Sigourney Weaver / The Ting Tings January 16, 2010
***** = Excellent, a possible future classic
**** = Great
*** = Average
** = Meh
* = How'd this get past dress?
Cold Opening - Larry King Live
• Nice to see a slight change-of-pace for the cold opening, parodying the current Tonight Show fiasco. The writing of this could've been much better, though. There seemed to be a lot of missed opportunities and the sketch wasn't as hard-hitting as it should've been. The impressions are what ended up saving the sketch.
• Darrell making a cameo as Leno - no surprise there. I liked his performance here and he still does a good Leno voice, but it doesn't seem as dead-on now as it used to be before, unless I'm remembering it differently.
• Bill as Conan, on the other hand, was a pleasant surprise. I've been wanting to see Bill try out an impression of Conan for the last few years even before this whole Tonight Show thing, since I figured if anyone in the current cast could nail a Conan impersonation, it would be him. He did a pretty good job in this playing a more-subdued Conan. Some people don't think he sounded much like him, but you have to remember Bill was impersonating the lower-key voice Conan uses when he gets serious, instead of Conan's louder, high-energy voice most people are used to from him. Bill did just fine. Part of me wishes he had more lines, but I do realize that Bill's Conan voice might still have been a bit of a work in-progress, which is probably why they didn't give him too much to say.
• Jason as Letterman was very unexpected, but he was hilarious as him and stole the whole sketch without even having to utter a single word. The facial expressions, pencil-throwing, and Letterman-laugh were priceless.
• Funny thing is, in addition to Conan, I also always wanted to see Bill Hader do an impression of Letterman (I remember mentioning this before in an earlier review this season). As much as I enjoyed what we saw of his Conan tonight, I bet Bill could do an even-better Letterman voice if he had to, but he obviously couldn't play him here since the writers already probably wanted him as Conan.
• Fred as Larry King had a few funny lines, like the "Captain Suspenders 1906" bit, and him comparing leaving NBC to being rescued from the Titanic (so very true).
• Will didn't look remotely like Carson Daly, and he seemed very out-of-place in this role.
• It seems like Fred has said LFNY in almost every single episode this season.
Monologue - Sigourney Weaver
• I had a feeling she would show a picture or clip of her 1986 monologue. I hoped last week that Charles Barkley would do the same thing, if only so we could laugh at how age has not been very kind to his body over the years since 1993. Sigourney, on the other hand, has aged pretty well.
• Sigourney did an okay job in this monologue and had a few funny parts, like her saying she's not wearing a bra in the older pictures they showed of her.
• I was wondering before the show if she would mention her dad being the creator of the Tonight Show, and she did. The contract thing she read at the end was a funny reference to the Tonight Show controversy going on.
• I was a bit disappointed and surprised that nothing about Ghostbusters was ever mentioned, though.
Sketch - Grady Wilson's Fifty and Freaky
• A third one of these? And right after the monologue this time? I enjoyed the first one from last season a lot, but these are getting less and less funnier each time. A classic example of ruining a once-great one-off sketch by unnecessarily bringing it back and changing nothing about the sketch, thus running it into the ground.
• Kenan may be having a somewhat-better year this season, but I'm still not crazy about any of his recurring characters.
• At least they tried something a little different this time by having Sigourney demonstrating her own moves, although it didn't make the sketch much funnier.
• The only sex moves in this I laughed at overall were The Sprinkler and The Old TV.
Sketch - ESPN Classic
• Speaking of a recurring sketch appearing for its third time... Ah, so nice to see the 09-10 season's streak of “all recurring sketches, all the time” is still alive. [/end sarcasm]
• As much as I kinda groan at first when this ESPN sketch keeps coming back, it always ends up slightly better than I expect, even though it's the same thing every time. But it's kept somewhat funny by some of the ridiculous slogans of the different feminine hygiene products and Jason's great delivery. The funniest bits tonight were the “smell of your thong” and the “when your man's in a coma from your panty aroma” slogans, and the way Jason kept saying “douche” a few seconds after saying Summer's Eve. And they kept this particular installment fairly short, which is a plus.
• Just when I thought the whole angle with Will's character was getting old, they made it funny again towards the end with his word search puzzle.
• Why do they bother changing the name of Kristen's character in each of these ESPN installments when it's obvious she's playing the exact same person? And if we are supposed to believe Kristen's playing a different character in each one of these, then why not 1) give her a different wig and clothes, or 2) god forbid, actually get one of the other female castmembers to play the role in each one? You know, Lorne? Those OTHER three ladies in your cast; the ones who you don't seem to ever like giving screen time to?
Digital Short - James Cameron's Laser Cats 5
• I was a bit fooled at the beginning by the James Cameron cameo into thinking that this would be an original digital short, but then as soon I saw where this was going and Bill and Andy came rolling in the office with the TV and VCR, I reacted the exact same way Lorne did (“Oh, fuck...”).
• I guess it was time for a Laser Cats short, though, since they seem to do one annually in the second half of each season ever since Bill and Andy's first season (Lindsay Lohan episode in early '06, Jake Gyllenhaal episode in early '07, Walken episode in early '08, Steve Martin episode in early '09, and now the fifth installment tonight in early '10).
• Also, this is the THIRD recurring sketch in a row tonight... Fourth if you count Larry King Live as one.
• I've never been a fan of these Laser Cats shorts, but I have to admit, tonight's actually turned out to be pretty good and kept me entertained during most of it. The Aliens crossover with Sigourney reprising her Ripley role was clever, as was the Avatar parody towards the end.
• I still hate the endings to these, though. Can't they EVER come up with something other than Lorne telling them “Get out”? Why do they still think that's funny?
Sketch - Disco Booty Junction
• It looked like Kenan was wearing his same Deondre Cole suit from What Up With That.
• At first, this seemed like this was going to be some kind of 70's disco version of Deep House Dish with several groups of singers, which really worried me, especially during Sigourney and Kristen's first performance. Thankfully, I turned out to be wrong about that as this was just focused on Sigourney and Kristen's singing duo. Unfortunately, the result wasn't really any better than a Deep House Dish sketch.
• This sketch went absolutely nowhere and was just an unfunny one-joke premise. And the whole thing with Kenan talking to the producers off-camera was drawn-out way too long.
Weekend Update - Seth Meyers, featuring Larry the Goose, Meryl Streep
• Best jokes: Palin, Conan/Cinemax, owner mauled, Jennifer Love Hewitt, butt study
• Seth's rant about NBC & the current Tonight Show fiasco was awesome. It may have been long-winded, but it had several great lines and a great payoff. It was like a cross between “Really?!?” and Tina Fey's patented rants she used to do in her first few seasons of Update. The best parts of Seth's rant were his Law & Order comments and especially the joke at the end about Jimmy Fallon returning to the SNL cast and forcing Seth back into one sketch every three weeks.
• Oh, look, Larry the Goose again... Whatever. I didn't like this character the first time, and I didn't like him tonight. I think Andy had one comment tonight that made me laugh, but I can't even remember anything he said in this, other than a lame pun-based bit with him listing goose celebrities. And him saying “topical” after the Ting Tings reference bothered me for some reason. Way to pat yourself on the back, Andy, for your “witty” reference to tonight's musical guest...
• When Seth was introducing the Meryl Streep commentary, I was praying it wouldn't be Kristen showing up playing her, but I figured Abby and the other new girls would be too young-looking to pull off a Streep impression. But then Abby showed up and I was relieved. I guess Lorne is starting to realize he has other females in the cast after all.
• I always enjoy Abby's celebrity impressions, and they're honestly the only time I ever really feel confident in her. However, the Meryl Streep commentary itself was completely forgettable and wasn't really funny. And her winning a second award at the end for “Best Update” was just dumb and fell flat.
Sketch - Pandora
• I'm not too familiar with Avatar, so some of this went over my head. There were a few funny parts like Bill's skinny legs thumping on the glass and him having that huge plant/fruit/whatever shoved up his behind.
• Jason's character made me laugh, although I probably would've found it even funnier if I knew the character he was parodying.
• I was surprised this ended as fast as it did. Normally, I'd be happy about them keeping a sketch short for once, but it felt like this ended too abruptly and actually might've benefited from going further places with the plot.
Sketch - Riley
• As soon as I realized this was gonna be centered around Fred playing his 342,556,328th gay character this season, I groaned and rolled my eyes. Then the theme song started and I groaned even louder. And did they have to make the song sound the same as the “Knock, knock, who's there, it's Gilly” jingle? I also got eerie shades of Debbie Downer from this overall sketch; just replace that sketch's famous repeated “wah wahhhhhh” sound effect with Fred repeatedly saying “You bitch!” and you have Riley. In fact, this whole sketch was like Gilly meets Debbie Downer meets Paul Lynde.
• Maybe in an earlier season, I might've found Fred's performance in this funny despite the horrible material, but at this point, I'm beyond sick of them pigeonholing Fred into so many gay roles this season (the nadir of this was the January Jones episode where he played two gay roles within 20 minutes of each other) and it feels like he's already done this same sketch 100 times before. He's seriously giving Chris Kattan a run for his money on most gay roles played by a single castmember.
• This sketch also has “future recurring character” written all over it, which makes this even worse. And for those of you who DID enjoy this sketch, well, let's see if you're still defending this character after the fifth installment by the end of this season.
Sketch - Internet Buzz
• This was okay overall, especially compared to most of this episode, but I was hoping this would be a little funnier to really make up for most of the crap earlier tonight.
• Some of the negative online comments Sigourney read about herself were pretty funny, like the “Dances with Smurfs” one about Avatar and the “horse face” bit, and I did like the ending with her finding a nip-slip photo of herself and asking if men AND women will masturbate to it.
• Jason was very good here; another strong performance from him. He helped this sketch a lot.
• Seeing Kristen coupled with Bill, and seeing both of them with Jason brought back positive memories of their early seasons on the show (remember that great featured player cast in 05-06, with Sudeikis, Hader, Samberg, and Wiig?) long before I grew sick of Kristen.
Sketch - Fire and Rice
• I didn't enjoy this at all. A very weak and lame premise, and I saw that ending with Sigourney doing a long fall off the piano coming from a mile away.
• The only chuckles came from Bobby, like when he corrected Sigourney's character by saying “I'm to your right”. However, not even he could save that stupid ending.
• And why was this the second time tonight where Sigourney mentioning peeing herself?
Overall, a boring, disappointing episode tonight. It felt like it never completely took off, and I found myself uninterested throughout most of the show; a similar feeling I had during the Drew Barrymore episode earlier this season. And the poor quality of this episode can't even be blamed on this season's usual overdose of recurring sketches, as after the first 20 minutes, there weren't any recurring sketches at all for the rest of the night, yet the writing was STILL uninspired. The Digital Short was the only segment that stood out as memorable all-around. Sigourney Weaver certainly isn’t to blame for the quality of this episode, though, as she seemed game and energetic throughout the episode, but unfortunately, she was given a lot of subpar material to work with.
CASTMEMBER / HOST COUNT DOWN
ARMISEN: 4 sketches (Larry King, Digital Short, Pandora, Riley)
FORTE: 2 sketches (Larry King, ESPN)
HADER: 5 sketches (Larry King, Digital Short, Disco, Pandora, Internet Buzz)