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Date Posted: 12:33:02 08/12/17 Sat
Author: Stooge
Subject: Alec Baldwin / Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - May 15, 2010 (S35 E22) PART ONE
In reply to: Stooge 's message, "Retro Reviews - August 2017" on 02:13:46 08/01/17 Tue

NOTE: Voy claims that this review is too long to post (I'm assuming because of my long end-of-season Year In Review) so I have to divide it into two.

Here's Part One of 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 - Oil Spill Press Conference
• The opening “And now, a message from the people who ruined our ocean” line was pretty funny.
• A decent cold opening. Some of their bad suggestions made me laugh, such as the “dolphins with mops” one.
• The bit with Fred saying “You may ask yourself, how can that possibly work?” then not following that up was kinda funny, but SNL already used that same joke before in a Joe Biden cold opening from earlier this season.
• I found Jason to be the funniest of the three performers, especially with his fist pump. Bill’s British accent was very good, too, and I enjoyed his LFNY delivery.
Stars: ***


Monologue - Alec Baldwin
• The bit with Steve Martin on the TV monitor was pretty funny, and I liked Steve’s Facebook joke. However, he should’ve been on longer.
• The rest of the monologue was pretty forgettable. The speech could’ve been much funnier and the Charlie Sheen punchline at the end didn’t work for me.
Stars: **½


Digital Short - Great Day
• I thought this would be stupid at first, but it turned out to make me laugh. My favorite parts were Andy swearing at the person who tapped his shoulder, Andy suddenly saying “Or was it?” with a demonic face and voice, and Alec's remark to Andy. Oh, and the Jorma cameo was nice.
• Did anyone else notice Andy looked kinda like Michael Cera at some points during this short, or was that just me?
• Also on a similar note, this sounds kinda strange but Nasim strongly resembled Casey Wilson to me in this short. Something about her facial expression.
Stars: ***½


Sketch - Arizona Evenings
• No comment. Instead, I’ll just copy and paste my review of the Don’t Make Me Sing sketch from the Jon Hamm episode, which sums up this sketch perfectly: “Oh boy, here it is... Kristen Wiig + hammy character + unfunny one-joke script + first sketch of the night = you know how it goes.”
Stars: *


Sketch - Hudson Valley High School Sports Awards
• This was decent, although it seemed almost like a cheap excuse to just have the whole cast appear in this sketch. I usually enjoy full-cast sketches, but not when most of them have no lines and only appear for two seconds like in this sketch.
• Alec’s performance and delivery was great, and helped make this material funny when it could’ve fell flat with most normal hosts. Some of his insults were pretty good.
• I also liked the exchange between Alec and Jason.
• Did you notice Jessi Klein in the background? I always like when she makes an on-screen appearance.
• Sadly, this was Will Forte’s ONLY appearance of the whole episode, and he only appeared at the beginning of this sketch and had no funny dialogue. If this DOES turn out to be his last show like many of us are speculating, then this is a sad, SAD way for a strong castmember like him to go out. But unfortunately, this has been the case for Will all season. They barely gave him anything to do this year.
Stars: ***

[2017 UPDATE: Well, as we know now, this DID end up being Will's last show, and yes, it was indeed a sad, SAD way for him to go out. He was actually planning on returning the following season, which he said in a talk show appearance a week or so after this episode (he was promoting the then-upcoming MacGruber movie), but IIRC, his sister fell ill during that summer and he decided to help take care of her, which meant he wouldn't be able to return to SNL the next season.]


Sketch - Bedilia and Dad
• How DO you spell the name of Nasim’s character anyway? Also, am I crazy or did Alec accidentally call her “Belinda” at first when the sketch started?
• Anyway, I didn’t mind seeing this character return tonight, as her first appearance in the Tina Fey episode grew on me after a few viewings. And Nasim always does an excellent job performing this low-key role and she makes it enjoyable to watch. And at least this one didn’t have Justin Bieber to ruin it.
• However, I feel that the pattern/format of tonight’s sketch followed her first installment a little too closely, even down to having Jenny & Abby, and Andy & Bobby play the same roles (but then again, I guess those four along with Nasim are the only performers in this cast who can convincingly play teenagers), and having Nasim’s character fall for a boy with similar traits to her at the end. If this character continues to make future appearances, they need to add a little more variety to the scripts.
Stars: ***

[2017 UPDATE: I swear, Nasim's Bedilia voice = Melissa Villasenor's normal voice. The similarity is freakin' UNCANNY. Listen for yourself in this clip of the sketch and see if you agree with me.]


Commercial - Prenivia
• Abby’s Sally Field voice was absolutely DEAD ON. She sounded EXACTLY like her. I actually almost forgot exactly how talented an impressionist Abby is, but it is easy to forget considering she has gotten practically no airtime these last few months, and the last noteworthy impression she did was way back in January when she played Meryl Streep.
• This commercial itself wasn’t that great, though, and I can see why it kept getting cut after dress so many times. I did laugh at Abby’s “I’m not f***ing around here” line at the end, though.
Stars: **


Sketch - Grady Wilson’s Intimate & International
• Aw, not this again. I've gotten so tired of this routine.
• I did kinda like Alec’s character, though, if only for his Greek accent. The accent cracked me up and it provided my only chuckles in this sketch.
• I know Alec has put on the pounds in recent years, but something about the way he looked in this sketch made him appear even fatter than usual. Must've been the tight shirt.
Stars: *½


Weekend Update - Seth Meyers, featuring Snooki, Stefon, Garth and Kat
• Best jokes: New York Knicks, suicide couple
• I usually enjoy Bobby’s Snooki appearances, but SNL’s using it a little too often and they clearly had no real material for him tonight. Tonight’s appearance was nothing more than an endless string of orange jokes. Bobby’s earlier Snooki appearances actually used to have more to it than that. Also, Seth’s little comments to her like “You’re breathtaking” and “Don’t ever change” are getting old. However, I did like Bobby’s Prison Break comparison; that was pretty clever.
• Stefon again? Wasn’t he on just two episodes ago? I know a lot of people loved Bill losing it in his last Stefon appearance, but Bill’s increasing difficulty in keeping a straight face is really becoming an issue with me. Let’s get real, Stefon is FAR from the only time Bill has broken character this season; is it REALLY that much of a surprise anymore? In fact, this appearance alone makes this the third episode in a row with Bill cracking up on the show. I hate to say he’s going down the Jimmy Fallon path like other people are saying because at one time, Bill actually used to be on the same level as Dan Aykroyd, Chris Parnell, and Phil Hartman when it came to being a pro at keeping a straight face, but if Bill keeps this up, it won’t be long until he actually does reach Fallon levels of unprofessionalism. I love Hader too much to want to see him end up that way. He needs to get his shit together.
• That being said, tonight’s Stefon commentary was still okay and I got some laughs from it. His best lines were the German Smurfs bit and his explanation of what a human bathmat is.
• As if there hasn’t been enough recycling of old characters on tonight’s Update, now they had to drag out fucking Garth and Kat again! I hate this routine; it’s just a lame excuse for Fred to ad-lib unfunny songs so he can crack up Kristen and himself, and hasn’t there ALREADY been enough unprofessionalism in tonight’s Update anyway with Bill cracking himself up as Stefon earlier?
• There was nothing noteworthy in tonight’s Garth and Kat installment, and this seemed to go on even longer than their usual appearances. THESE are the two characters Weekend Update ends the season with? Well, I guess it’s a fitting end considering how tired Update in general has been this season. Seth’s Updates are really becoming sad to watch; his delivery has become very bland, weak, and overly-smug, the jokes are uninspired and forgettable, and the guest commentaries lately have just been an excuse to trot out overdone recurring characters/impressions, most of whom only have a few months in between appearances (or in Stefon’s case, two mere WEEKS).
Stars: **


Sketch - Timecrowave
• I didn’t know where this was going at first, but once the joke was revealed, I laughed pretty consistently for the rest of the sketch. Although the writing seemed to get slightly TOO carried away at one or two points with throwing in overly-strange things (the ram horns were a little too cheesy for my likes). I still liked this sketch overall, though.
• My favorite part was the Nazi flags in the background; that was a hilarious subtle gag and takes a few seconds to notice at first.
Stars: ***½


Sketch - Turner Classic Movies presents: Whistle If You Can
• I chuckled at the beginning during Bill’s intro. He didn’t say anything funny, but just his demeanor and the look on his face amused me.
• This was a REALLY long, boring set-up just to get to a mere handjob joke. I mean, I did kinda laugh at first at Alec’s first mention of a handjob, but in the end, it wasn’t really worth such a lengthy set-up and nothing funny happened after the first handjob mention. And the sketch ended way too abruptly.
• I’ve pretty much soured on Jenny Slate these last two months, but I admit her performance in this sketch wasn’t too bad... for HER standards anyway. And speaking about my turning against Jenny, you have to remember that I actually used to support her from the start. In fact, go back and re-read my review of the Taylor Lautner episode; I defended the hell out of Jenny in that review. It’s just that I haven’t been happy with most of what I’ve seen from her these last few months and I’ve slowly started to understand exactly why a lot of people don’t like her. But the point is, I DID give her a chance with an open mind in the first half of this season. I get the feeling that a majority of Jenny’s haters disliked her from the get-go.
• Were we supposed to see Alec and Jenny drop character at the end and walk off-camera? That was kinda awkward. I get the feeling that was a mistiming on Alec’s part and he assumed the camera already faded to black.
Stars: **

[2017 UPDATE: I didn't give Jenny enough credit; she actually did a very good job in this sketch, which would end up being the last sketch she ever appeared in. I'd argue this was her best performance on SNL, and is possibly a sign of what could've been had she been given a second season. Oh, well, at least her final sketch ended up being a good showcase for her. Sad that she got a better final sketch than EIGHT-YEAR VETERAN Will Forte, though.]


Sketch - Take the Shot
• I liked this better the first time... when it was called Suel Forrester!
• As unoriginal and dumb as this was, I admit Alec’s repeated mumbling of “Tay the Shaw” did kinda make me chuckle the first two minutes, but only because of Alec’s funny delivery. But the writing in this sketch was terrible and as I mentioned above, this was basically the same joke from the Suel Forrester sketches, only this made even LESS sense since you could actually understand what Alec was trying to say and this revolved around only one phrase, whereas the Forrester sketches had him mumbling a variety of different words that you could never decipher.
• Also, the homoerotic stuff added in this sketch wasn’t necessary. Typical 09-10.
• I’m getting tired of there being so much of Kenan; it seemed like he was in almost every single sketch tonight. Meanwhile, Jason Sudeikis was in only three sketches. What’s wrong with this picture?
• And was this really appropriate as “final sketch of the season” material? I realize that not every season can end with a show-stopping, memorable, full-cast piece like last year’s Goodnight Saigon, the Grease parody from Jimmy Fallon’s last show, or So Long Farewell from 93-94, but this one-joke three-performer sketch felt like an empty, underwhelming way to end the year.
Stars: *½

[2017 UPDATE: If someone had to do a list of SNL's worst season-ending sketches, I'd definitely put this one on there. Not sure what other sketches would make that list, though.]

_________________________________________________________

Episode Highlights:
• Timecrowave
• Digital Short
• Alec’s performance in Hudson Valley High School Sports Awards
• Nasim’s performance as Bedilia

Episode Lowlights:
• Arizona Evenings
• Grady Wilson’s Intimate & International
• Take the Shot
• most of Weekend Update
• Whistle If You Can
• the second half of the Monologue

Best Performer of the Night:
• Alec Baldwin


FINAL THOUGHTS
The season ends with a show that was pretty much par for the course this year; an overall forgettable episode and nothing that stood out to me as classic or very memorable. This wasn’t a horrible episode, but it was a letdown for both an Alec Baldwin episode and the season finale (still, nothing beats Alec’s 93-94 episode with Kim Basinger as Alec’s all-time worst; that one was just terrible). I had hopes after last week’s very memorable Betty White show that this overall disappointing season would end on a strong note with TWO great episodes, but I guess that was asking for too much...

Alec however did a very good job hosting as always, and he was his usual funny self and helped make some of the weaker material slightly more tolerable. However, I couldn’t help but notice he seemed a bit under-rehearsed tonight with some of the mistakes he made, such as calling Nasim by the wrong name at the beginning of the Bedilia sketch, a few long silent pauses before speaking in the Grady Wilson sketch, facing the wrong camera at one point in the Timecrowave sketch, dropping character on-camera at the end of the TCM movie sketch, and a few screw-ups he had in “Take the Shot”. I hope this isn’t a sign that Alec is growing uninterested in SNL, because he’s usually much more professional than this.


CASTMEMBER / HOST COUNT DOWN
ARMISEN: 4 sketches (Press Conference, Digital Short, Hudson Valley, Update)
FORTE: 1 sketch (Hudson Valley)
HADER: 6 sketches (Press Conference, Digital Short, Hudson Valley, Bedilia, Update, Whistle If You Can)
MEYERS: 1 sketch (Update)
SAMBERG: 4 sketches (Digital Short, Arizona Evenings, Hudson Valley, Bedilia)
SUDEIKIS: 3 sketches (Press Conference, Hudson Valley, Take the Shot)
THOMPSON: 5 sketches (Arizona Evenings, Hudson Valley, Grady Wilson, Timecrowave, Take the Shot)
WIIG: 4 sketches (Arizona Evenings, Hudson Valley, Update, Timecrowave)

ELLIOTT: 4 sketches (Arizona Evenings, Hudson Valley, Bedilia, Prenivia)
MOYNIHAN: 6 sketches (Digital Short, Arizona Evenings, Hudson Valley, Bedilia, Update, Timecrowave)
PEDRAD: 3 sketches (Digital Short, Hudson Valley, Bedilia)
SLATE: 3 sketches (Hudson Valley, Bedilia, Whistle If You Can)

ALEC BALDWIN: 9 sketches (Monologue, Digital Short, Arizona Evenings, Hudson Valley, Bedilia, Grady Wilson, Timecrowave, Whistle If You Can, Take the Shot)

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