Sunday, November 22, 2015

SNL Season 41: Ep.6

SNL closed out their November run before taking a Thanksgiving break with Matthew McConaughey, so how did it go? Onto the review.

Fox & Friends (Cold Open): A very common cold open recently, Fox & Friends. The guests saw the return of Kate McKinnon as DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. But what made this cold open click was seeing Jay Pharoah as Ben Carson. That impression is so on point. Felt like something was missing though, as they decided to omit the end of show corrections that are usually pure gold. (6.9)

Monologue: In terms of monologues, McConaughey's was pretty fresh. It didn't include any singing, or Q&A sessions, it was just McConaughey talking about "Dazed & Confused" and how the catchphrase "alright alright alright" came to being. The story kind of rambled on, but as I said, in terms of monologues, it was alright. (7.0)

A Thanksgiving Miracle (Short): With Adele as the musical guest, there was bound to be a skit about "Hello", and low and behold, here it was. With that being said though, this was fantastic. It featured a family (Aidy Bryant/Cecily Strong/Beck Bennett/Jay Pharoah/Vanessa Bayer/Kate Mckinnon & McConaughey), bickering about refugees and ISIS over dinner. The only thing to bring them together? "Hello". The production value and the build-up was great, as everyone eventually just turns into Adele. Aidy and Jay were particularly great. Another Thanksgiving short done right by SNL. (8.7)

Blues Shack: An "introducing the band" type of sketch, this seemed like it was heading somewhere. Kenan was trying to get McConaughey to sing the blues, but to no avail as he went on to sing about his haircut, and other petty things. It ended with him saying that he lost out on millions on he had a sad story after-all. The payoff just wasn't worth it in the end. (5.0)

3D Print Man: Well...this was a weird idea for a sketch. A crowd had to try and tell the difference between 3 men on who was actually 3D-printed. Despite Matthew really trying to sell this, this sketch never really hit into gear. (4.6)

Star Wars Auditions (short): Should have seen that this type of sketch was on its way too. This was mainly a vehicle for celebrity impressions, but what made this were the cameos thrown in there (Michael Buble, Jon Hamm, Emma Stone, and the Star Wars cast). Having J.J Abrams and some of the cast may have caused this to lose a little punch, but there were just so many great moments. From Taran Killam as David Beckham drop-kicking Bobby Moynihan as George Lucas. (8.0)

Adele: "Hello" (9.5)

Weekend Update: Colin Jost & Michael Che may have figured it out (famous last words), but they just seemed to click. When they're loose is when they're at their best. The writing was also particularly edgy, which the crowd seemed to like in their own way.

The first guest saw Vanessa Bayer as a Disney actress, Laura Parsons, reading the news. I can see this being a popular recurring Update character in the future, it was just fantastic.

The second guest was Kenan as David Ortiz, talking about his endorsement deals as he announces his 2016 retirement. This bit was a little wild, but it worked in the end. (My only criticism is that....David Ortiz does know English pretty well..which this Update joke seems to think isn't always the case. So that's a little bizarre).

Overall, this was a Weekend Update for the ages. (8.8)

Should You Chime In On This?: A game-show sketch, this was taking on the myriad of opinions we see on social media and the like on foreign policy, politics, etc. While this was a good idea on paper, it just didn't play out that well. Maybe the contestants seemed a little too on the nose, but it didn't quite work, which is a shame. (5.8)

Right Side Of The Bed: Maybe this is the new "Girlfriend talk show", but this is the 3rd iteration of "right side of the bed" with Killam and Strong. The only thing that really saved this was McConaughey's character, who was high on fumes playing around with a turkey. All in all though, I just don't get why SNL is making this a recurring sketch. (5.5)

Adele: "When We Were Young" (9.9)

Town Hall Meeting: Another town hall sketch, this one was on a proposed Amtrak stop, but McConaughey's character wasn't feeling it. This sketch was a little wild (given the 10 to 1 spot), but much like the 2nd half of the show, it just kind of dragged without a real point. (5.8)

This week saw a rare feat, where the show was headlined by Update. Jost + Che were really in form, despite a mixed show. Overall, nothing was really bad, but a lot of the ideas just didn't hit quite right. But with Adele's brilliance, everything was just alright. 

Overall Score - 7.13

Tracy Morgan - 7.94

Elizabeth Banks - 7.53
Amy Schumer - 7.18
Matthew McConaughey - 7.13Miley Cyrus - 6.07
Donald Trump - 4.92

Sunday, November 15, 2015

SNL Season 41 Ep.5

Coming off last week's disastrous Donald Trump show, would SNL rebound with Elizabeth Banks? Onto the review

Cold Open (Paris Tribute): Coming off Friday's devastating attacks in Paris, I was wondering how SNL would handle it. This was a nice and fitting tribute by Cecily Strong, done in both English and French. It was nice and to the point. 

Monologue: The show then got going with Elizabeth Banks' monologue. They could have easily gone with a Hunger Games related one, but they did something different. Instead, it was a monologue on how she's recently gotten into directing, and wanted to direct her own monologue. It took a little bit to get into, but when it started rolling, Banks was just great. Our lives could use more star swipes.

Aron's List: An "ad" for "Aron's List"......America's Register of Non-Violent Sex Offenders; it was fine. It wasn't really anything new for SNL and seemed a little out of left field, but there wasn't anything incredibly offensive (although some of the offenses they listed were a little suspect as being minor). But as I said, all in all, this was fine. (7.0)

Black Jeopardy: Recent recurring sketches were a theme of the night, starting with the return of Black Jeopardy (last seen during Louis CK's show last season). While not quite topping the 1st, this one was still pretty good. Sasheer Zamata in particular really got a chance to shine. I also thought this was a good take on cultural appropriation with Banks' character, who thought she belonged there...(not going to get into that specific topic, which would take a while). There was a lot of good writing here, stuff that wouldn't quite fit in anywhere else, like say in Weekend Update. (8.0)                                   

"Fist Got Horny 2 U" (short): The women of SNL (Strong/Kate McKinnon/Vanessa Bayer/Aidy Bryant) plus Banks formed the girl group "Infinity +5" for a song about what first made them "feel feelings"...from Carson Daly and Mr. Sheffield from "The Nanny" the Menendez Brothers and the 90s sitcom "Dinosaurs". I loved that McKinnon got to play herself, stating how the Hanson brothers made her realize that she was "gay as hell". In terms of these type of shorts, this was far far better than last week's "Bad Girl Club". You could even make the case that this was better than last season's "Twin Bed". (8.6)

High School Theater Showcase: This was the 3rd incarnation of this sketch. It had the same general idea, but had more interactions with the parents, Bayer & Kenan Thompson. I liked how Leslie Jones just booked it out of there from the start. There were just a lot of great small moments, from "who run the world...whites", to Kate's "Sea world" monologue. This was better than the last version of this sketch. (8.2)

Disclosure ft/ Lorde "Magnets": (7.5)

Weekend Update: As seems to be the case with Update, as the show was going well, Colin Jost & Michael Che seemed to connect. They had a nice riff on the recent controversy with Yale, and Jost had a good "baby Hitler/Jeb Bush" line.

The first guest was Pete Davidson, as he talked about the recent "bathroom" uproar and the failed "HERO" equal right legislation in Houston. This was Pete's best Update appearance yet. He was actually making a point, instead of just throwing in some weed jokes. While he's been great on Update, he truly made a statement here.

The 2nd guest saw Kyle Mooney return as Bruce Chandling. This character seems to be a hit or miss, as it thrives in awkward moments. And while he's still not one of my favorite characters, I felt like this time it got more personal.

The 3rd guest saw Mckinnon return as Russian citizen Olya Polvlatsky. As I frequently mention, she's always great at what she does, and that was still true here. There were some truly great lines, like "did you fall from Heaven? Are my babies alright?". (7.5)

The Adventures Of Young Ben Carson: It was about time we got a sketch about Ben Carson. Jay Pharoah was just fantastic as Carson. He's really got that impersonation down. The great thing was that they didn't really have to make anything up here, they literally based and sourced everything on actual quotes from Ben Carson. Kenan was also great as "Black Jesus". (8.4)

Walk On Role: This sketch was based on a walk on role for Bobby Moynihan (who played a school principal) for a show called "The Bureau". The spin here was that he was playing the role of a pervert, and would be seen in countless promos. While everyone was committed here, it just didn't play out right. (5.1)

Disclosure ft/Sam Smith "Omen": (7.9)

Uber For Jen (Mike O'Brien Picture): Mike O'Brien returned with another short. He's now more of a freelance writer for SNL. Like with any O'Brien piece, this took a while to get into, but once it got going, it was pretty great. Mike was an uber driver for Elizabeth who took her on a journey of sorts, from hitting a guy, to the delivery of his child. It was overall well produced and well-made. (8.0)

Ghetto: This sketch featured the women of SNL, who were talking about "how ghetto" things were, until Banks started talking...who actually lived in a ghetto. The sketch made a good point on an over-used phrase, but it didn't quite mesh as it could have. (5.7)

From last week's horror-fest to Elizabeth Banks felt like a breath of fresh air. She was actually into it and felt like a cast member (which of course is always a good sign for an episode). The episode also reflected how good a mood the cast was in to move on from last week. All in all, this was a nice rebound season as Season 41 marches forward.

Overall Score - 7.53

Tracy Morgan - 7.94

Elizabeth Banks - 7.53
Amy Schumer - 7.18

Miley Cyrus - 6.07

Donald Trump - 4.92

Sunday, November 8, 2015

SNL: Season 41 Ep.4

Through all the "hype", it finally arrived....the Donald Trump episode. did it go? Well, I almost didn't want to even write this review, that's how it went. Onto the review.....(*sigh*)

MSNBC Dem Forum (Cold Open): With Cecily Strong as Maddow, the cold open saw SNL take on Friday's Dem Forum with Martin O'Malley (Taran Killam), Hillary Clinton (Kate McKinnon), and making his return, Larry David as Bernie Sanders. Larry David was the saving grace of this cold open. The writing was all over the place (appearing that they didn't even see the actual forum, which was actually full of tough questions). But all in all, this was alright, considering what was yet to come. (6.7)

Monologue: And then out came Donald Trump. Trump talked about "Rosie O'Donnell", who was actually Aidy Bryant, and then got flanked by 2 more Trumps (Killam and Darrell Hammond). It was just very blah. As scripted as it was, Larry David "heckling" Trump as a racist was really the only amusing part. (5.9)

Trump White House: Oy. This entire sketch (centering around what a Trump white house would look like, depicting how great it was) was a total disaster. It practically ended with a Trump campaign ad. One of the worst sketches in SNL history. (0.0)

Bad Girls (Short):  This short looked like it was trying to mimic the "Do It On My Twin Bed" series, but there just wasn't any bite to this. It was just very predictable and by the numbers....not to mention it went on forever. (2.8)

Live Tweet: Due to equal time restraints, Trump wasn't really in this sketch, but the premise was that he was live tweeting one. From ridiculing Killam, Vanessa Bayer, Strong, the entire cast here just felt trapped. The "tweets" weren't even clever, but just mean.....and kind of racist (in regards to Kenan Thompson). (3.0)

Hotline Bling Parody (Short): Beside the musical guest, this was pretty much the only saving grace of the night. Jay Pharoah was fantastic as Drake (he's usually great). We also got a tremendous cameo from Martin Short as "Ed Grimley". Heck, even Trump was pretty good here. (8.0)

Sia - "Alive": (8.1)

Weekend Update: Colin Jost & Michael Che pretty much set the tone when they stumbled with their intro. The jokes just fell flat (especially when they tried to mention the Trump Protests outside the studio, and Che whispering a Trump birther joke).

As the first guest, even Leslie Jones wasn't able to connect or get anything going with Jost.

Drunk Uncle (Bobby Moynihan) finally made an appearance, but it was a little on the nose as he discussed as he was a Trump supporter (with a random disparaging Caitlyn Jenner joke thrown in there to boot). (5.5)

Laser Harp (Rock Band): This was one of those sketches that might have worked with a host that was actually present, but it just fell flat here. Trump played a laser harp player who wanted a longer solo.....and that was pretty much it. (3.1)

Mr. Crocker (Short): Beck Bennett played a dad who recorded current pop songs, looking for a record deal. Donald Trump, as the executive kind of looked like a poor man's "Bruce Dickinson". (3.5)

Sia - "Bird Set Free": (8.8)

Porn Stars: This recurring sketch with Bayer & Strong can be hit or miss. When the show's going well, and with the right host, these can be hysterical......but this week wasn't the case. And that's all I'll say about this. (3.6)

Hurray, the review is finally over. But man oh man, was this a rough show. It was as miserable as I anticipated (maybe even worse). You could tell none of the cast was really into it. Larry David & Sia were the only ones able to really provide any sort of life into this week's show (beside Jay Pharoah's Hotling Bling parody). SNL will certainly take a hit with this show, but they should be able to bounce back in the next 2 weeks with Elizabeth Banks and Matthew McConaughey.....(and don't forget about Adele as the musical guest in 2 weeks). But until then...lets just forget that this week's show happened.

Overall Score - 4.92

Tracy Morgan - 7.94
Amy Schumer - 7.18
Miley Cyrus - 6.07

Donald Trump - 4.92

Monday, October 26, 2015

2015 World Series Preview

History will be made this world series. The Kansas City Royals and New York Mets both have championship droughts dating back to the 1980s (1985 - Royals, 1986- Mets). Each team is built differently, Mets with starting pitching, Royals with a lockdown bullpen. So who has the edge position-wise?

(stats included include time spent with said team, i.e traded players)


KC - Salvador Perez
RS: 531ABs/52R/138H/25 2B/21HR/70RBI  .260/.280/.426
PS: 36AB/7R/7H/1 2B/4HR/6RBI  .194/.293/.556

NYM - Travis D'Arnaud

RS: 239AB/31R/64H/14 2B/1 3B/12HR/41RBI  .268/.340/.485
PS: 34AB/5R/7H/3HR/6RBI  .206/.222/.471

Both catchers provide some pop, and both have had their struggles hitting-wise in the postseason. But here, you have to go with the proven vet, and one of the top catchers in the league.

Edge: KC


KC - Eric Hosmer
RS: 599AB/98R/178H/33 2B/5 3B/18HR/93RBI  .297/.363/.459
PS: 45AB/7R/10H/1 2B/1HR/11RBI  .222/.234/.311

NYM - Lucas Duda
RS: 471AB/67R/115H/33 2B/27HR/73RBI  .244/.352/.486
PS: 28AB/2R/6H/2 2B/1HR/6RBI  .214/.290/.393

Hosmer & Duda are both power threats at 1B, but Hosmer has the more consistent regular season.

Edge: KC


KC - Ben Zobrist
RS: 232AB/37R/66H/16 2B/1 3B/7HR/23RBI  .284/.364/.453
PS: 43AB/10R/14H/4 2B/2HR/6RBI  .326/.375/.558

NYM - Daniel Murphy
RS: 499AB/56R/140H/38 2B/2 3B/14HR/73RBI  .281/.322/.449
PS: 38AB/11R/16H/2 2B/7HR/11RBI  .421/.436/1.026

As good as Zobrist has been, Murphy has been other-worldly this post-season. We'll see if he can keep up the pace in the world series, but no question who has the edge here.

Edge: NYM


KC -  Alcides Escobar
RS: 612AB/76R/157H/20 2B/5 3B/3HR/47RBI  .257/.293/.320
PS: 44AB/9R/17H/3 2B/2 3B/0HR/5RBI  .386/.408/.545

NYM - Wilmer Flores
RS: 483AB/55R/127H/22 2B/16HR/59RBI  .263/.295/.408
PS: 24AB/2R/7H/2 2B/1 3B/0HR/0RBI  .292/.370/.458

Flores is the slugging SS, while Escobar has more speed. They each bring something to the table.

Edge: Draw


KC - Mike Moustakas
RS: 549AB/73R/156H/34 2B/1 3B/22HR/82RBI  .284/.348/.470
PS: 42AB/4R/7H/1 2B/1HR/5RBI  .167/.217/.262

NYM- David Wright
RS: 152AB/24R/44H/7 2B/5HR/17RBI  .289/.379/.434
PS: 30AB/6R/5H/2 2B/0HR/3RBI  .167/.359/.233

Each has struggled during the post-season, but Moustakas was the more reliable presence in the regular season, as Wright was sidelined for a good portion of the season with a back injury.

Edge: KC


KC - Alex Gordon
RS: 354AB/40R/96H/18 2B/13HR/48RBI  .271/.377/.432
PS: 36AB/7R/9H/3 2B/1HR/3RBI  .250/.325/.417

NYM - Michael Conforto
RS: 174AB/30R/47H/14 2B/9HR/26RBI  .270/.335/.506
PS: 15AB/1R/1H/1HR/2RBI  .067/.167/.267

Conforto had a pretty impressive rookie season, but has struggled in limited post-season action. Meanwhile, Gordon has just done what's normal of him.

Edge: KC


KC - Lorenzo Cain
RS: 551AB/101R/169H/34 2B/6 3B/16HR/72RBI  .307/.361/.427
PS: 40AB/8R/11H/1 2B/1HR/7RBI  .275/.375/.375 

NYM - Yoenis Cespedes

RS: 230AB/39R/66H/14 2B/4 3B/17HR/44RBI  .287/.337/.604
PS: 34AB/6R/9H/1 2B/2HR/7RBI  .265/.286/.471

Cain has kept his progression and is now arguably one of, if not the top all-around player for Kansas City. Meanwhile, Cespedes (traded to the Mets on the deadline) has sparked the Mets offense and has helped to lead them to where they are now.

Edge: Draw


KC - Alex Rios
RS: 385AB/40R/98H/22 2B/2 3B/4HR/32RBI  .255/.287/.353
PS: 33AB/4R/11H/2 2B/1HR/5RBI  .333/.389/.485

NYM - Curtis Granderson
RS: 580AB/98R/150H/33 2B/2 3B/26HR/70RBI  .259/.264/.457
PS: 33AB/4R/10H/2 2B/0HR/7RBI  .303/.385/.364

Rios has had a nice post-season, but Granderson has gotten his power back for the Mets.

Edge: NYM


KC - Yordano Ventura/Edinson Volquez/Johnny Cueto/Chris Young

NYM - Jacob DeGrom/Noah Syndergaard/Matt Harvey/Steven Matz

Each team has their flame-throwing SPs, but this is no contest. The Mets rotation flat out dominated the Cubs in the NLCS. 

Edge: NYM


KC - Wade Davis/Luke Hocheaver/Kelvin Herrera/Franklin Morales/Danny Duffy/Ryan Madson

NYM - Jeurys Familia/Hansel Robles/Jon Niese/Erik Goeddel/Addison Reed/Bartolo Colon/Tyler Clippard

As good as the Mets SP, that's as dominating as the Royals BP is. From Madson, to Herrera and finally Davis, they have a shutdown bridge to close out games.

Edge: KC

So with all the breakdowns, time to get to my pick. Each team is pretty evenly matched, though when it comes to the lineup, I think the Royals have the edge. What this series will come down to is pitching. Can the Mets starters keep up their dominance, and can their offense jump to a lead? Close games should favor the Royals with their sterling BP. I think this series is going to go to the brink, but I pick the Royals In 7

Sunday, October 18, 2015

SNL: Season 41 Ep.3

It was set up to be a dramatic return, as Tracy Morgan returned to 30 Rock. Did it live up to the hype? (Spoiler: Oh yes, yes it did. and here's how, onto the review).

Democratic Debate Cold Open: The show kicked off the 1st Democratic Presidential Debate. Taran Killam played O'Malley, and Kyle Mooney did a delightfully bewildered Lincoln Chafee, but the stars were Alec Baldwin as Jim Webb.........and Larry David as Bernie Sanders. It was just the perfect impersonation. One could say that David played Sanders better than Sanders does. As always, Kate McKinnon continued with her strong impersonation as Hillary Clinton (especially when asked if she wanted to respond to Chafee about her e-mails). Larry David just made this cold open work though (even given how it went a good 10 minutes or so). This was a solid start to a fantastic show. (8.7)

Monologue: Tracy Morgan rightfully got one of the biggest ovations any host has gotten while walking out for his monologue. His monologue was a perfect mix of sincerity (mentioning how he told Lorne Michaels that he wanted to come home when he was ready), and humor, mentioning that his IQ has gone up since the coma from the accident. The main part of the monologue was a "lost" 30 Rock episode, featuring Baldwin, Tina Fey, Jane Krakowski and Jack McBrayer, along with Morgan. Now I've never seen an actual episode of 30 Rock, so maybe I missed some of the nuances, but it was a good monologue nonetheless. (8.5)

Family Feud: I cringed at first when I saw it was going to be a game-show sketch, but the fact that it wasn't a celebrity edition gave me some hope. The first family featured recently divorced Leslie Jones, and her kids Jay Pharoah, Sasheer Zamata & Michael Che. On the other side.....was her recently divorced husband Tracy, with his new wife Cecily Strong. This set-up was ingenious, and it gave good material for Kenan Thompson as Steve Harvey. There were just so many good lines, from Leslie, Tracy, Jay and Kenan ("show me keeping 'em off the pole!"). A game-show sketch, when done right with original material, can be masterful, as this was. (9.0)

Brian Fellow's Safari Planet: One of Tracy's recurring characters that I figured we'd be seeing. Only Tracy can pull this character off. It started off with Pete Davidson and a beaver.....but the star of this sketch was Aidy Bryant, and a real live camel. Its fun to think about how they got a camel into the 8th floor of 30 Rock. And being live TV, anything can happen, as the camel decided to walk into Tracy's camera shot. Sometimes mishaps like those are simply the best. (8.8)

Fake Mitchell's Cocaine Spray: The first misfire in my book, this ad seemed to make its point too quickly. Trying to fake a foul smell in a bathroom, Beck Bennett uses a fake cocaine spray, because he'd rather it be that. There was also a "fake poop spray" from Leslie Jones. This whole idea just fell flat for me. (5.0)

Demi Lovato - "Cool For The Summer/Confident" (8.9)

Weekend Update: While not as strong as last week, Jost & Che were still on their game with a solid update. They had another riff, this time on why not just anyone should run for president.

The 1st guest was Tina Fey talking about Playboy stopping nude photographs. As always with Tina, she provided great commentary here "arm butts and all".

Next was the return of Kenan's "Willie". While not a great recurring character, this Update guest is solid enough. He was joined by his own mentor, Woodrow (Tracy). When Woodrow showed up, this part of Update really got going. (7.5)

Good Morning Song: This sketch had a great production value, but it sort of hit the punchline a little too soon. It featured an ensemble in a medieval era, all singing a song, and then Tracy comes along singing whatever was on his mind. Tracy's interactions saved this sketch from really sinking, but it still was a bit of a hit & miss. (5.9)

The Standoff (Short): This was a quintessential skit for Tracy Morgan. He confronted Taran Killam in a bar "to dance".....which was literally what Tracy wanted to do. The interactions between Tracy & Taran were really great here. Sadly, they didn't actually dance though. (6.9)

Demi Lovato - "Stone Cold": The first music act I'm featuring here, I've simply never heard Demi like this. She just let loose with tons of soul. Just a fantastic performance. (9.5)

Yo! Where Jackie Chan At Right Now: This was one of those odd late-night sketches that worked. It again featured Tracy & Kenan, this time as hosts of a show actively looking for Jackie Chan. The whole concept was so absurd that it worked (from the Peabody award, to all the guests they were able to get). What made this even better was the impersonations, from Kyle Mooney as Walker Texas Ranger, Jay as Chris Tucker, and to top it off, Bobby Moynihan as Steven Seagal. This was a sketch where everyone committed, so no matter how absurd, it worked. (8.4)

Astronaut Jones: The Martian: The night closed off with another recurring character of Tracy's, Astronaut Jones. Used in a take-off the "The Martian", this was as good as the original. It was great that they used the original theme song. As always with Astronaut Jones sketches, there actually isn't a lot of material. Jones encounters an alien (Demi Lovato), and then makes a fantastic closing punchline (followed by the theme song). An underrated recurring character to close out the night. (8.2)

All in all, Tracy Morgan's return was glorious. He didn't skip a beat. He simply blended it and meshed with the current cast, but still had his classic energy. This was one of the most enjoyable shows in recent memory (which we'll need given how the next new show in a few weeks will be hosted by Donald Trump *sigh*),

Overall Score - 7.94

Tracy Morgan - 7.94
Amy Schumer - 7.18
Miley Cyrus - 6.07

Sunday, October 11, 2015

SNL: Season 41. Ep.2

Coming off a pretty maligned premiere with Miley Cyrus last week, things could only go up as Season 41 marched on with Amy Schumer, right? Onto the review

Fox & Friends (Cold Open): These have become pretty formulaic, but they usually always make for a steady sketch. Bobby Moynihan is always fantastic as Brian Kilmeade. Pete Davidson (yes, that Pete), got his political impersonation chops on as he played Rep. Jason Chaffetz (who's gotten noticed for seeking the house speakership....along with his role in the Planned Parenthood hearings). Hopefully SNL allows Pete to keep growing with roles like this. We then saw Kate Mckinnon as Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and as always, Kate was kate. Probably the best part of these skits are the ending corrections. Someone could seriously just make a book with all the ones SNL has created. (7.0)

Monologue: Stand-up comics always give the best monologues, and that was the case this week. Simply put, it was just Amy Schumer doing a part of her stand-up routine (which is great). She talked about women in Hollywood, the Kardashians, and Bradley Cooper. These type of monologues are always a breath of fresh air when compared to the usual "Q&A from the audience" or "singing" ones.  (8.4)

Delta Flight: This was one of a few sketches featuring Amy and Vanessa Bayer together (they worked together in "Trainwreck" this past summer). They played a pair of flight attendants who were doing a singing instructional song....and then accidentally falling out of the plane. You could tell that there was the making of something here, but it didn't quite hit the mark. (5.1)

Porn Teacher: So...that's a title. But that aside, this was a pretty fun wacky skit. Amy played....well a porn teacher, seducing a student (Kyle Mooney). And then an innocent student (Aidy Bryant) shows up. The reaction and response from Amy & Aidy really made this skit. Aidy made her character incredibly believable here (as did Vanessa as her mother). (8.0)

Guns (ad): It seemed odd that SNL didn't even touch gun control last week (given the recent mass shooting), but whether they were waiting for the right host or not, they went after it this week. First up was this ad for "Guns". There are just so many great & small moments that really made this piece work. From Kate McKinnon jogging and firing one in the air, to Vanessa Bayer quickly scoping around while in a wheelchair about to go into labor. This is definitely a re-watchable video, it just gets better each time. (8.9)

The Weeknd ("The Hills"): (7.8)

Weekend Update: What a turnaround for Update. We've seen this before last season however, where we got a really good update, followed by a string of bad ones. However, Colin Jost & Michael Che were certainly on their game this week. They had a really good riff on gun control (keeping up the theme for the show).

This was an Update where Jost/Che made the segment, not the special guests. The first guest saw Jay Pharoah bring out a new character, Solomon (a travel correspondent who didn't travel over the summer). There was something there, but it didn't work this time around.

The second guest saw Kate McKinnon return as Mrs. Santini. As usual with Kate, she was pretty great. (7.6)

Ford Theater:  Another out-there sketch, this saw a Lincoln assassination reenactment for tourists, where Amy (as Mary Todd Lincoln) decides to go over the top and constantly punches Mooney as Wilkes Booth. This was amusing the first few times, but it basically just repeated itself. A good idea that tired itself out. (5.9)

Hands-Free Selfie Stick (ad/short): This was a better millennials sketch than the one last week. The short introduced a new product...the "hands free selfie stick"...which goes, well, lets just say your behind. Everyone in this sold it really well. (8.1)

City Council Meeting: Finally Cecily Strong showed up in this sketch. It seemed like a typical city council meeting with a bunch of characters, from Kyle Mooney's "dutch rapper", to Keenan Thompson playing a guy really enthused about a Halloween march. But what made this sketch from just a slapstick collection of characters was Amy Schumer as a little girl....who has some thoughts on gun control, gay marriage & Jesus....along with recess. She pretty much single-handedly saved this sketch and made it amusing. If only we had seen more of her character here. (6.4)

The Weeknd ("I Can't Feel My Face"): (8.0)

Baby Shower: This sketch started off looking like it was going to tank. It featured Amy/Cecily/Aidy & Leslie Jones at Vanessa's baby shower, and then Cecily's purse went missing. Nothing really saved this one, but Cecily's performance made it at least tolerable. (4.9)

This was a big step-up from last week's premiere. It really showed off what a good host can do. Amy was always present & giving it her all. SNL writers also seemed to really be centered on gun control (which was notable absent last week). Here's hoping they don't shy away more big issues in the future.

 Overall Score - 7.18

Amy Schumer - 7.18
Miley Cyrus - 6.07

Thursday, October 8, 2015

SNL: Season 41 Ep. 1

Its a little late (I was away over the weekend), but so begins another season of SNL, and with that, my reviews. Season 41 kicked off with Miley Cyrus....and was something. Lets get to the review.

Cold Open: The opening saw the introduction of Taran Killam as Donald Trump (and Cecily Strong as his wife). Given how dated the past 2 debates are now, this was basically just a general intro to SNL's impersonation of the current GOP frontrunner. It was a little all over the place, but Killam's Trump looks like it should be pretty strong. (6.5)

Monologue: After Miley got her "I smoke pot, I'm so different" jokes out of the way, the monologue was actually decent, as Miley sang about the villains of the summer, from the Lion killing dentist, to Kim Davis and Jared Fogle. Its really a shame that this season started off so late. Hopefully we see more of Aidy Bryant as Davis. (6.9)

Abilify Ad: This mock commercial was a little predictable, but it had to be done. It was about all the fringe GOP presidential candidates, with their respective wives concerned about their campaigns. (8.0)

50s Dance: Time and time again, SNL decides to put up weak ideas as the first actual sketch, and this time it was no different. It started off with a sort of take-off from Grease, with different kinds of girls dancing...and then there was Miley being Miley. The big take-off here was that nobody knew what rap, or "twerking" was. Just an incredibly weak concept. (4.0)

Hillary Clinton Bar Talk: It may seem a bit early to get candidate cameos, but it was reported hours before the premiere that Hillary Clinton would make a cameo for the show. Here, we saw Kate McKinnon as Clinton at a bar, being tended by "Val" (Hillary). They discussed Hillary's campaign, including some good lines on how she was late to come around on positions (like the Keystone Pipeline and Gay Marriage). I'm a little surprised this wasn't the first post monologue sketch of the night. Hillary really seemed genuine and relaxed. (8.5)

Miley Cyrus (music - "Karen Don't be Sad") - (6.6)

Weekend Update: Colin Jost & Michael Che seemed to have a rapport about them, but something just seemed off for Update to open the season. They just lacked energy, and a lot of the lines sort of fell flat.
The 1st guest saw Kyle Mooney as Pope Francis....and it was incredibly weak to say the least. A wasted spot (that could have gone to Aidy Bryant's Kim Davis).
The 2nd guest saw Pete Davidson discussing the Trump campaign, and this brought Weekend Update up a bit. The general consensus here was Davidson talking about how the Trump phenomenon isn't funny anymore...and there was a lot of truth here.

The final guest saw Leslie Jones talking about texting etiquette. As far as Leslie segments go, this was fine...but it just lacked something, as Jost just didn't seem into it. (6.2)

Millenials: This seemed like it was trying to be the next "Californians" recurring sketch (time will tell if this really will be recurring). It had the same general idea, as it featured Miley and others on their phones, taking selfies and the like in Soap Opera situations. There's something here, but this particular sketch seemed tired. (5.0)

Katz' Deli: Here, Vanessa Bayer/Leslie Jones/Miley and Cecily played a group of friends eating at the famed Meg Ryan scene of "When Harry Met Sally". They took turns reenacting the scene....and then it got around to Leslie. She really was the MVP of this sketch and made this idea work. It was just so over-the top, yet took a few twists and turns to keep it interesting. (8.3)

The Squad (Trailer): A trailer where Aidy and Vanessa played a pair of friends that suddenly live in an apocalyptic world where Taylor Swift's squad rules the world. The pair try to resist as long as they can. As far as mock trailers go, this one was pretty good. (7.4)

Miley Cyrus (music - "The Twinkle Song") - Just a brief note....this was just abysmal. (3.5)

American Voices: This was supposed to be some behind the scenes look-back at an old talk show, but there were some major technical issues. From what we were able to see, this was nothing special. (2.0)

Miley Wedding: The ending of the show felt a little rough going from "American Voices" abruptly to this Kyle Mooney piece where he's marrying Miley. As far as Mooney shorts go, this was alright. (6.0)

Overall, this was just a bizarre premiere. If not for the Hillary Clinton cameo, this show would have been completely forgettable. Miley was just trying to be too edgy just for the sake of it, and other times it was like she was just in the background. Here's hoping the next 2 weeks see better shows with Amy Schumer & Tracy Morgan.

Overall Score - 6.07

Miley Cyrus - 6.07