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Date Posted: 03:47:18 10/01/17 Sun
Author: Casey Killingsworth
Subject: Casey Killingsworth's Show Reviews - 9/30/2017 - Ryan Gosling/Jay-Z
In reply to: The Doc 's message, "Live Discussion: Ryan Gosling/Jay-Z" on 23:14:38 09/30/17 Sat

Okay, here's my review. This was, any way you look at it, one of the weakest season premieres in recent memory. Ryan Gosling and the cast seemed to be on autopilot the whole show. He performed here like I was expecting him to perform before his 2015 episode aired. He still gelled well with the cast, they just weren't as compelling to watch with him as last time. The premiere is usually expected to be one of the bottom five shows of any given season, but this one gave me the least hope for the remainder of any season in recent memory. I'm starting to think some people were on to something when they said all the Emmy wins would make them too complacent. It must be either that or losing Kelly and Schneider as head writers (man, what a blow to the show right now) must be what plagued this episode the most. The cold open still felt like they cpuld've written it, though so I have to wonder who's the new head wroter or st least who they lean on for writing political material now. Kate and Alex were the only real stand out performers tonight. I have to feel real bad for Luke Null for not getting to make any appearances whatsoever in what was supposed to be his first episode. I do have to hand it to Chris Redd and Heidi Gardner for getting on tonight. Sure, Heidi just played a few straight woman/background roles but Chris actually made his presence well known and actually showed us his talents as a COMEDIC performed known in the screen time he got. I already feel Chris is going to go the furthest on the show out of this group of newbies with Heidi coming in a slightly distant second to him Anyway, let's break it down a bit further, shall we?

Trump, Sessions, Huckabee and Schumer - This oval office sketch was a decent way to open the season. Good to see Baldwin being put in different Trump outfits. He looks comparatively svelte in Trump's golf gear. Nice to see Aidys' Huckabee and Kates' Sessions make an appearance. I did like the NFL jabs more than anything else. Nice to see they are already making better use of Melissa in this cold open than they did in the entirety of last season. As soon as Chuck Schumer was name checked, I had a strong feeling Alex would be plating him (probably because he played Al Franken last season). Thankfully, he had a short part because there didn't seem to be much to his impression. Nice to see they could also work in some last minute topical references to news stories that essentially broke this morning. B-

Montage - I'm a bit disappointed to see that they are essentially keeping the same opening credits sequence from the past four seasons. Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't 1990-94 the last time they let this happen? I will say that this seasons' intro does feel shorter since it's less front heavy without Bobby, Vanessa or Sasheer. It worries me a little that we now have six featured players for the first time since 2013-14, but at least three of this years' featured players are lucky enough to already be well established performers who have already made an impression and built something of a rapport. So hopefully, this won't resemble another "rebuilding" year for SNL.

Monologue - It's a good thing that cold open didn't build up any serious momentum because this monologue would've killed it. Seriously, this also felt like it was being written just this morning and had serious shades of 2004-05/2009-11 Era inanity to it. Not even Kenan or Emma Stone could do that much to save it. I was pretty disappointed considering Gosling was a return host I was expecting more from based on his December 2015 outing. I'm surprised he bothered to even crack up here. D-

Another Close Encounter - I was hoping they wouldn't rewrite this skecth, but I have to give them at least partial credit for continuity here. Aidy and Mikey mentioned they were the only people to have witnessed two alien abductions, but shouldn't this have been the third for Kate and Cecily's characters? I'd say fourth since they previously did this with Brie Larson and Casey Affleck but I'm pretty sure Afflecks' was about the second coming of Jesus since it was last year's Christmas episode. Other than that, nothing stood out about this installment other than Kates' line about crash landing into a 12 year olds birthday party. If nothing else, this sketch just shows how dependable Kate still is after nearly seven years on the show. If there waa going to be any recognition applause, I'm at leaat glad they got it out of the way early. Also, it seems like not only were Aid and Ryan the only ones cracking up here but they were barely trying to hide it at all. C+

Woke Jeans - This fake ad was pretty inconsistent. At first it seemed like a big pile of wasted potential but it really started to pick up around the time the colors and the zippers and lack of pockets were mentioned. Kudos to Heidi and Chris for quietly making their (filmed) debut on the show but Mikey and Kenan were clearly the stand out performers here. C+

The Fliplets - This was something I was hoping would go somewhere a bit faster than it did. It wasn't the best take I've seen on the recent "over abundance of White People Flipping Houses shows" trend I've seen but at I at least appreciate what they were trying to build this too. I did like Ryans' soliloquy at the end about witnessing a car accident and doing nothing. Does anyone else think he and Alex Moffat look nearly identical when the latter is given the right hair and makeup? Speaking of which, is there any specific reason why Gosling was allowed to not shave before tonights' show? Otherwise, this sketch reminded me too much of that sketch from Fallons' last show in '04 where Armisen played the third Olsen twin mixed with Deniro and Sambergs' father and son produce show from 2010 and that Swedish siblings album commercial with Eva Longoria from '05. C+

Update was pretty unmemorable and inconsistent tonight. Josts' opening joke had already been made dozens (if not hundreds of different ways) on Twitter but his Katrina/ESPN/Pitbull jabs were on point. Ches' NBA/flag and Trump/Puerto Rico response jokes were great but did he seem a little sick to anyone else? His voice sounded pretty rough and his eyes looked like they were watering pretty bad. Does it seem odd to anyone else that they would have Jose make a lame joke about Hef dying and then give him the standard deceased host tribute card? Besides that, "White Fudge Ding Dongs" was all that stood out. Anyway, I liked seeing Kates' Merkel but nothing stood out at all. I do like Alex, but his boat guy wore out his welcome too fast. I do appreciate adding Ryan as his Soho buddy but it literally just felt like too much of the same. I did like the "is it in yet/tu dongo es trasho" lines. C-

Henrietta And The Fugitive - This sketch was something I didn't know what to make of. It established a bit of an outlandish premise very early on (without much in the way of explanation or exposition) and didn't build to anything or go anywhere with it. It just kind of meandered for a while. Next to the monologue, it felt like the second longest segment of the night. Sadly, Kenans' walk on and the screw up with Aidys' costume (maybe she's never even seen Kids In The Hall and this is just a big coincidence) seemed to be the only laughs on the whole sketch. D-

Fake Italian Restaurant - This sketch was the funniest live piece of the night. I can definitely see this getting compared negatively to the Farley/Schillers' Reel/Swedish Coffee ad bit but this managed to work almost as well live because everyone really sold what they were given. I'm glad Ryan could just as easily channel some of his old energy from the Santa Baby film from his last show. I did like how Cecily refused to believe a fake restaurant was fake after being explicitly told so. Mikey and Beck made the most of their small parts and kudos to Redd and Heidi on their debut appearances and Chris actually getting some funny lines here. B-

Papyrus - This Avatar related film was the funniest thing in the whole show hands down. I think what actually made this work was something so trivial and banal being the subject of such heightened drama and psychological intrigue. Again, Kudos to Chris on getting in two genuinely funny performances in a row in his first show (as late as they were). B+

Dive Bar - This sketch was a bad note to end the show on. I will say that Kenan and Kyle were the strongest performers in it (even if it plays to Kenans' worse tendencies as a performer and Anderson and Sublette playing to their own worst tendencies as writers). I could've sworn that this was another by-the-numbers rewrite of a sketch they previously did a few years ago and it took someone on this board pointing out that it was Martin Freemans' show for me to remember what/when this was. At least this one was done in a way that it coukd at least hold up a bit better on second (and posdibly third) viewings. C-

Well, that was a bit of a letdown. Next week, Gal Gadot is going to host. I'm not sure how that will go. Obviously, most people know her from "Wonder Woman" this summer and may not know what else (if anything) she has starred or acted in. At this point, we know she can do well as an action star but I'm having a hard time not picturing her as anything but an awkward comedic performer. I just hope the writers will have shaken off all of their cobwebs completely at least by the 14th when Kumail Nanjiani hosts because I fell only then can we actually get a sense of how this season is going to go. I hope this doesn't turn out to be another 04/05 or 09/10 type of season and it looks like we only have about two more weeks tops to hold out on that hope. Things may look pretty dire for SNL right now, but this season still has some wiggle room and a substantial amount of time to prove itself. See you then!

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  • Holy shit, we may be in for a long season, guys -- -, 08:08:34 10/01/17 Sun
  • I DEFINITELY got a 09-10 vibe from last night's show -- See inside, 08:25:32 10/01/17 Sun
  • Ah, when I said the Sklars appeared in the commercial maybe thats what I was thinking (NT) -- that they did a bit about those commercials, 11:34:04 10/01/17 Sun
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