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Date Posted: 04:50:38 07/21/17 Fri
Author: Stooge
Subject: Ashton Kutcher / Them Crooked Vultures - February 6, 2010 (S35 E14)
In reply to: bjdwsm 's message, "Retro Reviews - July 2017" on 19:11:50 07/01/17 Sat

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 - On the Record w/ Greta Van Susteren
• It was good to see this sketch back, but this didn't turn out to be as funny as the one from earlier this season.
• There were still good parts, though, like the examples Bobby and the others used when talking about the level of gayness they're okay with compared to the ones they aren't.
• Abby's irrelevant character was actually pretty funny, and this goes without saying, but she looked REALLY good in this.
• What was with Bobby and Bill's wigs? They looked faker/cheaper than usual and you could clearly see the patches on the sides and forehead where the wigs ended.
• As usual, Jason steals the sketch with his hilarious Glenn Beck impression. Loved the “there is no 'i' in 'liberty'” bit.
Stars: ***


Monologue - Ashton Kutcher
• The clip of his 2003 monologue where he showed up in his underwear was a funny callback.
• Ashton's line “Some might even call me 'spastic'” made me laugh since I remember describing him as that in my review of his last episode from 2008 (though I was saying how he wasn't as spastic as usual and he instead played more subdued, straight man roles).
• Some of the “awesome” scenes happening in the studio were amusing, especially the breakdancing old ladies and the kid punching Bill as Mark Twain and causing him to spit out his drink.
Stars: ***


Sketch - Reading of the Will
• This started out very slow and dragged a little, but got a bit funnier as it went along with the revelation of all the STDs, especially the racially-named ones, and the twist at the end that Ashton didn't even inherit the pool after all.
• The funniest part was Ashton confessing he didn't wear a condom and saying “What was she gonna do, give birth to a ghost?!”
• Bobby looked like he was still wearing the exact same poorly-applied wig/bald cap from the cold opening.
Stars: ***


Sketch - The View
• Ohh, will these awful View sketches ever end?
• At least they're giving Nasim's Barbara Walters more and more lines. She's one of the very few things in these sketches I can tolerate, and her story about watching Avatar provided the only laugh of the whole sketch.
• Ashton's Mel Gibson impression... what the hell WAS that? Seriously. It was almost LAUGHABLY horrible. He couldn't have looked and sounded any less like Mel Gibson; I know Ashton can't really help not looking like him, but what the hell was he going for with the voice? Since when does Gibson talk like a cross between someone still going through puberty and Grover from Sesame Street?
Stars: *½


Commercial - Cialis for Threeways
• Not all that bad of a commercial parody in itself, but it suffered from feeling too "run of the mill" like we've already seen this before. The show has done so many of these male enhancement parody ads in recent years, and this particular one didn't offer much new or original.
• One part I got a good laugh at, though, was the line about not taking the pill if the other chick's dude wants to be there.
Stars: **½


Sketch - Rome 160 A.D.
• Your typical lame homoerotic-themed sketch this season. At least they cast Will as the emperor instead of Fred in what would've been his 542,891,335th gay role this season.
• The performances in this were actually decent and Andy was surprisingly very good as the straight man, but they couldn't save the unfunny script.
• It looked like Ashton was gonna crack up at one part, but he held back and stayed in character.
• The only real laugh from me was the way Ashton was saying “grape attack” when throwing the grapes at Andy.
Stars: *½


Weekend Update - Seth Meyers, featuring Liam, Eliot Spitzer, Jean K. Jean, Garth and Kat
• Best jokes: Goth Kitten/Emo Puppies, registered sex offender
• The montage of Democratic supermajority accomplishments being incredibly short was a funny bit.
• Andy's commentary as the “Teen who just woke up” was kinda similar to a bit Adam Sandler did on Update back in 1993 where he played a character named “Sleepyhead” where he was supposed to give a serious commentary on a political issue but instead mumbled incoherently while asleep on the Update desk. While the Sleepyhead thing was kinda funny in a dumb/silly way (which basically describes most of Adam Sandler's material), Samberg's Liam commentary was just plain dumb and a complete waste of time.
• It was good to see Bill's Spitzer impression back. The Hallmark cards were funny, especially the Tiger Woods and “swallowzer” ones. Also, I'm not sure what exactly caused Bill to lose it midway through, but it was amusing the way he had the giggles throughout the rest of the commentary. Since this is Bill Hader we're talking about and he's usually a professional (minus the Scared Straight sketches), I liked his character break here.
• Jean K. Jean? NOOOOO!!!!
• Strange thing is, during the Jean K. Jean commentary when I was pissed that they couldn't end Update on a good note with the Spitzer bit, I said to myself the only way this Update can get even worse is if Kristen Wiig comes out as any of her characters. A few minutes later, enter Kristen along with Fred as that stupid singing couple. Me and my big mouth.
• The Garth and Kat thing is clearly just an excuse to see how much Fred and Kristen can make each other crack up on-air. It won't take too long until the novelty of seeing Fred and Kristen break character wears off and this starts going the Fallon/Sanz route of irritating and unprofessional, so they best just stop doing these characters right now.
• I couldn't believe how ridiculously long this Update was. Couldn't they have cut some of this shit out after dress? FOUR separate guest commentaries, with only one of them being funny; not too many actual Update jokes from Seth, and only a very few jokes stood out as good. Overall, the weakest Update in a long time. When will they learn that Update is usually better when the guest commentaries are kept to a minimum? Look at the Update from the Joseph Gordon-Levitt episode for a good example: very short Update, only one guest commentary (Al Gore), and the focus was just mostly strong jokes from Seth. More of that, less overlong messy Updates like this.
Stars: **


Sketch - What is Burn Notice?
• A pretty forgettable game show parody. This could've been much funnier and the premise wasn't good to begin with, but there were a few laughs like Jason's surprise when the “correct” bell actually rang or the part when they cut to the three judges and not even they knew if the answers were right or not.
Stars: **


Sketch - Access Hollywood
• Copy and paste what I said in the cold opening about Abby looking REALLY good, only replace “Abby” with “Nasim” here. I don't even care if her Maria Menounos impression was accurate or not, just the way Nasim looked was enough to keep me entertained.
• I found it interesting that Abby played Anne Hathaway. All she needs to do now is an impression of Rosario Dawson sometime, then she'll have impersonated ALL of SNL's female hosts from the 08-09 season (Anna Faris, Hathaway, Dawson).
• This sketch itself was pretty uninteresting, in case you couldn't tell by how I've avoided saying anything about the actual content of it so far. Most of this was the same basic joke repeated over and over, including literally repeating some of the same movie titles. What's going on with this episode? There's been an endless string of boring sketches/segments tonight starting with the View sketch.
• Okay, two funny parts were Bebe's Kids being one of the Best Picture candidates and Nasim & Ashton saying “Yes!” when Jersey Shore was mentioned as a candidate.
Stars: **

[2017 UPDATE: Well, Abby never did end up ever playing Rosario Dawson, even though there was an opportunity in the following season's Scarlett Johansson episode, where SNL did a parody of the Denzel Washington/Chris Pine movie "Unstoppable". Rosario Dawson had one of the main roles in the real movie, but in the SNL parody, Johansson played her instead of Abby. It should've been Abby, just so she could proudly say she impersonated an entire roster of female hosts from a single SNL season.]


Filmed Sketch - An Even-Tempered Apology from Rahm Emanuel
• This was similar to a sketch from last season that got cut from the live show but was posted on both Hulu and NBC's sites as a Web Exclusive. In fact, when this started, I thought this actually WAS going to be that same cut sketch (especially considering this sketch was obviously pre-taped; you could tell by the odd visual quality), but then this made reference to a recent event and made me realize this was new.
• Speaking of this sketch being pre-taped, why WAS it taped anyway? It can't be because of the bleeped-out swearing, because SNL's done live sketches before where they bleeped out swear words (a recent example is that Blagojevich cold opening from last season's Hugh Laurie episode). Did the Jenny Slate f-bomb incident have something to do with why this one couldn't be performed live?
• As for this sketch itself... it was actually very funny, despite the fact that we basically already watched pretty much the same thing before on Hulu. But Andy's performance was better in tonight's version, and some of his angry threats during his tirade were much funnier here. The best part was his line about having so many legislators in his colon, he needs to take 60 votes just to shit.
Stars: ****


Sketch - Punk Rock Wedding Band
• I had no idea where this was going at first, but this turned out to be outstanding. This was especially welcome after having to put up with so many dull sketches tonight.
• The insane punk rock-style performance was great and getting Dave Grohl involved was the icing on the cake.
• Fred's performance was excellent and he redeemed himself from his recent string of duds like Riley, the stenographer, and Garth & Kat. THIS is the type of stuff I want to see from Fred all the time.
• Another great touch was Jason being the only guest who was into the song, while everyone else was freaked out.
• Did anyone notice Dave Grohl's microphone wasn't working when he was shouting one of his lines into it, and Ashton had to hold his own microphone over to Grohl so Grohl could be heard?
• Did they run out of time and had to pull a “Barkley's Bank” by cutting the sketch short at the last minute? When the camera dissolved to the SNL bumper photo of Ashton, you could still hear Fred speaking into the mike, then they cut to commercial before he finished whatever he was saying.
• If this sketch did indeed get cut off, I wouldn't be surprised if it was the Garth & Kat thing on Update that caused the show to run long. Yet another reason why they need to stop letting Fred and Kristen ad-lib whatever shit they want as those two characters if it's gonna cause actual quality sketches like this to get cut off. Come to think of it, the last time Garth & Kat appeared (the James Franco episode), the final sketch of that night (Mark Wahlberg Talks To Christmas Animals) almost got cut off as well. Yeah, they definitely need to stop this Garth & Kat nonsense NOW.
Stars: ****½

_________________________________________________________

Episode Highlights:
• Punk Rock Wedding Band
• An Even-Tempered Apology from Rahm Emanuel
• Jason as Glenn Beck
• parts of the Monologue
• The Eliot Spitzer commentary on Weekend Update

Episode Lowlights:
• The View
• Rome 160 A.D.
• most of Weekend Update
• most of What is Burn Notice?
• Access Hollywood, minus one or two funny jokes and Nasim's cuteness

Best Performer of the Night:
• Fred Armisen (just for the final sketch alone; no performer really stood out much to me tonight)


FINAL THOUGHTS
Overall, a mostly forgettable, bland episode. Even Update was a downer (like I said, they gotta stop focusing so much on overstuffing each Update with an endless amount of unfunny guests, and concentrate mainly on writing good jokes for Seth). But the show did end on a positive note with two very good sketches, the last one in particular (Punk Rock Wedding Band) standing out as one of the best sketches of the season so far. It was like SNL rewarded us for sitting through this bore-fest of an episode by treating us to two strong sketches at the very end, but by that point, it was still too late to salvage the entire show overall.


CASTMEMBER / HOST COUNT DOWN
ARMISEN: 4 sketches (The View, Update, Access Hollywood, Wedding)
FORTE: 5 sketches (On the Record, Monologue, Rome, Burn Notice, Wedding)
HADER: 7 sketches (On the Record, Monologue, The Will, Rome, Update, Burn Notice, Wedding)
MEYERS: 1 sketch (Update)
SAMBERG: 3 sketches (Rome, Update, Rahm Emanuel)
SUDEIKIS: 5 sketches (On the Record, Monologue, The Will, Burn Notice, Wedding)
THOMPSON: 3 sketches (The View, Update, Wedding)
WIIG: 5 sketches (On the Record, The View, Cialis, Update, Burn Notice)

ELLIOTT: 4 sketches (On the Record, Monologue, Access Hollywood, Wedding)
MOYNIHAN: 4 sketches (On the Record, The Will, Burn Notice, Wedding)
PEDRAD: 5 sketches (Monologue, The View, Cialis, Access Hollywood, Wedding)
SLATE: 4 sketches (Monologue, The Will, Cialis, Burn Notice)

ASHTON KUTCHER: 8 sketches (Monologue, The Will, The View, Cialis, Rome, Burn Notice, Access Hollywood, Wedding)

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