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Date Posted: 12:27:42 07/25/17 Tue
Author: Stooge
Subject: Jude Law / Pearl Jam - March 13, 2010 (S35 E17)
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 - Eric Massa's Exit Interview
• Well, this was certainly funnier than last week's cold opening, although that's not saying much considering anything would come off as amusing compared to that debacle.
• This was just average overall, but not too bad. It was nice to see Bobby with a lead role, and having him play Eric Massa was great casting.
• The snorkeling scene in bed with Bobby and Andy was definitely the best part. Andy's reaction was priceless.
Stars: ***


Monologue - Jude Law
• What was the point of him mentioning the Ashlee Simpson incident from his last show if he didn't even have a funny joke to make about it? "I thought she was great!!!"? That was the best the writers could come up with? How was that even supposed to be funny?
• The rest of the monologue wasn't any better, either. It was a complete snoozefest, and I couldn't care less about Broadway theater-type stuff like this.
• Okay, the comment about Jeremy Piven got a chuckle out of me, but otherwise, this was one of the dullest monologues of the season.
Stars: *½

[2017 UPDATE: IIRC, the "I thought she was great!!!" joke went differently when this episode was rerun. In the live version, Jude just said that line straightforwardly which wasn't funny at all, but in the reruns, he blatantly lip-synced that line, which was the joke, as it was of course referencing Ashlee's notorious "lipsync malfunction". Not sure why they didn't do that in the live version of the monologue.]


Commercial - Ford
• This was pretty good. Abby and even Kenan's panicked reactions during the high-speed drive made me laugh, particularly Kenan telling Abby “Shut up, bitch!”
• The "Ford - we make hybrids, too" twist at the end was also funny.
Stars: ***½


Sketch - Secret Word
• I groaned at the beginning when I saw this was going to be yet another Game Show Network sketch, groaned a little more when I realized this was actually going to be Secret Word again, then groaned super-loud when Kristen's annoying hammy character returned.
• Last time they did this sketch and I complained about Kristen's character and compared it to a one-time Molly Shannon sketch, I was criticized by someone for that and I was told I was “exaggerating” or whatever, but I really don't give a damn. Face it, Kristen's whole hammy, attention-starved routine is just plain tired, irritating, and overused nowadays, and this particular character offers nothing new or creative.
• Bill provided most of the few funny moments of the whole sketch. His reactions to everything were amusing, and he had a few decent lines. I especially laughed at him saying “Very nice!” and smiling really big when he saw Jude in the tights, and his line at the end about going to commercial before he kills someone.
• Jude's character had his moments, too. The rest of the sketch was a waste of time.
Stars: **


Commercial - Broadview Security
• This was cut after dress from either last week or the week before. When I read the description, I thought it sounded a little similar to the Thomas Peepers Insurance ad, and I was kinda right. This did feel a little similar to me, and both even had Bill as the spokesperson.
• The concept wasn't too great, but at least it was nice to see Nasim have a lead role in a commercial. She looked really good, too.
• The funniest parts were Nasim's facial reactions to everyone breaking in, Fred as the Rabbi, one of the “men” breaking in being Abby as K.D. Lang. The “two kids in the big coat” thing afterwards was just stupid, though.
Stars: **½


Sketch - Barcelona, Spain
• Not much to say about this sketch. The performances from Jude, Abby, and Nasim were fine and everything, but this sketch felt too one-joke and bland and didn't really go anywhere.
• There also should've been a much more interesting twist at the end.
• I think the only time I laughed out loud was when Jude mimed drinking the bottle of poison he was holding.
Stars: **


Digital Short - Boombox
• I thought they stopped making Digital Shorts out of songs from the Lonely Island album. The last one was “Like a Boss”, which aired a year ago. Speaking of which, I found the “Like a Boss” short to be weak and I think it works much better as just a song on the album instead of a visual short, and I feel the exact same way about tonight's “Boombox” short.
• This felt too much like a typical standard Digital Short and it barely had anything special or outstanding. And the ending with everybody getting it on in the nursing home crossed the line from “funny” to “just plain disgusting”. We did not need to see all those close-ups.
• The only amusing parts were Fred as the Mexican doing the Bartman, and the different ways Andy kept saying “Boiled goose”.
• Did anyone catch the quick cameos from Akiva and Jorma as people in the street?
• I hope the Lonely Island guys aren't running out of ideas. I mean, what with the Flags of the World short two weeks ago which wasn't too bad but wasn't anything memorable either, the absence of a real Digital Short last week when they had Zach freakin Galifianakis to work with all week, and now them going back to making weak shorts out of year-old songs from their album for no reason. Maybe TLI's just in a creative slump lately (just like SNL in general has been all season).
Stars: *½


Weekend Update - Seth Meyers, featuring Kenan Thompson in a dress, Jerry Seinfeld
• Best jokes: Early Show, meat thermometer
• Are you kidding me, SNL? Two weeks IN A ROW with Kenan showing up on Update in drag? This is a fucking joke, right? What have we done to deserve this, SNL? Tonight's Whoopi Goldberg commentary itself may not have been quite as big a waste of time as last week's Mo'Nique commentary, but I still don't care. I'm beyond sick of this crap with Kenan and his Update commentaries are always a snoozefest for me. I couldn't wait for this to end.
• When they showed the "Really?!? with Seth and Jerry" title screen, I - like probably everyone else watching - was like "Who the hell is Jerry?", then they showed Jerry Seinfeld sitting next to Seth out of nowhere, and I was surprised. I was a little relieved it wasn't Amy Poehler because she cameos on Update a little too often for my likes, but Seinfeld was completely random and unexpected.
• Tonight's "Really" segment regarding the Eric Massa controversy wasn't bad, although there's been better "Really"s in the past. The Navy and “Massa-bations” comments tonight were very funny, and this whole segment added a little bit of life into Seth's Update. His Updates in general seem to be getting worse and worse by the week. It's getting sad to watch.
Stars: **½


Sketch - Twilight Zone
• I love when SNL does these black-and-white old-school parodies (that terrible Jekyll and Hyde parody from earlier this season notwithstanding). These types of sketches always remind me of SNL's late 80's era when they would do classic black-and-white parodies all the time with Hartman, Carvey, and Lovitz.
• This was a clever parody of the famous gremlin-on-the-wing episode of the Twilight Zone. Bill was perfectly cast as Rod Serling (I've been waiting years to see Hader try out that impression), and Bobby was hilarious as the gremlin. I loved every time Bobby would jump and do that intimidating stance at the end of each bit.
• Bobby's “Kiss me, I'm real” apron while he was cooking was also a funny little detail that cracked me up.
• Pearl Jam getting involved and copying Bobby's intimidating stance was classic and made this sketch even funnier.
• I feel like a perv, but I couldn't help but notice how uh... nice Nasim looked in that tight skirt whenever she turned her side or back to the camera. Abby looked good in this sketch, too. I always like seeing Nasim and Abby in the same scene together, as they're both my favorite SNL eye candy right now (hey, in a disappointing SNL season like this, you gotta find something to look forward to each week).
Stars: ****


Sketch - Hamlet Auditions
• Impression-showcase sketches are usually good and this one was a creative outlet for that, although I felt this could've been a little funnier. Also, I would've liked to have seen more castmembers get involved in this and show off some impressions. It actually felt like this sketch ended a little too early.
• Bobby's Nathan Lane impression is always fun to see.
• I was thrilled to see Bill's Al Pacino impression return for the first time in literally AGES. I think the last time he played him was the 2006 season premiere where he did the “Al Pacino Checks His Bank Balance” sketch. However, his Pacino voice sounded a little rusty tonight, to be honest. It didn't sound quite as dead-on as I remembered it being before. But he was still funny in this sketch and had some good lines, like him asking Jude if he should play Hamlet as black or Puerto Rican.
• Andy's Nicolas Cage impression is getting played out this season. The impression itself is dead-on, but the material he was given tonight was the exact same as that stupid Update appearance he made earlier this season where they parodied National Treasure. Can't they come up with funnier material for him? Him jumping out the window fell flat, too (no pun intended).
• Jason was hilariously random as Sam Elliott. Unfortunately, this was the only real thing Jason got to do all night, and it wasn't even that big a role. I don't like how Jason's screen time has been so wildly inconsistent lately. I mean, two weeks ago, he was in almost every single sketch in the J.Lo episode, then the following two weeks, he only appeared twice each episode. Why the hell doesn't SNL finally realize that he - along with Hader - should be the alpha-males of this cast? Well, Hader at least got that treatment tonight, as he dominated this episode.
Stars: ***


Commercial - kickspit Underground Rock Festival
• Rerun. A very funny ad originally, but commercial parodies always lose a bit of their humor when reaired in a new episode. At first, I assumed the only reason they reaired this tonight was to use it as a time filler between consecutive sketches (especially considering this commercial's a lot longer than SNL's usual fake ads) and I thought they would go to another live sketch right after this ended, but this was just followed by a real commercial break, then the second musical performance! What was the point of reairing it at this part of the episode, then?


Sketch - Elinda the Stenographer
• NO, NO, NO!!! Dammit, SNL! I was just about to comment on how somewhat-refreshing it is that this episode doesn't have quite as many recurring sketches as most recent episodes, then you had to bring this crap back out of nowhere.
• I was actually surprised this character returned, although I know I shouldn't have been - considering the current state of SNL. But I actually expected Riley to come back before Elinda Nade ever would. I'm still trying to figure out which of the two characters is more brutal.
• This was exactly the same as the first awful Elinda sketch, only they substituted 'crackers' with 'chapstick' as the item that Fred keeps repeating that he “can't find”. Wow, what a BIG change! Give yourselves a hand, SNL writers!
• One notable difference, though, was Fred's voice. Was it just me, or was his voice a lot deeper tonight compared to the first Elinda sketch? He already forgot how to do his own character's voice after only a few episodes?
• I complained during the Hamlet Auditions sketch about Jason's lack of airtime tonight, but what about poor Will Forte? He barely uttered a word this entire episode and he got even smaller roles than the featured players! Forte's been underused badly all season long, and this particular episode may be an all-time low for him. He was basically a glorified extra tonight! You can DEFINITELY tell this will be his final season, no doubt about it.
• At this point, I'm starting to wonder that if Fred ended up leaving the show after this season as well, maybe that wouldn't be so hard to take as I used to think. I mean, I still like Fred and everything and he definitely still has his great moments, but I have to face it - he's been insanely hit-or-miss this season, and those great moments (stuff like Woman-to-Woman and Punk Rock Wedding) are becoming fewer and farther in between, while one-note crap like Riley, Elinda, his dull Obama non-impression, and his other endless amount of gay roles/drag roles seem to be appearing more and more often. I have a feeling that if he stayed for a 9th season, the quality of his roles would continue to get even worse, especially since it's looking like next season can end up being one of SNL's all-time worst if Lorne doesn't make enough changes this summer. SNL's starting to feel like a sinking ship this season, and Fred might just be saving himself if he gets off the ship while he still has time, before SNL's writing gets truly horrible (just like how Phil Hartman wisely bailed from the show in 1994 when he saw how bad it was getting). And in my opinion, NO ONE should stay on the show past 8 seasons, no matter how good they are. The only exception I was okay with was Tim Meadows, but that's because he was practically non-existent his first 3-4 seasons anyway. But we saw what happened to people like Kevin Nealon in his unnecessary 9th season and Darrell Hammond in his last 4-5 years. I'll always love Fred and Will, but I think it's pretty much time for both of them to depart from the cast this upcoming May.
Stars: *

[2017 UPDATE: "I have a feeling that if [Fred] stayed for a 9th season, the quality of his roles would continue to get even worse". As we know now, that's exactly what ended up happening. And even more so in his TENTH season. And then EVEN MORE SO in this ELEVENTH season! Good lord. At least in his twelth season (his final one), while he still had his usual annoying stale bits, his airtime was reduced and he actually did a few decent things towards the end of that season, mainly the Ian Rubbish bits.
Also, I have to address this comment of mine: "I'll always love Fred and Will". Yeaaaahhhh, don't be too sure about that, 2010 Me, regarding Fred. If Fred had jumped ship after this season like Will did, then I probably would still equally love both of them to this day. As it stands, Will's the only one of the two I remain a huge fan of.]



Sketch - Talk Show with Ravish
• Wow, Nasim has been everywhere in this episode. And surprisingly, I think this is only the third middle-eastern role she has played on SNL (the others were Mrs. Ahmedinejad and Kim Kardashian, and both were back at the beginning of the season). When Nasim was first hired for SNL and I learned that she's Iranian, I figured she would be typecast in a lot of middle-eastern/foreigner roles all the time, but she's managed to avoid that for the most part. Hell, I'd even say she's been given a bigger variety of different roles than either Abby or Jenny have so far. Who would've guessed that the Iranian girl in the cast would end up showing more range and versatility than two white girls?
• Even while dressed like a little boy, Nasim still looked really cute. And she did a fine job as this character, but the sketch itself felt like nothing special at all. The problem is, the public access talk show format is BEYOND stale nowadays and SNL uses it too much to try and break out new characters and it usually ends up failing.
• Also, it being a talk show sketch and this being the 09-10 season makes me think that this will definitely be made into a recurring sketch, which doesn't exactly thrill me. Nasim's character can be funny and does have the potential to be really good, IF they bring it back in a different, more original format. If they HAVE to do this character again, they should do a sketch featuring him at school or at home or something. Anything but the tired talk show format; that's gotta go.
• In addition to Nasim, Jenny also looked adorable in this sketch, and Jenny actually could convincingly pass for a little girl in real life with the way she looked in those huge glasses and pigtails.
• I thought Fred's character would be funny at first, but he was just doing his same-old standard middle-eastern role we've seen him do 10,000 times, and honestly, even THAT'S getting tired.
• My only real laughs in this sketch came from Bobby's mere appearance as the drunken uncle (especially his dancing back-and-forth at the end during the photo shoot), the “Jay Leno Walking with Ravish” scene, and Nasim bringing up how much money Jude's “Alfie” movie lost.
Stars: **½

[2017 UPDATE: Contrary to my worries at the time, this never became a recurring sketch and Nasim's Ravish character (pronounced ra-VEESH) was never seen again. Doesn't matter, though, because as we know now, Nasim would end up doing TONS of other interchangable 'little kid' sketches throughout her SNL tenure, to the degree that I (and most people on this board) would end up getting absolutely sick and tired of seeing her playing kids, which wasn't helped by the fact that her kid sketches were rarely if ever funny.
Also, it sure is funny reading this particular comment in hindsight: "Bobby's mere appearance as the drunken uncle--" Foreshadowing! This can almost be considered an early middle-eastern prototype of Bobby's famous Drunk Uncle character, who would debut two seasons later.]


_________________________________________________________

Episode Highlights:
• Twilight Zone
• Ford commercial
• A few celebrity impressions in Hamlet Auditions
• “Really” with Seth and Jerry

Episode Lowlights:
• Elinda the Stenographer
• Monologue
• Kristen's character in Secret Word
• Digital Short
• parts of Weekend Update
• Barcelona, Spain

Best Performer of the Night:
• Bill Hader / Bobby Moynihan / Nasim Pedrad


FINAL THOUGHTS
Surprise, surprise - yet another forgettable, disappointing episode from the 09-10 season. This is really starting to get depressing. The first half of the episode in particular was almost completely dull. However, the quality picked up after Update for a little while; the Twilight Zone was great and Hamlet Auditions had its share of highlights, but the show lost its luster again after those two sketches.

This is the fourth unimpressive episode in a row. It's starting to feel like ages since the last actual good episode SNL put out (Jon Hamm). Tina Fey might be able to help pull the show out of this season's decline when she hosts, but I've already completely given up hope for the 09-10 season. If they couldn't even write a good episode for Zach Galifianakis, I wouldn't be at all surprised if the Fey episode turns out to be a disappointment as well. Sure her last episode in '08 was fantastic, but that was when SNL and its writing were in better shape than it is now. If Fey pitches in with the writing process this time, the episode might turn out to really be something, but as of now, I have low expectations for that episode. At this point, someone like Ferrell or Walken could host at the end of this season, and I still wouldn't have high expectations because the show's writing has gotten so bad.


CASTMEMBER / HOST COUNT DOWN
ARMISEN: 5 sketches (Secret Word, Broadview Security, Digital Short, Elinda, Ravish)
FORTE: 3 sketches (Massa Interview, Broadview Security, Elinda)
HADER: 6 sketches (Massa Interview, Secret Word, Broadview Security, Twilight Zone, Hamlet Auditions, Elinda)
MEYERS: 1 sketch (Update)
SAMBERG: 4 sketches (Massa Interview, Broadview Security, Digital Short, Hamlet Auditions)
SUDEIKIS: 2 sketches (Massa Interview, Hamlet Auditions)
THOMPSON: 3 sketches (Ford, Secret Word, Update)
WIIG: 3 sketches (Massa Interview, Secret Word, Elinda)

ELLIOTT: 4 sketches (Ford, Broadview Security, Barcelona, Twilight Zone)
MOYNIHAN: 5 sketches (Massa Interview, Digital Short, Twilight Zone, Hamlet Auditions, Ravish)
PEDRAD: 5 sketches (Broadview Security, Barcelona, Twilight Zone, Hamlet Auditions, Ravish)
SLATE: 2 sketches (Twilight Zone, Ravish)

JUDE LAW: 7 sketches (Monologue, Secret Word, Barcelona, Twilight Zone, Hamlet Auditions, Elinda, Ravish)

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