EPISODE REVIEWS


Nathan Lane / Metallica
December 6, 1997


[OPENING] Brian Williams covers Well Babies Tragedy

Good take on an oversaturated story. Overdid it by showing the graphic three times, but I guess that was the point. Will Ferrell was good as the desperate reporter trying to use someone else's misfortune to further his own career (no wonder Geraldo showed up). There's a joke in here somewhere about getting Oteri to play a very short 10-year old Jessica, but everyone else was probably thinking the same thing anyway. A Robert Smigel cartoon was advertised in the opening montage, but I don't remember seeing it! They must be toying with my emotions again *sniff*

 

[MONOLOGUE] Nathan Lane

These monologues have been pretty bad this year, so this one with a "singing cast walkabout" seems pretty decent. Is Tim Meadows getting bitter yet?

 

[COMMERCIAL] Chess For Girls

Bingo - best commercial parody of this season so far. Now we need to follow up with a Chess For Boys where all the pieces have laser guns and rocket packs.

 

[SKETCH] Craig and Arianna's Spartan Cheerleading dream

I just plain don't like these characters, so I won't really like anything here regardless. The Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders were a new twist, and they did look genuinely funny leaping across the screen at the end there, so I found it passable.

 

[SKETCH] The Quiet Storm with Chris Garnett

I thought this guy was killed off, and it was done better that time too. My fave Tim Meadows character is still the clueless host of "Perspectives". Hey look, it's Tracey Morgan's other recurring character, "slow dancin' man"!

 

[SKETCH] Sister Wendy Beckett's Art Odyssey

Don't pick on Sister Wendy too much. She rules. I guess this feeds into the stereotype about nuns being sexually repressed. If I only believed what I saw on TV and the movies, I'd think all nuns either sing, dance, fly or be naughty.

 

[SKETCH] The History Of Vaudeville (minority songs)

"I rikey egg roll". Was it OK to laugh at this one? I guess it is if we're laughing at the duo's lack of cleverness rather than the stereotypes presented. I like the part where they didn't know anything about the French. But come to think of it, doesn't a croissant look kind of like a fetus?

 

[WEEKEND UPDATE] with Norm MacDonald

Another one too short. These seemed ten times longer when the much weaker Kevin Nealon ran the newsdesk. Is Norm just mailing these in now? That Rolling Stone article doesn't make him sound like much of a team player. Liked the dig at Kenny G. The audience seemed to go for the Officer Costello bit, I thought it was just OK. Will Tracey Morgan ever get another shot with his Dominican Lou character?

 

[MUSICAL GUEST] Metallica

Sideburns, goatees, piercings, ughhh. I can't say anything about this new "Alternica" that hasn't been said already, so let's get out of here.

 

[COMMERCIAL] Songs That Ruined Everything

They've got quite a bit of nerve to put this on at the same time as the new Metallica is playing the show. But some of these songs are good! - "Dancing in the Dark" is only one of Springsteen's biggest hits ever. Good concept even if I didn't agree with all the choices. When this first came on I thought Will was doing his Elton John impression again, so it could only get better from there. Can't wait for Volume 2 featuring 1997 mistakes by U2, Sting with Puff Daddy and, of course, Metallica.

 

[THE LOST DEEP THOUGHTS] by Jack Handey

These are always good! I hope he comes out with another book of these.

 

[SKETCH] Vance helps Miss Milo into costume

Can't think of anything to say about this sketch. Didn't do anything for me at all.

 

[MUSICAL GUEST] Metallica

Gee, Ms. Faithfull sure contributed a lot to this number, eh? "Dum, dum, dum, dum"... Don't tell me they're going to drag this woman all around the country just for this one part. Actually, I'd love to see this video with her reviewed on that Beavis show. "Hey look, it's that Tom Petty dude, heh heh!" "Huh huh, no, you dork, that's Joni Mitchell."

 

[SKETCH] Santa Claus the ex-convict

Hey, this was the second Ronnie James Dio reference in the last little while (remember the "Rock Fantasy Camp?). One of the writers must be a fan or something, you know how that works. I'm heartbroken to see that today's youth have no idea who this great man is. Oh yeah, the sketch. It was OK, I guess, but not up there with other memorable "bad Santas" from this sketch show and others.

 

[THE LOST DEEP THOUGHTS] by Jack Handey

First one was better. Needed a more surreal punchline than "street weirdo".

 

[CLOSING AND FINAL THOUGHTS]

Hey, they almost made it to the end of the credits this week. Although the show is a big improvement over the disaster in 1995, sometimes I wonder if they're trying TOO hard. I can't see anyone in the current cast with enough of a following to have much of a career beyond this show. In the early '80s, when the show was practically cruising on the popularity of Eddie Murphy, the musical guest usually got two numbers and an occasional stand-up act would shore up those 90 minutes further. Now there is usually one musical number, no stand-up, and an abbreviated Weekend Update. TV Fun House and the Lost Deep Thoughts can help though. This is also one of the more truly ensemble casts of the show's history, as no handful of members really dominates over the others right now.


Episode Review written by Chris Jackson


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