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Date Posted: 13:18:25 05/05/17 Fri
Author: Stooge
Subject: Rosario Dawson / Fleet Foxes - January 17, 2009 (S34 E13)
In reply to: Stooge 's message, "Retro Reviews - May 2017" on 09:14:42 05/05/17 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 - Dick Cheney: The Final Interview
• This started out mildly funny and this was the first time we’ve seen Darrell’s Cheney in quite a while, but the sketch got old FAST and I stopped laughing after about 40 seconds into it. The whole thing was just one joke being played over and over again for five minutes. Probably the weakest cold opening of the season so far.
• Kristen quickly asking if he regrets shooting his friend in the face and Darrell quickly responding got a chuckle out of me, though.
• At the end, Kristen asked if he regrets never saying LFNY, but if I remember correctly, Darrell actually *has* said LFNY as Cheney at least a few times before.
Stars: *½

[2017 UPDATE: I remember someone on the other, now-defunct SNL board saying that the premise of this awful cold opening, where the entire interview just consists of Darrell's Cheney answering "no" to every single question Kristen's Diane Sawyer asked him regarding any regrets from his years as Vice President, was reminiscent of a really bad sketch from the 93-94 season with Tim Meadows as Bryant Gumbel interviewing Sara Gilbert by just asking her "why" over and over again. I'd say that's a very accurate comparison, only the Gumbel sketch was slightly worse, IMO (Tim Meadows later said that performing that sketch was one of his most uncomfortable moments out of his whole ten-year SNL tenure, because of how badly the sketch bombed). Then again, at least the Gumbel one was somewhat-short, IIRC. This Cheney sketch, on the other hand, went on for about five minutes of just repeating the same joke.]


Monologue - Rosario Dawson
• Fericito!! That was definitely unexpected. Fred hasn’t played him in AGES. I guess the studio audience didn’t remember him, because I thought he’d get more applause when he first showed up.
• An okay monologue. Fericito was his usual funny self and made it better.
Stars: ***

[2017 UPDATE: The fact that I spent the entire monologue review talking only about Fericito and didn't mention Rosario Dawson a single time is an early sign of how "memorable" of a host she'll be. I remember a particularly cringeworthy joke she told early in this monologue (before Fred showed up) that was met with complete silence from the audience.]


Commercial - North American Savings
• This was pretty boring and not very original. A lot of the taped commercials this season have been weak (Whopper Virgins being an obvious exception).
• Darrell putting the money under the mattress was the only really funny part.
• I guess it was kinda interesting how they used the entire cast in this, though.
Stars: **


Sketch - Da Learnin’ Train
• This was one of those sketches that I knew I wasn’t going to like as soon as it started. This wasn’t too funny for the most part and Kenan was just plain annoying (what else is new?).
• Having the guest be Jason as Harry Connick Jr. was a really strange choice. I remember Jason played him before a couple of years ago in that Christmas carolers cold opening from 2005.
• Bill as the DJ amused me and Fred’s brief scene was the best part with that voice he talked in.
Stars: **


Commercial - Guantanamo Bay Going Out of Business Sale
• A good parody of these types of “going out of business” ads and Jason gave a hilarious manic performance.
• The part with Rosario and the Rumsfeld painting was pretty funny.
Stars: ***½


Sketch - Aladdin
• Very random time to do an Aladdin sketch, but this turned out to be pretty funny.
• Jason’s always great at playing bitter characters, and he had some very good one-liners like complaining about Jasmine’s weight gain, him saying he wishes he was dead but he used up all his wishes, and the monkey being the prime minister.
• The stuff about Genie was good, too.
Stars: ***½


Digital Short - A Couple of Homies
• I remember reading about this getting cut several episodes ago.
• At first, this seemed like it was going to be similar to the first half of the Everyone’s a Critic short.
• A few parts in the first half were okay and the quick “backscratch” song had me laughing so much. Some of the other parts in the first half kinda fell flat.
• The special “revelation” at the end when Will as the singer turned his back to the camera came completely out of nowhere and may have been the biggest laugh of the night.
Stars: ***½


Sketch - Gilly
• Yet another one-note Kristen Wiig character that wasn’t funny this first time, but most likely will still end up becoming recurring and will get run into the ground. The fact that she has her own theme song only confirmed that even further. I used to think Kristen was better than stuff like this, but I just don’t know what to think of her these days.......
• The “bum’s ass” bit with Casey got a big laugh, though, and Will as the teacher provided a few chuckles.
Stars: *½


Weekend Update - Seth Meyers, featuring Bernard Madoff, Judy Grimes, Larry the Goose
• Update jokes weren't as strong as usual tonight.
• Best jokes: Bush, 107-year old woman, text messages
• Fred’s commentary was pretty much forgettable, although he tried his best to salvage the subpar material. The audience didn’t seem to respond much to his constant groping of Seth.
• Judy Grimes: okay, we get it - Kristen can talk freakishly fast. Too bad they always forget to make it FUNNY as well. Seriously, enough of this routine.
• Andy’s commentary as the goose had its moments like the “clusterflock” line and the Top Gun reference.
Stars: ***

[2017 UPDATE: Looking back on it, a three-star rating was definitely a little too generous for an Update that was lighter than usual on good jokes and featured two bad commentaries (Fred, Kristen). I don't remember ever being crazy about Andy's "Larry the Goose" character, but I guess this particular installment - which was his debut - was okay. Still a completely forgettable Update as a whole, though, which is a microcosm for this overall episode.]


Sketch - La Policia Mexicana
• This had an interesting and creative premise but it didn’t really go as far as it should have.
• There were a few good parts, though, like Bobby suddenly asking in English to use the bathroom, and Bill had the funniest moment of the sketch with his brief appearance.
• Bobby reminded me of Chris Farley in that wig for some reason.
Stars: **½


Sketch - The View
• I was surprised to see a View sketch on so late in the show, considering the last time they did this sketch, it was the first sketch of the night.
• This wasn’t as good as the last View sketch, which itself wasn’t that great but at least that had a few memorable moments. Tonight’s just felt like a rehash of the last View sketch, especially the Hasselbeck parts with Kristen, which fell flat this time.
• It was interesting seeing Michaela do a Barbara Walters impression.
• Jason was hilarious as Ricky Gervais, especially the giggling, but they didn’t do enough with him. I wanted to see more of his impression.
Stars: **½


Sketch - Good Excuse
• I was hoping the final sketch of the night would save this dull episode, but nope! I was wrong, unfortunately. This had a weak, uncreative premise and the sketch went pretty much nowhere.
• The cat audience and the part with Jason as the caller threatening to come to the studio to kill the two hosts was the only real laugh.
Stars: *½

_________________________________________________________

Episode Highlights:
• The Digital Short’s ending & “backscratch” part
• Aladdin
• Guantanamo Bay Going Out of Business Sale
• Fericito's return
• Bill in La Policia Mexicana

Episode Lowlights:
• Gilly
• Da Learnin’ Train
• Judy Grimes
• Cold Opening
• Good Excuse
• North American Savings

Best Performer of the Night:
• Jason Sudeikis


FINAL THOUGHTS
Very disappointing episode. After a weak beginning, I kept waiting for this episode to really take off, but it never happened and the show actually got even worse after Update. Probably the weakest episode since Anna Faris back in September (I know some people here liked that one, but I thought the episode was almost entirely forgettable). But at least the Faris show had the Palin/Couric opening, the presidential debate sketch, and a good Update. Tonight, the highest rating I gave to any sketches was only a measly ***½ and even Update was only average tonight and didn't stand out. The bad sketches far outweighed the good. At least this episode wasn’t quite as bad as the Michael Phelps season premiere, but it was still a let down, especially after last week’s great episode. I can only hope that this is just a result of the writers and cast saving their best material for Steve Martin.

[2017 UPDATE: Regarding that last part with me assuming the writers were saving their A-material for the following Steve Martin-hosted episode: Ha! Boy, I could not have been any more wrong! As you'll see, that episode ended up being almost as bad as this one. Steve picked the wrong portion of this season to host, when the show was in the official Mid-Season Slump of Season 34.]


CASTMEMBER / HOST COUNT DOWN
ARMISEN: 7 sketches (Monologue, Savings, Learnin’ Train, Digital Short, Update, Policia Mexicana, View)
FORTE: 5 sketches (Savings, Learnin’ Train, Digital Short, Gilly, Good Excuse)
HADER: 3 sketches (Savings, Learnin’ Train, Policia Mexicana)
HAMMOND: 2 sketches (Cheney, Savings)
MEYERS: 1 sketch (Update)
SAMBERG: 4 sketches (Savings, Learnin’ Train, Digital Short, Update)
SUDEIKIS: 6 sketches (Savings, Learnin’ Train, Guantanamo Bay, Aladdin, View, Good Excuse)
THOMPSON: 5 sketches (Savings, Learnin’ Train, Gilly, View, Good Excuse)
WIIG: 6 sketches (Cheney, Savings, Gilly, Update, View, Good Excuse)

ELLIOTT: 2 sketches (Savings, Learnin’ Train)
MOYNIHAN: 4 sketches (Savings, Learnin’ Train, Gilly, Policia Mexicana)
WATKINS: 2 sketches (Savings, View)
WILSON: 2 sketches (Savings, Gilly)

ROSARIO DAWSON: 8 sketches (Monologue, Learnin’ Train, Guantanamo Bay, Aladdin, Gilly, Policia Mexicana, View, Good Excuse)

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