad baseline for a show that has a propensity to set that baseline at "lackluster"). Paul Rudd brought his usual goofy charm to a handful of roles (his standout sketch was likely the pre-taped One Direction bit, and he did an effective job of keeping the premise of that sketch from being too creepy), and though there were guests a-plenty in this episode, they were mostly relegated to two sketches (one of which was the cold open), so Rudd didn't get squeezed out too much.
I'm glad SNL addressed the enormous windfall for NBC that was the live Sound of Music, but I could have done without Kristen Wiig's Doonise being the vehicle they chose to do so (and bringing Armisen back just to reprise his Laurence Welk feels like a waste).
Another quandry: does Nine Direction's rendition of "Afternoon Delight" count as a song for the purposes of our tally, or is it this season's second "Song That Is Not a Song for the Purposes of "Episodes with a Monologue Featuring a Song"? I'm going with "song" for now, but sound off in the comments if you disagree, and I may change it.
I was expecting grim things when that Al Sharpton sketch showed up in the first position as the episode's obligatory (and largely unfunny) nod to current events, but thankfully, there were better sketches after it.
Weekend Update was back to it usual length with two guests. Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy isn't a favorite of mine, but he's reliably funny, and it was nice to see him acknowledge Seth's upcoming departure. And then they brought back Jebidiah Atkinson, only three weeks after his debut (which, of course, was cheekily acknowledged by Jebidiah himself: "run things into the ground much?"), to skewer Christmas specials, to hilarious results.
The "Ghosts of Hookups Past" sketch with Cecily Strong was another favorite, and I especially liked how Rudd's character, while not fitting the mold of Strong's other ripped-from-a-romance-novel lovers, was still just a relatively normal guy and not ridiculously over-the-top in being the atypical lover.
For someone who came of age during the Will Ferrel era of the show, seeing him and David Koechner (along with Taran Killam, Paul Rudd, and Keena Thompson in the Tim Meadows role) reprise the Bill Brasky sketch was a treat. A great way to end the night
Least Favorite Sketch: "Michelangelo's David has a small penis". A one-joke premise (and a fairly obvious one at that) that wasn't terribly funny (though I did chuckle at Jay Pharaoh's anachronistic character and the "smile" of Nasim Pedrad's Mona Lisa).
Favorite Sketch: I'm not sure exactly what the point of it was, but I quite enjoyed the divorced couple sketch. It almost felt like one of the better end-of-the-night weird sketches, it built nicely and kept me guessing (and laughing - "she’s not a gold digger, she works at a silver mine!"). A well-constructed and original sketch, something the show should be lauded for trying (especially when they get it right).
Captain Von Trapp: You’re so beautiful in that terracotta disaster of a dress.
One Direction Member: Is this for your daughter?
Dan Charles: Yeah.
One Direction Member: What’s her name?
Dan Charles: Her name is, uhh, Dan Charles.
Jebediah Atkinson: If you ask me, Family Guy killed the wrong dog. Oh what, he’s a cartoon! If you care so much, learn how to draw!
Episodes Featuring a Game Show: 2/8
Episodes Featuring a Talk Show: 7/8
Episodes with a Monologue Featuring a Song: 3/7
Episodes with a Monologue Technically Featuring a Song That Is Not a Song for the Purposes of "Episodes with a Monologue Featuring a Song": 1/8