Sarah Michelle Gellar / Faith Hill October 12, 2002
OVERVIEW: Sarah Michelle Gellar has always been a good host, and it's nice to see her on SNL once again. This should be a good episode. Let's hope this is at least better than the mediocre-fest we got last week.
By the way, I'm starting another new format for my reviews, with listing the highlights and the lowlights of each sketch. ______________________________________________________
(COLD OPENING) President Bush and Vice President Cheney address Saddam Highlights: - The long-awaited on-air debut of the new Bush impression. I heard that last week, Darrell played Bush in dress rehearsal but his impression bombed with the audience. I'm glad that Chris Parnell got the job instead, even though it will take some getting used to with seeing someone else playing Bush instead of Will Ferrell. I think Parnell did a good job with the impression for his first time, and I'm sure he'll get more into it as he plays Bush more often. Lowlights: - Darrell's part in this seemed useless. He didn't even get into his Cheney impression as much as he usually does. My guess is that he was just there to help Parnell get his feet wet with the Bush impression, since the audience would most likely be a little more hard on this if it was just Parnell alone. Additional Notes: - None
(OPENING MONTAGE) Don's voice sounded funny when he was saying Dean Edwards' name. Maybe he was trying hard not to laugh at the fact that Dean still hasn't gotten fired...
(MONOLOGUE) Sarah Michelle Gellar offends vampires in the audience Highlights: - Kattan, Rachel, and Amy all looked funny as vampires. Lowlights: - Not a real monologue; no surprise there. - I thought SMG was actually going to play the guitar at first. I would've liked to see that instead. Additional Notes: - It was surprising seeing Jim Downey again. We haven't seen him in a sketch in a long time. - Kattan sucks.
(COMMERCIAL) Swifter Sleepers Highlights: - Good performance from Amy. Lowlights: - Lame, lame, lame commercial. Apparently, not even the studio audience liked it; there was only, like, 2 people clapping after it was done. Additional Notes: - None.
(SKETCH) The Be Safe Gang Highlights: - Good sketch, and well-acted out by SMG, Amy Poehler, and Fred Armisen. - It's good to see Fred with another big role in one of his early episodes. Lowlights: - The ending could've been a little better. Additional Notes: - I noticed that they always use that same classroom set whenever a sketch takes place in school. It was used in the first Suel Forrester sketch, the history class sketch with Jerry Seinfeld, the French class sketch with Alec Baldwin, and some others.
(INTERLUDE) How come we didn't hear the announcer lady calling the cast members tonight when they would show the sketches being set up during the station breaks?
(SKETCH) The dentist fantasy Highlights: -None Lowlights: - Ugh! This would be the annoying Kattan sketch that I was expecting tonight, since all his bit parts last week were too good to be true. So I guess The Guy Who Gets Carried Away By Weird Music is his new character (remember the Derek Jeter and Renee Zellweger episodes?). Would you mind telling me that date on which you plan on leaving the show, again, Chris? Additional Notes: - None.
(COMMERCIAL) A Message from Trans-American Airlines Highlights: - A very clever and low-key commercial parody. Lowlights: - None Additional Notes: - None
OCTOBER 19, 2002 - Senator John McCain As bad as this show sounds (third live show, politician as the host), I have a strange feeling it will end up being a surprisingly great show. We'll see.
(COMMERCIAL) Corona ad, part 1 Highlights: - None. Lowlights: - This did nothing for me. Maybe there's a real ad that this is making fun of and I haven't seen it, but I didn't see the point to this. - Again, the studio audience was completely silent. If I was turning the channels and caught this, I'd probably think this was a real commercial. Additional Notes: - Who was that as Jimmy's girlfriend? She was only shown from the back, but she sounded like Amy Poehler.
(SKETCH) Saddam: The Diabolical Genius Highlights: - Darrell's impression of Saddam was good. Not as funny as Will's impression, but it was more accurate than Will's. It was about on the same level with Phil Hartman's impression. (coincidentally, the Classic SNL tonight opened up with a sketch with Hartman as Saddam) - Saddam's "This guy's got the real red-ass from me" line. - Kattan wasn't annoying in this. - Horatio's appearance as Fat Saddam. Lowlights: - A little dull in spots. Additional Notes: - Horatio cracked Jimmy up, once again, as he was strolling out of the room. - Darrell's Saddam voice sounded like his Turkish Talk Show voice at times.
(COMMERCIAL) Corona ad, part 2 Highlights: - I like the new thing this season with having recurring commercials parodies throughout an episode. Lowlights: - This didn't make me laugh the first time, and I wasn't laughing this time, either. - Tonight's Corona ads aren't anywhere near as funny as last week's NRA ads. Additional Notes: - None.
(WEEKEND UPDATE) Fallon, Fey, Dell Computer Kid, The Ramada Sisters Highlights: - Jimmy's Tammy Faye Baker-Messner joke - Seth's Dell Computer bit. He did a dead-on impression of that annoying idiot. Seth's Update correspondent bits always rule. - Tina's Christina Aguilera joke. - Overall, this had much better jokes than the season premiere Update. Lowlights: - Tina's patented rant and her march over to the studio audience was just a little too silly. Maybe she walked over there to wake them up. Additional Notes: - The Ramada Sisters bit was alright, not really a highlight or a lowlight of this Update. Maya and SMG played good drunk sluts. - What was with Tina's funny-looking shoes when she stood up on the desk? - I'm not a medical expert but aren't manic depression and bi-polar disorder the same thing? When the Dell Computer kid's doctor was reading off his medical conditions, he said them both as if they were separate illnesses.
(INTERLUDE) Did anyone else see the commercial preview for the Jackass movie? How they made a movie out of that show is beyond me.
(SKETCH) Making the Video: Christina Aguilera Highlights: - Nice job making fun of the Queen of all skanks, Christina Aguilera. - SMG looked sexy as hell. - Dean's Redman impression bombed, but who cares? He actually got something to do other than playing Silent Background Man! Congratulations, Dean! Lowlights: - None. Additional Notes: - None
(SKETCH/COMMERCIAL): Arli$$: The Cure for Bladder Control Problems Highlights: - None (see below in Additional Notes) Lowlights: - None (see below in Additional Notes) Additional Notes: - There's nothing really I can say about this sketch; I've never seen Arli$$ since I don't have HBO. I have heard about it though. Is the show really that bad?
(MISCELLANEOUS): Tracy tries to get SMG and Faith Hill to fight Highlights: - I always like these bits with Tracy chatting with the host after a sketch. Lowlights: - Tracy saying "Get me a Pespi, biotch!" wasn't as funny as the original "Get me a soda, bitch!" Maybe because he didn't say it as funny. Additional Notes: - Good to see Lorne again. It seems like he's never on camera anymore. - SMG and Faith Hill should've fought each other, dammit!
(SKETCH) He knows how to treat his woman Highlights: - Tracy always makes me laugh, no matter what he does. Lowlights: - WTF??? This reminded me of that terrible Subway Fred sketch from last season, since it featured the same two castmembers and was a really bizarre sketch. But at least this actually had a joke at the end. - The twist at the end wasn't funny enough to make the sketch worth it. Additional Notes: - Tracy's in-between sexual comments when Maya was talking reminded me of Astronaut Jones.
(COMMERCIAL) Corona ad, part 3 Highlights: - This part was actually funny, if only because it's always hilarious to see people get hit on the head with objects. Lowlights: - Once again, there was no applause from the studio audience after this was over. Is there something wrong with the microphones, or is the whole audience really asleep? Additional Notes: - None
(MISCELLANEOUS): Blame it on Saddam Highlights: - Excellent! The joke was saved all the way to the end (which seems to be a theme tonight), but it was worth it. - Like last week's "The War on Iraq, the TV Series" commercial, SNL is doing a good job of spoofing the war. Lowlights: - None. Additional Notes: - I thought Tracy's part was pretty funny, although it wasn't really supposed to be. Like I said before, he makes me laugh doing anything. - Was Maya as the voice-over of this sketch? It sounded like her.
(SKETCH): Merv the Perv Highlights: - Nice to see Parnell in the lead role of a sketch; I could see this as a new character for him. - Funny twist at the end. Lowlights: - Once again, this was hurt by poor audience response. - As much as I liked Parnell in this, I just couldn't help thinking that Will Ferrell would have played this role if he were still on the show. He's the best at playing a sleazy pervert. Additional Notes: - Other than Parnell, Maya, and Rachel, the castmembers in this sketch were wasted. They were only sitting in the background and they did nothing for the whole sketch (I didn't even notice Will Forte was in this until the end when everybody got up and left the room). Maybe they were all auditioning for the new role of Silent Background Man. I hope this doesn't mean poor Dean really is gonna get the shaft. None of them are as good at that role as Dean is, anyway.
(CONCLUSION) Not really an improvement over the season premiere. I was expecting a lot of funnier stuff, and got disappointed. This is really worrying me, because in the past few seasons when the season premiere was bad and it seemed liked the season would be doomed, the second episode was a big improvement and the rest of the season turned out to be good. Unfortunately this year, both the premiere and the 2nd show disappointed. SNL better start getting back in gear soon, or I'm afraid we might be in for the next 94-95 (though to be fair, neither of these two shows were anywhere near 94-95 levels). This cast is good, but the problem seems to be the writing - which is odd, since the SNL writers got an Emmy for their work last season. I don't think a lot of the writers left since then; maybe they're getting lazy.
Overall Highlights of Tonight's Show: - SMG as the host; she did another great job. I can see her becoming a five-timer in the future. - Weekend Update. - The war-related material (cold opening, Blame Saddam, Trans-Airlines) - SMG, Amy, and Fred in the Be Safe Gang sketch. - SMG as Christina Aguilera. - Funniest single moment of the night: I was thinking about putting Horatio as Fat Saddam, but he got the funniest moment last week when he played Rosie, so I'll instead put the waiter in the third Corona commercial getting beaned on the head with a bottle.
Overall Lowlights of Tonight's Show: - What was with the studio audience? Amy's "Dead people don't laugh" comment in the Be Safe Gang sketch is ironic, since the studio audience tonight was apparently filled with dead people. I know this episode wasn't great, but even in other bad episodes, the audience is still pretty lively. A quiet audience can hurt the feeling of the show, and it did tonight. Several sketches ended without the usual applause from the audience, and they were dead silent during a lot of actual funny parts. I don't think I've ever seen an episode with a crowd this subdued. - The monologue. - Swifter Sleepers. - Most of the Corona ads, except for the last one. - The "How to treat a woman" sketch (it was nothing but a bad cross-over between Astronaut Jones and Subway Fred). - Maybe I'm still going through Ferrell withdrawal, but I was reminded of him a lot during this show (new Bush and Saddam impressions; sleazy perv character). I didn't really think much about him during the season premiere. - Kattan still being on, of course.
CAST MEMBER COUNT DOWN: DRATCH: 4 sketches (Monologue, The Be Safe Gang; Arli$$, the Cure for Bladder Control Problems; Merv the Perv) FALLON: 7 sketches (The Be Safe Gang; Corona ad #1; Saddam, the Diabolical Genius; Corona ad #2; Weekend Update; Making the Video: Christina Aguilera; Corona ad #3) FEY: 1 sketch (Weekend Update) HAMMOND: 2 sketches (Bush and Cheney address Saddam; Saddam, the Diabolical Genius) KATTAN: 5 sketches (Monologue; The Be Safe Gang; The Dentist Fantasy; Saddam, the Diabolical Genius; Making the Video: Christina Aguilera) MORGAN: 5 sketches (A Message from Trans-American Airlines; Making the Video: Christina Aguilera; Tracy chats with SMG and Faith Hill; He knows how to treat his woman; Blame it on Saddam) PARNELL: 7 sketches (Bush and Cheney address Saddam; The Be Safe Gang; The Dentist Fantasy; A Message from Trans-American Airlines; Weekend Update; Blame it on Saddam; Merv the Perv) POEHLER: 10 sketches (Monologue; Swifter Sleepers; The Be Safe Gang; A Message from Trans-American Airlines; Corona ad #1; Corona ad #2; Making the Video: Christina Aguilera; Corona ad #3; Blame it on Saddam; Merv the Perv) RUDOLPH: 7 sketches (A Message from Trans-American Airlines; Weekend Update; Making the Video: Christina Aguilera; Arli$$, the Cure for Bladder Control Problems; He knows how to treat his woman; Blame it on Saddam [?]; Merv the Perv) SANZ: 2 sketches (Saddam, the Diabolical Genius; Making the Video: Christina Aguilera) ARMISEN: 2 sketches (The Be Safe Gang; Merv the Perv) EDWARDS: 1 sketch (Making the Video: Christina Aguilera) FORTE: 3 sketches (A Message from Trans-American Airlines; Blame it on Saddam; Merv the Perv) MEYERS: 2 sketches (The Be Safe Gang; Weekend Update) RICHARDS: 4 sketches (The Be Safe Gang; Saddam, the Diabolical Genius; Blame it on Saddam; Merv the Perv)
Now I think Amy Poehler's a great performer and she obviously has a lot of sketch comedy experience, but she was in WAY too many sketches tonight. Unless it's a special occasion (i.e. Will Ferrell's last show), a cast member shouldn't get this much airtime in a single show. A lot of the female roles seem to always be given to her when more of them need to be given to the very underrated Rachel Dratch, who's apparently still treated like a featured player. She's in her FOURTH season, for crying out loud. She got in more sketches than last week, but they were all small parts and she only had about 2 lines all night.
As for the others, Chris Parnell, Maya Rudolph, Jimmy Fallon, and Tracy Morgan were also the stars of the night. Dean actually gave his Background Man character a rest tonight and tried out something else. Out of the two new guys, Fred seems to be the one who will be the new breakout star; I haven't seen anything big from Will Forte yet.