Christina Aguilera / Maroon 5
February 21, 2004

By Mike

[Hardball with Chris Matthews]
What can I say, Darell Hammond as Chris Matthews has to be the best "show opener" in recent memory, and one of the few recurring sketches I don't mind seeing. The whole deal with Hammond playing off his own taped Schwarzenegger was funny but came off as rather stilted. Bonus points for the sketch being short and snappy, and it was funny to notice Hammond nearly breaking out in laughter at several points.

[Monologue]
Boooring. If the host is a singer, why not just let 'em be the musical guest as well? That's how it's often worked in the past. In any case, the whole Christina taking Jimmy Fallon to task for making fun of her on Weekend Update was mildly funny, but for the most part, "eh". A few points for some of the throwaway lines: "I'm just a pawn in Tina Fey's sick game!" and "We hired a guy named Finesse?".

[Sex and the City]
Perhaps "Sex and the City" is an easy target, but with all the hoopla over the final episode, I was glad to see it getting skewered. Surprisingly, Christina Aguilera as Kim Cattrall was the scene stealer in this sketch -- "that's right, I'm a dude!"

[Do You Know Who My Dad Is?]
Chris Parnell, in addition to being a great utility player in general, has to be the perfect fake generic game show host. As per usual, Will Forte made this sketch, with Seth Myers also doing fairly well as the German rich kid. Anyway, great concept for a sketch with above average execution.

[TV Funhouse - Fun With Real Audio]
This was...weird. My girlfriend pointed out as we watched that it was almost tragic. Poor (Lord Epstein-Carlisle) Pat O'Brien. Nice to see the Smeigel cartoon making a return, in any case.

[History Channel: Celebration of Women Week]
Below average. Christina got a bit preachy here and there, and it was really a one joke sketch that wasn't that funny to begin with.

[Maroon 5]
So the first time in ages SNL books a musical act with guitars and it's these guys? Blah.

[Weekend Update]
Merely average and *very short*. Only saving grace -- Jesus Horses!!

[Venice Beach dance-off]
Dig the sort-of retro costumes and Keenan's terrible dancing. Average sketch overall, though Will Forte's wimpy balladeer was bizarre yet welcome.

[Celebrities visit Christina backstage]
I don't even remember seeing this bit, I must've been in the kitchen getting a snack or something.

[Besos Y Lagrimas]
Another easy target, but still well done. Especially worthwhile was Fred Armisen and his big, fake mustache. Also nice to see Chris Parnell wearing an eye patch.

[Huggies Thong commercial]
Note to SNL: tape new fake commercials. This is a funny spot but it has to be like the fifth or six week in a row using it.

[Incompetent employee gets fired]
More Will Forte goodness, and even more of Chris Parnell in top form. Not sure what it was about those two but for my money, they dominated this show. Also, this sketch continued in the evening's theme of "short and snappy".

[Maroon 5]
See above.

[Rude pharmacy employee]
Only very mildly funny, mostly for Mya Rudolph's old lady character. A typical half-baked last sketch of the night.

All in all, this was a much better episode than I had it cut out for. While I don't particularly care for Christina Aguilera's music, for the most part she turned in a professional acting performance. More strong than weak sketches, and it was nice to see lots of Will Forte and Chris Parnell, though I could've done with a stronger Weekend Update.

--Mike