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Date Posted: 11:07:02 03/10/17 Fri
Author: what he was doing hanging around that week
Subject: A weird thing is that Kumail Nanjiani is in that New York Times sketch..not sure
In reply to: Stooge 's message, "James Franco / Kings of Leon - September 20, 2008 (S34 E2)" on 07:53:27 03/10/17 Fri

>Here's the original review I posted back when this
>episode first aired.
>
>---------------------------------------
>
>RATINGS SYSTEM
>***** = Excellent, a possible future classic
>**** = Great
>*** = Average
>** = Meh
>* = How'd this get past dress?
>
>
>Cold Opening - McCain’s Attack Ads
>• Darrell’s McCain impression makes its first
>appearance of the season. We still have yet to see
>anything on Fred’s Obama, but hopefully, he’s
>still working hard on perfecting it.
>• Bill was awesome as the sarcastic-voiced
>announcer. Glad to finally see him get something funny
>to do this season.
>• The ad comparing Obama to Charles Barkley and the
>bit about tax benefits for pedophiles were the
>funniest parts for me.
>Stars: ***1/2
>
>[2017 UPDATE: "We still have yet to see anything
>on Fred’s Obama, but hopefully, he’s still working
>hard on perfecting it." Oh, don't make me laugh, 2008
>Me.]

>
>
>Opening Montage
>• They used Casey’s alternate credit pic tonight
>(the one that’s only been shown in the reruns)
>instead of the usual one that they showed last week.
>Why don’t they make up their minds already? They
>keep going back-and-forth between her pic every week.
>
>
>Monologue - James Franco
>• Decent monologue. Nothing too amazing, but Jason
>helped this a lot with his appearance as the frat
>buddy and his beatboxing at the end.
>• The cutaways to Franco’s roommate in the
>audience were good for a chuckle.
>Stars: ***
>
>
>Sketch - The Cougar Den
>• I actually liked this sketch a lot the first time,
>but was worried that it would be less funny if they
>made it recurring. I was right. Tonight’s version
>was okay but I liked the original much, much more. At
>least this wasn’t a complete carbon copy of the
>first version like so many recurring sketches do these
>days. There was enough new stuff to keep it
>semi-fresh, the problem was it just needed to be
>funnier.
>• Surprised they got Cameron Diaz to come back just
>for this. Are they only going to do this sketch
>whenever she’s available? Never mind, I just
>realized that they might stop doing this sketch anyway
>after Amy leaves.
>• At least Casey can finally say she has a recurring
>character now. I’m all for seeing her get more
>airtime and comedic roles on the show, but I’d
>rather see her get them in original sketches rather
>than a retread.
>• Kenan’s interjections were too similar to last
>time, but I admit, he manages to get a rare laugh out
>of me in roles like this and the Dakota Fanning Show
>sketches.
>Stars: **1/2
>
>[2017 UPDATE: "Never mind, I just realized that
>they might stop doing this sketch anyway after Amy
>leaves." Nope, they actually kept it going later this
>season after her departure by having future newbie
>Michaela Watkins take her spot. And then the
>following season, there was a cut installment I read
>about that replaced both Michaela AND Casey - who were
>both unfortunately gone by that point - with future
>newbies Abby Elliott and either Jenny Slate or Nasim
>Pedrad (I can't remember which one). All this proves
>is just how erratic the female cast got after Amy
>Poehler's departure, with so many female featured
>players coming and going.]

>
>
>Sketch - Agent 420
>• Obvious that they’d have Franco play a stoner in
>at least one sketch, after the success of his movie
>"Pineapple Express". This reminded me a lot of a
>sketch Jack Black did the first time he hosted several
>years ago where he played a pothead who was an
>investigative reporter.
>• This really wasn’t good at all and stoner humor
>always seems to come across as stale on SNL these
>days. And what was with the explosion at the end? Was
>that even supposed to be funny?
>• The Bond-style theme song by Kristen was probably
>more entertaining than the sketch content itself.
>• Fred looked and sounded hilarious as the Chinese
>enemy Dr. Huang.
>Stars: *1/2
>
>
>Sketch - OJ Simpson Jury Selection
>• Nice to see Casey in another semi-big part
>tonight, although this was just a straight role.
>• This was a really good sketch. All the different
>jury members inexplicably knowing about the OJ murders
>was very funny, especially Kristen and Fred’s parts.
>I loved Fred’s delivery of “Come on, he’s OJ!”
>Plus, those weird long fake sideburns of his alone had
>me chuckling.
>• Glad that Kenan was barely given any dialogue as
>OJ, since his OJ impression last season was god awful.
>Stars: ****
>
>
>Digital Short - Murray Hill
>• Very out-of-nowhere, but any short featuring no
>Andy Samberg these days is automatically a plus in my
>book.
>• The “tiny ding dong” references didn’t get
>any laughs at first, although Kristen’s disturbed
>facial reactions were good. But Blake Lively’s
>random cameo with her saying “so do I” in a deep
>voice and her and Franco walking away arm-in-arm was
>really unexpected and made this whole short.
>Stars: ***
>
>
>Sketch/Commercial - The Looker
>• A strange and completely random way of parodying
>The Closer, but Fred as Penny Marshall with that
>droopy frozen expression was priceless and never
>stopped being funny, especially when he put on the
>even-smaller glasses and Jason just smiled and said
>“son of a bitch” and immediately confessed.
>• Did the camera cut away too early before Franco
>even finished his line? His line at the end of his
>scene overlapped with the voice-over, and I'm not sure
>if that was intentional or not.
>• After that annoying Cathy bit on Update last week,
>I was ready to never see Andy in drag again, but he
>was actually really funny in this as Juliette Lewis
>and looked eerily a lot like her.
>Stars: ***1/2
>
>
>Musical Performance
>
>
>Weekend Update - Poehler & Meyers, featuring Richard
>Fuld and Doug Charney
>• Best jokes: Weather Channel, George Takei,
>Sit-on-my-facebook, Sex and the City, giant pants
>• Jason wearing a barrel was a funny sight gag and
>his commentary got some good laughs, especially his
>remark about french-kissing a homeless guy for an egg
>mcmuffin.
>• The Rosie Perez/Dora the Explorer bit was so
>absurd that it was funny.
>• Fred as the nasty perv was just hilarious and was
>probably the hardest I laughed all night. It was also
>great when he touched Amy’s chest and she actually
>liked it.
>• Seth and Amy really seemed to be having a lot of
>fun tonight. You can tell they’re definitely going
>to miss working with each other when Amy leaves soon.
>Stars: ****
>
>
>Sketch - The New York Times
>• While it was nice to see an almost-full cast
>sketch (minus Amy, who’s barely appeared in anything
>tonight), some of the characters and pieces could’ve
>been cut. This went on longer than it should have, but
>there were still many good pieces and characters to
>keep the sketch interesting throughout.
>• Jason played a good moderator.
>• Kinda surprised to see Darrell in this. He looked
>similar to his Donald Rumseld impression.
>• Will’s paranoia and recurring questions about
>polar bear attacks was my favorite part, especially
>the disclaimer at the end where it turned out he
>actually did get attacked by a polar bear, then got
>struck by lightning.
>• Other best parts were Bill’s over-confidence in
>his completely idiotic answers, Andy and Kenan leaving
>after hearing there’s no Thai food, and Bobby
>mentioning how he’s in the middle of a sex change.
>Stars: ***1/2
>
>
>Sketch - George & Lenny
>• Of Mice and Men is my all-time favorite book, so I
>already knew I was going to like this sketch as soon
>as it started. I also loved the other Of Mice and Men
>parody they did in the early 90’s, with John
>Malkovich and Chris Farley both playing Lennies and
>petting/killing everything in sight.
>• Tonight's Mice and Men parody was clever and
>funny. It was nice seeing more low-key, smart humor on
>SNL, and I really enjoyed Bobby Moynihan’s
>performance. I hope everyone who hated last week’s
>Pepper sketch and who was ready to write Bobby off are
>a little more impressed with him after this sketch.
>• I gotta say, though, I find it strange that Bobby
>has gotten his own starring role in a sketch in BOTH
>of his episodes so far, whereas Casey has gotten
>pretty much that same little amount of starring roles
>even though she’s been on over half a season. Hmm…
>Stars: ****
>
>
>Miscellaneous - Yankee Stadium Stories
>• This was cut from late last season (Amy’s flat
>tummy made it especially obvious).
>Strange that they used this now, but I really enjoyed
>it. It was nice seeing Fred and Amy’s Scorsese and
>Perez impressions back, after the similar New
>York Stories segments a few seasons ago. Odd, though,
>having Amy play Rosie Perez twice in the same episode.
>• I wonder why they didn’t air the other two
>Yankee Stadium Stories that I remember reading also
>got cut. I can’t remember who Amy and Fred played in
>those.
>• Fred’s Scorsese was even more dead-on tonight
>than it was last time. He sounded EXACTLY like him and
>his impression just cracked me up. There was also one
>part where he snorted as he laughed and that had me
>almost dying laughing for some weird reason. Fred’s
>really having a great episode. He’s been awesome in
>just about every appearance tonight. Nice rebound from
>his disappointing performance in the season premiere.
>Stars: ***1/2
>
>
>Musical Performance
>
>
>Miscellaneous - James Franco and Willem Dafoe
>• Bill Hader pulls out yet another amazing,
>brilliant impression. His Dafoe was hilarious, and
>this whole sketch was awesome.
>• Nice to see SNL finally using Hader’s talents
>tonight. The man just amazes me to no end whenever
>he’s showcased. It was great seeing him all over
>this episode, after he got jack squat to do in the
>season premiere. They way they used him in this
>episode is how it should be every week. Same thing
>with how they heavily featured Jason Sudeikis tonight.
>I always said those two need to be the leads of this
>cast, and I hope SNL finally realizes it.
>• Loved Bill's smart-mouthed remark about Franco
>having to stress over “wearing wigs and squinting to
>see the cue cards all night”.
>• Andy’s exaggerated goofiness like his appearance
>here usually kinda annoys me, but it actually worked
>perfectly in this sketch and made me laugh a lot. It
>also kinda reminded me of his “wazzup” impressions
>from that Impression-Off contest he and Bill had on
>Weekend Update in their very first episode.
>Stars: ****1/2
>
>_______________________________________________________
>__
>
>Episode Highlights:
>• James Franco and Willem Dafoe
>• OJ Simpson Jury Selection
>• Weekend Update
>• Of Mice and Men
>• Yankee Stadium Stories
>• Bill as the sarcastic announcer in the cold opening
>
>Episode Lowlights:
>• Agent 420
>• The Cougar Den
>• A few characters in The New York Times
>
>Best Performer of the Night:
>• Fred Armisen / Bill Hader / Jason Sudeikis
>
>
>FINAL THOUGHTS
>Massive improvement over last week’s awful season
>opener. There seemed to be a lot of actual original
>material and premises unlike last week’s
>recycle-fest, and most of the sketches worked. The
>second half of the show was especially strong.
>James Franco mostly seemed to get cast in straight man
>roles in this episode, but as expected he was still
>miles better than Michael Phelps. Franco certainly
>wasn’t amazing or anything, but he was an adequate
>host tonight and played all of his parts convincingly.
>No real complaints here.
>
>
>CASTMEMBER / HOST COUNT DOWN
>ARMISEN: 6 sketches (Agent 420, Jury Selection,
>Looker, Update, New York Times, Yankee Stadium)
>FORTE: 5 sketches (Agent 420, Jury Selection, Looker,
>New York Times, George & Lenny)
>HADER: 6 sketches (McCain, Agent 420, Jury Selection,
>New York Times, George & Lenny, Franco and Dafoe)
>HAMMOND: 2 sketches (McCain, New York Times)
>MEYERS: 1 sketch (Update)
>POEHLER: 3 sketches (Cougar Den, Update, Yankee
>Stadium)
>SAMBERG: 5 sketches (Agent 420, Jury Selection,
>Looker, New York Times, Franco and Dafoe)
>SUDEIKIS: 8 sketches (McCain, Monologue, Agent 420,
>Jury Selection, Looker, Update, New York Times, George
>& Lenny)
>THOMPSON: 3 sketches (Cougar Den, Jury Selection, New
>York Times)
>WIIG: 7 sketches (McCain, Cougar Den, Agent 420, Jury
>Selection, Digital Short, Looker, New York Times)
>
>MOYNIHAN: 3 sketches (Jury Selection, New York Times,
>George & Lenny)
>WILSON: 4 sketches (Cougar Den, Jury Selection, New
>York Times, Franco and Dafoe)
>
>JAMES FRANCO: 9 sketches (Monologue, Cougar Den, Agent
>420, Jury Selection, Digital Short, Looker, New York
>Times, George & Lenny, Franco and Dafoe)

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