Senator John McCain / The White Stripes
October 19, 2002

By Jet

Hello my name is Jet, well technically it is Mark, and this is my first review, so bear with me.

I've watched live SNL on and off for several years now but have gotten into it more recently. I've seen enough of the show's many years to get a feel for all the casts, at least the primary ones, that they've had. I actually enjoyed the 80-81 season in repeats, the one with Charles Rocket and company, so this probably says a lot about me.

As for my opinions on the current cast:

Favourites (yes I'm Canadian): Meyers, Parnell, Rudolph

Good, valuable performers: Fey, Fallon (most of the time), Hammond, Morgan, Poehler

Indifferent: Edwards, Richards (he's impressed over the last few weeks though), Sanz

Least favourites: Dratch, Kattan

Jury's Out: Armisen, Forte

The Show:

Well, we're off to a weak start this season but hopefully this show will pick up the pace.

The Ratings:

I'm using a scale of * to **** I assume I've ripped somebody off but it's not like that person didn't rip someone off in the first place.

*- No laughs. No one could save this sketch or perhaps it was not worth saving.

**-Average. Some laughs but flawed in some way or another.

***-A good, solid sketch. Represents its genre (ad, recurring etc.) well but doesn't go the extra distance to distinguish itself.

*** _- Excellent. Not much, if anything, to complain about. Ideally, all sketches should be around this level.

****- Classic. Not many sketches meet this criterion. It's something that catches you off guard and stays in the memory. Basically, the kind of sketch that is talked, or at least thought about, for some time. If this season turns out to be quite weak then more standout sketches may appear, thus more classic ratings (given the season). This may sound confusing but I'm sure you get the idea.

The Review:

McCain doesn't strike me as being too funny but this may be proved wrong. Haven't heard much of The White Stripes so maybe I'll be surprised by them.

Cold Opening
- Funny, if not a bit obvious.
- Parnell and Maya make a pretty good pair; they should be put together more often.
- It's rigged I tell you. That man is not Saddam; it's a fake.
- That reporter dude also reminded me of Saddam.
- Much better than the last two openings.
Rating: ***

Mono
- Ferecitio again?
- Liked the character in the opener but if they want to burn this into the ground then this is a good way of going about it.
- The ending surprised me though.
Rating: *1/2

Hardball
- Seemed like all the other ones that I have seen SNL do (not a bad thing).
- McCain's Ashchroft was so ridiculous that it was funny (he looked more like a younger Reagan).
- Hammond was great and Morgan provided one of the funniest bits of the show.
- Rachel brought this down a few notches. She had funny lines but just doesn't have the delivery, at least in my opinion.
Rating: ***

Lifetime Movie
- Funny premise and well executed, if not a little long.
- The funniest part was probably the bit about Maya's character having a law degree but not being able to use it because she is a woman.
- McCain was funny here.
- Quite a few technical problems.
Rating: ***1/2

Wakefield
- Great last season but not so great here.
- Maya was solid as usual but didn't exactly bring anything new to the table. She also has great breasts, or so the writers are telling us.
- Rachel creeped me out here. She seems to have aged over the summer or else the wig and makeup were off and thus the character of Sheldon, who started out kind of cute, has become uncomfortable to watch. Rachel really needs to put her talents to better use because she stands out in bad way as it is now.
- McCain was also out of place and relied too much on the cue cards.
- Disappointing.
Rating: *1/2

Gay Duo
- Funny but not truly inspired.
- A nice change though.
Rating: ***

Meet the Press:
- Many people will disagree but I thought this was one of the funniest overall sketches in recent memory.
- Hammond was at his best and the laughter at the beginning only added to my laughter.
- McCain was good at keeping a straight face.
- Easily the sketch of the night.
Rating: ****, really liked this one.

Music (1)
- Not too bad.

WU
- The jokes were good but not great.
- Tina got a few good rants in, the AIDS one especially.
- Will bumped this up to the next level. Possibly the funniest individual part of the show was his bit here and one of the funniest WU guests in some time. He seems like a great comedic talent and should add a lot to the shows this season.
- The audience seemed to like Forte's bit too.
Rating: ***1/2 (Forte gets a ****)

McCain Sings
- Decent, given the limited material.
Rating: **1/2

Thick Novel
- Blah.
Rating: *

Irish Bar
- Pretty good for a last sketch, again given the limited material.
- They seem to be using alcohol a lot this season. Perhaps that is because the cast needs beer, pot and cocaine to keep themselves awake through the dreadful materialI'm just keeding (holds up his hands).
- On a related note, Will and Fred must being doing something right to have me remember the above bits.
Overall: ***

Music (2)
- Better than the first.

Best Sketch:
- Definitely Meet the Press.

Worst Sketch:
- Wake Up Wakefield. Hate to give it to it though.

Hall of Fame (Top 3 Performers)
- Darrell Hammond: Great in both Hardball and especially Meet the Press.
- Maya Rudolph: Good in all her skits, great legs and breasts too
- Jimmy Fallon: Only other person used a lot. Not bad in the Irish Bar sketch.

Hall of Shame (Worst/Weakest Player)
- Rachel Dratch: Killed some of the sketches. She has the material but doesn't have the delivery. Or maybe it could be that I just don't find her funny. Either way, she wins (er loses) this one.

Minor League MVP (Best Featured Player)
- Will Forte: Proved himself in WU.

Minor League Strike Out (Worst//Weakest Featured Player)
- Dean Edwards: Thought he may have been let go, until he appeared in the closing that is. I don't mind Dean but he is really being wasted compared to everyone else, even the newbies.

Overall:
This seemed like a very uneven show, cast member wise, but more memorable than the first two by far. Not a shining beacon of comedy but a good effort and had more of team feel, with no one standing out.

Rating: 2.69 * which is average to good but closer to good than average.

The Season Thus Far:

Don't normally tape the eps but I did a quick analysis of the previous eps as I recall them being from the guides and came up with

SMG: 1.875 *
Damon: 2.14 *

I'm still waiting for a show to pass ***, hopefully next time.