Ben Affleck / Nelly
October 2, 2004

Thoughts and Concerns about the upcoming season:

· The new castmember this season is Rob Riggle. I have seen him on a few VH1 shows and I’ve heard a lot of great things about him. He really sounds like he can be a great castmember. I’m surprised there’s only one new castmember this season. They usually come in twos or more.

· Tina’s new co-anchor at the Weekend Update desk will be Amy. I wasn’t really happy about this when I first heard it, but I’ll give Amy a chance. I just can’t picture her behind the Update desk in a newsanchor suit telling jokes. But we’ll see how she does.

· I’m happy about Ben Affleck hosting the season premiere. Maybe it IS a little too soon to bring him back since he just hosted a few months ago, but he’s always a good host and both of his episodes were great.  Also, it’s a rarity nowadays for someone to host multiple times in the same calendar year.


[COLD OPENING] The Presidential Debate


· Forte and Seth’s Bush and Kerry impressions have both improved even more and are now really good.

· Parnell’s always good as Jim Lehrer.

· A few funny lines.


· A huge disappointment, considering SNL’s usually-good track record with classic presidential debate sketches.

· The main problem is that this dragged a lot and felt WAY too long.  I know most presidential debate cold openings are usually very lengthy, but I usually don’t mind because they usually contain enough funny content to keep me laughing for the entire duration.  This particular sketch, however, didn’t contain many laughs and had too many gaps where there wasn’t really anything to laugh at, so it made the sketch’s long time length a big problem.

Grade: C


· I’m surprised they changed the opening montage after only one season, but I guess with the way the last opening montage was styled, it would’ve been too difficult to add any new castmembers in.  I like this new one, but it’s kinda generic compared to last season’s unique, creative montage.

· Great to see Fred finally promoted to a regular castmember.

· Did anyone notice that Don Pardo messed up Forte’s name? He said “Will Fer…”, then stopped suddenly and never finished his name. Sounds like Pardo almost said “Will Ferrell”, similar to that time last season when he accidentally announced Parnell as “Chris Kattan”.

· How come they didn’t add a “30” to the SNL logo?  Don’t they want to commemorate this being the 30th season?

[MONOLOGUE] Ben Affleck talks to Alec Baldwin


· Alec Baldwin! Very nice to see him cameo. 

· Alec was hilarious and had lots of great lines, and great chemistry with Ben.


· None.


· Why did Alec say he hosted 9 times? I thought he hosted 11 times.

Grade: A

[COMMERCIAL] Dr. Porkenheimer’s Boner Juice


· Rob’s “boner” under the blankets.


· Overall, wasn’t that funny and was too predictable.

Grade: C-

[SKETCH] Debbie Downer


· The bit with Rachel listing each name of the tornadoes as the “wah-wah” music played in between each name was timed well and pretty funny.


· Everyone knew that they were gonna bring this back, which SNL shouldn’t have done because they can never top the first Debbie Downer sketch. The only reason that first sketch worked is because of the laughing.  Without the laughing, the sketch wouldn’t have worked because the script itself wasn’t really that funny.  This second installment proved that.  They managed to get through this without laughing, but the result was boring as hell because 1) the premise was exactly the same as last time, only in a different (and not as funny) setting, 2) Rachel’s depressing lines were even weaker this time than last time, and 3) the audience was pretty dead. Hopefully, we’ve seen the last of this character.

Grade: D-

[COMMERCIAL] Swift Boat Veterans


· A very good ad parody with several funny lines.

· The gay marriage part.


· None.

Grade: B+

[NEXT WEEK] October 9, 2004: Queen Latifah

· She’s very funny and did a great job hosting last time, so I’m looking forward to this. And I’m expecting a Jimmy Fallon cameo - even though it's WAY too early - since he co-stars with her in Taxi.

[SKETCH] James Carville visits the Kerrys


· Good to see Seth’s Kerry impression again tonight.

· Ben was hilarious and dead-on as James Carville.

· Of course, Darrell as Clinton. Lots of classic lines from him as usual.


· Maya’s singing as Teresa Heinz Kerry.  What was the point of that?

Grade: A-


[WEEKEND UPDATE] Fey & Poehler, New Jersey Resident, Ben Affleck, Sir Elton John


· Tina’s Britney joke.

· Amy’s Bush/Norman Fell joke.

· James Gandolfini’s cameo was nice and he had several good lines.

· The kidney bit.

· Tina’s Colin Farrell joke.


· Tina’s first Bush joke.


· Overall, I have mixed feelings on Amy’s debut at the desk. She seemed comfortable and I can already see a lot of chemistry between her and Tina, but I wasn’t crazy about her delivery, and seeing her tell Update jokes still feels out-of-place. It’s too early for me to say too much for now, but Amy on Update will take a lot of getting used to.

· The new Update opening sequence was great, but I don’t like the overly-enthusiastic announcer (it sounded a little like Jimmy Fallon, oddly enough). What was with him saying “Yay” at the end of the opening? Shouldn’t Weekend Update always have a straight professional-sounding announcer to help give it that “newscast” feel?

· I wish they got a brand new Update set as well, although I can see they did make a few minor changes to this one.

Grade: C+

[SKETCH] Escalator Madness


· Everyone’s committed performances, especially Ben and Amy.

· Rachel continuously getting slapped throughout the sketch.

· Parnell jumping off the escalator.

· Forte falling from the rope.


· I wasn’t crazy about the overall premise behind the sketch; something about it didn’t work for me.  Luckily, the committed performances from everyone made the sketch better than it had any right to be.

Grade: C+

[SKETCH] DJ Ranger


· Ben’s performance.

· Ben telling the priest to stay away from the kids’ table.


· The sketch itself was pretty weak and the “annoying DJ at wedding” premise has already been done many times before.


· What was the point of Rachel being in this? She had nothing to do here.

Grade: C-


[FILM] A Night at Camp David


· None.


· What the hell was this? I kept waiting for something funny, but it never happened. I like when SNL tries to do something different and add more variety and uniqueness to their format, which is something they don’t do enough of nowadays, but honestly, none of their latest short films have been good at all (i.e. that bald kid movie from last season’s Olsen Twins season finale, The World of Scott Wainio, etc.).

Grade: F


Overall Episode Grade: C

Overall Highlights:

· Ben Affleck did his usual good job as the host.

· Monologue.

· Swift Boat Veterans.

· James Carville visits the Kerrys.

Overall Lowlights:

· The length of the Presidential Debate.

· Dr. Porkenheimer’s Boner Juice.

· Debbie Downer.

· DJ Ranger.

· A Night at Camp David.

Best Lines:

· Seth Meyers as John Kerry: “That is not flip-flopping, that is pandering! And America deserves a president who knows the difference!”

· Alec Baldwin: (on the similarities between himself and Ben Affleck) “Hosting SNL all the time, public break-ups with famous women, fighting with the paparazzi, showing up at the Democratic National Convention... these are MY moves, Ben!”

Ben Affleck: “They’re not moves to me, Alec. They’re just the slow-motion train wreck I like to call my life.”

· Alec Baldwin: (to Ben) “Don’t jerk me around, Gigli!”

· Alec Baldwin: “Mike Myers will suck your soul out and complain how bad it tastes.”

· Ben Affleck as James Carville: (to John Kerry) “You beat George Bush in a talking contest. That’s like Wilt Chamberlain playing basketball against Stephen Hawking and beat him by ten points. The man can’t talk, John!”

· Darrell Hammond as Bill Clinton: “The only thing better than a trailer park girl is one that is desperate…and one that is wet.”

· Darrell Hammond as Bill Clinton: “Teresa Heinz, you are a firecracker. I can think of 57 varieties of things I’d like to do to you…and I would do it with relish.”

· Tina Fey: “According to reports, Britney Spears has told family and close friends that she and her husband, Kevin Federline, are expecting their first child. So far, no word on whether it will be a pimp or a ho.”


ARMISEN: 3 sketches (Debbie Downer/Swift Boat Veterans/DJ Ranger)

DRATCH: 3 sketches (Debbie Downer/Escalator Madness/DJ Ranger)

FEY: 1 sketch (Weekend Update)

FORTE: 4 sketches (The Presidential Debates/Swift Boat Veterans/ Escalator Madness /DJ Ranger)

HAMMOND: 2 sketches (Swift Boat Veterans/James Carville visits the Kerrys)

MEYERS: 2 sketches (The Presidential Debates/James Carville visits the Kerrys)

PARNELL: 3 sketches (The Presidential Debates/Swift Boat Veterans/Escalator Madness)

POEHLER: 5 sketches (Dr. Porkenheimer’s Boner Juice/Debbie Downer/Weekend Update/Escalator Madness/DJ Ranger)

RUDOLPH: 3 sketches (Debbie Downer/James Carville visits the Kerrys/Escalator Madness)

SANZ: 4 sketches (Debbie Downer/Swift Boat Veterans/Weekend Update/Escalator Madness)

MITCHELL: 0 sketches

RIGGLE: 3 sketches (Dr. Porkenheimer’s Boner Juice/Escalator Madness/DJ Ranger)

THOMPSON: 0 sketches

Amy stood out the most tonight. I thought Seth would get a lot more to do than just Kerry.  I figured the show would try to push Seth as the new male star now that Jimmy's gone. I wish Fred got some more main roles for his first show as a regular castmember; I can't believe they didn't bring back Frondi (who, unlike Debbie Downer, actually DESERVES to be brought back) or even Donnie G. and Sidecar. Rob got some pretty good airtime for his first episode, even though they were mostly straight man roles. And I can't help but find it kinda funny that BOTH black guys (Kenan and Finesse) weren’t in anything, especially considering it’s the season premiere.


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