Senator John McCain / The White Stripes
October 19, 2002

By Alyssa N.

This is my first review for this site, so let me tell you all a little bit about myself. My name is Alyssa, I'm from Arizona, I'm 14, and I have watched SNL for over ten years now. (The good ol' Pat days.) My ultimate goal is to hopefully end up on SNL as a cast member and/or writer, like Tina Fey. So, I guess I'll get the review started...

Cold Opening "Iraqi Stae Television": This sketch was the perfect opener to top off that nail biter of an election in Iraq last week. Chris Parnell played the news caster, and Maya Rudolph was the perfect touch to this sketch, explaining the ever so confusing ballot for the election. It's always nice to see Chris Kattan in a sketch, as I feel he is being under utilized this season. The picture of Fred Armisen and Seth Meyers as the "no voters" was fabulous as well. It was nice to see Horatio as Saddam, although Will Ferrell is my all time favorite Saddam. All in all, this was a stronger opening sketch than most.
OVERALL GRADE: 90%

Opening Monologue: If any senator was to be host, I'm glad that they picked John McCain, since he's from my home state. He seems a bit nervous and uneasy. His first couple of jokes got few laughs, but bringing Ferecito in was a good choice to brighten this monologue up a bit. With Ferecito, it was pretty much the same as his first appearance on Weekend Update during the Matt Damon show, but he's always good for a laugh. Fred Armisen was definitely a great one to pick up this season, and I hope he'll be around on SNL for a long time.
OVERALL GRADE: 75%

Hardball: John McCain didn't do a great Ashcroft (but it wasn't horrible), but he was given a great piece of writing, which helped to pull this sketch through. Rachel Dratch's character was great. She has the facial expression down that makes the character a hit. She seems like the typical Hard Ball guest. I love Tracey Morgan, and he plays the "token black guy" parts well. He was dead on with his Harry Belafonte impression. He had the funniest lines in this sketch, and was definitely the star of it. Darrell's Chris Matthews impression was of course top notch as well.
OVERALL GRADE: 95%

Lifetime Television Movie "The Gillian Woodward Story": This was one of my favorite sketches of the night. I have a friend who is obsessed with those ridiculous Lifetime movies that are so over embellished. John McCain played the part of Gillian's husband, David Pemberton perfectly. I don't think anyone else but Will Ferrell could have pulled off the David Pemberton part. I loved how they said, "Every six seconds, a woman's space is invaded by her husband or domestic partner." The part at the end with Amy and the real Gillian (Rachel Dratch) was quite funny and the perfect thing to tie up this sketch.
OVERALL GRADE: 100% (I'm feeling generous.)

TV Fun House: I'm not a fan of TV Fun House, but it was nice to see the Ambiguously Gay Duo back.
OVERALL GRADE: 80%

"Wake up Wakefield": I think this Wakefield was just average. (I'm still think the best one ever was the Kirsten Dunst episode one.) Sheldon and Megan were still funny, but they usually have more lively guests with better lines. John McCain as their hippy teacher was alright, but he could have had a few better lines. He surprisingly looked believable as a hippy, VW van type. I think Randy Goldman should have had more lines.
OVERALL GRADE: 85%

"Meet the Press": The humor in this was basically Tim Russert (Darrell) asking McCain over and over again if he's running for president, and misconstruing McCain's words, a typical Tim Russert thing to do. This sketch seemed like a filler, but it was one of the better fillers I've seen in a long time.
OVERALL GRADE: 90%

The White Stripes performing "Dead Leaves On A Dirty Ground": These people honestly scare me. This is definitely not my type of music. Unfortunately, I've been walking around all morning doing my Jack White impression singing, "Dead Leaves On A Dirty Ground." This is not good, as I think I scared many little children at the mall, but oh well. I'm not going to even rate this, because that wouldn't be fair...(I think Jack White and his wife would eat my cat or something if I gave them a bad review.)

"Weekend Update": This is the sketch I can always count on to be great. I think Tina and Jimmy are a fabulous pairing. The jokes were of couse wonderful, and not even one bombed. I am familiar with the work of Will Forte from when he was in the Groundlings, so it was great to see him being used more, especially on Weekend Update. His Tim Calhoun character was phenomenal, and hopefully will be a recurring one. This is probably the thing that I laughed the most at all night. Along with Fred Armisen, Will Forte is a definite keeper.
OVERALL GRADE: 100%

"McCain Sings Streisand": John McCain actually carried this sketch well, especially for being the only person in it. The writing was great, and the jabs at Streisand were perfect.
OVERALL GRADE: 90%

"My Big Thick Novel" by Jack Handey: I really honestly thought that these were gone. They are the only thing that SNL needs to get rid of. They're not funny, and just continue to irritate me. I would rather have another commercial in their place.
OVERALL GARDE: 0%

"Top O' The Morning": This sketch was mediocre. McCain's attempt at an Irish accent was disastrous, but Jimmy and Seth carried the skecth alright. I like how McCain played Frank McCourt, though. The punching wall was also quite clever.
OVERALL GRADE: 75%

The White Stripes performing "We're Going To Be Friends": I give this the same review as I gave their previous performance, but I just want to point out one thing: What's with the lyrics in this song? They sound like they belong on a Kids' Songs CD. At least their songs are short, though, so thank you to them for that.

That's all for this show. Overall, it was a great show, and John McCain progressed throughout it with the help of SNL's superb writing staff. Next week we have a Halloween special, followed by eric McCormack the week after, which I'm sure will be good.

The one thing that I was hoping to see during this show, however, was a Mango sketch. (I even wrote a full script for it.) My vision was that Mango sold stock illegally (like Martha Stewart), and was forced to testify on Capitol Hill before the senate. (We could have had a possible Ana Gasteyer cameo as Martha.) John McCain would be there, asking Mango questions about the sell. We could have Mango saying, "Mr. Senator, I plead the fifth." Suddenly, McCain would come under Mango's spell and go through the whole, "Mango, Mango...!!!" thing, and the rest is of course Mango history. (I have several endings for it.) Hopefully we'll be seeing some of Sir Mango quite soon in the near future. Chris Kattan is such an under-used, amazing talent.

One more thing before I go. Does anyone else agree that Chris Parnell is being made into the new Will Ferrell? No one can replace Will, but Chris seems to have been made into the "patriarch" of the show, and he's been doing a marvelous job. This year he has really been able to show off what he's really made of, and that's great.

Well, I hope to see you back next week. I'm Alyssa signing off...