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Date Posted: 10:56:57 04/29/17 Sat
Author: Stooge
Subject: Neil Patrick Harris / Taylor Swift - January 10, 2009 (S34 E12)
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 - The Rachel Maddow Show
• I was very surprised to see Abby in this role. After only being on 4 episodes and barely uttering any lines, she suddenly gets the lead role at the beginning of the show in the cold opening and even gets to say LFNY! Amazing. I’m happy for her, but at the same time, I kinda feel bad for Casey Wilson for some reason.
• Jason had a lot of great lines as Blagojevich, especially the “sex you” parts, his names for Maddow, and the 'Dutch kid/thumb in a dyke' line at the end.
Stars: ***½


Monologue - Neil Patrick Harris
• NPH criticizing Fred Savage’s SNL episode from 1990 was very funny, especially the quick “Why won’t you kiss me?” quote from NPH’s girlfriend.
• I also liked NPH nitpicking the audience hecklers’ jokes and their reactions to that.
• Andy’s return as Wahlberg was a funny surprise, and “Say hi to the cast of How I Met Your Mother for me, alright?” was great.
Stars: ***½


Sketch - Today
• I wasn’t too crazy about this. It didn’t really seem to have much of a focus and although Kristen’s Kathie Lee impression was accurate, it didn’t make me laugh that much and she could’ve toned the mugging down a bit.
• Nice to see Michaela in a big role, though. The new girls seem to be taking over tonight.
• The biggest laugh I got from this was Michaela punching Kristen during the exercise.
Stars: **½


Sketch - Saving Broadway
• A good ensemble sketch with everyone each getting a moment to shine.
• Jason was a good straight man as usual, and I loved him calling Blue Man Group a bunch of blue dicks. The delayed chandelier drop was great, too.
• The racism part was the funniest, as was the Fiddler on the Roof ending.
• Was having Fred as one of the Blue Man Group members an inside joke since he actually used to be a drummer for them.
Stars: ****


Sketch - Penelope
• I groaned when Penelope showed up tonight like I do with almost all of Kristen’s recurring characters. Tonight was the same-old same-old tired Penelope shtick, and the only part I found funny was her randomly appearing in the DVD.
• I heard before about Liza Minnelli making an appearance this weekend, but I’m surprised it was in this sketch and not in the preceding Broadway sketch.
Stars: *½


Digital Short - The Doogie Howser Orchestra
• At first, I thought this was going to be NPH making up lyrics to the Doogie Howser theme music.
• This may be the first digital short without an obvious joke/punchline, but it worked. A nice experimental change of pace.
• A clever way to work in the inevitable Doogie Howser piece of the night and this was a nice throwback to the classic sitcom theme song. And NPH’s look into the camera at the end with the tear rolling down his face sealed the whole thing perfectly.
• I like how they got the whole cast involved in this short.
Stars: ****


Weekend Update - Seth Meyers, featuring Sir Charles Barkley, Will Forte
• Finally, they started officially crediting this as a solo Update with Seth and they shortened the Update set. I was hoping for a brand-new Update set, but this will do.
• Best jokes: Five presidents, Bill Clinton, Michael Jackson, Home school
• Strange seeing the Update guests to Seth’s right side now instead of his left.
• I groaned a little at first when the Charles Barkley piece was introduced, but it actually didn’t turn out too bad. Kenan’s impression of him still needs improvement, but he had a few lines that made me laugh, like the TNT comments.
• Another Forte Update song! As usual, his song had me laughing a lot, especially the “S my D” line and the Bush stuff.
Stars: ****


Sketch - Two First Names
• A random and silly idea for a sketch, but it still turned out to be pretty funny. I always enjoy a multiple-impressions sketch.
• Several people were saying before about how Abby resembles Jamie Lynn Spears, although I didn’t see any resemblance until now when she played her.
• Fred as David Lee Roth was hilarious, especially the fake leg kick.
• Andy as Billy Bob Thornton was so strange that it made me laugh.
• I think this was the first time I’ve seen anyone impersonate Julia Louis Dreyfus. I wonder if having Michaela play her was another inside joke since she made some appearances on JLD’s sitcom.
Stars: ***


Sketch - Air Traffic Controllers
• I got a laugh at the beginning at seeing NPH in drag, but that was pretty much it. NPH did the best he could with the material, but this was really dull overall.
• The phone booth story was the only other minor laugh.
Stars: *½

[2017 UPDATE: Very obviously an Anderlette sketch. I mean, you have the male host in drag, Kristen Wiig as the co-star in a typical annoying goofy role, over-the-top huge wigs, everyone having goofy Southern accents for no reason, poorly-written script, etc.]


Sketch - Frost/Other People
• Another multiple-impressions sketch. These rarely ever fail.
• Fred as Paul Lynde was funny as usual.
• Bobby’s brief appearance as David Crosby was hilarious.
• I loved NPH’s questioning about the What’s Happening/Doobie Brothers episode as well.
• The various matching outfits Jason came out in were all funny, especially when he joined in on the Rerun dance.
Stars: ***½


Commercial - Whopper Virgins
• This was brilliant and I laughed for the entire sketch. Bobby in particular was hilarious with his laughing and his silly actions.
• The bit with Michaela revealing she lost her virginity to her uncle was a funny line.
Stars: ****½

_________________________________________________________

Episode Highlights:
• Whopper Virgins
• Saving Broadway
• Digital Short
• Weekend Update
• Monologue

Episode Lowlights:
• Penelope
• Air Traffic Controllers
• parts of Today

[2017 UPDATE: Hmm, the only three bad sketches in this episode all starred Kristen Wiig in the main role. Not a surprise at this point in her tenure. This is when she REALLY reached the point of becoming unbearable (is it a coincidence that this happened to be literally right after Amy Poehler left?). Wait until the next two episodes where she debuts two truly DREADFUL characters.]

Best Performer of the Night:
• Neil Patrick Harris


FINAL THOUGHTS
SNL makes its return from Christmas break with a very good episode. There were only a few weak pieces here and there, with plenty of funny sketches to make up for it, and a particularly strong closing sketch.
Neil Patrick Harris was a great host as expected, which makes me wonder why they didn’t get him before. He put his all into every single sketch he appeared in, even the weaker ones, and made for some memorable performances. I hope he returns again in the future.

[2017 UPDATE: "I hope he returns again in the future." We're still waaaaiiitttiiiing, SNL. With all the first-time hosts this season who ended up becoming frequent returnees (Jon Hamm, Paul Rudd, Anne Hathaway, James Franco), I don't know how NPH hasn't become one of them.]


CASTMEMBER / HOST COUNT DOWN
ARMISEN: 6 sketches (Monologue, Broadway, Digital Short, Two First Names, Frost, Whopper)
FORTE: 5 sketches (Penelope, Digital Short, Update, Two First Names, Air Traffic)
HADER: 6 sketches (Monologue, Broadway, Penelope, Digital Short, Two First Names, Frost)
HAMMOND: 4 sketches (Broadway, Digital Short, Two First Names, Frost)
MEYERS: 1 sketch (Update)
SAMBERG: 3 sketches (Monologue, Digital Short, Two First Names)
SUDEIKIS: 5 sketches (Rachel Maddow, Broadway, Digital Short, Two First Names, Frost)
THOMPSON: 7 sketches (Rachel Maddow, Broadway, Penelope, Digital Short, Update, Two First Names, Frost)
WIIG: 7 sketches (Today, Broadway, Penelope, Digital Short, Two First Names, Air Traffic, Whopper)

ELLIOTT: 4 sketches (Rachel Maddow, Broadway, Digital Short, Two First Names)
MOYNIHAN: 5 sketches (Monologue, Broadway, Digital Short, Frost, Whopper)
WATKINS: 5 sketches (Today, Broadway, Digital Short, Two First Names, Whopper)
WILSON: 3 sketches (Broadway, Penelope, Digital Short)

NEIL PATRICK HARRIS: 9 sketches (Monologue, Today, Broadway, Penelope, Digital Short, Two First Names, Air Traffic, Frost, Whopper)

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