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Date Posted: 21:02:02 05/27/17 Sat
Author: Stooge
Subject: Zac Efron / Yeah Yeah Yeahs - April 11, 2009 (S34 E20)
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 - Biden and Obama
• I was disappointed at first to see another Obama opening again, but I was a bit happier that this focused more on Biden. It still didn’t turn out to be very good, though. Jason’s Biden impression is very funny in itself, but they need to give him better material than this. This opening felt like one joke stretched out for five minutes.
• The Cheney comment was pretty funny, though, as were a few other decent lines from Jason.
• As for Fred as Obama, it almost feels like he’s not even trying anymore. I’ve pretty much given up hope on Fred’s Obama ever improving. They either need to hire somebody new to do Obama next season or just stop doing Obama sketches altogether since the writers still don’t know how to make fun of the man.
Stars: **½

[2017 UPDATE: This is the very first time I recall being really annoyed by SNL's habit in recent years of having the audience applaud at the beginning of the cold opening when someone begins speaking. Sudeikis's Biden had a funny throwaway line at the beginning of this where he was a speaking into an intercom and, in his usual joking way, said "Get me Jack Bauer!"; however, the audience applauded at the exact same time he started saying that line, which caused the line to get kinda drowned out, so when the applause stopped, Sudeikis repeated the same line only with less-funny delivery, which resulted in zero laughs from the audience. Their unneccesary applause ruined what was supposed to be a funny line. Am I the only one who CAN'T STAND when the audience applauds at the beginning of cold openings? What is the point of it?]


Monologue - Zac Efron
• I thought Abby was Casey when they first showed her and Kristen in the audience. I guess it was something about Abby's facial expressions or eyes that fooled me. Casey should’ve played Kristen’s role here since she looks like she would be more believable as a tween than Kristen.
• Fred as the older male fan was very funny and made this whole monologue. The “Twifty” line was great.
Stars: ***


Sketch - Today
• I was worried that they would do one more of these this season. I just plain don’t like these sketches and Kristen’s Kathie Lee is too annoying to be funny to me. I could also say all of the above about those damn View sketches. Just replace “Kristen’s Kathie Lee” in the above sentence with “Kristen’s Hasselbeck”.
• I did laugh at Kristen’s deaf imitation at the beginning, though.
• The message from Fred as Penny Marshall was the only other part I laughed at. Fred does such a great impression of her. But why weren’t there any other celebrity messages? The set-up made it seem like we’d see messages from several celebrities.
Stars: *½

[2017 UPDATE: According to someone who went to dress rehearsal, this sketch DID originally have multiple celebrity messages (one of them was from Sudeikis as Harry Connick Jr.), but all of them except the Penny Marshall one got cut for the live show.]


Sketch - Gilly
• At first, I was wondering why Bobby and Kenan’s characters looked so familiar, then when Will started talking, I realized “Oh, no… fucking GILLY!!!” and then she showed up. Why the HELL are they making this recurring?!!? You’d figure SNL would get the hint after pretty much nobody laughed at this sketch the first time, but nope, SNL just has to continue their bad habit of making everything recurring. Like we needed yet ANOTHER annoying Kristen Wiig recurring character. Kristen was doing okay the last few episodes, but two annoying performances in a row tonight with both this and the Today sketch reminded me of why I’m so tired of her this season.
• The only chuckles from this sketch came from Bobby, especially when he had the potato in his mouth. And I have to admit, Efron’s German accent was kinda funny.
• Is it just me, or was Kristen’s Gilly hair a lot bigger and curlier this time?
Stars: *½


Commercial - The Alliance of Direct Mail Marketers
• Jason is always a good spokesman for dry, low-key commercials like this. This was a pretty well-done fake ad, although it ran a little long by the end.
• The picture of the woman with the STD and them listing her name and address was really funny.
Stars: ***


Sketch - Underage Drinking
• A pretty funny premise and this turned out to be a good sketch.
• Jason’s line about Gerbils being the opposite of Cougars was priceless.
• The twist at the end was random but interesting and it was good to see Bill’s Eliot Spitzer impression back.
Stars: ***


Weekend Update - Seth Meyers, featuring New Jersey Gay Couple, Angie Tempura, Jon Bovi
• Best jokes: White House Seder, Barack the Barbarian, Kosher, Germany
• The Gay Couple from New Jersey hasn’t appeared in a long time. I never liked these characters much, but they were okay tonight. The “beard” comment was pretty funny. Kinda sad, though, that this was the only really big thing Bill did all night. He seemed to be finally getting the airtime he deserved in the last few months before this episode.
• I had a feeling before the show that the Angie Tempura blogger character would appear tonight, and I was right. Michaela is great with this character. The twist at the end with her suddenly acting different when Efron appeared was good and unexpected and saved this from being too similar to last time. Hopefully they can find other new stuff like that to do with this character to keep it fresh and save it from getting too repetitive.
• Speaking of character’s wigs looking different tonight, did Michaela’s Angie Tempura wig change? I think something about it looked different. Or I think she had a hat or hood on the first time.
• Jon Bovi AGAIN?!! Didn’t they appear just a few weeks ago? This is just a one-joke bit that I only found really funny the first time. Still, I can tolerate these characters only because of Jason and Will’s energetic performances and singing, which was enough to make me at least smile. Tonight’s bit went on too long, though.
Stars: ***½

[2017 UPDATE: "Hopefully they can find other new stuff like that to do with [the Angie Tempura character] to keep it fresh and save it from getting too repetitive." Kinda sad looking back on that comment. As we know now, there wouldn't end up being any opportunities to explore fresh ground with this character, considering this ended up being one of Michaela Watkins' final episodes before being inexplicably fired that summer. The reason it's sad looking back on that comment is not because we saw no more of this character of hers (I'm not sure where else they could've taken this character after this particular installment), but because of the insane amount of potential Michaela showed during her one season and the fact that we were deprived of seeing the great things she would've achieved on the show if she were given a more-deserving lengthy tenure. I have a little more to say about her, but I'll save it for when we get to my season finale review.]


Sketch - High School Musical 4: New Senior Class
• The inevitable HSM parody of the night. Kinda surprised that it came on so late in the show.
• This was better than I expected it to be and Efron actually didn’t do too badly here.
• It seems that the only way they can work Darrell into a sketch anymore these days is by random walk-ons at the end of sketches or if there’s a full-cast sketch. When’s the last time he did one of his old, familiar impressions? I thought those impressions were the only reason Lorne still keeps him on the show. Still, his Walt Disney appearance was actually funny here and the “Jews” line made me laugh a lot, as did the Lohan comment.
Stars: ***½


Sketch - Connecticut, 1917
• Huh? What’s this? Casey Wilson…in the LEAD ROLE??? A sketch actually STARRING Casey Wilson??? It’s a friggin miracle! Is this the first true Casey Wilson sketch since her Katy Perry sketch from all the way back in October?
• I have to be honest, before this sketch I was recently starting to get very doubtful about Casey returning next season given her decreased airtime in the last few months. The last significant role I remember her having was in the Steve Martin backstage sketch a few months ago, and that was just a co-starring role. It seemed like she was literally appearing less and less every week up until now. But this sketch gives me hope for her SNL future. She was actually very funny here and did a good job carrying the sketch. More Casey, SNL!
• I laughed at all the effects they did to make the train look like it was moving. It actually looked pretty convincing, though.
• Bobby’s brief appearance as the mom was hilarious.
Stars: ***½

[2017 UPDATE: *sigh* And here's yet another comment that's sad to look back on: "But this sketch gives me hope for [Casey's] SNL future. She was actually very funny here and did a good job carrying the sketch. More Casey, SNL!" Her funny performance in this sketch (in which she played a woman in 1917 chasing down a departing train that her soldier boyfriend was headed off to war in) should've been enough to convince Lorne to give her more of a chance before deciding to put her on the chopping block, but nope - this would end up being her final lead role on the show before her (inevitable) firing that summer.]


Sketch - Gino’s Pizza Rolls Commercial
• Pretty much just a one-joke sketch, but Fred’s crazy performance made the material funny in a way that only Fred could. This probably would’ve bombed with most other castmembers playing his role (*coughKristenWiigcough*).
• I’m surprised Efron didn’t crack up with Fred all up in his face like that.
Stars: ***

[2017 UPDATE: This is the type of Fred Armisen sketch (in which he played an actress who kept ruining the filming of a commercial by delivering her one simple line in an increasingly over-the-top angry exagerrated manner during each take) that was funny at the time, as Fred was still in his "good years" on the show and was still in our good graces - but if he had instead done this sketch a few seasons later during his "bad years", I'm sure I and most of you guys here would've absolutely hated this sketch and found it just as annoying as Kristen Wiig's typical stuff.]


Sketch - Big Brother Foot Rub
• This was a great closing sketch and Jason was awesome in this. The part with him almost eating Efron’s foot was especially hilarious. I love when Jason gets to do these types of sketches because whenever he plays these bizarre, creepy leading man roles, there’s a Ferrell-esque vibe to him that I like. They need to let him do this type of stuff more often.
• The crusty t-shirt/baby oil/Lane Bryant magazines next to the couch were very funny.
• In that wig, Efron looked kinda like John Stamos.
Stars: ****

_________________________________________________________

Episode Highlights:
• Big Brother Foot Rub
• Parts of Weekend Update
• Parts of High School Musical 4
• Casey finally getting her own sketch
• Bobby’s performances in both Gilly and Connecticut, 1917

Episode Lowlights:
• Gilly
• Today
• Parts of Biden and Obama

Best Performer of the Night:
• Jason Sudeikis


FINAL THOUGHTS
This episode was pretty good and turned out better than I thought it would be for the most part. After a slow start and once they got all the typical Wiig characters out of the way, the episode was consistently good for the rest of the night, culminating in an outstanding closing sketch. The final three sketches were especially fun to watch as they each allowed one castmember to shine and carry the sketch with an excellent performance (Casey in Connecticut 1917, Fred in Gino’s Pizza Rolls, Jason in Foot Rub). As for Zac Efron, he didn’t really do anything special except in the HSM sketch and (maybe) the Gilly sketch, but he didn’t bring down the show as much as I was expecting either, so I had no real problem with him tonight.


CASTMEMBER COUNT DOWN
ARMISEN: 5 sketches (Biden and Obama, Monologue, Today, Update, Pizza Rolls)
FORTE: 3 sketches (Gilly, Update, Connecticut)
HADER: 2 sketches (Underage, Update)
HAMMOND: 1 sketch (High School Musical)
MEYERS: 1 sketch (Update)
SAMBERG: 3 sketches (Underage, High School Musical, Pizza Rolls)
SUDEIKIS: 7 sketches (Biden and Obama, Direct Mail Marketers, Underage, Update, Connecticut, Pizza Rolls, Foot Rub)
THOMPSON: 3 sketches (Gilly, Underage, High School Musical)
WIIG: 4 sketches (Monologue, Today, Gilly, High School Musical)

ELLIOTT: 2 sketches (Monologue, High School Musical)
MOYNIHAN: 5 sketches (Gilly, Underage, High School Musical, Connecticut, Pizza Rolls)
WATKINS: 2 sketches (Today, Update)
WILSON: 3 sketches (Underage, High School Musical, Connecticut)

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