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Date Posted: 11:28:07 06/30/17 Fri
Author: Stooge
Subject: Blake Lively / Rihanna - December 5, 2009 (S35 E8)
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 - White House Party Crashers
• Yet another Obama opening, but thankfully, the premise parodying the party crashing couple diverted attention away from Fred's Obama.
• A simple premise, but all the ridiculous silly stuff happening in the background was pretty funny. Jason as Biden joining in out of nowhere towards the end was especially a funny surprise.
• I think this should've gone even further, though, and have completely outrageous, unbelievable stuff/walk-ons eventually happen in the background.
Stars: ***½


Monologue - Blake Lively
• Andy coming on as the Swedish Chef and telling a dirty joke to Blake was pretty funny.
• Seeing the other castmembers appearing as the rest of the Muppets again was okay as well, but it didn't really end up amounting to much. The bits with the cast playing the Muppets are usually very hit-or-miss (the first one with Seth Rogen was a huge letdown and nothing funny or memorable happened, the second one with Rogen that took place in the Muppet Bus was much funnier), but tonight's was somewhere in between. This had its moments but was just okay overall. Nothing too special. It feels like these bits should always be classic; I mean, come on, it's the SNL cast playing the Muppets! How do you have that turn out to be just average?
• Bill as Animal always cracks me up and is it just me, or did Jason's Fozzie impression improve a lot since the first time he played him in the Muppet Bus one? I don't remember it sounding so good last time, but he sounded just like him tonight. I was impressed.
• I wonder why they didn't include Will as Kermit in this.
• I have to laugh at how every time SNL does the Muppets, they always have a different person playing Janice, since whoever played her last time isn't on anymore (first Maya Rudolph, then Michaela Watkins). Jenny Slate better hope that trend/curse doesn't continue, or her future at SNL won't last very long. Things already aren't looking good for Jenny, but I'm still rooting for her.
Stars: ***

[2017 UPDATE: "Jenny Slate better hope that trend/curse doesn't continue, or her future at SNL won't last very long." Needless to say, we now know how THAT turned out... You know, when you think about it, poor Jenny was actually given THREE cursed roles during her short-lived SNL stint: Hoda Kotb, Janice from the Muppets, and - later this season - the ignored office girl in the Shana sketches (the recurring sketch with Kristen Wiig as the "sexy" office girl who does disgusting things).]


Commercial - Swine Fever
• Rerun. I wonder why they first didn't re-air one of the commercials from the first few episodes of the season (Bladdivan, Garbage Dog Food, University of Westfield...), instead of a commercial we saw just three episodes ago.


Sketch - ESPN Classic
• Okay, it's official: 2009-2010 must the ultimate “Let's Make Every Single Thing Into a Recurring Sketch” season. You never know what sketch they'll bring back these days. I mean, seriously, who would have ever expected this one to return again? And as the first sketch of the night, when it originally debuted after Update? I actually liked this quite a bit the first time and felt it was one of the few highlights of the otherwise very weak Barrymore episode. But did they really need to do this a second time... and with pretty much the same script and formula, only bowling in place of billiards, and Vagisil instead of Tampax? The writers are so damn lazy when it comes to how they do recurring sketches these days.
• A few of the Vagisil slogans were still pretty funny, though, mostly thanks to Jason's great delivery. The “I Scream” slogan and his long pause before saying “Vagisil” that one time were the funniest parts. And I still enjoy the way Sudeikis and Forte play off each other.
Stars: **½


Sketch - The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer
• When this started, I was worried they'd bring back Darrell yet again since he used to play Blitzer, but thankfully, we saw Jason instead playing him. His impression was alright. Maybe could've been a little more accurate, but his way of trailing off and mumbling at the end of his sentences cracked me up throughout the sketch.
• Kenan as Tiger Woods?! Are you kidding me, SNL? I figured Fred would be a shoo-in to play him for sure when I was wondering before the show if they'd do a parody of the Tiger Woods scandal. I mean, come on, Fred certainly looks a lot more like him than friggin' Kenan Thompson, and I thought Fred already cornered the market on playing half-black men on SNL. Plus, he actually is part-Asian like Tiger Woods. I'm sure he would've pulled off a funny impression of him.
• Despite that, this sketch was pretty funny, with the constant “Breaking News” interruptions and Kenan digging himself deeper and deeper by unintentionally revealing all the mistresses, and Blake injuring him in different ways. I also liked the “Help Me” notes on the back of the papers.
• Also, this is kinda beside the point, but Blake looked REALLY pretty in this sketch.
Stars: ***


Digital Short - Shy Ronnie
• Note to the Lonely Island: please don't feel pressured to do a musical digital short EVERY week, even in a week when you can't come up with an actual premise for a musical short, as tonight's short clearly showed. I mean, what WAS this?
• I was surprised to see Rihanna co-starring in this since the musical guests rarely appear in the shorts, but they could've put her in something funnier than this.
• I didn't really get the point of this short at all and it went pretty much nowhere. And Andy suddenly busting out into a rap towards the end felt so formulaic, predictable and did nothing for this short. This whole thing was especially a big letdown after the hilarious Reba short from the last episode.
• I did, however, get a chuckle from Andy pissing his pants and Rihanna's line about Kanye.
• The look Andy had in this short brought back memories of that Daiquiri Girl short for some reason... which isn't a good thing, by the way.
Stars: *½


Sketch - Gossip Girl Staten Island
• I'm not familiar enough with Gossip Girl itself to fully get this parody, but I was still able to enjoy this alright. I liked Bobby and Fred's characters the most, and also the line about being “too pretty for condoms” and the announcer's line about “they beat us up for sounding gay” for saying risque.
• I still think Nasim's voice sounds so much like Rachel Dratch's at times, especially in this sketch. In fact, Nasim's voice and accent here sorta reminded me of Rachel in the Boston Teens sketches. Anyone else think so?
Stars: ***


Commercial - Kickspit Underground Rock Festival
• I think I read about this getting cut after dress from the last two episodes. Weren't they originally supposed to do this with January Jones co-starring with Jason? Ha, that must've been a disaster seeing her try to pull off a character like this. Thank god they recast Nasim in her role.
• This was really funny and definitely one of the highlights of the night. The jokes came fast and there were too many funny names and events listed in the sketch for me to single out the funniest ones. The twist with Ass Dan turning out to be dead was probably my favorite, though.
• Jason and Nasim did a great job in this, and Nasim was very cute.
Stars: ****


Weekend Update - Seth Meyers, featuring Bill Cosby, Brittany Murphy
• Best jokes: Sarah Palin, the multiple Tiger Woods jokes, Obama drug, Aretha Franklin, obese linemen, Charlie Brown, Cookie Monster/Tyra Banks
• I was surprised to see Kenan's Bill Cosby return after... how many years? I think the last time he played Cosby was in the Celebrity Jeopardy sketch the first time Will Ferrell hosted, and that was all the way back in 2005. Back then, I think I was actually still able to tolerate Kenan; I didn't join the anti-Kenan bandwagon until around ‘06. I think it was after Finesse Mitchell was fired and Kenan was left as the only black guy in the cast and his limitations as a performer suddenly became exposed to me.
• Anyway, Bill Cosby always was probably the one and ONLY accurate impression Kenan ever did, so I didn't mind seeing it back again tonight. The commentary itself wasn't bad and they kept it short and sweet. His Lamborghini line at the end was funny and made a good point.
• Abby showing up out of nowhere as Brittany Murphy was pretty funny. Not quite as good as Abby's other impressions, but it was still okay and I was happy to see her debuting another new impression since this is the stuff I prefer her doing, as opposed to poorly trying to be the new Casey Wilson. I still find Abby awkward as hell in non-impression roles, and I'm wondering if she'll EVER grow out of that stage or if SNL should just treat her as the young female Darrell Hammond (by that, I mean only being used for impressions, NOT staying on the show for 14 long seasons). Anyway, her Brittany Murphy made me laugh a few times and it was cute, especially with the “I'll never tell” at the end and her thinking she's hosting the show.
• Another somewhat-short Update with only two commentaries, and both of them being fast. This and the Update from the last episode is how it should be more often.
Stars: ***½

[2017 UPDATE: As you might remember, Abby's Brittany Murphy commentary would soon become a case of VERY unfortunate timing, as Brittany Murphy ended up dying only TWO WEEKS after this aired. Needless to say, Abby's commentary has been cut from all reruns and has never seen the light of day again.]


Sketch - Shopping with Virginiaca
• As soon as this started inside a clothing store with Blake Lively dressed as a ghetto girl and Will as the store owner, I immediately got a flashback to the Virginiaca sketch with Scarlett Johansson (which also started inside that exact same clothing store set with Scarlett as a ghetto girl and Bill Hader as the store owner), followed by me groaning “NOOOOOOOOO!!!” so loudly when I realized where this was going. Figures Kenan would follow up something he does that I actually like (Cosby) with one of his absolute worst characters that I can't stand (Virginiaca).
• I hoped they would forget about this character; I certainly did until now. She hasn't appeared since that one particularly horrible installment that featured Ellen Page doing the world's worst attempt at a ghetto accent.
• This was the usual unfunny Virginiaca nonsense that was a complete carbon copy of all her previous sketches. The fact that they even recycled the exact same clothing store set from the Scarlett Johansson installment really shows how lazy the writers are getting with certain recurring characters. And like I say every time they do this sketch - how many different white step-daughters/new husbands is this woman supposed to have?!?
• Blake Lively's legs were the only thing keeping me entertained during this mess.
Stars: *


Commercial - UPS #1
• This was such a DEAD-ON and clever parody of those UPS commercials, and Bill was awesome in this.
• The lady wig line and Bill's “you're welcome” at the end were very funny.
Stars: ***½


Sketch - Late Night with Chris Hansen
• The opening “It's like NBC, but with MS” line at the beginning was worth a laugh.
• This had a creative premise, and I had to laugh at seeing Bill as Chris Hansen since he also plays Keith Morrison. He must have cornered the market on playing ALL the creepy hosts from Dateline.
• In the picture of Blake as Cher at the beginning, she actually looked a lot like Megan Fox.
• It was funny seeing Jason's amusing Phillip Seymour Hoffman impression back and Andy debuted a good Keanu Reeves. Blake also made me laugh as Cher, as brief as it was.
• Also, this is the second sketch in a row with Blake wearing a leotard showing off those legs. I'm certainly not complaining.
• This sketch started getting a little one-joke and predictable by the end. Though I did laugh out loud each time at the guests being tackled by the guards since they did different variations of the joke (the fake-out with Andy asking if he'll get tackled and Bill assuring him he won't, and Blake getting tackled out of nowhere as soon as she started her song) instead of it happening the exact same way all three times.
• Unfortunately (and especially considering the trend of this season), they'll probably make this sketch recurring and just repeat the same premise each single time, running it into the ground.
Stars: ***

[2017 UPDATE: Contrary to my prediction, this never became a recurring sketch. Which is surprising, since - as I said earlier in the review - 2009-10 was the ultimate “Let's Make Every Single Thing Into a Recurring Sketch” season (which was just one of the MANY problems of this season).]


Commercial - UPS #2
• I was surprised to see a follow-up, but this was definitely welcome. I like how tonight's show has a lot of back-to-back consecutive sketches with very few commercial breaks in between them, instead of the monotonous "sketch - commercial break - sketch - commercial break - musical performance - commercial break - sketch - commercial break" routine the show has fallen into in recent years (last season's Anna Faris episode was the worst when it came to this routine - there was a commercial break after literally every single sketch that night).
• The whiteboard drawing of Bill's kingdom and all the additions he made to the stick figure drawings were really funny, especially when he drew the erection on his figure.
Stars: ***½


Sketch - Potato Chip Thief
• At first, I thought Jason was supposed to be Colonel Sanders, before I remembered Bill usually plays him. I also thought at first that Will was playing his character from that Dr. Uncle Jimmy's BBQ/Hospital sketch, since he had a similar wig and voice.
• This sketch was fucking hilarious, and was clearly from the demented mind of Will Forte. We rarely get to see any of his patented bizarre sketches anymore these days. The only other one from this season I can think of is the Anti-Obama Guy sketch and maybe the digital short Will was in with Megan Fox. This sketch felt like a welcome return to the type of sketches Forte used to always do and it was a great way to end the show. Since this may most likely be Will's final season, I hope we see more Bizarre Will Forte Sketches as the season goes on... or really just more bizarre original creative sketches in general instead of the lazy recurring crap we've been overfed with this season.
• Pretty much everything here had me laughing my ass off, especially Will's trademarked purple-faced yelling when he was standing on the desk, Jason's voice in this sketch in general, Jason spitting back up the chip into Will's hand, Will dripping that same “chip” back into the bowl, and Jason retrieving his “hemorrhoid donut” before leaving.
• And this was yet another sketch that proves Forte and Sudeikis need to be paired up in sketches a lot more often as they seem to always make a great team.
Stars: ****

[2017 UPDATE: Only a four-star rating??? Really, 2009 Me? This was a five-star masterpiece if I ever saw one.]

_________________________________________________________

Episode Highlights:
• Potato Chip Thief
• Kickspit Underground Rock Festival
• Weekend Update
• UPS

Episode Lowlights:
• Virginiaca
• Digital Short
• a few parts of ESPN Classic

Best Performer of the Night:
• Jason Sudeikis


FINAL THOUGHTS
A pretty good episode overall. Aside from about two bombs, the show felt consistently average-to-good for the whole night. This episode wasn't outstanding, but it was definitely acceptable and not too much to complain about. The two strongest pieces were the Underground Rock Festival bit and the patented Bizarre Will Forte Sketch of the Night, which both prove that SNL needs to take chances with creative stuff like that much more often.
Blake Lively surprised me a little and was a bit funnier than I was expecting. She wasn't a boring, stiff, pretty prop in every sketch like Megan Fox or a complete trainwreck like January Jones. Blake got a couple of laughs from me throughout the episode, and seemed genuinely happy to be there.


CASTMEMBER / HOST COUNT DOWN
ARMISEN: 4 sketches (White House, Monologue, Gossip Girl, Chris Hansen)
FORTE: 4 sketches (White House, ESPN, Virginiaca, Potato Chip)
HADER: 6 sketches (White House, Monologue, Gossip Girl, UPS #1, Chris Hansen, UPS #2)
MEYERS: 1 sketch (Update)
SAMBERG: 3 sketches (Monologue, Digital Short, Chris Hansen)
SUDEIKIS: 7 sketches (White House, Monologue, ESPN, Situation Room, Underground Festival, Chris Hansen, Potato Chip)
THOMPSON: 4 sketches (Situation Room, Update, Virginiaca, Chris Hansen)
WIIG: 4 sketches (White House, Monologue, ESPN, Gossip Girl)

ELLIOTT: 2 sketches (Update, Virginiaca)
MOYNIHAN: 5 sketches (White House, Monologue, Gossip Girl, Underground Festival, Chris Hansen)
PEDRAD: 3 sketches (White House, Gossip Girl, Underground Festival)
SLATE: 1 sketch (Monologue)

BLAKE LIVELY: 7 sketches (Monologue, ESPN, Situation Room, Gossip Girl, Virginiaca, Chris Hansen, Potato Chip)

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