Al Sharpton / Pink
December 6, 2003
Cold Opener: Quite the bold move...taking the opener
away from Darrell Hammond and handing it over to the irreverent
Jimmy Fallon (in character as Jeff Zucker of NBC Entertainment).
Oh, NBC, where they "turn lemons into TV shows."
Jimmy Fallon usurps the cold opener throne with gusto, but fails
to pack the comedic punch of his predecessors, Darrell Hammond
and Chris Parnell. B-.
Monologue: I know that I am in the minority here,
but when Tracy Morgan walked onto the stage, I was elated. To
be frank, I have been less than impressed this season at both
the quality of the skits and the seemingly phoned-in performances
of some of the cast. It was nice to see the cast aside Morgan
back on the SNL stage. Here, he suits up as a young Al Sharpton,
complete with hideous jogging suit. Tracy: "You talked
to Yassir Arafat in this suit." Al: "No, I didn't."
Tracy: "Well, you should have." The closing James
Brown musical number made the skit for me. I'm sorry, folks,
but this one gets an A. It is one of the few monologues
I have actually enjoyed this season.
Mom Jeans: I remember this commercial from last
season, yet still found it just as hilarious as the first time.
In case there are any skeptics out there, it is true: the soccer
moms of America really do cram themselves into jeans that ugly.
They'd be better off in burlap sacks than the jeans marketed
for their demographic. A, since I wasn't doing reviews
when this episode aired.
Michael Jackson: Amy Poehler reprises her role as the
media-maligned Michael Jackson. Chris Parnell joins her as an
attorney, with Al Sharpton as Johnny Cochran and Rachel Dratch
as Liz Taylor. Rachel Dratch shines in the role; I felt Helena
Cassadine's presence in the room as she kvetched at Amy/Jacko
(if you don't know who Helena Cassadine is, believe me, you're
better off). Horatio sits in the back as a random stranger.
They make a not-so-subtle dig at Michael's "balcony scene"
with his child, showing Amy throwing her bundle of joy in the
air and catching it on the incline. Cue the most poignant moment
of the sketch: a bewildered Michael Jackson stares down at the
child and croons, "I wonder how you were made!" Not
a bad sketch overall, though Amy's incessant orders to "Get
your hands up" sound nothing like Michael Jackson. B+.
Brian Fellow's Safari Planet: Again, I preface this leg of my review
with the admonition that I have always enjoyed Tracy Morgan's
performances. He was riddled with some pretty ridiculous/inane
material during his tenure on SNL, but was able to get a laugh
out of me on more than one occasion (which is more than I can
say for certain other regulars). I was in sheer rapture when
the Brian Fellow theme song sounded, and was shocked that they
would resurrect the skit of a departed cast member. Al Sharpton
joins him as brother Ryan Fellow. He "likes the ladies,"
and the brotherly pair enjoy clubbing with Eskimos. Chris Parnell
comes onto the scene with a seal. Did you know that seals have
multiple sexual partners? Apparently, the Fellow brothers did
not as they ask, wide-eyed and astounded, if seals are Mormons.
While Chris rambles, the two rub their respective lone neurons
together to ponder the notion of Frosty the Snowman as a future
guest. However, Brian dismisses this idea with the realization
that he's Frosty the SnowMAN. Tina Fey steps onto the scene
next as Sarah Bellow with bat in tow. Since bats live in caves,
Brian reasonst that this bat must know the whereabouts of Osama
bin Laden. Ryan concurs, expressing his desire to use the reward
money to go clubbing. "Wanna see my snowballs?"
A for its shameless irreverence and my relief at seeing the
skit resurrected. Yes, I am being subjective tonight.
Elijah Wood and Jet: Elijah Wood should be a fun co-host
but, please, who the hell is Jet? Let's hope a bit more talented
than the other musical guests this season.
Three Wise Men: Tracy, Al, and Keenan get pulled over
by a Roman cop (Jimmy), an action which is met with a defiant,
"You just pulled us over because we're black." Jeff
puts in an appearance as an angel covered in angel dust (not
the narcotic, though it does "sound really bad").
I would say that this skit crashed and burned, but it never took
Pink: I hereby rescind my initial claim that
I would not grade the musical guests. Her performance more than
merits my critical wrath. I am fairly certain that her unzipped
pants violate several health codes, and will have to do some
research to determine specifics. My admonition to female performers
everywhere (being a female myself): if you don't got
it, don't flaunt it. Not only was her outfit heinous, but
her voice was hoarse. Honestly, I think that she is trying too
hard to be like Gwen Stefani and failing miserably. Her pants
are proof positive that today's pop-obsessed youth are addicted
to crack. F, for having all the stage presence of
a peanut shell.
Weekend Update: Reading over my notes, I realize that
half the punchlines elude my memory. Operating according to
the dictates of logical deduction, this must mean that they weren't
funny. Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey apparently have been
"putting it in the wrong place all this time." Tune
in next week for the punchline to Jimmy's clandestine Slavery
Museum joke, since Al Sharpton is three times his size and could
sufficiently silence him. Don Pardo tells Des Moines, Iowa to
"suck it" for refusing to air tonight's broadcast.
Justin Guarini is likened to an aging Art Garfunkel. The highlight
of this week's installment voices one of the most profound truths
in today's SNL realm: Tina to Jimmy after a failed attempt at
third-grade math: "You're an idiot." Jimmy: "Yeah."
He later goes on to call Tina "Bitchy McJealous."
Paris Hilton comes on for some cute double entendres with Jimmy.
"Is it roomy [at the Paris Hilton]?" "For you,
maybe, but most people find it very comfortable."
Movie Set: Cue the African-American stereotypes.
However, let me point out here that Tracy has gotten more play
tonight than in any episode last season. Al Sharpton offers
a tribute to racial equality, all the while silencing the woman
on scene (Maya). D.
Al Sharpton's Casa de Sushi: Black man, Spanish house, Japanese
food. An obvious campaign ploy to exemplify how ecumenical our
presidential hopeful is. Amy, Maya, Keenan, and Will join Al
Sharpton for some spoofing of "California Love" by
the late Tupac Shakur. He must be rolling over in his grave.
Despite the fact that Al Sharpton loathes les fruits de mer,
he acknowledges that "campaigns don't pay for themselves."
Here comes Horatio to prove me wrong once again: that he does
deserve a spot on this cast. He turns in a flawless rendition
of Harvey Fierstein. In fact, for once, Horatio saved a skit.
Presidential Candidates: Congregated in John Edwards' living
room to watch in envious agony as Al Sharpton earns himself some
votes on SNL, the eight presidential hopefuls engage in some
rather inane banter. Chris turns in a decent performance as
Joe Lieberman, Jimmy is General Wesley Clark, Will is John Edwards
(gracious host and prolific cook), Jeff Richards is Howard Dean,
Seth is John Kerry, and Darrell is Dick Gephardt, the eight-time
loser. However, Dick is right about one thing on a symbolic
level: Darrell has "more experience than anyone here."
It is a shame that the show's most talented veteran has had
to give his screen time to some of these lackluster newbies (who
shall remain nameless ::coughcoughjimmycoughcoughseth::). This
sketch is too busy and involves too many characters to be cohesive.
Pink: Someone please clarify for me: did she spit
at the beginning of her performance? Did she also tear the headphones
from her ears? I don't really care. Thank God her SNL stint
is over for tonight. F.
The Latoya Jackson Show: Maya dresses up as the illustrious
Latoya in the second jab at the Jackson family tonight (third
if you count the lame punchline during Weekend Update).
Al is Joseph Jackson and Keenan is Chaka Khan. However, instead
of offering him the opportunity to showcase some of his comedic
talent, he plays an out-of-breath Chaka who burns out five seconds
into the skit. Fred Armisen is hilarious as Michael Jackson's
infamous impersonator from Belgium. This man is capable of anything.
I am sure of this. Latoya ends by thanking all of the "hard-working
gay guys who put [her] together." C+.
Taxi scene: Horatio is the cab driver, Maya is
the wife, and Al is Al, who notes that this scenario is "goofier
than George Bush's health care plan." I have to admit,
George Bush's health care plan is pretty goofy. Fred returns
as the albino transvestite out to destroy Horatio's family; however,
even he can't save this one. F.
Cryogenix: Loved it the first time, loved it
the second time. "Halitosis...there'll probably be a cure
for that someday."
Johnny Cash: Darrell Hammond turns in another sparkling
performance as the late Johnny Cash, whose death was overlooked
because John Ritter died the same day. When will the writers
realize that, the more skits Darrell is in, the funnier this
show is going to be? A-.
Overall episode grade: C. There were enough funny moments
to counteract Al Sharpton's lackluster performance. I was so
distracted by his missed cues and shifting, cue card-reading
eyes that I failed to find him funny (except during his musical
number). I originally gave this episode a C+, but dropped it
down to a C because I realized just how much the episode fizzled
out after the first few skits. Fred was sorely missed, as was
Darrell in the cold opener. Elijah Wood, being the somewhat
seasoned actor he is, should be able to pull off some good impersonations
to compensate for Al Sharpton's lack of theatrical talent this