December 7, 2013 - Paul Rudd/One Direction (39. 8)

December 7, 2013 - Paul Rudd/One Direction (39. 8)

Postby Casey Killingsworth on Sun Dec 08, 2013 10:52 am

Okay, here’s my review. While this episode really fell apart toward most of the second half, it still had some very enjoyable moments that kept it from being an early contender for the absolute worst of the season so far. Although it was probably his weakest episode, Paul Rudd got to actually shine in sketches for once and prove himself as a host without being totally upstaged. Ironically, the people we all expected to upstage him weren’t nearly on screen long enough to do so (or if you’re like me you’re actively trying to block half of them from your memories as we speak). They all seemed content to stand back and let Rudd do his damndest to save the show from itself. Still, as I watched this episode I couldn’t help being a little worried about the direction (no pun intended) it took. It seems like they tried to use the obligatory fuck load of cameos to hide the some weak writing or bring some unwelcome recurring sketches out of mothballs in a failed attempt to cover for their “creative bankruptcy” (as jojo so eloquently put it). Hell, this episode seemed to have some serious timing issues and gaps to fill and they couldn’t even distract us from how light it felt on material. The most generous assessment I can make of this episode was that they came out as strong as they possibly could’ve given what they had (which was clearly more focused on pleasing the crowd than anything else) and completely disintegrated by the second half even thought it was starting to rapidly fall apart before that. Let’s just get on with it since I’m really starting to ramble.

Sound of Music - Seeing Wiig again (and as “Doonise” no less) really disappoints me, but I guess we should've expected something like this as Wiig does also apparently have a substantial role in Anchorman 2. Seeing Armisen again also disappointed me, but not nearly as much. His cameo felt a little too tacked on for my liking. Admittedly, it was kinda clever the way they worked her into The Sound Of Music, but if they were going to tackle THAT whole mess they should've at least tried to get in some good Carrie Underwood jabs or something. Still, I also have to give Kate, Bobby and Taran for having good lines here and there. C-

Monologue - This felt a little predictable considering they've done this sort of thing before (i.e. Ben Stiller 1998, Paul Rudd 2010), but it's got a lot better as it went along. Seeing Koechner, Ferell and Carell all together again was particularly exciting. It was particularly cool of them to acknowledge how they "overshadowed" Rudd and after seeing the lads from One Direction tackle "Afternoon Delight" with the Anchorman cast, I do admit I have just a little bit more respect for them. I mean, I'd rather not have to see them in sketches but I kind of understand why they would've had to and this was probably the best way they could've done so. B+

Politics Nation IV - This is a particularly horrible way to open the show. It was the same old shtick from Kenan we've seen before. I did like the shot of the tracksuit and the knockout game joke. Thankfully, it was shorter than expected. D+

Dan Charles: One Direction’s #1 Fan - This Matt and Oz short film was interesting. Paul’s interaction with little girls was actually pretty funny and I liked his "basic facts" line as well as the crowd chanting bit. His wife's pregnancy phone call was also a nice touch. The guys also played straight man to him well enough. This was another decent way to do the "obligatory" One Direction sketch while still giving Rudd some real face time. It does kind of remind me of a sketch that I heard got cut from the Louis CK episode last year. I liked it well enough. B-

Diner Divorce - I didn't quite know what to make of this, but the song made it seem kinda repetitive. Paul and Vanessa really gave it their all here. The ending was decent and I did like the Duncan Danish and Pooh Bear lines. C-

Story Of My Life - After watching One Direction actually perform, I have just two things to say. One, their first number sounds like it may actually be their least terrible song by default. Also, how are they allowed to have THREE band members with facial hair? I actually see how one of them might need it, but they can't really have three designated "bad boys" but I guess they have completely different standards in England.

Update seemed to step up its game just a little bit. Cecily actually did okay tonight and seems to be finding her own voice a little more. I did like the Walmart towels/panda/romance novel string of jokes. As soon as Seth uttered the phrase "Hannukah", I knew Vanessas' Bar Mitzvah boy was going to make an appearance. That was pretty much the same thing again, but I did like the bit about the older brother. It might be a little too soon to bring back Taran's 1860s critic but it was pretty awesome of them to acknowledge that and it still made me laugh my ass off (especially the Family Guy/Snoopy reference and the Natl. Lampoon/linear time joke). This could’ve been one of the better Updates this season if not for a couple of minor things weighing it down. C+

Michelangelo’s David - This sketch was way too predictable, but still had its moments. Still, I am quite surprised that even at 12:30 AM Est on network TV they could show a close up of a sculpted anatomically correct penis on network TV. Jay and Bobby had some great lines and I liked Nassim as Mona Lisa. C-

White Christmas - This was kind of shaky premise, but it was somewhat original and executed well enough. Did anyone else think that was Samberg and not Rudd at first doing Madea? Still, they did a fine job of dissecting a film genre and providing an oppositional reading. I did like the Vibe/Essence reviews at the end. C+

Slimmed Down Santa - I have to say Milheiser, Moony and Wells are perfectly cast as elves in this sketch and they did everything they could’ve to save it. That's really my only commentary on it because it was by far the weakest premise of the night and went pretty much nowhere. D-

Past Lovers - This also meandering, but Rudd and especially Moynihan are great in it even if Cecily hasn’t quite shown the range necessary to play a lead in any sketch yet. C+

Through The Dark – This second 1D performance was expectedly pretty lame. Now, this is a song of theirs that I can’t say I’ve heard before anywhere (I only know the title because Is aw it on SNL's Hulu page) but I honestly wish they had actually performed "Best Song Ever" just so I could make the obligatory joke "Best Song Ever?!? More like Least Accurate Title for a Song Ever! Ha!" Hey, remember what I said earlier about the show being light on material? Yeah, you know that’s GOTTA be true if I find myself being compelled to comment on the musical performances (which I do rarely if ever) for no good reason other than to entertain MYSELF.

Tales Of Bill Brasky VII – This was obviously the highlight of THIS episode. Taran, Paul and even Kenan were great additions. Sure, it may not be able to hold a candle to the classic McKinney era sketches of 1996-97 (or even the one with just Goodman and Baldwin from 1998) but it was still very funny and it was nice even just to see Ferrell and Koechner again. There were probably too many good lines to list separately here but I did like a lot of the ones from Kilam and Koechner as well as Kenan's "true meaning of Kwanza" line and Cecily's reveal that they were at a Chuck E. Cheese. Still, it might have been better if they had just waited until next week and let Goodman take Rudd's place. A-

Well, that was that. It sure felt nice to judge Paul Rudd on his merits as a host and comedic performer rather than how well he carried the cameos scattered through his episode. For once, they carried him. Next week, John Goodman (a man who hasn’t appeared on this show in 10 years) hosts for his thirteenth time. He is another host who will do well with the material they give him no matter what but let’s still hope the writing doesn’t drag him down.

Now, it’s time once again to update my rankings for this season.

1. Kerry Washington/Eminem
2. Miley Cyrus
3. Lady Gaga
4. Bruce Willis/Katy Perry
5. Tina Fey/Arcade Fire
6. Paul Rudd/One Direction
7. Josh Hutcherson/Haim
8. Edward Norton/Janelle Monae

See you soon!
So, in case you haven't heard...I'm an admin here now. I also have a website of my own that I totally built.
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Re: December 7, 2013 - Paul Rudd/One Direction (39. 8)

Postby refrozncavemanlawyer on Sun Dec 08, 2013 7:35 pm

And also my video review: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiSrwcUOjks

The Sound of Music - Live and Condensed
Okay, SNL, you got me. I was not expecting Dooneese to show up, nor indeed would I have been expecting to like her to show up if I thought she might. B+

Paul Rudd's Monologue
Interesting to see Paul acknowledge how much he was overshadowed by the previous MG's. I guess it really was that obvious. Oh, and most importantly, David Koechner has finally returned to the SNL stage! He's one of the best - if not the best - one-season cast members of all time. "Why don't you beat it, Menudo" was fairly well-trod territory, but Will Ferrell delivered it with such conviction. B

Politics Nation
If you're completely annoyed by this sketch, I'm not going to argue with you. I don't think Al Sharpton's really that confused, and Kenan's impression is basically just a ragged version of his Steve Harvey. But it makes me laugh fairly consistently. "200,000 short of a buttload" and the Knockout, knock-knock, "disastrophe" progression were highlights. B

Dan Charles - One Direction's #1 Fan
The joke of the middle-aged man who inexplicably loves boy bands is as old as boy bands themselves, so this was nothing new, but Paul Rudd imbued Dan Charles with such humanity that it felt like something new. B

Divorce Meeting
This was a two-joke sketch (puns based on topics that come up during a divorce and the divorcing couple's song inexplicably playing over and over), but those two jokes went together - or didn't go together - in a delightfully dissonant way and they were just so strange to appear in a real-life situation that this sketch worked in a way that defies standard comprehension. B

One Direction perform "Story of My Life"
They definitely harmonized well together, I'll give them that. B-

Weekend Update
-The Jokes: Cecily did show some signs of developing her own style, but she's still laughing at too many of her own jokes. This Week's Story That Was Funnier Than the Punchline: towels being the big seller on Black Friday. B-
-The Segments: -Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy: Jacob keeps coming back, and he does the same thing each time, and it keeps getting better and better. But it ain't no XBox 360! B+
-Jebediah Atkinson: Jebediah got in a few cool digs, but it wasn't as balls-out as his first appearance, though that was a tough act to follow. B

Michelangelo Unveils David
Yeah, I guess this was an obvious joke, but I've never seen an entire sketch built around it. Actually hearing "it doesn't even reach past the balls" verbalized went a long way. B-

White Christmas
You can call attention to race without being racist, and this sketch really wasn't racist, but it also wasn't very funny. Most of the gags were obvious and pedestrian. Paul Rudd playing multiple characters was kind of amusing, I guess. And Bobby was having a great time in the gospel choir. B-

Slim Santa
Having just seen the Glengarry Glen Christmas sketch again on the Christmas special a few days ago, I was wondering if this was going to be a sequel to that, based on the opening shot. Then I wondered if, with Will Ferrell there, Ed Asner was going to show up as Santa. (Good thing he didn't, honestly, because Elf is not a Christmas movie that should be toyed with.) Instead, we got this, which was disturbing, and not in a way I think they were going for. C

Boyfriend Ghosts
"Naked booby aloit" was certainly worth a chuckle. B-

One Direction perform "Through the Dark"
They just did not sound good. They're certainly not my cup of tea, but I hold no ill will against 1D. But ... this just did not sound good. C-

Tales of Bill Brasky
I was so excited when this sketch started, and I started spreading the word via text, FaceBook, and Twitter, so I didn't quite catch every line. Basically I was too amped to really know how well this was working. In all honesty, I've got to say that Bill Brasky sketches often aren't as funny as just reciting facts about Brasky. I'm usually not one to say that the audience response matters as far as whether or not SNL is succeeding, but the rhythm of Brasky sketches really requires good punctuation by laughter. And historically the audience has not known what to make of these Tales. It certainly didn't help that this episode's crowd was filled with One Directioners this episode. But seriously, how has it taken this long since Will Ferrell left the show to resurrect this sketch for one of his guest appearances? Also, what is it about 90's basketball players that makes references to them automatically hilarious? B+

Overall
Even though they trotted them out for the monologue, Paul wasn't overshadowed by the MG this time. But then there was a whole bunch of guest stars. But they weren't overused, so he wasn't overshadowed by them either. If he was going to be overshadowed, it would have been because of his own tendency to settle in with the cast without making a spectacle of himself. But he did get a few showcase moments of his own. And we already love him anyway.
This episode had more recurring sketches than normal for this season, partially due to all the guest stars. Nothing really felt tired, though. Nothing was really tremendous, either. Most of the episode went down pretty easily, but there was nothing here that I'd be clamoring to see over and over again. But I wouldn't complain if they just happened to pop up.
One significant issue with this episode was that the new cast members really got overshadowed after having really come into their own. Where was Kyle Mooney? Oh well, it was just one episode. There's no reason to worry it'll become a pattern.
Last edited by refrozncavemanlawyer on Tue Dec 10, 2013 7:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: December 7, 2013 - Paul Rudd/One Direction (39. 8)

Postby The Doc on Sun Dec 08, 2013 8:24 pm

Welcome Back.


Before we get to the review, something’s been bothering me a little bit since the season started. Mainly, my inability to tell which New Cast Member is which (and thank you Casey Killingsworth for constantly reminding me of my errors). So in an effort to educate myself—and others—as to which is which, I now present these Cliff Notes:


Beck Bennett = Tall & reasonably athletic looking (In a “Stan Smith” kind of way), Sizeable Jawline, Brown Eyes, Sandy Hair, AT&T Guy/Baby Man.


John Milheiser = Short, Normal Jawline, Brown Eyes, Dark but cropped hair, Played Jon Cryer


Kyle Mooney = Average Height, Normal Jawline, Brown Eyes, “Bedhead” hair, could be easily mistaken for Fred Armisen if/when he gets a haircut & more “hipster” looking glasses.


Mike O’Brien = Tall & Gawky, Blue Eyes, Bad Teeth, is now the go-to “Weird” guy in the cast.


Noel Wells = Woman…duh.


Brooks Wheelan = Skinny, Blue Eyed, Brown Hair (sometimes with blonde tips), Tattoos, Can Easily pass for Stefon’s Brother/Cousin.



Now that I got that out of the way, let’s get to what we came here for…Simply put, I like Paul Rudd.

A lot of us like him, he’s done a number of memorable things in his career, and who hasn’t enjoyed the “Mac & Me” joke he pulls on Conan every so often? All in all, he seems like a good guy and a good actor…so why is it that whenever he hosts SNL, it just so HAPPENS that something—shall we say—“bigger” comes along that would eclipse Paul’s potential to really put himself out there as a host? In 2008; despite his best efforts, he was all but eclipsed by Beyoncé, a surprise appearance by one Mr. Timberlake, and sketches that responded to the (then) vote on Proposition 8 in California (AKA the “Anti-Gay Marriage Bill” that has since been overturned—thankfully.). Then again, to be fair, it was Paul’s first time, so maybe he could be given a second chance to show off his skills on his own merits. Cut to 2010, Paul has his second chance…Unfortunately, there just happens to have been Another Paul in the picture. Yes, Paul Brittan was struggling as a featured player and being Bob Newhart’s Nephew, but despite everything………….Ahh, Just Kidding! You know I’m talking about Paul McCartney. Nothing personal against his performance on that show (Especially with his mini-tribute to John Lennon to close things out), but once again, Rudd had to blend in with the rest of the crowd while Macca did his thing.


Cut to 2013. Paul Rudd returns for a 3rd time, and despite a Tween-baiting boy band being on board this time around, it looks like that Paul might FINALLY get a chance to show SNL what he’s made of……….Which is something I would say with confidence if it weren’t for a certain movie he’s gonna be co-starring in this Christmas alongside one of the biggest SNL Alums EVER (Among certain OTHER, More Important News items this week). But as always, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s see how long we can go in the show without a touch of Scotchy Scotch Scotch…




SOUND OF MUSIC: I know what you’re thinking…you’re thinking that the entire S-N-L.com message board collectively thought “No…NO…NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!” at the sight of Kristen Wiig’s “Dooneese” showing up. To which I say, get over it! I’ve always believed a couple of things; One is that absence makes the heart grow fonder (It Has been a little over a year), and two is that as long as the scenario is different, give it a chance. Having said that, despite mixing things up a little (I.e Wiig Grabbing Everybody, not just the man), and despite the Dooneese character actually working somewhat well here (Especially while singing “Climb Every Mountain”), it was pretty much the same schtick Minus Lawrence Welk… (*WATCHES THE END*) God Damn It! Oh well, at least Fred was thankfully brief here. And despite how unnecessary their cameos were, I have a feeling that this is going to set the pace for the evening.


SCORE: 7 out of 10 Cue Cards Carrie Underwood needed to act (Seriously, Carrie Underwood as Maria?!)




MONOLOGUE: Well, THAT didn’t take long, did it? Although I gotta say, I’m Glad Ferrell & Co. did it out of character. Not that it would’ve been a bad thing if it was in character, but there’s only so much commitment to a bit that should be done before it runs itself into the ground…even if it’s part of a major publicity blitz for the movie. Be that as it may, the one factor that is going to divide the crowd is One Direction’s participation in it. On the one hand, I F***ing hate boy bands and/or tween media—and I’m thankfully NOT the only one who does. But to be fair, the boys’ harmonies mix pretty well with the rest of the Channel 4 News Team (Speaking of which, it’s been TOO Long since you last appeared at Studio 8H, David Koechner...Welcome home, if only for a little while). As far as actual comedy goes, it takes a backseat to the fact that the friggin cast of “Anchorman” is on stage together (Yeah, I know, SNL found a way to lose Paul Rudd in the shuffle for the 3rd time [which I’m glad Paul himself has acknowledged]…But who cares? It’s the Friggin cast of “Anchorman”!).


SCORE: 7 out of 10 of the times it works every time (Had to minus 2 points for use of “One Direction” and 1 point for not quite hitting the harmonies 100% of the time).





POLITICS NATION: Ok Internet, NOW you can say “No…NO…NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!” The one good thing I can say about this was that it was shorter than the previous instalments. Otherwise, what can be said about the Sharpton sketches that haven’t already been said before? Kenan has limited vocal range, the one joke is that he mispronounces words Norm Crosby style, and the fact that Kenan is bigger than the Real Al Sharpton actually does a Disservice to the Real Al Sharpton (Which is VERY Rare to do). Paul did very little to contribute; and on another note, he kinda reminded me of House Minority leader Eric Cantor with the Gray suit & Glasses. I guess this could be rationalized by saying that with the Cameo-fueled blitz we have, it’s OK to get away with ONE bad sketch…as long as there isn’t another bad one coming…….Right?


SCORE: 2 out of 10 Prison shows MSNBC airs on the Weekends after “Melissa Harris-Perry”





ONE DIRECTION’S #1 FAN: Why do I have a feeling that this is something Andy Samberg would do if he were still on the show? (Paul kinda looked like him a little, didn’t he?) Regardless, this was handled pretty well with very minimal “Stranger Danger” subtext (Despite a Very uncomfortable laugh at the “When I Say One D- You say Rection!” joke). This is gonna sound weird, but I honestly don’t see Paul Rudd with a bunch of girls when I watch this. Rather, I see Paul Pretending he’s a Girl but he happens to be in an adult body. How else can you explain the girls he’s speaking to NOT recoiling in horror when a stranger is approaching them? I guess it’s in the eye of the beholder as to how you’d interpret the sketch; as for whether it was actually funny or not, I’m just going to say it was Awkward…of course, One Direction being showcased instantly loses points with me, but at least Paul’s professionalism made up for it…barely.


SCORE: 7 out of 10 Pairs of Earplugs I need to avoid screaming fangirls.






DINER DIVORCE: Well, when one uses a Fleetwood Mac song, I better remember as much as I can before the inevitable hulu cut (Late hours can totally mess up your memory sometimes). From what I recall, this was just OK. The song choice they went with was a little overbearing after a while, but it did help lay some of the jokes down a little. Vanessa’s part was OK, but I’m especially glad Paul is FINALLY given a chance to perform properly without any extra gimmicks and/or Al Sharpton (Sorry, I’m still hung up on that, How is it funny again?).


SCORE: 7 out of 10 Blue Plate Specials.






UPDATE:

Seth’s best: Walmart Black Friday Sale, Staten Island Obesity, and Christmas Tinner.

Cecily’s best: Student Test Scores, Bad Sex Story Award.

Commentaries: I grow very weary of the Bar mitzvah boy…and I’M Jewish…but it could be worse, it could be Garth & Kat… (*WATCHES THE REST CAUTIOUSLY KNOWING FRED & WIIG ARE IN THE BUILDING*)…Phew, That was a close one! Moving on, I saw the first Jebidiah Atkinson piece during the Lady Gaga show, and it was a pretty solid character—somehow it reminded me of “The Onion: Our Dumb Century” for some reason, but I digress. After seeing Round 2 (And despite mis-placed cards & Ad Libbing the rest), I think I may have found my NEW Favorite Update Character (Sorry, Drunk Uncle). I have a feeling that they can only get away with saying these things because of the kind of character being shown. If it were a modern day character, there would probably be a bigger backlash. But since it’s a 19th century man, somehow that makes it OK (ESPECIALLY With the Brian Griffin slam…Sidebar: He’ll be back, ever see “Star Trek III”?). Back to Jacob for a second, I think this might have been the first time they openly mention that Seth will be leaving us soon…Thanks for reminding us.


CECILYWATCH: Seriously, Stop giggling at your jokes. You’re going to be on your own soon, you gotta shape up!


SCORE: 7 out of 10 Melissa Harris-Perry’s (Yes, I used her Twice this week. What can I say, I like her show.)






MICHAELANGELO’S DAVID: Must……Resist…..Simpsons……Joke…..Must……Resist…..Simpsons……Joke…..Ah, Screw It!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfUJRdHSukA


I was going to use Family Guy’s joke, but…well…you know…Brian & everything….also the clip is not online. Anyway, Now that we got that out of the way, I’m honestly surprised it’s taken SNL 39 Years to do a joke like this (And no, “E. Buzz Miller” doesn’t count). For the most part, this was pretty lame--Though I do give Jay Credit for injecting a little life into it. Otherwise, who hasn’t made fun of David’s junk before in the past 500 years?



SCORE: 4 out of 10 weeks the statue is on loan at The Met.





WHITE CHRISTMAS (No, not THAT one): Here’s another Movie Trailer Parody that I’m sure people are going to be highly mixed towards (I.e. “She’s got a D***”). I think we’ve all seen Tyler Perry movies (and/or trailers) long enough to know how the formula works, so on that merit, they do capture the style pretty well. For those who haven’t, you’re not really missing that much other than a “Lather, Rinse, Repeat” formula. Paul still (scarily) reminds me of Andy Samberg in his White Madea get-up, Mike O’Brien continues to be Tall, Gawky & Awkward, and the rest of the trailer just hinges on the one joke of this being a White Tyler Perry movie. Nothing too special here.


SCORE: 6 out of 10 more “Madea” sequels until Tyler Perry buys his own Island.






SKINNY SANTA: Thanks to my Cliff notes, that’s Milheiser as the head elf, Mooney is another elf, and Wells is a very cute lady elf (duh!). Now that that’s out of the way, Paul did his best and Kate picked up some of the slack, but it was the elves that had the “best” lines. Unfortunately, one or two good lines doesn’t make up for how preachy it got toward the end. If you’re going to make Santa a Lean, Mean, Douchebag, keep him a douchebag, but don’t get preachy—it kinda contradicts the whole thing. I don’t see this being a part of any Christmas Clip show any time soon.


SCORE: 4 out of 10 Peppermint Protein Shakes.






PAST LOVERS: Careful, Cecily, you’re turning me on… (*SLAP*) Thanks, I deserve that. Paul continues to make his presence known, only this time he’s trading the Straight role for something that’s funny…ish Unfortunately he was the Only “Funny” part of the thing (and Bobby, too, but his part was all too brief). Everything else was played up kinda Pseudo-seriously. Premise was pretty straightforward otherwise, and it might’ve helped if Paul wasn’t the only one making the jokes.


SCORE: 5 out of 10 Free Sodas with a Purchase of a Medium Pie at Papa John’s





BILL BRASKY RETURNS: I’ll be honest, when the “Brasky” sketches first came out, I disregarded them as just another 12:50 sketch…Then again, I was only 11 when I first saw it, so my comprehension of “Adult” humor had not quite developed yet (Despite enjoying/understanding Norm MacDonald’s “Updates”). But eventually, thanks to hindsight, I grew to enjoy the Brasky sketches thanks—in part—to appreciating non-sequitur style comedy. This was no exception, but unfortunately it just didn’t feel quite the same. Maybe if they waited for John Goodman to show up next week, it would’ve been perfect. My favorite lines included:


*Testicle IQ
*Kissing Coma Patients
*Making Love to a Box of Kleenex
*Urine Stream/Uncooked steak
*The True Meaning of Kwanzaa
*The fact that this all takes place at a Chuck E. Cheese…that SOMEHOW has a Bar.


As to why there was very little reaction from the audience, you’re guess is as good as mine…………..


To Bill Brasky… (BILL BRASKY!!!)


SCORE: 8 out of 10 Tall Tales & Legends





FINAL SCORE: 64 out of 110 (58.1% WATCHABLE)



FINAL THOUGHTS: Despite early hope/fear for a Cameo filled Bonanza, this was surprisingly average (Ferrell & Co. Notwithstanding). On the plus side, Paul actually managed to step into the spotlight more than once this time. Maybe when he hosts his inevitable 4th time, I REALLY Hope he can do it 100% on his own merits, and not because an SNL alum (or anything else bigger for that matter) happens to be there. For the few times he scored, he did pretty well.


NEXT WEEK: Speaking of one of the biggest SNL Alums Ever (In terms of Host/Cast/Weight [sorry] or otherwise), John Goodman makes his triumphant return to 8H at about 75 lbs. lighter than when we saw him last. Should be interesting to see how he interacts with a cast he has Zero connection with.




AND FINALLY: No further words are necessary, other than these…


http://youtu.be/844oPFWG6Lg?t=26s


Good Night, Good Luck, and Godspeed Madiba…
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Re: December 7, 2013 - Paul Rudd/One Direction (39. 8)

Postby Stooge on Tue Dec 10, 2013 8:36 am

*** Stooge's Look-Back Sketch Review of the Week ***
Since this is my final year of doing SNL reviews after 14 long consecutive seasons, I'll be starting each of my reviews this season with a special "look back" on one of my all-time favorite sketches from the seasons that I've reviewed, by re-posting the original review I wrote for the selected sketch back when it originally aired.

Tonight's look back will be at a sketch from the Seann William Scott/Sum41 episode (October 6, 2001). Here's the original review I wrote for the sketch:

PATRIOTIC THONG

- Good lord! Will Ferrell just may be the funniest man alive. Not that that's anything new, but who else but him could make this sketch funny? This was simply hilarious!
- It looked like Ferrell was going to laugh at the beginning.
- Mario Lanza, if you're ever thinking about updating your "Will Ferrell's Greatest Moments" list, this one would be a good one to add.
- RATING: ***** A+


_________________________________________________________

RATINGS SYSTEM
***** = Excellent, a possible future classic
**** = Great
*** = Average
** = Meh
* = How'd this get past dress?

THE SOUND OF MUSIC LIVE & CONDENSED: Oh, don't even get me started on this. Why is it that every time Kristen Wiig comes back to the show, the show seems to be in a hurry to bring this particular character back? It's always THIS character. Even in Kristen's brief cameo as herself in Martin Short's monologue last season, they just HAD to make a reference to this character. Anyway, I could give them credit for putting Dooneese in a different setting tonight for once, but it's not like that automatically made the character funny all of a sudden. This installment was still just as annoying and unfunny as usual, and besides, they ended up reverting back to the old "Lawrence Welk Show" setting by the end anyway, for no good reason other than to drag in an even-more-unnecessary Fred Armisen cameo. *

MONOLOGUE: I was surprised that Paul actually mentioned and openly joked about how he was overshadowed in his first two episodes (though I have to say, it was more than just Beyonce who stole the spotlight from him in his first episode; remember Justin Timberlake made several cameos throughout that episode, Abby Elliott and Michaela Watkins made their debut, there was a distracting recurring theme of homoerotic and violent/bloody material, and there were other strange things going on that night that took attention away from Rudd). Anyway, as for this monologue, we got the expected cameos from the Anchorman guys, which was awesome (and how nice was it to see David Koechner on the SNL stage again?), but I'm not sure how I feel about SNL mixing that with an obligatory One Direction sketch appearance. Considering they had all of the Anchorman guys, SNL could've done something MUCH funnier here, but considering One Direction was involved, this was surprisingly not as bad as it could've been, as One Direction thankfully wasn't allowed to chew up the scenery too much. However, there was so much going on here that I actually forgot who's monologue this was toward the end, before Rudd stepped center stage to wrap things up; before then, I half-expected Ferrell to be the one to deliver the "We got a great show; stick around we'll be right back" tagline. **½

POLITICS NATION WITH AL SHARPTON: These sketches are always so boring to me, and tonight was no exception. There was nothing noteworthy in this installment at all, and Paul was wasted in a very dull role that anyone could have played. And they don't have to make the "Sharpton weight gain" joke every time they do this sketch now; it was funny last time they did it, whereas tonight, it just came off forced. Tonight's overall installment was thankfully short, but that just made the sketch feel even more pointless.

DAN CHARLES, ONE DIRECTION'S #1 FAN: This was a nice showcase for Paul, and his performance here alone was funnier than anything he did in his first two episodes. The concept of this short wasn't anything new or original, but Paul executed this just fine with his performance and with his funny one-liners throughout. Did anyone notice Jay Pharoah and Brooks Wheelan as two of the security guards in the background when One Direction showed up? What was the point of Jay and Brooks being there when they had no lines, no close-ups, and nothing to do? Then again, that describes most of the roles that Brooks Wheelan has gotten in general so far. ***

DIVORCE: Not really sure what to say about this. Kind of a strange sketch and the main joke got too repetitive for my likes. There were some funny twists at the end, though, and I got a good laugh from the "pooh bear/woods" bit. **

WEEKEND UPDATE: Best jokes - Black Friday Sale, Christmas Tinner. The Jacob commentary was mostly the same-old same-old overdone routine, but I did like the ending where this took an interesting different turn with Jacob breaking down crying, and it was a bit surprising that they mentioned Seth's upcoming departure on-air. I was very surprised to see Taran's Jebidiah Atkinson character back ALREADY, then even more surprised when they actually openly acknowledged that with the "three weeks ago"/"Run things into the ground much?" jokes. In fact, is it just me, or has SNL been making a lot of self-deprecating meta-jokes lately in general? Anyway, the Jebidiah Atkinson commentary hit a home run once again, although this one wasn't QUITE as strong as his first commentary and didn't have the hilarious ad-libbing the first one did. However, his commentary tonight still had plenty of great comments and this felt like the first time all night that I actually laughed out loud. This is a recurring character that I think I'm going to actually LIKE seeing whenever he appears (which is something that I almost never say about recurring characters nowadays), although they need to space his appearances out more - please don't have him appear every two episodes. **½

MICHELANGELO UNVEILS DAVID: A sophomoric premise, but I admit that this sketch gave me a decent amount of laughs. I especially liked Jay's various one-liners, and the bit with the second statue holding a magnifying glass. ***

WHITE CHRISTMAS: Didn't really care for this, although it was an accurate parody of these types of black holiday movies and Rudd did a surprisingly spot-on imitation of Madea's voice. But the premise of doing a white version of black holiday movies wasn't all that funny to me, and this whole thing died halfway through and ran out of steam. By the time they got to the gospel choir part, I was completely bored. I did get a good laugh towards the end, though, with one of the magazine reviews calling this "The Macklemore of movies". **

SANTA MEETING: As soon as they showed a glimpse of this sketch being set-up during the commercial break and I saw a whole bunch of unidentified cast members dressed as elves, I instantly knew we were finally going to see John Milhiser tonight, as he was born to play the role of an elf. And I knew Noel Wells would make a cute elf in this, too. Speaking of which, it was certainly nice seeing some of the new cast members here, considering tonight was yet ANOTHER episode this season where most of the newbies don't appear until the second half of the show. *sigh* Anyway, I'm spending more time talking about all that than the actual sketch because there isn't much to say about it. The "slimmed-down Santa" premise seemed like it could've been interesting, but the resulting sketch ended up being very boring. The sketch went nowhere and there were little-to-no laughs overall. Very forgettable sketch. I also kept getting distracted, trying to figure out who that was playing the elf on the left end of the screen in the back row and the elf on the right end of the screen in the back. It took me the whole sketch to try guessing which of the new cast members those two were, before giving up and concluding that those two must've just been extras or writers.

MEMORIES: Nothing much to say about this sketch either. The overall sketch wasn't all that bad, but felt like it also could've been a lot better. Paul's character was funny, and I like that they've been giving Paul lots of comedic lead roles tonight after being wasted in forgettable small parts his first two episodes. The semi-serious low-key approach to the non-Paul portions of this sketch were kinda interesting and everything, and the subtle joke at the end with Cecily catching Paul crawling away was okay, I guess, but I dunno; this sketch just kept feeling like it was missing something. **½

BILL BRASKY: Yes!!! The most highly-anticipated event on SNL in quite some time, at least for me. I loved the old Bill Brasky sketches, and had been wondering if we'd ever see it make a return. Tonight's installment did not disappoint, and it's great to see that Ferrell and Koechner haven't lost their touch with these characters and that Adam McKay hasn't lost his touch with writing these. Taran Killam was also a perfect addition as one of the drunk Brasky businessmen. When I heard earlier this week that they were doing a new Bill Brasky sketch, I figured if they included any of the current cast members as one of the Brasky guys, it would be Taran, as he's easily the most Ferrell-esque of today's cast. He fit in this sketch perfectly, and I always like seeing him on camera with Will Ferrell. Though despite all of my praise for Taran's performance, it would've been even cooler if his role was played by Steve Carell, because you KNOW Carell would've been a perfect fit in this and it would've been awesome to see all of the four Anchorman guys as the four drunk Brasky businessmen. Oh, well; what was got was still fantastic. ****

_________________________________________________________

Episode Highlights:
• Bill Brasky
• the Jebidiah Atkinson commentary on Weekend Update

Episode Lowlights:
• The Sound of Music
• Politics Nation with Al Sharpton
• Santa Meeting

Best Performer of the Night:
• Taran Killam

CAST MEMBER / HOST COUNT DOWN
BAYER: 3 sketches (Divorce, Weekend Update, White Christmas)
BRYANT: 2 sketches (White Christmas, Santa Meeting)
KILLAM: 6 sketches (Sound of Music, Weekend Update, Michelangelo, Santa Meeting, Memories, Bill Brasky)
MCKINNON: 2 sketches (Sound of Music, Santa Meeting)
MEYERS: 1 sketch (Weekend Update)
MOYNIHAN: 4 sketches (Sound of Music, Michelangelo, White Christmas, Memories)
PEDRAD: 4 sketches (Sound of Music, Divorce, Michelangelo, Memories)
PHAROAH: 4 sketches (Dan Charles, Michelangelo, White Christmas, Memories)
STRONG: 6 sketches (Sound of Music, Weekend Update, Michelangelo, White Christmas, Memories, Bill Brasky)
THOMPSON: 5 sketches (Politics Nation, Divorce, White Christmas, Santa Meeting, Bill Brasky)

BENNETT: 1 sketch (Sound of Music)
MILHISER: 1 sketch (Santa Meeting)
MOONEY: 2 sketches (White Christmas, Santa Meeting)
O'BRIEN: 2 sketches (White Christmas, Memories)
WELLS: 3 sketches (Sound of Music, White Christmas, Santa Meeting)
WHEELAN: 3 sketches (Dan Charles, White Christmas, Memories)

PAUL RUDD: 9 sketches (Monologue, Politics Nation, Dan Charles, Divorce, Michelangelo, White Christmas, Santa Meeting, Memories, Bill Brasky)
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Re: December 7, 2013 - Paul Rudd/One Direction (39. 8)

Postby FeaturingEmilyPrager on Sat Mar 01, 2014 9:15 pm

I think Tim Robinson is one of the guys wheeling in Goliath in the "David's Peen" sketch... It's difficult to confirm, because he doesn't really face the camera, but I bet it's him..... so he HAS made an on-screen appearance this season..... After seeing him be hilarious on Late Night on last night's show, I hope SNL lets him do some on-camera bits once in a while (or FUGGIT: let him rejoin the cast)
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Re: December 7, 2013 - Paul Rudd/One Direction (39. 8)

Postby HerbertMcHoover on Mon Mar 17, 2014 11:05 pm

Sound of Music: ***1/2
Monologue: ****
Politics Nation: *1/2
Dan Charles: One Direction’s #1 Fan: ****
Dinner Divorce: DUD
Weekend Update: ***
Michelangelo’s David: *
White Christmas: **1/2
Slimmed Down Santa: DUD
Past Lovers: 1/2*
Tales of Bill Brasky: ****

Thoughts:
- The Wiig cameo completely shocked me in the Sound of Music. While it wasn't as good as other opens this season (especially a few episodes lately), it held it's own. It wasn't that bad.
- DAMN IT ONE DIRECTION. Why couldn't it just have been the Anchorman cast singing "Afternoon Delight"?
- Also, while we are talking about the Anchorman cast, I would've had no problem with either Rudd, Koechner, Ferell and Carell all hosting at different times this season or all at once (similar to the Three Amigos).
- Speaking of Koechner, about time he came back!
- Funny how every time he has hosted, Rudd was "overshadowed" by Beyonce, Paul and 1D, though.
- Good how Politics Nation was kept short, but Dan Charles: One Direction’s #1 Fan would've been better to lead off, especially after just seeing One Direction in the monologue.
- Sick of all these song sketches. Between Josie and now Diner Divorce, stop going back in time and being repetitive. At least Josie was decent.
- I liked Atkinson better this time around than the first. The ad-libs about the audience taking some jokes harshly were great.
- Michelangelo’s David got old pretty quick and wasn't that funny. Following White Christmas came a whole ton of duds or bad sketches until Bill Brasky. Another uneven show.
- I was really disappointed when I saw this episode. I was expecting better, especially with the Anchorman cast in town that night.
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Re: December 7, 2013 - Paul Rudd/One Direction (39. 8)

Postby Mike (Male) on Mon Aug 18, 2014 3:12 am

Cold Open: This was a giant mess. A condensed version of The Sound of Music itself for makes a great potential premise, but the writers gave up on that entirely when Kristen Wiig showed up. Beck's character asked "Where's Dooneese," and nobody decided to answer him. And who knows what Taran Killam was trying there. Bottom line, it's taken SNL seven episodes to decide that the current cast is hopeless, so let's bring on all of the supposedly-beloved actors who just left.

Monologue: Couldn't think of a better way to get Anchorman fans and One Direction fans on the same side, they pulled this off perfectly. The kids looked like they enjoyed playing along. And I was reminded how Paul Rudd's goofy charm is probably his best selling point, so when he's not making a complete fool of himself, he's got the audience rooting for him. Liked his reaction to "I love you, Liam!"

PoliticsNation: Odd choice for the post-monologue slot... was it just because the opening sketch was politics-free? So they had to fit it in somewhere before it got too late? As ususal, Kenan's Al Sharpton was daffy and confusing, but he's such an easy target to begin with. Was the "fixed it" line a reference to his Oscar Rogers character?

Dan Charles, One Direction's #1 Fan: Nicely done. Paul Rudd could have easily made his character into some kind of dangerous predator, but he let the girls have some good lines. Loved the disappointment on his face as he realized that he had to try and convince One Direction that his daughter's name is Dan Charles.

I Don't Want to Know: Oh, I liked this a lot. His back and forth with Vanessa was good enough, with the disagreements about Wiccans and silver mines, but then they took the sketch in a totally different direction with the Fleetwood Mac song. The sketch didn't aim too high, amd that's why it succeeded. Did SNL reuse the diner set from the Jennifer Lawrence episode?

"Story of My Life": Nothing much to say here. The kids try a strange balance between emotive and aloof, which comes off to everybody else as completely fake. But the girls like it.

Update: Weak night from Seth and Cecily (minus the Christmas Tinner joke), and almost right away they bring out Vanessa's Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy. The character has been played to death, which is probably the only reason he was forced to startle the crowd with tales of fascism and emergency room trips this time. At this point, it just becomes more glaringly obvious that the featured players are doomed. I'll quit bringing it up, but the six new guys deserve more than seven episodes to prove themselves. And Jebidiah Atkinson HIMSELF says SNL runs some characters into the ground! Nitpicking: Peppermint Patty wasn't in A Charlie Brown Christmas. Finally, soon to blow up the bestseller charts: The Lady Who Just Squeezed It a Bunch.

David sketch: Ouch. I mean, it was a bunch of lame penis jokes.

White Christmas: Eh. Only worth it for the Macklemore reference. Paul Rudd's gun-toting grandma looked like a dead ringer for Andy Samberg.

Santa's workshop: This show has fallen into a STRANGE, event-less rut. Not a real promising idea to start, and Paul and the cast couldn't make anything out of it. Cue cards were visible in the mirror next to Santa's head.

Past lovers: At least this sketch deserves a little more credit. It was certainly something different; a booze-soaked early-'90s soap opera fever dream interrupted by Victor from the airport Papa John's. Garlic knots will get you far in life. C'moooooooooooon!

"Through the Dark": Is that a thing? Comically oversized handkerchiefs?

Bill Brasky buddies: An SNL miracle. Thrilled to see these characters back one more time, even without Goodman or Baldwin. Taran and Paul Rudd fit right in. And it's funny how time changes things... this was always such a testosterone-heavy sketch, it fit right in during the '90s, but it really wouldn't fly as a new sketch today. Not as long as there's one woman character whose only role is to get yelled at.

Grade: B-. We can bump it up a letter just because they held off on the Vogelchecks. Half of the show was quite good, especially the monologue and closing sketch. But even though this isn't the Christmas show or the season finale, Paul Rudd deserved stronger writing, and he didn't need the non-Anchorman cameos. It's nice that he's clearly a friend of the SNL crowd, but after three shows he still hasn't connected in the ways that most five-timers have. Looking back at his previous two shows, I thought they each merited a C+. One Direction didn't change much from their first musical guest appearance, but that's what you should expect from a manufactured musical group.
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