**** WILL FERRELL GREATEST MOMENTS ****
This season, I would like to honor a man who I feel has been one of the best SNL performers of all time. Will Ferrell is likely in his last season, and I feel that he may be the most versatile SNL castmember of all time. He can do comedic roles, slapstick, and even play the straight man if he is asked to. Last season, I ranked all SNL castmembers by their value to their respective cast, their contributions, and how much they "carried" a cast all by themselves. Only Eddie Murphy (1980-83) ranked higher in how much he meant to his cast.
With each episode review this season, I am including one of my favorite Will Ferrell SNL moments (in no particular order):
4. Home for the Holidays - November 18, 1995
This is one of Will's most identifiable characters -- an angry father. In this sketch, we are watching a Time Life commercial featuring dysfunctional family gatherings.
Time-Life Operator: "The holiday season is here, and many of us head home to be with our families. But to those of us who just can't make it home this year, Time-Life is offering a video collection of all the incredible family fights you'll miss out on. Yes, these tapes contain all the strained conversations, dysfunctional couplings, and plain old meltdowns that we come to expect during holiday get-togethers."
Each segment they show involves a family gathered around a dinner table. As the family talks, they start to argue. Will Ferrell, playing the father, sits at the head of the table. He sits there silently as the family around him argues, steadily getting angrier. Finally, he flips up his plate of food, storms out of the room and screams: "F-ck this! I'm leaving!" Here's a sample:
Daughter: What are you grinning at, James?
James: [drunk] What?! I'm just happy!
Bobby: Yeah, try stoned..
Daughter: Look at you, you look like an idiot, grinning like a jackass. You're drunk again, aren't you?
Mom: Alright, who took my cooking sherry?
Dad: [quiet until now] That's it! [flips his dinner plate and jumps out of his chair] F-ck this! I'm leaving!
We see several different segments, "Feeling Tipsy", "Not Good Enough", and "Abrupt Eruption." And they all end with Will flipping out and shouting "F-ck this! I'm leaving!" As the segments continue, it takes less and less to piss dad off. The last segment ends with him storming off because his daughter asked him to pass the cranberry sauce. Hilarious! The highlight of this sketch is watching Will flip his plate of food up in the air, because he hits it will every ounce of strength he has. It's completely unexpected and very sudden. A truly classic piece of Ferrell anger.
Home for the Holidays Transcript: http://snltranscripts.jt.org/scripts/95fholidays.phtml
Charlize Theron is a good actress. Let me point that out now, because inevitably most of my comments later will involve how cute she is. But she is truly one of the rare ones: A model who can act. Models acting? Surely there must be a lot of them who can act. Cindy Crawford? Uh, no. Elle MacPherson? Please. Elizabeth Hurley? Not a chance. Kim Basinger? I know she won an Oscar but that was a fluke. Charlize is clearly a step above all the rest of them. Watch "The Devil's Advocate," in which she slowly has a nervous breakdown over the course of the film. Watch "The Cider House Rules," in which she was very credible among much more established actors. I think she is going to be a major, major movie star in the next two years.
Of course, she is cute as hell and that doesn't hurt. But I think a lot of people will be surprised by this show and her talents. We'll see if she can do comedy as well as she does drama.
And I swear to God she must be at least two feet taller than tonight's musical guest, Paul Simon. I think she's about 6'0" and Paul Simon is, at most, 3'8". I want to see them stand next to each other some time.
[COLD OPENING] George W. Bush as president
Great opening. Will Ferrell was hilarious as a completely overwhelmed President Bush. The Great Lakes are on fire, Mexico has invaded the south, Russia now controls Texas, Vice-President Cheney was killed in a hutning accident, and "that big tit building is on fire again." That line, in particular, made me laugh. Oh yeah, and he broke the Hoover Dam. Sucks to be him.
The ostrich meat thing kind of fell flat, but overall this was a great opening. I hope George Bush wins the election just for the comedy, Will is getting really good at the impression. I thought that Will's Bush laugh was kind of goofy, but then I heard the real George W. laugh, and he laughs JUST LIKE THAT. Will isn't making that laugh up, you have to hear it to believe it.
Grade: A. Great job, SNL.
[MONOLOGUE] Charlize Theron w/Tracy Morgan
I've always hated the term "African-American." This is really the first time I have heard someone point out that white people can be "African-American" too. I'm susprised no one ever made fun of that loophole before. Tracy Morgan was pretty funny in his limited stage time this week. I think he is really funny in person, but can't play a character to save
his life. That's why Lorne keeps him on the show, because he knows Tracy is just waiting for that one good character to make him a star.
Charlize kind of over-acted in the monologue. Maybe she can't do comedy as well as drama. And she smokes? That makes sense, since every model in the history of the world has smoked as well. She also started, and ended, her monologue with a hip grinding sexual dance. It was the first, of many, times, she would do this move tonight.
It's about time we got a sister to host the show.
[SKETCH] Toyal Request Live w/Gemini's Twin
I don't watch MTV much, but I could appreciate the spirit of this sketch. Maya Rudolph makes her one appearance of the night and once again proves to be talented, but not funny. I think she's on the wrong show. I could appreciate how Charlize couldn't sing, I think that's probably true in real life and they just worked it into the script. Ana Gasteyer didn't look like she fit in with the other two, she didn't look "Street" enough. (Although I think they made fun of this when they mentioned she was from Sarah Lawrence University). Charlize got to end the sketch by pumping her hips in a sexual motion, which apparently she is good at.
The songs that the group did were actually pretty well done.
The timing was really good, as
were the lyrics. Maya definitely had a hand in the writing of this.
Grade: B+. Not a memorable sketch, or particularly funny, but well done.
[SKETCH] Al Gore as President
This was another well written sketch, although not as memorable as the Bush one earlier. I loved the fact that Gore had blocked out 4 hours of prime time TV nearly every day of the week. That they made him into a boring high school teacher was pretty funny. "Idaho, I'm looking in your direction." Yeah, like Idaho even has television.
The stuff with Clinton didn't work well at all. The timing was way off, as was the choreography. The bad ending made the sketch seem weak.
SNL writers, I'm looking in your direction.
[SKETCH] Blair Witch Tour
Charlize Theron did an amazing job of getting into her character. It didn't even look like her at all! She kind of has a generic face, so she has a good ability to change her looks at will. That was impressive to see, although it had nothing to do with the sketch.
It started off slow, but when I saw where the sketch was going it was pretty good. Horatio was the highlight, as he usually is. His obscene gesture was pretty funny. The Goth Talk characters don't get much air time anymore, but I always get a kick out of what big dorks they are:
Charlize: "Did you ever get caught in the parking lot
of a DQ with the shop teacher going down on you?!"
Azrael Abyss: "Yes."
Ha ha ha.
[CARTOON] The New Adventures of Mr. T
What a great idea for a cartoon. For those of you who didn't grow up in the 80's, Mr. T was just like this. His cartoon was him driving around with these kids and a dog. They fought criminals and he gave them inspirational messages like "Drink your milk." Mr. T was also incredibly, incredibly cool. Therefore it pains me a little to see him mocked, but maybe Robert Smigel is just honoring Mr. T in some weird way. I don't know. But everything about this cartoon is perfect. The voices, the fighting, the dialogue, the music, etc. It's just funny because now Mr. T isn't fighting bad guys. Now he is just looking for work.
Any cartoon where Spuds McKenzie is thrown through a wall is alright with me.
(In real life: Mr. T has cancer. It's probably a bit wrong to be making fun of him, but like I said, maybe this is a tribute to him in some way. Ask Smigel.)
[SKETCH] Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe
Charlize Theron does another amazing transformation. Once again, she looks nothing like herself. Her Marilyn was really well done, although how difficult can it be to imitate her? Jimmy's Joe DiMaggio was a stuck-up pain in the ass, which I hear DiMaggio was really like in real life. You know, I bet this sketch wasn't entirely fictional.
As the sketch went on, it became a game of how many dirty phrases they could work into the dialogue. "We have to show her crotchenboxen." Gotta give the writers creativity points for that phrase.
Charlize played Marilyn as incredibly slutty and naive. Was that far from the truth? I liked when an entire army of tailors had their heads under her skirt. All in all, a pretty funny sketch. Plus you got to watch Horatio squeeze Charlize's "boobenmelons." Now, that's good TV.
I liked Jimmy Fallon's Herman Munster shoes. Is Charlize really that much taller than him? Also, Jimmy proves to be unable to get through a sketch without breaking up at least once. This was a really funny sketch.
[MUSICAL GUEST] Paul Simon
Wow, he's really old.
[WEEEKEND UPDATE] Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey, Rachel Dratch,
As I have said in just about every review, these two really seem to have fun. Jimmy Fallon is just a disaster, but he's so charismatic he can get away with it. The first time he blew a joke, I thought it might have been intentional. But then he did it again. I hope he gets better, because it's still cute... for now.
Luckily, Tina Fey is there to save his butt. She is obviously the glue that holds Update together, and always does a good job. Her glasses are back this week! He explanation of the electoral colleges was funny, and her joke about Brad Pitt losing in the Sexiest Man Alive electoral college vote was great.
Rachel Dratch was okay, she should get more screen time. If for no other reason than to piss off my friend Bonnie, who can't stand her.
Jimmy's joke about GQ Men of the Year was pretty good. Darryl Strawberry just needs someone to beat the crap out of him. If you can't do it physically, might as well do it through humor! Any why the hell is Matthew Perry a man of the year?
Hugh Fink is a funny guy. His commentary was good, for the most part. But then he resorted to the laziest commedy possible, using Yiddish words. Yiddish is a language that most people don't know. The simple concept of words in said language is not funny. I could never stand the idea that "Yiddish=funny." Might as well start throwing any foreign words in there, and we would all laugh heartily. "So I said to her, why don't you just take my wurstplatte." (audience laughs heartily.)
You can't just put foreign words into a sentence and expect it to be funny. Ask Paul Hogan.
Grade: B-. Jimmy should really try to improve his delivery. Remember, your vote counts as much as his.
(Note: "Wurstplatte" is German for "A plate of cold cuts.")
[SKETCH] Mr. Peepers Sex Fantasy
It's always a kick to watch Chris Kattan play a monkey. It's just so, I don't know, accurate. Here he again dons the Peepers ears and eyebrows and wig (but not for too long!)
Basically, this was an excuse for Kattan to spit apples into Charlize Theron's mouth. And it was an excuse for her to act like a total slut and dry hump a primate. As I have said before, that's good TV.
The best part for me was when Charlize accientally ripped off
Kattan's wig. He was trying so hard to stay in character but
then just tossed the wig aside. The three actors ended up having
a three way on the couch. Man, Charlize is quite the
naughty one, isn't she? That makes three or four sketches where she played a slut so far.
Grade: C-. It didn't come off really well, and the ending was just chaotic. But Charlize had to do nearly the whole sketch in a blindfold, which meant -NO- cue cards. That's pretty impressive, especially for the guest host to do.
[SKETCH] Ralph Nader as President
Cute. Flying Pigs, Hell Freezing Over. I'm surprised they didn't show Eminem reading a book or something equally unlikely. But this was cute. Jimmy does a good job playing a lazy-eyed zombie.
[SKETCH] The DiMarco Brothers meet Paul Simon
This sketch is always much better than I expect it to be. I really get a kick out of Chris Parnell. Everyone knows that Chris Kattan is simply playing himself. But Sweet Jesus Almighty, Paul Simon is a horrible actor. You know, he used to host the show in the old days. What happened? He used to work very well in comedy roles, now he looks like a lost old man.
All the dance parodies were well done. The "Slip Sliding Away" was probably the best. It's hard work to do a good pratfall. Ask John Ritter.
Charlize Theron was particularly bad in this. She really tends to overact in some comedic roles. She was in the "Alexandra Wentworth" range of overacting, which is a dangerous place to be.
Grade: B+. Just for Slip Sliding Away.
[SKETCH] Robert Goulet sings rap
Some of Will Ferrell's sketches come completely out of left field. Why Robert Goulet? Why the elk? Why a bowl of cereal? Why the improv dialogue with the elk? Still, he somehow manages to pull off sketches like this. Anytime you can drop N-bombs in a sketch in the context of humor, it can be funny. He really overemphasized his racial slurs each time he said them, which only made it funnier.
Only Will Ferrell could have pulled off this sketch.
P.S. Why Robert Goulet?
[MUSICAL GUEST] Paul Simon
A decent song. Kept me from turning the channel, at least.
[SKETCH] Cuban Music Group
Here's a stretch... let's have Charlize Theron play a naive girl who is kind of slutty deep down, and wants to do it with the Cuban band. Beyond that, this was pretty funny. I've realized that every one of Horatio's characters is some variation of "Jasper Hahn", the perverted cartoonist. They are all creepy, yet charming in a creepy way. Jerry Minor was okay as a singer, but I just don't see him making much of a difference in the cast at all so far. This was a decent sketch, kind of a throwaway. But at least Horatio got to cozy up to Charlize again. Gee, I wonder if he wrote this sketch... ?
Grade: (Grade cut off due to time constraints, just like the sketch.)
Charlize is still a talented actress, but I don't think she can do comedy. She is great at playing characters, and can change her looks almost at will. But she needs some more comedy experience before coming back to SNL. Aside from Marilyn Monroe (who she did very well), she over-acted a lot. She also played a whole lot of slutty characters. By the way, I got to see Charlize Theron stand next to Paul Simon in the goodbyes. The size difference is just as bad as I imagined. He could very easily play the hood ornament on her car.
I have come to a conclusion about the show this season. There are far too many people in the cast. Will Ferrell hardly gets used aside from George Bush. Anyone seen Molly Shannon this season? Rachel Dratch dropped off the face of the earth. Tracy Morgan doesn't do anything. Even old reliable Chris Parnell doesn't get a lot of roles. The only person who is consistently in a lot of sketches is Jimmy Fallon, who is also anchoring Update. He is a busy guy.
I would suggest that Lorne try to cut back some of his cast next season, or drop some featured players this season. Jerry Minor and Maya Rudolph haven't done much at all. There are just too many people for a 90 minute show. To have a performer as talented as Rachel Dratch or Chris Parnell and not use them is just wrong.
Next week... Calista Flockhart. I hear she's a very gifted actress as well. I've never seen Ally McBeal, but am curious to see her do live comedy. Maybe they could do a Popeye sketch and she played Olive Oyl. Or even funnier, pack her in a fat suit and have her play an obese person. That would be surreal to see. Should be an interesting show.
Good night, and have a pleasant tomorrow.
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