Reese Witherspoon / Alicia Keys
September 29, 2001


I was very curious to see how the writers for Saturday Night Live were going
to go about writing inoffensive, yet entertaining sketches for the first
episode of the 2001-02 season. Instead of the usual political satire which
was a big hit last year, we're presented with the more sophomoric, gross-out
humor, which I personally find somewhat offensive. But what can they do,
the writers are in a tough situation right now. I'm glad that the show did
go on as scheduled, but I wouldn't have minded a delay if it could have
helped the writers and the cast prepare themselves better.

COLD OPENING - Mayor Giuliani's speech

I couldn't have imagined the show being opened any other way. I'm not a New
Yorker, but I admire the way Mayor Giuliani has handled the crisis in NYC.
All New Yorkers should be proud to have such a caring and uplifing man
running their city. Seeing a large representation of New York's heroes was
very touching. I didn't watch Paul Simon perform out of fear I'd start
bawling again, but I'm sure he did an excellent job.
Overall Grade: A+

MONOLOGUE - Reese Witherspoon's Polar Bear Joke

I'm not too familiar with Reese's work, but she seems really nice and sweet-a
good choice for a host. But I don't quite understand the Polar Bear joke.
Either I didn't get it, or I did get it, but didn't realize it because it was
so lame. I can't stand jokes that run on and on and get you all excited, but
fall flat at the end; this was one of those.
Overall Grade: D

WAKEUP WAKEFIELD

I really like these Wakefield Middle School sketches. They have that total
middle school feel to them. And they're harmless in every way, a good choice
for the show. Everything from the shoddy camerawork to the bland
audio-visual room is straight out of a junior high school. Rachel as
"Sheldon" is hilarious and Maya's "Megan" is getting better with every
sketch. The Spanish club president, Gretchen, was also well done, especially
her only speaking in Spanish for the "easy" parts. Jimmy's slight flub
didn't take away from the sketch, but the saxophone kid's goof was more
noticeable. Getting really nitpicky, I don't like the new "Jazz x 10" guys;
what happened to the awkward, shy, young kids from last season? They were
much more convincing as geeky jazz band members.
Overall Grade: A-

THE LITTLE MERMAID - THE SLUTTY VERSION

This is one of those sketches that totally surprised me; I had no idea where
it was heading. Reese is a pretty good singer; she and Will sounded good
together. I did laugh after the "fish genatalia" line because it was so odd,
not really because I thought it was funny. If I were Reese, I would have
busted out laughing. The skit was fine until Horatio came on with his
"having sex with alot of stuff" song. Sorry, but the idea of procreating
with a fish is too much for me. I think I'll go watch "South Park" now.
Thank goodness for Will, he saved the sketch big-time.
Overall Grade: D

MUSICAL GUEST - Alicia Keyes

I'm probably 1 of the 10 people who don't really care for her music. I've
heard the song enough times to last me the rest of my life, so I forwarded
through it. She's very talented, though, I do have to say that. Since I
have heard the song, I'll give it a grade anyway.
Overall Grade: B+

WEEKLY UPDATE

This is one of the best Update's I've seen from Jimmy and Tina. They both
work well together and it was great to see their playful, casual way of
presenting the news was still there, even after the tragic events. Jimmy's
hair problem was one of those weird, spontaneous things that worked out and I
loved the "Moosehunting in Maine" segment-too funny. I've never really paid
attention to Darrell's "Jesse Jackson" impersonations in the past, but I
thought the whole phone call with the Taliban thing was great. His gestures
were a bit over-exaggerated, but didn't ruin it. I liked how Tina and Jimmy
got serious in the end and encouraged donation for the Twin Towers Fund; it
was a nice to close out.
Overall Grade: A

THE CULPS

I've never been a big Culps fan, but like the Wakefield Middle School sketch,
it was nice and kind of reassuring to see another recurring sketch. The
choice of songs in the medley was good, especially "Get Your Freak On". It
would have been funny to see the seemingly conservative Culps freak out out
at a lesbian union ceremony, but I like the way it was done.
Overall Grade: B

CELEBRITY JEOPARDY

This is one the recurring sketches that I don't like very much, especially
since Sean Connery is in practically all of them. It's a great character for
Darrell, but it's getting old. Reese's "Anne Heche" was fabulous and Dean's
"Chris Tucker" was okay. I do like to see "Potent Potables" as a constant
category and the "Hore Semen" joke was funny.
Overall Grade: C-

GASEOUS INFANT

Okay, I feel bad for saying this about my favorite show, but this is the
lowest thing I've seen on SNL since I started watching the show religously in
93'. And I thought the "What's crawled up his butt?" sketch from last year's
finale was bad! Wow...I really don't know what to say about it except it was
a trip. I give the players in that sketch alot of credit for not laughing or
walking offstage. Tracy saved the skit from an "F", I did laugh when he
said, "This baby is hilarious!" The improv (I think) that Chris and Will did
was amusing, though; especially with that funky backgound music. Completely
weird, but amusing. Did they not have cue cards during that scene, or was it
not a mistake. I'm really not sure.
Overall Grade: D - - - (if that's possible)

MUSICAL GUEST - Alicia Keyes

Didn't watch this.
Overall Grade: N/A

DONATELLA VERSACE SINGS FOR THE "CHEELDRIN"

This was hysterical, I was laughing so hard throughout. I have no clue how
Ms. Versace acts since I only know her by name, but I think Maya did an
excellent job. Just the way she yelled "GET OOOUUUT! in that raspy voice was
hilarious. Great sketch to end a rather weak episode.
Overall Grade: A-

I was a bit disappointed overall, but I didn't have very high expectations
for the first show with the recent events in New York. I do hope the gross
stuff is limited in coming episodes and I wouldn't mind if the writer of the
gaseous infant skit is fired, unless it was Tina, which I doubt it was. I
can't wait for next week's show now, I hope it isn't as bad as the premiere.
I'd give the show a "C-" for an overall grade.


Episode Review written by Shelley R.


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