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Date Posted: 06:38:31 06/02/17 Fri
Author: Stooge
Subject: Justin Timberlake / Ciara - May 9, 2009 (S34 E21)
In reply to: Stooge 's message, "Retro Reviews - June 2017" on 06:24:59 06/02/17 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 - Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner
• For some reason, I was a bit surprised to see Will’s Geithner back in another cold opening.
• The 'pass/pass with an asterisk' part at the beginning was a good laugh.
• Some of the ridiculous answers were really funny, like the taxpayer bailout part, the “doable” answer, and the mother comment.
Stars: ***


Monologue - Justin Timberlake
• The song was great, and I always love it when they go backstage and around the studio on the show.
• The part with Lorne just didn’t work.
• I also loved how towards the end, the song namedropped all the hosts from this season. I think he mentioned every single one of them. Although why did he mention Fey at the end? She hosted LAST season, right?
Stars: ****


Commercial - Mom Celebrity Translator
• I was surprised to see a new commercial this late in the season, and that it was a commercial not starring Kristen for a change (although she did appear in the commercial later).
• This was a funny, nicely done, and also timely commercial parody. Although I don’t think Michaela or Casey looked old enough to play Bobby and Bill’s moms. Couldn’t they have put grey-ish wigs on them or something?
Stars: ***½


Sketch - Target Lady
• Aauuuugh… here we go... Is it a requirement nowadays that every episode must start with an annoying Wiig recurring character?
• I thought the only reason they brought Target Lady back tonight was to have Timberlake either reprise the same character he did in the Target Lady sketch when he hosted in 2006, or to have him play some kind of Target Lady clone since he did a dead-on impression of her voice during that Weekend Update cameo from earlier this season (where he did an enactment of what the following week's Thanksgiving episode would've been like if he hosted). But nope, they had him play a completely new character, which surprised me. Did the writers forget they already did a Target Lady sketch with Timberlake before?
• Timberlake got a few minor chuckles from me, like the comment about his “Barbara Bush”, but the rest was the usual Target Lady dreck.
Stars: *½

[2017 UPDATE: I'm kinda surprised Timberlake's "Classic Peg" character from this sketch never returned in any capacity in any of Timberlake's subsequent hosting stints. At the time, it definitely felt like the type of character that was going to become really popular and she easily could've been put into any random sketch.]


Sketch - Immigrant Tale
• A little too self-indulgent/tongue-in-cheek for my likes, but this was still okay. The best parts were the “sexy back” comment and everyone else’s reactions to that, the Britney and “experimentation” lines, and the dig at Timberlake appearing on SNL all the time.
• As soon as Andy walked on, I saw where the rest of the sketch was going. The Jew/”THERE it is” line got a good laugh, though. I was a bit surprised that they didn’t make a “Dick in a Box” reference, but then the next digital short came on…
Stars: ***


Digital Short - Mother Lover
• When this started, I actually groaned a little and said “Please don’t tell me they think they can actually do a follow-up to Dick in a Box. It’s not gonna work like the first one did.” Thankfully, this actually took a different route and had them singing about something new. The subject matter was funny, too, and there were some hilarious lyrics.
• This short probably would’ve worked better, though, if there never was a Dick in a Box before it, because I just know everyone’s going to be comparing this short to that one which might make this short pale badly in comparison in some people’s minds.
• That was very unexpected seeing Susan Sarandon there. How did they get her to appear in a short like this?
Stars: ****

[2017 UPDATE: Contrary to my worries at the time that people will feel this short pales badly in comparison to Dick in a Box, it actually ended up becoming very popular in its own right. In fact, I've heard from some people who actually PREFER this short to Dick in a Box. The Lonely Island and Timberlake really had a great thing going for a while with this series of Samberg/Timberlake shorts. Unfortunately, they weren't able to make the magic work a third time, as the next Dick in a Box sequel in 2011, which featured Lady Gaga, was VERY disappointing and completely forgettable (seriously, I can't even fully remember what that short was about - something about a three-way, right?). However, two years later in 2013, there was that great gameshow sketch where Samberg & Timberlake's characters competed against the Festrunk Brothers.]


Sketch - Plasticville
• I should’ve expected them to do this “Bring it on in to _____ville” sketch again tonight, but I forgot about these sketches until I saw Will in that huge costume at the beginning of this.
• The formula in this sketch is getting stale and this wasn’t as funny as the Homelessville one, but the Poker Face parody (“Mediocre Face”) was excellent.
Stars: **½


Weekend Update - Seth Meyers, featuring Eliot Spitzer & Gov. David Paterson, Zachary Quinto, Chris Pine, and Leonard Nimoy
• Best jokes: Air Force One, Manny Ramirez, Maine, Twins
• The studio audience seemed very responsive tonight during Update.
• I always love when Seth does the “multiple punchlines for the same story” bit like the 'world’s fattest man gets married' story from before and the Sarsgaard/Gyllenhaal story tonight.
• Fred’s Paterson impression is always hilarious, and pairing him up with Bill’s Spitzer was a great decision. They were awesome together and I loved Bill’s deep-voiced laughing.
• The Star Trek segment with Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine was pretty good and the cutaways to Bobby and Kenan as the Trekkies in the audience were very funny. The line about the rocks not being thrown hard enough to break the window was funny, too.
• A nice surprise to see Nimoy, and the “dickheads” line at the end was classic. It’s interesting seeing him show up because on Friday when he was on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Nimoy mentioned how he always wanted to host SNL and the audience applauded, then Fallon kinda jokingly said he’ll talk to Lorne and maybe he can arrange something for this weekend’s show. I guess he was actually serious about that.
Stars: ****


Sketch - Barry Gibb Talk Show
• I bet everyone was expecting this, but I assumed that despite working in the same building as SNL, maybe Fallon would’ve been too busy with his own show (as well as the recent graduation thing) to rehearse a Barry Gibb sketch for this weekend.
• I knew from the look on Timberlake’s face that he would eventually crack up at some point during the sketch, and he did, but I’m surprised & pleased that Fallon of all people didn’t laugh along with him. He just kept the sketch moving like a pro. These Barry Gibb sketches always seemed to be the one and only sketch that Fallon was able to stay in character the whole time.
• The double-dutch part at the end was the only real funny and original part of the whole sketch. Everything else was same-old same-old.
Stars: **


Sketch - Weapon Shipment Mix-Up
• This was a nice and original sketch that worked well. Especially refreshing after all of the recurring stuff all night.
• The somewhat-complex structuring of this sketch and the use of multiple sets/scenes kinda made this feel like a sketch SNL would've done in the 70’s or late 80’s, which is definitely a good thing. I wish they’d do more sketches like that nowadays.
• Bill’s voice and delivery was funny, especially during his great comment about wanting to be in Little Mermaid.
Stars: ***½

_________________________________________________________

Episode Highlights:
• Weekend Update
• Digital Short
• Monologue
• Weapon Shipment Mix-Up
• The Poker Face/Mediocre Face song in Plasticville

Episode Lowlights:
• Target Lady
• Barry Gibb Talk Show
• parts of Plasticville

Best Performer of the Night:
• Nobody really stood out to me much in this episode other than Timberlake of course, so I'll take the less-obvious route and go with Bill Hader as MVP for his performances on Update & the weapons sketch


FINAL THOUGHTS
As expected, this episode was filled with the usual recurring Timberlake sketches. A few of them worked, others didn’t, and I would’ve preferred more original sketches like the Weapons Shipment sketch. In fact, this episode was very similar to the fake episode Timberlake enacted on Update earlier this season. While Justin brings an undeniable amount of energy with him when he’s on the show, I have to admit I’m actually starting to get a little tired of seeing him on SNL. There’s a “wink-wink/look at me” self-indulgent hammy feel to his performances in every sketch that’s becoming overdone.

Also, something made this episode feel a bit empty. I think it was the fact that there was only a small amount of sketches altogether. Hell, there were only TWO sketches after Update. What’s up with that? I’m guessing a part of the show ran longer than expected (probably Update, due to all the cameos, the blind-Fred-wandering-in-front-of-the-camera gag, and the lively studio audience in general) and a few sketches probably had to get cut at the last minute, judging from the end of the episode where they came back from a commercial break only to show a random shot of the SNL Band playing for a short while before going back to another commercial break. That’s always a dead giveaway that there were some last minute sketch deletions made. I guess Lorne figured their only choices left to fill the extra airspace were to either show the SNL Band playing or re-air that damn Chewable Pampers ad for the 4,667,800th time, so let’s just be thankful Lorne didn’t choose the latter.


CASTMEMBER / HOST COUNT DOWN
ARMISEN: 4 sketches (Monologue, Update, Barry Gibb, Shipment Mix-Up)
FORTE: 4 sketches (Timothy Geithner, Immigrant Tale, Plasticville, Shipment Mix-Up)
HADER: 5 sketches (Monologue, Mom Translator, Immigrant Tale, Update, Shipment Mix-Up)
HAMMOND: 0 sketches
MEYERS: 1 sketch (Update)
SAMBERG: 2 sketches (Immigrant Tale, Digital Short)
SUDEIKIS: 3 sketches (Monologue, Mom Translator, Shipment Mix-Up)
THOMPSON: 4 sketches (Target Lady, Update, Barry Gibb, Shipment Mix-Up)
WIIG: 5 sketches (Monologue, Mom Translator, Target Lady, Barry Gibb, Shipment Mix-Up)

ELLIOTT: 3 sketches (Monologue, Mom Translator, Target Lady)
MOYNIHAN: 6 sketches (Monologue, Mom Translator, Target Lady, Immigrant Tale, Update, Shipment Mix-Up)
WATKINS: 2 sketches (Mom Translator, Shipment Mix-Up)
WILSON: 3 sketches (Monologue, Mom Translator, Immigrant Tale)

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE: 7 sketches (Monologue, Target Lady, Immigrant Tale, Digital Short, Plasticville, Barry Gibb, Shipment Mix-Up)

[2017 UPDATE: I think I remember in an interview years later, Darrell Hammond was talking about his drug problems and he mentioned that he had a bad relapse during the week of this show and, out of desperation, ended up visiting a crackhouse. I wonder if that had anything to do with his absence in this episode. Incidentally, this would end up being his second-to-last episode as a castmember.]

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