>Here's the original review I posted back when this
>episode first aired.
>***** = Excellent, a possible future classic
>**** = Great
>*** = Average
>** = Meh
>* = How'd this get past dress?
>Cold Opening - Fox News: Embracing Civility
>• A pretty strong sketch, and a big improvement over
>the second Greta Van Susteren installment last season.
>• As usual, Jason’s Glenn Beck steals the sketch
>and it was interesting seeing him as a panelist this
>time. Bill’s James Carville was also a welcome
>addition and it was refreshing to finally see him away
>from the Update desk.
>• The reaction shot of Bobby angrily frothing at the
>mouth was hilarious.
>• The bit with Abby’s Rachel Maddow was just okay.
>I don’t understand why Abby always pronounces
>“Maddow” in that weird way, though; it’s kinda
>annoying and sounds nothing like how Rachel Maddow
>says her name.
>Monologue - Gwyneth Paltrow
>• The monologues this season are now getting to the
>point where we should start a betting pool each week
>on whether the monologue will involve the host either
>singing a song or speaking to fake audience members.
>Seriously, these are the only two types of monologues
>we get these days. In that case, I predict Jesse
>Eisenberg will get a Q&A monologue.
>• Jason as Kenny Rogers was decent enough for a
>chuckle or two. Everything else in this monologue -
>Commercial - The Cape promos
>• A hit-and-miss jab at the ridiculousness of
>NBC’s current programming. Some parts of this
>worked, others parts fell completely flat.
>• My biggest laughs came from the Smock and Scrunchy
>Sketch - Secret Word
>• No. Just... no.
>Digital Short - Andy and Pee Wee’s Night Out
>• A very good Digital Short that I enjoyed a lot,
>and of course, Pee Wee Herman was a great surprise.
>• This felt like a nice change of pace from the
>formula of the last few Digital Shorts, had a lot of
>good plot twists, and made fun use of Pee Wee as well
>as Anderson Cooper.
>Sketch - Bar Mitzvah Special Guests
>• At first, I thought this was going to be that
>sketch cut from last week’s Jim Carrey episode where
>various crazy people give a speech at a party, but
>this turned out to be completely different.
>• I’m all for having celebrity impression-showcase
>sketches which are usually a favorite of mine, but
>this one was pretty disappointing. This literally just
>felt like a cheap excuse to drag out
>impression-after-impression without enough actual
>funny material for them to work with.
>• The premise of having singers change the lyrics of
>one of their popular songs to have a Hebrew theme
>reminded me of when Jimmy Fallon would do guitar songs
>on Update and change lyrics of current hit songs to
>reflect the subject/holiday he sang about. I remember
>also making that comparison earlier this season when
>Jay Pharoah did that Thanksgiving songs bit on Update.
>• Speaking of Jay Pharoah, I really enjoyed seeing
>his Jay-Z again and it was one of the highlights of
>this sketch. And I had to laugh at the ridiculousness
>of Nasim playing Alicia Keys, although it’s just
>further proof of how much SNL desperately needs a
>black female castmember.
>• Cee Lo’s number at the end was an okay way to
>end the sketch.
>[2017 UPDATE: This was the debut of Vanessa
>Bayer's Jacob character, who's Bar Mitzvah was the
>subject of this sketch. A lot of people probably
>forget Jacob started out in a sketch before becoming
>an Update-only character, similar to Stefon. It would
>be interesting listing ALL the Weekend Update
>recurring characters who originally appeared in a
>one-off sketch. The only examples I can think of
>right now besides the aforementioned Jacob and Stefon
>are Roseanne Roseannadanna and Dana Carvey's Grumpy
>Old Man. Any others? Also, how about the other end
>of the spectrum - characters who made their first
>appearance on Update before becoming sketch-only
>characters? Can't think of many examples at the
>moment, but one that comes to mind is Horatio Sanz and
>Jerry Minor's old-school rap duo - they debuted in an
>Update commentary in Jerry Minor's very first episode,
>then made all their subsequent appearances in those
>"Rap Street" talk show sketches.]
>Sketch - Record Meeting
>• I was confused when this started. Shouldn’t the
>first musical performance be on at this point of the
>episode? I can’t remember the last time a sketch
>followed the third commercial break in the show.
>• Is Cee Lo co-hosting tonight’s episode, because
>he’s appearing more than most of the cast and almost
>as much as Gwyneth. I’m not complaining, though,
>since this sure beats Justin Bieber hogging all the
>airtime when Tina Fey hosted.
>• I wasn’t crazy about the premise of using fake
>swear words, which got old pretty fast. Someone in the
>Live Discussion thread said this premise felt very
>80-81, and that may actually be a good point.
>• Gwyneth seemed to have trouble delivering her
>angry “forgetting” rant to Paul Brittain, but at
>least Gwyneth didn’t pull a “Jenny Slate” and
>say the actual swear word by accident.
>• One part I did get a good laugh from was the
>“You’re my Nintendo” bit with Cee Lo and Jason.
>• Very interesting transition/segue to Cee Lo’s
>on-stage musical performance. SNL rarely breaks from
>the standard format like that these days. So this
>explains why a sketch followed the third commercial
>break instead of the usual musical performance. The
>last time I can remember SNL breaking format this much
>for a musical guest intro is in the 2005 Steve Carell
>episode with the backstage Kanye West/Mike Myers bit
>that segued into Kanye’s musical performance.
>Weekend Update - Seth Meyers, featuring Jimmy
>McMillan, Vanessa Bayer, Christina Aguilera, Cher &
>Chaz Bono, Garth & Kat & Kim
>• Best jokes: Pet skunk, new dessert
>• Seth’s gun rant was surprisingly pretty decent.
>I know a lot of people liked his “Come On,
>Dictionary” rant from a few months ago, but I
>personally felt that was just a bland unfunny
>“Really” knock-off. Tonight’s gun rant, however,
>was pretty inspired and Seth actually gave a decent
>performance. This wasn’t anything amazing or too
>outstanding overall, but it was fairly strong for
>Seth’s current standards.
>• Kenan as “The Rent is Too Damn High” guy
>again? Didn’t that guy’s 15 minutes already end by
>now? Nobody even talks about him anymore. This
>commentary wasn’t really necessary at all, although
>I did get a chuckle from one or two of Kenan’s crazy
>• Did I just hear Seth say “Vanessa BUYER”
>instead of “Vanessa Bayer” when he introduced her
>remote segment? Anyone else catch that slip-up? And
>what was with Seth’s odd “Thanks you” at the end
>of that commentary? Not to mention he also stumbled
>through the Facebook joke earlier. Was Seth literally
>tongue-tied during this Update or what? He needs to
>slow down when he talks.
>• Nasim as Christina Aguilera? Huh? What happened to
>Abby? Last season in the Bunny Business sketch, Abby
>did a far-superior Christina impression so why would
>they yank the role away from her and give it to Nasim,
>who’s Christina impression isn’t even good and
>left a lot to be desired? Poor Abby gets the shaft
>once again. Seriously, what’s going on between her
>and the writers?
>• At least Bill as Cher provided a few laughs during
>the mostly-pointless Bayer/Aguilera/Cher/Chaz Bono
>• Garth and Kat - no, just... no.
>Sketch - Globe Theater / False History
>• A pretty funny and creative premise, and the
>sketch was executed well, especially the movie trailer
>• Some funny little jokes throughout the sketch were
>Jason silencing the squawking falcon, and Kenan as the
>painter “recording” the play onto his canvas.
>• Jay’s “Oh, hell nay!” made me laugh a lot
>more than it probably should have. It was mostly his
>delivery that made the line work.
>• The ending was very disappointing and a complete
>cop-out. When will the writers finally realize that
>epilogue/story-scroll endings almost NEVER work?
>Although I have to say, the look on Andy’s face
>during that freeze-frame was priceless.
>Sketch - Fresh Prince Lost Episodes
>• As someone who’s a huge fan of Fresh Prince of
>Bel-Air, I enjoyed this sketch probably more than
>other people did. As soon as this sketch started when
>I realized it would be a Fresh Prince parody, I
>immediately smiled in eager anticipation not only
>because I’m a regular Fresh Prince viewer but
>because Jay Pharoah’s Will Smith impression always
>cracks me up and I was happy that Jay was going to
>star in his own sketch.
>• At first, I thought this was going to make fun of
>actual scenes from “Very Special Episodes” of
>Fresh Prince, although I think the only time that show
>ever had a Very Special Episode was the one where
>Carlton unknowingly takes speed pills.
>• The “Cha-ching!” and Scooby Doo “Aroo?”
>parts were dead-on, because Will Smith really did
>often say things like that into the camera right
>before the show would go to commercial. And I got a
>huge laugh from the *pow* “Welcome to Earth!”
>Independence Day reference.
>• My only nitpick of this sketch is that Kenan was
>badly miscast as Carlton. His half-assed imitation of
>Carlton’s voice was terrible, and he was too tall to
>play him. They could’ve at least had him stand on
>his knees, or had Jay wear the same tall shoes he wore
>as Kevin Garnett in the following sketch, to make
>Kenan look short by comparison. If they had to have
>Kenan play a Fresh Prince character, he would’ve
>been better off playing Uncle Phil. Oh well, these are
>the perils of SNL having only two black castmembers.
>Sketch - Sportscenter Deportes
>• A very “meh” sketch; nothing special at all
>and not exactly the most original premise either. It
>feels like SNL already used this same joke in several
>• Most of my amusement came from the end of the beer
>ad with Bobby’s cheesy Spanish kid character. See,
>everyone - Bobby Moynihan CAN be funny when used in
>the right way.
>• Wow, there’s Jay again. Looks like this was the
>week that Lorne finally remembered this guy’s in the
>cast. This has to be the most appearances Jay has made
>in a single episode so far.
>[2017 UPDATE: That "See, everyone - Bobby
>Moynihan CAN be funny when used in the right way"
>comment I made was referring to the fact that some
>people on the SNL boards had actually turned against
>Bobby at the time. It's easy to forget about that
>nowadays considering how well-liked Bobby is around
>here, but at this point in 10-11, he had been having a
>disappointing season so far (I seem to remember some
>people on this board dubbing him "the white Kenan
>Thompson" in regards to his alleged tendency back then
>to mug the camera with bug-eyed facial expressions all
>the time & the fact that his celebrity impressions
>were usually always terrible, which were two things
>Kenan used to be infamous for during his "bad" years
>before maturing as a performer in more recent
>seasons), and his only big roles around this point of
>the season seemed to come in his Secondhand News Guy
>and Snooki appearances on Update (which were both
>overused TO DEATH around this time). Thankfully, this
>whole slump of Bobby's ended up being short-lived and
>he would soon get back in everybody's good
>Sketch - Parker/Spitzer Auditions
>• Another impression-showcase sketch tonight? I’m
>not complaining, though, and this came off a little
>better than the earlier Bar Mitzvah sketch.
>• Bill’s Spitzer impression is always funny and I
>love that creepy/sleazy laugh he does. Between this
>and his Julian Assange, Bill Hader is becoming this
>current cast’s King of Creepy Laughs.
>• As tired as I am of Fred’s long-expired David
>Paterson impression, I didn’t mind his appearance at
>the end of this sketch. He and Spitzer are always
>quite an amusing team (remember the Update commentary
>they did together?) and the high-five bit at the end
>• It felt like there were supposed to be more
>celebrities brought on to audition. I wonder if they
>had to shorten this sketch at the last minute due to
>the show running a bit long.
>• Digital Short
>• Fox News
>• Globe Theater
>• Fresh Prince Lost Episodes
>• the creative segue from the end of the Record
>Meeting sketch to Cee Lo’s musical performance
>• Garth and Kat on Weekend Update
>• Secret Word
>• Sportscenter Deportes
>• the ending of Globe Theater
>Best Performer of the Night:
>• Bill Hader
>CASTMEMBER / HOST COUNT DOWN
>ARMISEN: 7 sketches (The Cape, Digital Short, Bar
>Mitzvah, Update, Globe Theater, Sportscenter, Spitzer
>ELLIOTT: 2 sketches (Fox News, Bar Mitzvah)
>HADER: 6 sketches (Fox News, The Cape, Secret Word,
>Update, Globe Theater, Spitzer Auditions)
>MEYERS: 1 sketch (Update)
>MOYNIHAN: 5 sketches (Fox News, The Cape, Update,
>Globe Theater, Sportscenter)
>SAMBERG: 4 sketches (The Cape, Digital Short, Record
>Meeting, Globe Theater)
>SUDEIKIS: 5 sketches (Fox News, Monologue, The Cape,
>Record Meeting, Globe Theater)
>THOMPSON: 6 sketches (The Cape, Secret Word, Digital
>Short, Update, Globe Theater, Fresh Prince)
>WIIG: 7 sketches (Fox News, Monologue, The Cape,
>Secret Word, Digital Short, Update, Globe Theater)
>BAYER: 3 sketches (Bar Mitzvah, Update, Globe Theater)
>BRITTAIN: 2 sketches (Record Meeting, Sportscenter)
>KILLAM: 4 sketches (Secret Word, Globe Theater,
>Sportscenter, Spitzer Auditions)
>PEDRAD: 6 sketches (Fox News, The Cape, Bar Mitzvah,
>Update, Sportscenter, Spitzer Auditions)
>PHAROAH: 4 sketches (Bar Mitzvah, Globe Theater, Fresh
>GWYNETH PALTROW: 9 sketches (Monologue, Secret Word,
>Bar Mitzvah, Record Meeting, Update, Globe Theater,
>Fresh Prince, Sportscenter, Spitzer Auditions)