Before delving into this week's Dana Carvey/Wallflowers review,
realized I did not completely review the previous week's Kate Hudson
show. I totally forgot to give a grade to the Meet the
Press/Hilary-Lazio-Tim Russert sketch (I gave it a "B")...wouldn't have
changed my final grade for that show anyway...like most of the other
sketches that week, it had its funny moments, and the Tim Russert
impression wasn't bad.
Now comparing the Kate Hudson show with one of my top ten favorite
cast members, Dana Carvey. I have to admit I had high expectations for
this show because Carvey was hosting, but I'm starting to notice a
disturbing trend whenever a former cast member becomes a host. Ever
notice that for the most part, the further the cast member is removed
from the show, the less funny the show turns out to be? (best
example--Chevy Chase) It's kind of like watching a once great athlete,
now past their prime playing days, lacing up the shoes one last
time...you tend to remember how great they once were, and when you see
them again you kind of feel sorry for them because they're no longer as
good as you remember them. This wasn't a totally bad show, mind you,
but it also wasn't Carvey at his best...ok, let's go on to the review (I
taped the show this week so I had a chance to watch it a little more
COLD OPENING/PREZ DEBATE #3: If there was a line in Vegas
given you odds on a debate sketch opening SNL this past week, well....I
think we could've forced the state of Nevada to go bankrupt because I'm
sure every reviewer on this website could've seen this coming.
Nonetheless...this sketch was fairly predictable. Like the real
election, I think there's a real neck-and-neck battle going between
Hammond and Ferrell as to who does the better impression of their
candidate (I say Hammond's Gore leads by 4 points with a +/- 5 percent
margin of error, but Ferrell is making tremendous strides on his Bush
facial quirks). And wait--here's a shock--Carvey appears as George Sr.
in this sketch! (first sarcasm alert) I didn't think this sketch was as
funny as it could've been, and went a little long once Carvey came back
as 'Barbara B'. Wanted to laugh, but as Carvey put it, I was "on the
fence". BTW, what was up with Carvey's hair all night? From his Bush
wig to the Church Lady wig to his own hair...looked like he woke up on
the wrong side of the bed.
MONOLOGUE: I hate to say it, but Carvey's starting to look
definitely older than the cast he's working with. His impression of
Gore wasn't bad (seems like he and Darrell Hammond do alot of the same
impressions), but didn't it sound like there was a little Charles Grodin
in Carvey's Gore? I suppose if you start doing hundreds of impressions
they are going to start sounding like one another after awhile. I also
have to make another comment here: who was directing this week's show?
Was it somebody doing it for the first time, or just a diehard New York
baseball fan watching the World Series game on another monitor? For
whatever reason, the close-up shots of Carvey were too close-up and it
seemed like there were too many of them; plus a lot of quick cuts from
one camera to the next. Maybe it was just me but it looked weird.
GRADE: B. (Grade for the director of the show is a C-minus.)
COMMERCIAL/MAGIC MOUTH FART-HIDER: One of the stranger commercial
parodies done recently. A memorable line was Ferrell's 'kind of like
having a professor up your butt'. Other than that, it was actually kind
NPR/DELICIOUS DISH HALLOWEEN SHOW: My original thought watching
it was one of my favorite sketches when it first appeared, but maybe it
had finally run its course and that's why it hadn't been on for awhile.
But after watching it a second time, Carvey's character did bring a
little zing at the end when he decided to have traps waiting for his
prospective trick-or-treaters; btw, was the 'black dracula' line
ad-libbed? The audience didn't seem to respond to it much.
THE RETURN OF CHURCH CHAT: Didn't Carvey say he was retiring
Lady? Have to admit I was surprised to see him ressurrect it. Again,
the wig wasn't the same (although it's been almost ten years since we've
seen the CL) and the director's cuts seemed to be all over the place
(several times cutting to the non-speaking character for a reaction when
there wasn't one). The choice of guests (Hilary, Ann 'He-she', and
Eminem) weren't bad; this sketch was also missing the echo-effect they
used to have after the standard CL retorts. The expression on Carvey's
face after hearing Eminem's song was priceless, and the CL's version of
Eminem's song was also effective.
GRADE: B-minus (but in the past this would've warranted a much higher
grade; the Church Lady just seems out of date now; funny in the old
reruns but out of place here).
HUNTING IN THE BUSHES WITH THE BUSHES: Two father-son Bush
on the show, again a shock (second sarcasm alert). Couldn't help but
remember this sketch was eerily similar to the Perot/Stockdale sketch
from '92 when Carvey's Perot tries to leave Phil Hartman's Stockdale on
the side of the road. Ferrell's George "W" was made out to be almost as
stupid as Stockdale--bordering on Rainman....it's gonna be cool"
could've easily have been "five minutes to Wapner".
WHO LET THESE FREAKIN' DOGS OUT??? Please don't tell me they
the Smigel cartoon for this...were these guys just hanging outside
studio 8H before showtime?? This song (is the group the Baha Men? I'm
not even sure--nor care) is hopefully at 14:59 along its timeline to
fame, but I have a strange feeling it's only about three minutes in.
GRADE: D. (If I ever find out this replaced the cartoon I'll amend the
grade to F later on)
WEEKEND UPDATE/THIRD TIME'S THE CHARM WITH FALLON & FEY:
These two are
slowly improving. Liked Fallon's line referring to letting the dogs
out, and Fey's set-up to her 'she's dumber than a french whore' joke
wasn't bad. The Anna Nicole-Smith part dragged, especially the part
about her new university. Who is Adam McKay and why isn't he featured
in the opening credits? The Robert DeNiro cameo was a great idea given
Fallon's DeNiro impression last week, but it could've been funnier
(DeNiro could've been out at the desk longer). And what was with him
signing off as Fallon--was that an ad-lib? Ok, I have to stop asking
the 'ad-lib' question...
MUSICAL GUEST THE WALLFLOWERS: Looks like they're going back
musical guest appearing after "WU". I'll review this band since I
remember their first album. This new song sounds like it could've been
from their first album. Not bad, but I wouldn't necessarily rush out to
buy their lastest album.
VH1 VOGUE FASHION AWARDS: Maybe this would've been a funnier
I knew who Molly Shannon's Giselle model was...maybe this would've been
funnier if Jerry Minor didn't trip so badly on the cue cards (Cuding
Goobing Jr? wonder if this will affect the amount of his future
appearances on SNL?)....maybe this would've been funnier if Chris Kattan
didn't do a Dylan McDermott impression (is he really worth doing an
impression of?)....might've been funnier if Carvey didn't appear as
"Rudy from Survivor".....highlights were Tracy Morgan's Samuel L Jackson
(his only appearance of the night), Maya Rudolph's Macy Gray (her only
appearance of the night), and even though I wasn't totally familiar with
the part, Rachel Dratch as Sting's sidekick from the Desert Rose song
(Dratch's only appearance of the night)...me gets the feeling this
sketch was all about getting the supporting cast members into the show.
CHING CHANGE AND HIS BROADWAY PERFORMING CHICKENS: Again,
was kind of funny in its original run...Horatio Sanz (his only
appearance of the night) was funny as Ching's father, and seeing
chickens dressed in costume can tell you only thing...must be past
12:45! But there was more poor direction in this sketch, including the
sight of a cue card (an SNL faux paus of the highest magnitude, unless
it's the during the monologue and seeing the card is part of a joke). I
think a 'Head-wound Harry' revival could've had funnier possibilites.
WALLFLOWERS RETURN: Filler....another song that could've easily
been off their first album.
FINAL GRADE: B-minus. That might seem like a generous grade
thought with Carvey hosting, the show had the potential to be much
better than it turned out. If the director was new, they better have
someone with more experience next time. And for the second time in
three weeks, there was the promise of a Smigel cartoon but none was
delivered...what's up with that? And the appearance of cast members has
been very uneven (to say the least) in the first three weeks. Looks
like Ferrell, Hammond, Shannon, Parnell and Fallon have been busy so far
this season, but what about everyone else? Another quick close as
well--I agree with the other reviewers who say it's fun to watch the
cast interacting during the closing credits to get an idea of who likes
or who hates who, but you don't get to see that with 10 seconds and then
an abrupt cut to commercial (guess they were running long).
To compare the last two shows, Kate Hudson appeared to fit
better with this cast than Dana Carvey did. Like I said at the top,
don't get me wrong, I think Carvey is funny; but one of the keys to
being a good SNL host is the chemistry they have with the cast. Maybe
it's the age factor, I don't know...but Charlize Theron has the
potential (if she can do comedy) to do a good job in two weeks, we'll
have to wait and see. It will also be interesting to see what the
opening sketch will be, since there are no more debates (say goodbye to
Jim Lehrer and possible face time, Chris Parnell); although I'm sure it
will have something to do with the Presidential election coming up the
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