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Date Posted: 07:02:57 06/02/17 Fri
Author: Stooge
Subject: Will Ferrell / Green Day - May 16, 2009 (S34 E22)
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. This was veteran Darrell Hammond's final episode, after a then-record-breaking 14 seasons as a castmember. This also ended up being the final episode of Casey Wilson and Michaela Watkins' short-lived stints.


***** = Excellent, a possible future classic
**** = Great
*** = Average
** = Meh
* = How'd this get past dress?

Just a warning: This is a much longer review than usual, mostly due to my end-of-the-season Year In Review, and also because I just felt very talkative/typeative while doing this review.

Cold Opening - Cheney & Bush
• When this began with the exterior shot of the NBC building, I was hoping this would be a non-political opening.
• I wondered before the show if they would use Ferrell’s Bush impression in the cold opening, and of course they did. Him as Bush was hilarious as usual and he had some great comments to Darrell's Cheney, like the Biden comments, the part about Cheney being dead for a day, and the line hinting that Cheney has had more than one face-shooting incident.
Stars: ****

Monologue - Will Ferrell
• A very good monologue, although not quite what I was expecting with Will Ferrell. I wanted something slightly different with him, but this still had lots of laughs and I’m glad they let him do a real solo monologue.
• The fake pictures of Ferrell in theater plays were great.
• I loved his side comments to the audience, like when he kept sternly telling them “No laughing please”.
• The weird accent he used when doing the mother’s voice cracked me up a lot.
Stars: ****

Retro(sort-of) Commercial - Wade Blasingame, Attorney at Law
• This was a really unexpected repeat, but I didn’t mind too much since I used to love this commercial and I haven’t seen it in ages. I remember this originally aired in the Val Kilmer/U2 episode from December 2000, which was a month after I first started doing SNL reviews. Man, I can’t believe I’ve been doing these reviews for almost 9 years already.
• Anyway, this was a great commercial, and I had forgotten how hilarious Parnell was in this.

Sketch - The Lawrence Welk Show
• Another Lawrence Welk sketch??? And why are these always the first sketch of the night when they do these? Do they realize that there’s not exactly a large percentage of SNL viewers who even remember this show?
• At first, I was praying this wouldn’t be a rehash of the “4 sisters/baby hands” bit from the last Welk sketch, and then when they cut to Ferrell singing alone, I was fooled into thinking it would be something completely different. Then the four sisters walked on (but with Michaela and Abby replacing Hathaway and Poehler), and I got upset.
• This sketch was nothing but a complete rehash of the Hathaway one, right down to Kristen chasing the bubbles at the end. Did they really expect that part to get as much laughs the second time? Lazy, lazy writers…
• Even though so many people loved Kristen’s “baby hands” character back in October when they first did this, I personally wasn’t all that crazy about it because even back in October, I was only just starting to get a little tired of Wiig’s quirky character schtick. Now I’m at the point where I cannot stand any of her characters. This sketch just further confirms two things: 1) it’s seemingly a requirement that EVERY damn episode has to start with a Wiig sketch, and 2) EVERY single character Wiig plays eventually becomes recurring.
• And why did they have to waste Ferrell as the straight man in this? Several people were worried that he’d be wasted in unfunny Wiig sketches all night since SNL is apparently all about her nowadays. Why not a sketch where HE could’ve played a much-funnier freakish-looking character instead? Ferrell would kill with a character like that.
Stars: *

Sketch - Celebrity Jeopardy
• Yes!!! Obviously they wouldn’t have a Ferrell-hosted episode without a Celebrity Jeopardy, but I still cheered like a little kid when this came on.
• Darrell’s Connery was his usual funny self. I didn’t see the “catch the semen” bit coming when they first showed the “catch these men” category title, so it gave me a good laugh when Darrell said it. The picture he drew at the end of him taking a dump on Trebek’s grave was hilarious as well.
• Wiig as Kathie Lee??!! AUUUUGHH!!! Are you fucking kidding me, SNL?! You had an opportunity to let Bill Hader do one of his many dead-on, hilarious, and underused impressions that would’ve been a PERFECT Celebrity Jeopardy contestant like Pacino, Walken, or Malkovich, or even an opportunity to let Abby Elliott do one of her impressions (as long as it wasn’t Angelina) to give her some much-needed airtime, but nope - of course, SNL just had to resort to Wiig once again and let her do her overused, annoying, and unfunny Kathie Lee impression. The overexposure of Kristen Wiig just continues to astound and anger me. This almost ruined tonight’s whole Celebrity Jeopardy sketch for me, until they showed…
• TOM HANKS!!! Wow!! That was certainly unexpected. It was awesome seeing him here, and Hanks playing himself as an idiot was absolutely brilliant. I especially loved the pickle jar bit, him getting his head stuck in the plastic bag, him using the pen as a microphone, his subtle “sibilance” callback to the famous Wayne's World Meets Aerosmith sketch, and his broken screen. He was stealing the whole sketch until they showed…
• NORM!!!!! No way!! Talk about unexpected! Fucking awesome! I never thought in a million years that his Burt Reynolds would return in this sketch tonight, so it was such a great surprise when he showed up. I laughed at everything he said, and the whole thing with him suddenly disappearing again, then suddenly reappearing at the end with Hulk gloves was also hilarious.
• Overall, another classic Celebrity Jeopardy. And despite me bitching about them shoehorning Wiig into this and her almost ruining it, everything else more than made up for that.
Stars: ****½

Sketch - Inside the NBA
• Kenan’s Barkley actually made me laugh here and him being mesmerized by the cheesy, ridiculous “Mark” promos on the bottom of the screen was a funny premise. Come to think of it, Kenan’s Barkley has been pretty funny most of the times he appeared. Well, except for that lame Charles Barkley Talk Show sketch, but that’s probably just because talk show sketches in general are rarely ever funny these days.
• I never really watch TNT, but don’t they only have drama shows along with NBA coverage? I don’t think they have any sitcoms like what the “Mark” and “Courting Rachel” stuff in this sketch was making fun of.
• An unusually short sketch, especially compared to all the other long sketches in this episode, but I’m not complaining since this sketch was amusing the whole time.
Stars: ***

Weekend Update - Seth Meyers, with special guest co-anchor Amy Poehler, featuring Harry Carey
• Amy??!! Wow, that came out of nowhere. I have to admit, I was slightly disappointed and confused at first when I realized she’s going to co-anchor Update tonight, because I was doing just fine with Seth solo, and it still feels like Amy just LEFT the show so it’s not much of a novelty seeing her back yet. They didn’t even let Tina Fey co-anchor Update when she hosted last season (she did get to do an Update commentary, though), and she had been gone from the show for several years. But after about a minute into tonight’s Update, I settled down and was fine with Amy and didn’t have any more problems with her being on tonight. And I loved her and Seth doing another “Really” together. But I hope the only reason they had Amy co-host tonight was because it was the season finale and they wanted to do something special. SNL needs to learn how to move on past her already.
• Best jokes: Twitter from space, Japan
• Harry Carey!!! I forgot all about Ferrell’s hilarious impression of him. Before now, they only used him once after he died (in the Joan Allen episode), so it was a great and unexpected treat having him on again tonight. His ridiculous lines and ramblings were very funny as usual, and I liked Seth’s reactions to him. It would’ve been funny if Harry Carey called Seth “Norm” like he did to Colin Quinn when he appeared on Colin’s very first Update.
• Speaking of Norm, since he was at the show tonight, they should have found some way to work in an Update appearance for him. It would’ve been absolutely friggin amazing if he actually co-hosted Update along with Seth and Amy.
Stars: ****

[2017 UPDATE: Not sure why I thought it would've been a great idea for Norm to co-host Update with Seth and Amy. Sure it would've been fucking awesome having him as an anchor again, even if just for one night only, but his style wouldn't have meshed well with Seth & Amy's AT ALL. Plus, how exactly would a three-anchor Update work?]

Sketch - Funeral Speeches
• It took me a minute to realize that this was basically a rehash of the Wedding Toasts sketch from the Hugh Laurie episode, only this took place at a funeral. At least the first few characters giving speeches tonight were new and funny (Hader, Ferrell), but then after that, they just resorted to bringing back the same characters from the first sketch, even down to Bobby going “Whaaaaat” and dropping the mike again. That part was obviously much funnier the first time because it was completely unexpected. Something like that doesn't work as well a second time.
• This sketch had a few good laughs, but overall it was far inferior to the original Wedding Toasts sketch. This was just like when they rehashed the great Save Broadway sketch as the much-less funnier Save the Funnies sketch. Seriously, what has HAPPENED to the originality with these writers? Why must they turn every single sketch into a recurring sketch nowadays? And has anyone else noticed that both series of sketches (the "Save the _____" sketches and the Wedding/Funeral Speeches) star Jason as the leader/straight man?
• Oddly enough, this was the first appearance for many castmembers tonight. And Andy Samberg STILL hasn’t appeared yet. I guess with Ferrell hosting and all the focus on the many special guests, this turned out to be a light night for the cast (except for, of course, Kristen Wiig… *groan*).
• With that creepy grin, Bill Hader’s face looked like a combo of Jim Carrey and Dan Aykroyd.
• For some reason, I used to think Jason Sudeikis was the same height as Will Ferrell, but after seeing them stand next to each other in this sketch, I learned that Ferrell is a little taller.
• Forte’s anti-Obama speech was similar to last time, but it was still funny tonight and his low, gravelly voice sounded even funnier this time. And his “I took the watch” line at the end was hilarious.
• What?! Maya??!!!? No. No! NOOOOOOOO!!!! If you’re familiar with my older reviews, then you know how much I despise Maya Rudolph. So you can imagine how pissed I was when she randomly showed up in this sketch out of nowhere, and doing that god-awful nasal Glenda Goodwin voice to boot. She managed to kill this entire sketch. Then she started fucking SINGING like she does in every damn sketch she’s ever been in, and I almost threw my remote at the TV. She ALMOST makes me sorry about anything bad I said about Kristen Wiig in this review. Maya’s annoying performance in this sketch makes Wiig look tolerable by comparison. At least Kristen doesn’t sing in every sketch or talk in over-exaggerated regional accents in every sketch, which is more than I can say for Maya.
Stars: **½

[2017 UPDATE: LOL, I'm not too sure if my 'Maya makes Wiig look tolerable by comparison' argument back then still holds up today. Honestly, I'd say in the subsequent years after this review, I've actually gradually become more tolerant of Maya over Wiig. I think it's a combination of the fact that Wiig's performances & dominance on SNL actually got EVEN WORSE the following 09-10 season and the fact that I just have softened up a bit on Maya in recent years & realized that despite her annoying habits, she's not QUITE as bad as I used to make her out to be. Similarly, I used to often compare Wiig to Molly Shannon back around this time, saying that Wiig was becoming as annoying as I used to find Molly during her last two seasons (1999-2001). All these years later, I can look back at Molly Shannon's overall SNL tenure with satisfaction for the most part. Despite how downhill Molly went her last two seasons, that still hasn't tainted her tenure on the show as a whole. But Wiig, on the other hand, started going downhill fairly EARLY in her tenure (early 2008, when the show returned from the writer's strike), and the moment she eventually reached that 'unbearable' level (early 2009) there was no turning back for her.]

Miscellaneous - Vietnam [a.k.a. Goodnight Saigon]
• When this started, I was surprised to see that it took place on the home base stage. I knew we were in for quite an interesting sketch, but little did I know how interesting it would be.
• I think this is the only time they actually wrote a sketch to take advantage of this current home base stage by setting the sketch at Grand Central Station (which the home base stage is modeled after). Perhaps that’s a sign that this is the last episode with this stage and they’ll build a new one for next season.
• These random song interludes by Ferrell are great. And, wow, they used literally the entire cast, even including Seth! Seeing Seth dressed up in costume with the rest of the cast reminded me of the days when he was regularly in sketches.
• Hey, there’s Tom Hanks again! Awesome! And Amy again, too! Nice! And… umm …uh, Maya again… (*Stooge angrily grits his teeth together*) and she’s, of course, singing… ugh, moving on… Hey, is that Anne Hathaway??! Wow, where’d she come from? Very nice to see her. And Paul Rudd!! What in the world is going on??? And even musical guest Green Day is getting involved in the action! And Norm again! You know this is big when even Norm participates in it. And hey, it’s Elisabeth Moss standing next to Fred! And… is that… oh my god, Artie Lange?!! No way! Awesome! Now there's someone I never thought I’d ever see on SNL! And we even got to see him standing next to Bobby Moynihan for a few seconds, which is absolutely hilarious because everyone always says how much Bobby physically resembles Artie Lange. Bobby looks so much smaller in comparison, though.
• Seriously, all I could say after this sketch ended was “Wow!!!” This was friggin EPIC and a classic. I remember being disappointed when last season ended with some forgettable Baby sketch featuring only Wiig and Steve Carell. So I was hoping for something more special in final sketch this season and something involving the entire cast, and boy did we get it and more! This has to be one of the best season ending sketches of all-time. My other favorite one has always been the 93-94 finale with all the recurring characters on the home base stage singing “So Long, Farewell” for Phil Hartman’s swan song.
Stars: *****

[2017 UPDATE: The even funnier thing about Artie Lange appearing in this sketch is that MADTV not only had its series finale on the same night (as you'll see mentioned below), but Artie actually made an appearance in it as well.]

Goodnights/My Thoughts about Darrell Hammond
• So… this was actually Darrell Hammond’s last show??? I mean, he stood right at the front of the stage next to Ferrell, and Ferrell gave him a special thanks at the end, then the camera showed a close-up of Darrell as he waved goodbye and other castmembers pointed to him. And when you look back at the episode, he was in much more of the show than he usually is, even had a big part in the final sketch, and he actually gave an energetic delivery of LFNY for once (his LFNY deliveries in recent years are usually so dead-pan and lifeless).

I said before that this would be the perfect time for him to leave with Ferrell hosting the finale, since he and Ferrell joined the cast together at the same time. And let’s face it, Darrell’s been on forever and is long past his prime. But I didn’t think this would actually end up being his last episode. It was looking like he’d be on forever or at least until Lorne forced him out, and I’d given up several years ago on predicting when he’ll leave. But now it looks like this was really his last episode. Wow.

Even though I think he should’ve left ages ago and even though he’s done very little on the show the last few years, his departure is still a pretty big deal. I mean, the man has been part of the show for so long and he was the very last remaining link to the 1995 renaissance/rebuilding of SNL. When I started doing SNL reviews back in late 2000, I NEVER would’ve guessed back then that Darrell would still be on 8½ years later. In fact, I remember predicting in one of my earliest reviews that Hammond would leave in the middle of that 2000-01 season. This was right when the Bush/Gore elections ended and Hammond had gotten plenty of good airtime with his Gore and Clinton impressions, but since Gore lost and Clinton was leaving office, I thought for sure that Hammond would have nothing left to do and would have to quit (like Dana Carvey did in middle of 92-93 when Perot and Bush Sr. lost the election).

I’m surprised they didn’t make a slightly bigger deal for Darrell’s last show tonight, if this was indeed his farewell. Why not let him play Clinton, his most famous impression? A Clinton/Bush cold opening might have worked even better than the Cheney/Bush one did.

Another funny thing I just realized: if this is indeed the end of Darrell as a castmember, then his tenure on SNL was the exact same length that Mad TV was on the air. Think about it - he started on SNL in fall 1995 when Mad TV debuted, and both his SNL tenure and the show Mad TV ended on May 16, 2009. Very interesting coincidence.

[2017 UPDATE: Neither NBC nor SNL ever did end up releasing an official announcement that Darrell had left the show. Sure, there was plenty of speculation and rumors about him on the SNL boards during that summer, but it wouldn't be confirmed that Darrell was officially off the show until we saw he wasn't in the opening credits in the following season's premiere.]


Episode Highlights:
• Vietnam
• Celebrity Jeopardy
• Weekend Update
• Monologue
• Ferrell as Bush

Episode Lowlights:
• Maya Rudolph
• The Lawrence Welk Show
• Kathie Lee impression
• some of the rehashed characters in Funeral Speeches

Best Performer of the Night:
• Will Ferrell

Standards were very high with this being both a Will Ferrell episode and the season finale, and SNL did not disappoint tonight for the most part. Many of the sketches were good, except for two lazily rehashed ones (Speeches, Lawrence Welk). Ferrell was awesome and we got to see some of his funny recurring characters/sketches from his SNL days as well as some funny and bizarre original roles that were perfect for him . And with all the special guests throughout the show and the amazing final sketch, it actually felt like SNL went all out on this finale, unlike the last two season finales (Carell, Braff) which felt half-assed and unremarkable.
I do wish we could have seen Ferrell star in a sketch with Forte again (remember the great Pepper Grinder sketch they did together when Ferrell first hosted in 2005?), or with Sudeikis, or with some of the other castmembers they barely showed him interacting with tonight.
I’m surprised that there wasn’t a digital short for the season finale. The digital shorts have been very hit-or-miss all season, but who knows what kind of greatness the Lonely Island could have created with Will Ferrell.
I wish there were more than just FIVE actual sketches in this episode, but most of them besides the TNT one were very long so I guess that explains it. And like last week, only two actual sketches were on after Update. And also like last week, the show came back from a commercial break at the end, only to show the SNL Band playing for 5 seconds before going back to another commercial break. They really need to work on this next season. Write shorter sketches so that way they can fit in a higher number of sketches per episode, and come up with better filler for the end of the show than just showing the band playing.

[2017 UPDATE: "who knows what kind of greatness the Lonely Island could have created with Will Ferrell." Shortly after this episode aired, we finally WOULD see just what kind of greatness the Lonely Island could create with Will Ferrell, with the famous "Cool Guys Don't Look At Explosions" music video they did together at the 2009 MTV Movie Awards (which Samberg hosted, IIRC). It would've been great seeing a Digital Short of that caliber in this episode, but maybe the Lonely Island were saving their ideas with Ferrell for the awards music video.
Also, the high quality of this season finale is a little bittersweet in hindsight, considering this would end up being the last truly good season of SNL for quite a while. The show suffered a creative drought the next three seasons, from 2009-2012. Unlike the three-year slump from 2002-2005 in which each of those seasons was worse than the preceding one, culminating in the dreary 04-05 season, the 2009-2012 slump was the reverse of that, in that it started off with the worst of the three seasons (09-10), then got a little less worse with each following season. SNL wouldn't return to high quality until the 12-13 season where a couple of big, refreshing changes were made to the show.]

ARMISEN: 3 sketches (Lawrence Welk, Funeral, Vietnam)
FORTE: 2 sketches (Funeral, Vietnam)
HADER: 3 sketches (NBA, Funeral, Vietnam)
HAMMOND: 3 sketches (Cheney & Bush, Celebrity Jeopardy, Vietnam)
MEYERS: 2 sketch (Update, Vietnam)
SAMBERG: 1 sketch (Vietnam)
SUDEIKIS: 2 sketches (Funeral, Vietnam)
THOMPSON: 2 sketches (NBA, Vietnam)
WIIG: 5 sketches (Lawrence Welk, Celebrity Jeopardy, NBA, Funeral, Vietnam)

ELLIOTT: 4 sketches (Cheney & Bush, Lawrence Welk, Funeral, Vietnam)
MOYNIHAN: 2 sketches (Funeral, Vietnam)
WATKINS: 3 sketches (Lawrence Welk, Funeral, Vietnam)
WILSON: 3 sketches (Lawrence Welk, Funeral, Vietnam)

WILL FERRELL: 8 sketches (Cheney & Bush, Monologue, Lawrence Welk, Celebrity Jeopardy, NBA, Update, Funeral, Vietnam)

2008-2009 YEAR IN REVIEW

To start, here are my best/worst sketch, best performer, and overall rating for each episode:

Michael Phelps/Lil Wayne
BEST SKETCH: Sarah Palin & Hillary Clinton
WORST SKETCH: Space Olympics / Dancing Coach / Ugly Twins
BEST PERFORMER: Jason Sudeikis

James Franco/Kings of Leon
BEST SKETCH: James Franco & Willem Dafoe
BEST PERFORMER: Fred Armisen / Bill Hader

Anna Faris/Duffy
BEST SKETCH: Sarah Palin & Katie Couric
WORST SKETCH: Slightly Stained Wedding Dress Basement / Deep House Dish
BEST PERFORMER: Darrell Hammond

Anne Hathaway/The Killers
BEST SKETCH: The Vice Presidential Debate
BEST PERFORMER: Jason Sudeikis

Josh Brolin/Adele
BEST SKETCH: Sarah Palin Press Conference
WORST SKETCH: Surprise Sue

Jon Hamm/Coldplay
BEST SKETCH: Vincent Price’s Halloween Special

Ben Affleck/David Cook
BEST SKETCH: Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin
BEST PERFORMER: Ben Affleck / Fred Armisen

Paul Rudd/Beyonce
BEST SKETCH: Weekend Update
WORST SKETCH: Lorenzo MacIntosh

Tim McGraw/Ludacris & T-Pain
BEST SKETCH: Weekend Update

John Malkovich/T.I.
BEST SKETCH: Jizz in My Pants
WORST SKETCH: Calculator Twins
BEST PERFORMER: Andy Samberg / John Malkovich

Hugh Laurie/Kanye West
BEST SKETCH: Dysfunctional Christmas Dinner
BEST PERFORMER: Jason Sudeikis / Fred Armisen

Neil Patrick Harris/Taylor Swift
BEST SKETCH: Whopper Virgins
BEST PERFORMER: Neil Patrick Harris

Rosario Dawson/Fleet Foxes
BEST PERFORMER: Jason Sudeikis

Steve Martin/Jason Mraz
BEST SKETCH: Billy “The Gun” Van Goff
WORST SKETCH: Thomas’ Wife

Bradley Cooper/TV on the Radio
BEST SKETCH: Bad Guys, Good Conversation
WORST SKETCH: Intervention
BEST PERFORMER: Bobby Moynihan

Alec Baldwin/Jonas Brothers
BEST SKETCH: Vincent Price’s Valentine’s Day Special
WORST SKETCH: Sir Mix-A-Lot’s Photo Shop
BEST PERFORMER: Alec Baldwin / Bill Hader

Dwayne Johnson/Ray Lamontagne
BEST SKETCH: Game Time with Dave and Greg

Tracy Morgan/Kelly Clarkson
BEST SKETCH: Family Flix
BEST PERFORMER: Tracy Morgan / Bill Hader

Seth Rogen/Phoenix
BEST SKETCH: Phone Voices
WORST SKETCH: Milestone High

Zac Efron/Yeah Yeah Yeahs
BEST SKETCH: Big Brother Foot Rub
BEST PERFORMER: Jason Sudeikis

Justin Timberlake/Ciara
BEST SKETCH: Mother Lover

Will Ferrell/Green Day
BEST SKETCH: Vietnam / Celebrity Jeopardy
WORST SKETCH: The Lawrence Welk Show


Best Episodes
1. Anne Hathaway/The Killers
2. Jon Hamm/Coldplay
3. Will Ferrell/Green Day
4. Neil Patrick Harris/Taylor Swift
5. John Malkovich/T.I.

Worst Episodes
1. Michael Phelps/Lil Wayne
2. Rosario Dawson/Fleet Foxes
3. Anna Faris/Duffy
4. Steve Martin/Jason Mraz
5. Josh Brolin/Adele

Best Sketches
1. Family Flix
2. Vincent Price’s Halloween Special
3. Vietnam
4. Celebrity Jeopardy
5. Save Broadway
6. James Franco & Willem Dafoe
7. Billy “The Gun” Van Goff
8. Game Time with Dave and Greg
9. Wall Street Bailout Press Conference
10. (tie) Vincent Price’s Valentine’s Day Special / Barack Obama Variety Half Hour

Worst Sketches
1. Thomas’ Wife
2. Bernie Madoff makes phone calls
3. Gilly
4. Slightly Stained Wedding Dress Basement
5. Surprise Sue
6. Deep House Dish
7. Ugly Twins
8. Bronx Beat
9. Intervention
10. Lamps

Best Digital Shorts
1. Jizz in My Pants
2. The Doogie Howser Orchestra
3. The Party
4. Mother Lover
5. I’m on a Boat

Worst Digital Shorts
1. Ras-Trent
2. Space Olympics
3. Laser Cats 4

Best Hosts
1. Will Ferrell
2. Jon Hamm
3. Anne Hathaway
4. Tracy Morgan
5. Neil Patrick Harris

Worst Hosts
1. Michael Phelps
2. Michael Phelps
3. Michael Phelps
4. Michael Phelps
5. Did I mention Michael Phelps?

Best Cold Openings
1. The Vice Presidential Debate
2. Sarah Palin & Hillary Clinton
3. Sarah Palin & Katie Couric
4. Tracy Morgan at Rockefeller Center
5. Senator John McCain & Governor Sarah Palin

Worst Cold Openings
1. Dick Cheney: The Final Interview
2. Republican Congressional Leadership Meeting
3. Biden/Murtha Rally
4. Biden Annoys Obama
5. Bailout for Big Three Automakers

Best Monologues
1. Tracy Morgan
2. John Malkovich
3. Justin Timberlake

Worst Monologues
1. Michael Phelps
2. Anna Faris

Best Commercials
1. Whopper Virgins
2. Mom Celebrity Translator

Worst Commercials
1. Chewable Pampers
2. North American Savings
3. The Fast and the Bi-Curious

Best Weekend Update Commentaries
1. David Paterson
2. John Malkovich (Bill Hader)
3. Tim Calhoun
4. Justin Timberlake does an enactment of a Thanksgiving episode hosted by him
5. (tie) Bill Clinton / Harry Carey

Worst Weekend Update Commentaries
1. Nicholas Fehn
2. Judy Grimes
3. Cathy
4. Jean K. Jean
5. (tie) Oscar Rogers / Aunt Linda

And finally... my hopes/suggestions for the upcoming 2009-2010 season:
• Less Wiig
• More Hader, and more Sudeikis. Let these guys rule the show. I can’t say this enough. They’re the ones who should be dominating and getting the consistent airtime that Wiig gets every week. These guys consistently make me laugh every time, and they have all that it takes to be the leads of the cast. In fact, I think these two are the closest this current cast has to a Dan Aykroyd, Phil Hartman, or a Will Ferrell - use them in a similar way those three were used.
• New opening montage, new theme music, new home base stage, new musical guest stage
• Promote Bobby Moynihan to repertory player, and let him try out more lead roles. He’s been nothing short of impressive all season and has already become reliable for a good laugh even in weak sketches.
• More Michaela Watkins. I’ve seen lots of potential in her whenever she’s had the spotlight, but we need to see more of her. Let her do more impressions as well; she seems to be very talented in that area (Barbara Walters, Arianna Huffington, Joan Rivers, Ann Coulter, Glenn Close…). I think she will turn out to be a very reliable utility female player, in a similar way that Ana Gasteyer was 10 years ago, Nora Dunn 20 years ago, and Jane Curtain 30 years ago.
• It’s still hard to predict what will happen to Casey, but if she’s still on next season, then please SNL, finally utilize this woman already and use her PROPERLY. Her performance in the train sketch from the Zac Efron episode brought back my faith in her right when I was losing hope on her chances for returning next season.
• Less Wiig
• A new black male who’s versatile and can do a great Obama impression. I still have my fingers crossed for Jordan Peele; he’d be great on SNL.
• Phase Kenan out by giving him nothing but straight man roles all season (the one thing he’s okay at) and the occasional Barkley impression, then dump him at the end of next season.
• Less Wiig
• Let Seth continue doing Update solo. I don’t care what anyone says, the man does NOT need a co-anchor. But I WOULD like to see a new Update set and Update opening credits.
• A new black female
• Did I mention less Wiig?
• Stop relying so much on political cold openings. Yeah, it worked during the elections obviously, but since November, many of the political openings have been uninspired, predictable, and bland. Do more creative, unexpected cold openings like the Tracy Morgan one. And please come up with better and clever transitions to "Live from New York...". Just saying "Oh, and one more thing..." or simply "And..." is lazy and beyond tired.
• A new quick filler segment similar to Deep Thoughts that can air whenever the show has some leftover time, instead of just showing repeated fake ads or awkward SNL Band shots after a commercial break like they’ve been doing lately. Make the filler something clever like Deep Thoughts or Fuzzy Memories and not something stupid and unfunny like Bear City or My Big Thick Novel.
• And most importantly… Less Wiig

Yowza, this may be the longest review I have ever written… This also may be the first time I ever typed the word "yowza".

Anyway, it’s been another fun year writing reviews. See you again in 09-10.

[2017 UPDATE: Okay, it's time once again to break down how my 'next season suggestions' ended up turning out:
- "Let Hader and Sudeikis rule the show": Didn't end up happening next season, although they didn't really get shafted that season, either. For Hader, it wouldn't be until the 10-11 season where the show would FINALLY embrace him as the utility guy and consistenly give him lots of airtime (incidentally, that was also the same season Stefon blew up in popularity, which might be what led to Hader's newfound status as the male star of the cast). I can't really pinpoint when exactly that happened with Sudeikis; it actually feels like it wasn't until his last two years (the 11-12 season and the first half of the 12-13 season) where he seemed to become one of the biggest star players of the show. It's a shame these two great players had to wait so long until getting the consistent airtime they always deserved.

- "New opening montage, theme music, home base & musical guest stage": Only half of these ended up happening. We did get a new opening montage and theme music next season. As far as the home base stage, we're STILL waiting for a new one today, 8 years later! This is by far the longest they've EVER used any home base stage - in fact, they started using it in 2003 at the same time Kenan Thompson joined the show. Heh, maybe there's some kind of secret rule we don't know about where they can't change the home base until Kenan leaves. In that case, expect to continue seeing this home base for AT LEAST another 10 years... if not longer (geez, by that point, Kenan will have reached his 50s, correct?). Regarding the musical guest stage, they actually did remodel THAT in late 2014. Makes me wonder why they didn't do the same with home base.

- "Promote Moynihan to repertory player, give him more lead roles": As impressive as this first season of his was, I guess it wasn't really impressive enough to break the usual "two seasons as a featured player" rule. He would remain a featured player for another season, but he DID end up getting more lead roles that season and he generally did a fine job in them as expected.

- "More Michaela Watkins": *sigh* Reading that whole section I wrote about her above just makes me sad now. Man, I seemed so optimistic on her SNL future back then and had absolutely no clue of the fate she would end up facing that summer when Lorne surprisingly fired her - one of the biggest blunders he's ever made as producer, IMO. I especially felt sad reading the part where I predicted she will end up being a Jane Curtin/Nora Dunn/Ana Gasteyer-esque reliable female player on the show. She really DID seem like she was going to become that cast's Curtin/Dunn/Gasteyer - she had the same type of professionalism, the same type of versatility, and also the same knack for pulling off the more mature, straightlaced female roles that her fellow castmates couldn't quite do as well as her. In fact, I remember one of the things I was looking forward to the most in her SNL future was seeing her counterbalance Kristen Wiig's overdone wackiness. Wiig's continued dominance of the show the next few seasons wouldn't have been quite so bad if we had Micheala there as the perfect "Wiig offset" with her more subtle, professsional performance style. Even in those awful Today Show sketches, despite playing a thankless straight role as Hoda Kotb, I always felt that Michaela's performances added a certain level of classiness that provided the perfect counter to Wiig's hamminess as Kathie Lee; I actually felt that Michaela and Kristen had good chemistry in those sketches playing complete opposites. None of the future female players who took over the Hoda Kotb role after Michaela's firing were able to bring that same effect or chemistry to the Today Show sketches.

- "More Casey Wilson": Okay, I didn't get quite as sad reading this one, because unlike how I assumed Michaela was safe, I seemed to know back then that Casey's chances of coming back were a toss-up. Of course, she ended up not being brought back. I still think she had loads of unused potential, and one of my favorite SNL "What If" scenarios is wondering what it would've been like if she had a successful lengthy run on the show.

- "A new versatile black male who can do Obama": Geez, I seemed to wish for this every year back then, didn't I? Well, that cast truly WAS in desperate need of it, I suppose. We still had to wait another full year until we got one: Jay Pharoah, who I'm not quite sure I would classify as "versatile".

- "Phase Kenan out": Not even gonna touch this one. Though I *will* say that next season was when I slowly started becoming more tolerant of Kenan, as he made a lot of improvements that year (it's also the same season "What Up With That?" debuted, which is what started a big turning point in his SNL tenure).

- "Let Seth continue doing Update solo": I would soon regret this one BIG-TIME, as next season was when Seth's Updates went downhill and my tolerance for him would gradually go out the window. Not sure if adding a new co-anchor (which is apparently what a lot of people were clamoring for at the time) would've helped the faltering quality of his Updates that season, either - we saw how "well" that worked with Cecily Strong being added as his new co-anchor years later in 2013.

- "A new black female": Nope! Still got another five years to wait.

- "Less political cold openings and come up with better LFNY segues": Just going off the top of my head, I think there was only a *slight* drop in the number of political cold openings next season, which is nothing to write home about. And most of the non-political openings that season were....... Lawrence Welk Show sketches. Not exactly a welcome substitute. And regarding the lack of creative LFNY segues, that problem would unfortunately continue next season and, in fact, still continues to this very day. C'mon, SNL, just lazily slapping "and" in front of LFNY should not count as an actual segue.

- "A new quick filler segment": Nope, didn't happen next season.

- "Less Wiig, Less Wiig, Less Wiig, Less Wiig, Less Wiig, Less Wiig, Less Wiig...": *sigh* Sorry, 2009 Me; you can say it as many times as you want, but it ain't gonna happen. Prepare to hate Wiig EVEN MORE next season.

Man, almost NONE of my hopes/suggestions listed above ended up coming true the next season. I can't help but wonder how much better that season would've been had SNL followed through on all of my suggestions. Also, it's kinda funny how some of those suggestions are still relevant and would help SNL today in 2017, mainly: a new versatile black male, a new quick filler segment, more non-political cold openings/better LFNY segues, a new home base, and promoting Moynihan to repertory player... okay, I'm kidding about that last one, obviously. Sorry, I couldn't resist.]

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