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Date Posted: 20:52:13 04/03/17 Mon
Author: Stooge
Subject: Josh Brolin / Adele - October 18, 2008 (S34 E5)
In reply to: HerbertMcHoover 's message, "Retro Reviews - April 2017" on 18:35:53 04/02/17 Sun

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 - Sarah Palin Press Conference
• I was wondering if Fey would appear tonight since the real Palin was showing up. They didn’t even really interact in this, though. Just passed by each other quickly. Maybe that was for the better.
• Tina as Palin listing the states she considers un-American and her line about liberal elite media and liberal regular media were good lines at the beginning.
• Wahlberg! Surprised to see him. I never would’ve thought he’d do this after his negative reaction to Samberg’s impression and him subsequently bashing current SNL in that one interview, but it’s nice to see he’s a good sport after all.
• Baldwin!!! Very surprised (and happy) to see him as well. His mistaking Palin for Fey, then later flirting with Palin after Lorne corrected him was great. It looked like he was glued to those cue cards, though, which is unusual for him. Unless he just didn’t want to make eye contact with Palin (due to personal political reasons) and was looking away from her.
• Also loved Baldwin forcing Lorne to tell Palin he hosted 175 times.
• Tina’s “Byeeee” exit was funny.
• I was dreading Palin’s appearance before the show started, but this didn’t turn out bad at all.
Stars: ****1/2


Monologue - Josh Brolin
• Pretty enjoyable monologue. Brolin breaking it down step-by-step on how to do a Bush impression was good.
• This almost turned out to be the third straight solo-monologue in a row, before Oliver Stone showed up for about 5 seconds. His cameo was pretty much useless.
Stars: ***


Mini-Sketch - MacGruber #1
• I had a feeling they’d have trouble topping the last set of MacGruber shorts with his gay son and I was right. Tonight’s MacGrubers didn’t even come close to the Labeouf ones, but they were still okay.
• Mixing in the current stock market situation with MacGruber wasn’t exactly one of the better storylines for this character. He’s still one of the very few enjoyable current recurring characters, though, since they have him actually doing different stuff in each installment instead of re-using the same script each time.
• Will’s “What the f…” followed by the sudden explosion made me laugh out loud.
Stars: ***


Sketch - Surprise Sue
• Remember what I just said above when I mentioned recurring characters that re-use the same script each time? Uh-huh…
• I feared this character would be made recurring. I wasn’t even all that crazy about this the first time it appeared, but I gave Kristen credit for being able to go all out like that and I did get a big laugh the first time at her smashing a bottle over her own head and jumping out the window. But I knew this character would get annoying fast if they brought her back.
• Tonight’s Sue sketch was flat out horrible, and not even the studio audience seemed amused. This was literally an exact carbon copy of the first Sue sketch, only this took place in a sushi restaurant instead of a living room setting. Everything else was the same, right down to the casting: Bill, Amy, and Will played the same straight parts as last time, and Casey was the one who they were throwing a surprise for like last time. And couldn’t Kristen have done something else at the end of the sketch instead of just smashing a bottle over her own head and jumping out the window ONCE AGAIN? Did they really think that would work a second time?
• This just adds on to what I said a few episodes ago about almost all of Kristen’s recurring characters being annoying and/or one-note (with the two a-holes being the one exception I can think of at the moment). I’m fine with pretty much everything else Kristen does on the show, she just needs to stay the hell away from characters like this.
Stars: *


Mini-Sketch - MacGruber #2
• Interestingly, tonight seems to have a lot of consecutive sketches without a commercial break in between.
• Okay, I laughed at the toilet paper bit in the opening credits and at Forte breaking the bottle in half and threatening Brolin and Wiig with it. The rest was nothing, and they didn’t do anything special with the explosion ending. By far the weakest of tonight’s three MacGrubers.
Stars: **


Sketch - The Suze Orman Show
• Tonight’s episode is turning into The Kristen Wiig Show.
• Kristen’s Suze Orman impression continues to be 100% spot-on, but the jacket jokes are getting really stale and overdone. They need to lay off of that stuff if they do this sketch again. The rest of the jokes were fine, and the Master Pussies book and the “I had a great time with dick” bit at the end were hilarious.
• Brolin had some really good lines as the pathetic homeless guest, although it was a little similar to Sudeikis’ barrel commentary on Update. Brolin’s missing nipples was the funniest part.
• An interesting thing I noticed: every time they’ve done a Suze Orman sketch, they also used MacGruber that same night (Jonah Hill, Shia Labeouf, and now Josh Brolin). Strange.
Stars: ***1/2


Miscellaneous - Mark Wahlberg Talks to Andy Samberg
• So the confrontation finally happens.
• This was pretty funny and it’s cool Wahlberg can make mock himself like that.
Stars: ***1/2


Sketch/Commercial - I'm No Angel
• I didn’t know what the heck to think of this, although it showed Amy’s a trooper for being able to do all that while so far into her pregnancy and the guys looked funny with the hair and moustaches.
• It was interesting seeing a sketch with barely any dialogue, but I don’t think this turned out as special as they wanted it to be. The punchline/twist at the end with this being a perfume commercial just confused me, but Will appearing as Greg Allman was very funny and saved this.
Stars: **1/2

[2017 UPDATE: Although I feel this sketch is a bit overrated, I would definitely give it a higher rating today than I did back then, though I'm not sure what that rating would be.]


Mini-Sketch - MacGruber #3
• Will’s face looked hilarious and the ping-pong ball scene was good. They redeemed themselves from the weak second MacGruber tonight.
Stars: ***


Musical Performance


Weekend Update - Poehler & Meyers, featuring Tim Calhoun, Jean K. Jean, Gov. Sarah Palin
• Jokes and delivery from Seth and Amy were much better tonight, compared to that mess of an Update they did on Thursday.
• Best jokes: Brady Bunch, Sex offenders, blind driver, sterilization, boarding school
• I can always tell when Tim Calhoun is going to be on just from the beginning of Amy’s introduction for him (as soon as she says something about an additional-party candidate) so I automatically cheered before the camera even panned over to him. He killed tonight as always. Funniest parts were the blind poll bit, his flag pin, and his opinion about the economy.
• At first, I was wondering why Will was wearing a wig here since he usually just greases his real hair back when playing Calhoun, but his fake bald cap in the next sketch answered that question.
• No!! Not the French comedian! Give it up, Kenan.
• I usually don’t like it when Amy does singing stuff on Update, but her rap tonight was simply just awesome. Her performance was amazing, and stuff like Fred and Andy as the Eskimos, Jason as a dancing Todd Palin wearing a snow outfit, and Amy shooting the guy in the moose costume just added to the hilarity.
• I, for one, am glad Palin had basically nothing to do here, and I actually laughed at her bopping her head to Amy’s rap.
• By the way, I’m predicting that next week will be Amy’s last show and then she’ll leave. The baby is due in two weeks, right? It will be interesting to see if they do something special and give her a send-off next week or something. Actually, it would’ve been cool if the rap she did tonight was on her final Update instead.
Stars: ****

[2017 UPDATE: No, the following week DIDN'T end up being Amy's last show like I predicted, although she did give birth that week (just hours before dress rehearsal that Saturday), which put her on maternity leave until she returned for her last hurrah in the two December episodes.]


Sketch - Fartface
• The premise and writing of the sketch was certainly questionable, but the writers were wise to cast Forte and Hader in the lead parts of the script. Both of them, especially Will, gave hilarious performances that elevated this to a funny sketch. By the time Will was screaming like crazy towards the end, I almost couldn’t breathe from laughing so hard. Forte going insane never fails. They need to do more sketches pairing up Will and Bill.
• Good ending, too.
• Too bad the studio audience wasn’t into this AT ALL. They were completely dead; I only heard them laugh once during the whole thing.
Stars: ***1/2

[2017 UPDATE: This has to be one of the hardest I've ever seen an SNL sketch bomb - not only with the studio audience, but with viewers in general, as I remember the online reaction to the sketch was mostly very negative - almost everybody flat-out hated it. I'll still defend this sketch to this day, though - I absolutely love Forte and Hader's performances & commitment to the material, and the premise was one of those cases of "So dumb, it's funny".
By the way, IIRC, when Hader was on a talk show shortly afterwards (can't remember which one), this sketch was brought up and he talked about how awkward it felt performing something that died so badly with the studio audience, especially since he knew a lot of people would be watching the show that night due to Sarah Palin's guest appearance (it was one of the highest-rated SNLs ever, I believe).]



Sketch - Narc School
• Did anyone else notice the theme song sounded exactly identical to the MacGruber theme? What was up with that?
• I thought this would be pretty funny when it started out, but I was disappointed by the outcome. A lot of it was just repetitive and didn’t really go anywhere. At least it was somewhat short.
• Forte was easily the funniest character in the sketch, especially his “are you guys talking druuuuugs?” line. He’s really on a hot streak tonight. He’s been everywhere and has been the funniest part of almost all the sketches, which is refreshing to see after being underutilized for most of the season.
• Darrell Hammond continues to earn his paycheck by showing up for only 2 seconds every Saturday. Kinda strange when you realize he got far more airtime and dialogue earlier this week in the Thursday night Update special (as McCain in the debate sketch and Jesse Jackson on Update) than he ever gets on the regular Saturday shows.
Stars: **


Commercial - Readitrade.com
• Sudeikis plays a good commercial spokesman, but this ad wasn’t all that funny and it fell flat. The only laughable part was Jason quickly whispering “sell drugs”, and the freeze-frame ending with Fred yelling “WHY?!!” made me chuckle as well.
• I can’t believe this is only the second commercial parody all season (Jar Glove being the first), and neither were shown in the normal post-monologue slot where they usually air the fake commercials. Are they phasing out the fake ads for good?
Stars: **


Miscellaneous - New York Underground with Trevor Dix
• Was this supposed to be a digital short? They didn’t show the “An SNL Digital Short” title card before this came on, but it might as well have been a DS since the whole 4-minute segment was pre-recorded. Maybe the Lonely Island didn’t have anything to do with this.
• While this wasn’t laugh-out-loud, in-your-face funny, it was very enjoyable and funny in a more low-key intelligent way. Definitely a nice change of pace. It gave the show an old-school/classic SNL feel that I liked.
• It was nice to see Bill starring in his own segment; he was brilliant here. His character and British voice was awesome, and he had a really funny line about an obese 15 year old seeing theirself naked for the first time. More and more, I’m getting convinced that Hader is a genius. Too bad SNL doesn’t realize this yet, or else he would have taken over by now as the undisputed star of the show each week instead of being relegated to just playing the token straight man to “zany” Kristen Wiig characters every episode.
Stars: ***1/2

[2017 UPDATE: I'm a bit surprised this segment was never made recurring; it had potential to become a semi-regular bit with Hader profiling a different underground singer each time. I get the strong feeling Armisen wrote this short, so if this had become recurring, he probably would've been the one to play different singers in each installment.]


Musical Performance


Sketch - Fall Foliage
• This was going absolutely nowhere and dragging on and on, although Brolin did his best… but once he left, the sketch suddenly got a lot funnier at the end where Kenan of all people saved it. The rape stuff was priceless and came out of nowhere.
• Will Forte continues his awesome night by getting big laughs with just his one line at the end of the sketch (“Yup…”).
• This was the only real thing Bobby got to do tonight, although he was good here.
Stars: **1/2

_________________________________________________________

Episode Highlights:
• Sarah Palin Press Conference
• Weekend Update, minus Jean K. Jean
• New York Underground with Trevor Dix
• Forte and Hader’s performances in Fartface
• Mark Wahlberg Talks to Andy Samberg

Episode Lowlights:
• Surprise Sue
• Jean K. Jean
• The first half of Fall Foliage
• Readitrade.com
• MacGruber #2
• Narc School

Best Performer of the Night:
• Will Forte


FINAL THOUGHTS
A very uneven episode, with a bit more bad than good. The highs were great, but there were a few too many mediocre pieces scattered around for the highs to make that much of an impact on the overall show. It could be signs of the writers starting to get overworked from the very busy schedule this season, but personally, I’m more worried about the quality of the upcoming third live show in a row (November 1). Considering how long the writers and cast have been working since the season premiere and the fact that the writing is already showing signs of weariness tonight, I wouldn’t be surprised if the show two weeks from now turned out to be a complete disaster that not even Affleck could save.
Josh Brolin was a decent host. Did fine with what he was given and got some good laughs but it would’ve been nice if some of his material was a little better. I was a bit disappointed not to see him actually play Bush tonight. They could’ve done something really interesting and fun with his and Sudeikis’ impressions.

[2017 UPDATE: I can see why I was so concerned with how the then-upcoming November 1 Ben Affleck-hosted show would turn out, due to the aforementioned hectic schedule they had in this early portion of the season (seriously, between all the consecutive live shows and Thursday night Update specials, they technically didn't get their first actual week off this season until November!), but all that worrying ended up being for nothing, because that November 1 show turned out to be your typical solid Affleck episode.]


CASTMEMBER / HOST COUNT DOWN
ARMISEN: 5 sketches (Press Conference, Sue, Update, Readitrade, New York Underground)
FORTE: 11 sketches (Press Conference, MacGruber #1, Sue, MacGruber #2, No Angel, MacGruber #3, Update, Fartface, Narc School, New York Underground, Fall Foliage)
HADER: 5 sketches (Sue, No Angel, Fartface, New York Underground, Fall Foliage)
HAMMOND: 1 sketch (Narc School)
MEYERS: 1 sketch (Update)
POEHLER: 6 sketches (Sue, Wahlberg/Samberg, No Angel, Update, New York Underground, Fall Foliage)
SAMBERG: 4 sketches (Wahlberg/Samberg, No Angel, Update, Fall Foliage)
SUDEIKIS: 4 sketches (Press Conference, No Angel, Update, Readitrade)
THOMPSON: 6 sketches (Wahlberg/Samberg, No Angel, Update, Readitrade, New York Underground, Fall Foliage)
WIIG: 8 sketches (MacGruber #1, Sue, MacGruber #2, Suze Orman, MacGruber #3, Narc School, New York Underground, Fall Foliage)

MOYNIHAN: 3 sketches (No Angel, Readitrade, Fall Foliage)
WILSON: 5 sketches (Sue, No Angel, Narc School, Readitrade, New York Underground)

JOSH BROLIN: 11 sketches (Monologue, MacGruber #1, Sue, MacGruber #2, Suze Orman, Wahlberg/Samberg, No Angel, MacGruber #3, Fartface, Narc School, Fall Foliage)

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