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Date Posted: 03:35:26 09/28/17 Thu
Author: Stooge
Subject: Jesse Eisenberg / Nicki Minaj - January 29, 2011 (S36 E13)
In reply to: Stooge 's message, "Retro Reviews - September 2017" on 02:29:47 09/04/17 Mon

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 - Michele Bachmann’s Response
• Kristen being cast as Bachmann was a no-brainer.
• Unfortunately, the writing wasn’t up to par. Not a very creative parody of the Michele Bachmann video, and the joke here got old pretty fast.
Stars: **

Monologue - Jesse Eisenberg
• Well, I’ll at least give them credit for not doing a song-and-dance or Q&A monologue like I predicted.
• Eisenberg seemed like a nervous wreck during this.
• This whole monologue was fairly predictable and light on actual laughs. The Zuckerberg/Eisenberg and Samberg confrontation didn’t end up amounting to much.
• Andy’s “Awk-berrrrrg” line was good for a chuckle.
Stars: **½

Commercial - Estro-Maxx
• Meh. A very lame and sophomoric premise, and it seemed like SNL already did a fake ad like this before.
• My only real laugh actually came from Kenan’s facial reaction to Bobby at the airport.
Stars: *½

[2017 UPDATE: This commercial, which was about a hormone replacement therapy pill for pre-op transsexuals, actually caused some controversy when it originally aired, and as a result, was cut out of all of reruns (IIRC).]

Sketch - Mr. Wizard’s World
• Is it a coincidence that Kenan was cast in an old-school Nickelodeon sketch, considering that’s where his career began?
• This got predictable after a while, but overall, this wasn’t too bad. There were some funny parts throughout, like Nasim and Jesse’s hair standing on end and all of Bill’s reactions.
Stars: ***

Sketch - Don’t Forget the Lyrics
• Similarly to the Mr. Wizard sketch, this was another sketch with a predictable premise but this one got old much faster and was less funny.
• Jason was great as Mark McGrath and had some funny one-liners that saved the sketch. The “Marky Mark” mix-up was pretty funny as well.
Stars: **½

Sketch - WXPD News
• I enjoyed the first installment a lot, but I was afraid they’d eventually ruin it by making it recurring and not changing anything in the script. Sadly, I was right. This didn’t work nearly as well the second time and this was basically a lazy rewrite of the first installment, even down to using the exact same fake-out ending with Bill’s character “dying”. They REALLY couldn’t think of another way to end this sketch? Seriously?
• The back-and-forth between Bill and Jason still got some laughs from me, and Bill cracking up and then attempting to hide his face from the camera so we couldn’t see him laughing at least established some difference between this and the first installment. I also liked Jason ad-libbing “Keep it together, Herb!” during Bill’s laughing.
Stars: **½

Digital Short - The Creep
• This was pretty good and while not anywhere near as classic as the Lonely Island probably wanted it to be, I was still entertained by this.
• The John Waters cameo was a creative addition.
• I know there’s been previous shorts where Andy rapped with either just Jorma or Akiva, but is this the first musical Digital Short on SNL where all three Lonely Island members sang together as a group? If so, then it’s about damn time.
Stars: ***½

Weekend Update - Seth Meyers, featuring President Hosni Mubarak, Tyler Perry
• Best jokes: Comcast, Charlie Sheen, elderly drivers
• Fred being cast in the role of the president of Egypt was just as predictable as Kristen being cast as Michele Bachmann. Sometimes I forget that Fred’s even still on the show; he barely appears anymore these days. An obvious sign that he’s on his way out. Anyway, this Update commentary was pretty forgettable overall and didn’t have much of a point, although Fred’s high-pitched “You know what I mean?”s throughout this gave me a chuckle.
• I’ve always said that Kenan’s Update commentaries never fail to bore the hell out of me, but his Tyler Perry commentary tonight actually wasn’t bad. Most of my laughs came from the random non-sequitur one-liners he kept throwing in (“My best friend is Oprah”; “I own an island”).
Stars: **½

Sketch - The Essentials presents: Bride of Blackenstein
• I liked this sketch a lot and got some big laughs all throughout. Lots of funny one-liners, too, such as the one about the monster’s mouth coming from “a ho who didn’t know her place” and the similarity between black and Jewish women.
• What’s with the recent trend of the musical guests appearing in so many sketches? Though I guess they had no other choice than to use Nicki Minaj for this particular sketch considering SNL has no black female castmembers.
• Jay did a great job starring in a rare non-impression role. Hopefully, his performance goes over better with most SNL fans than his Principal character did (although I’m in the minority in kinda liking that one).
• Bill stole the sketch with his surprisingly-convincing ghetto voice, which was hilarious. Is there anything Bill Hader CAN’T do?
Stars: ****

Sketch - MTV Skins
• Was it intentional to make Andy look like his impression of Kevin Federline? I swear, he was wearing the exact same wig and clothes he used to wear when he played K-Fed.
• I wasn’t too crazy about this sketch overall, although a few of the fake sponsors made me laugh like C.P. Wang (“We sell fruit now”).
• Other funny lines were Paul Brittain’s “I’m 12” at the end and Andy calling L’Oreal “French oreos”.
• One of the biggest laughs was an unintentional one, from the blooper with Andy knocking over the moonman figure. I love how afterwards, he just carelessly threw it off the table when the audience wouldn’t stop laughing.
Stars: **½

Sketch - Spa Talk with Tyla Yonders
• I tried to give this a chance, but it went absolutely nowhere and felt like complete waste of time. A very weak and laughless sketch, filled with annoying characters and unfunny bathroom humor.
Stars: *

Sketch/Commercial - El Shrinko
• Nothing special, but not too bad for a 10-to-1 sketch.
• I got some laughs from Vanessa’s bored potato chip-eating character, Nasim’s character squinting to read her lines off the cue cards and then stopping mid-sentence to ask “Wait, what is this for???”, and Bill (in ANOTHER scene-stealing appearance tonight) making a quick walk-on as the sleazy roommate.
Stars: ***
_________________________________________________________

Episode Highlights:
• Bride of Blackenstein
• Digital Short
• a few parts of Weekend Update

Episode Lowlights:
• Estro-Maxx
• Spa Talk
• Michele Bachmann’s Response

Best Performer of the Night:
• Bill Hader / Andy Samberg

CASTMEMBER / HOST COUNT DOWN
ARMISEN: 2 sketches (Estro-Maxx, Update)
ELLIOTT: 3 sketches (Mr. Wizard, Skins, Spa Talk)
HADER: 5 sketches (Estro-Maxx, Mr. Wizard, WXPD News, Bride of Blackenstein, El Shrinko)
MEYERS: 1 sketch (Update)
MOYNIHAN: 2 sketches (Estro-Maxx, Spa Talk)
SAMBERG: 5 sketches (Monologue, WXPD News, Digital Short, Skins, El Shrinko)
SUDEIKIS: 3 sketches (Don’t Forget the Lyrics, WXPD News, Bride of Blackenstein)
THOMPSON: 6 sketches (Estro-Maxx, Mr. Wizard, WXPD News, Update, Bride of Blackenstein, Spa Talk)
WIIG: 4 sketches (Michele Bachmann, Bride of Blackenstein, Spa Talk, El Shrinko)

BAYER: 2 sketches (Spa Talk, El Shrinko)
BRITTAIN: 2 sketches (Estro-Maxx, Skins)
KILLAM: 0 sketches
PEDRAD: 3 sketches (Mr. Wizard, Skins, El Shrinko)
PHAROAH: 1 sketch (Bride of Blackenstein)

JESSE EISENBERG: 8 sketches (Monologue, Mr. Wizard, Don’t Forget the Lyrics, WXPD News, Bride of Blackenstein, Skins, Spa Talk, El Shrinko)

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