EPISODE REVIEWS


Lucy Lawless / Elliott Smith
October 17, 1998


Ah! The Emerging Horatio. He is compelling. Even if he wasn't the star of a particular sketch, I found myself watching him. He's got a certain quality that Kattan will never have. The cast members that work on the show are Ferrell, Gasteyer, Hammond, Meadows, and Sanz. Smigel is also first rate. Molly Shannon, Cherie Oteri, and Tracy Morgan can all be funny occasionally, but their signature sketches tend to be tame. They might as well be on the Carol Burnett Show. Kattan is pathetic--not even mildly funny. LORNE! Wake Up! This ain't your guy!

 

On with the show:

My review will concentrate on which sketches were good, but also why they were good.

 

The opening was the best one of the season so far. This was the highlight of the show. A sendup of Helms has been long overdue. The writers have tapped into that Republican frustration with the support of Clinton and their seeming disregard of what the public wants. The Hypnotism bit was beautiful. I love Henry Hyde jumping up and down clapping his hands like a naughty kid. The funny thing is that Ferrell is not that far off. And Hammond is Perfect!

 

The monologue was also the best of the season. I must admit I underestimated Lucy as a host. They certainly didn't make us wait for the inevitable Lesbian gags. These were done well. Especially the "It's ma'am" bit.

 

Shirt in a Can was irrational, which I usually like, but this didn't really work. Meadows says,"Ow, it's burning my skin!" The voice over replies "That tells you it's a shirt." Perhaps they are satirizing those dandruff shampoo commercials that claim that the tingling sensation is the proof of its medical value. I could pour battery acid on my head and it would tingle.

 

Oh surprise! The real Judge Judy! You know I liked this bit the first time with Pesci and DeNiro walking in on Bruer. Only Pesci and DeNiro didn't botch their lines. I know this is supposed to be Cheri's bit, but Morgan and Gasteyer steal it every time.

 

The History of Presidential Scandals was good both times. It was mean and funny. It also makes you think how weird you have to get before you top Clinton's freakish tobacco habit.

 

The White House Commentary Sketch was brilliant. Ana Gasteyer Shines here. Maybe it's just me, but this seems like her sketch. Not that she was the star, just that it seems like her perspective. I also like the surreal costume change. I like that irrationality.

 

Smigel is so damned good. Hey Lorne you want a good feature length project that wouldn't be embarrassing? Put your money behind Smigel, not Kattan. The trained Robin Quivers is perfect. This also represents the next installment of the "Let's make fun of ourselves" motif this season. We had Two SNL video ads that were good jabs at the SNL institution. And now Lorne and Stern making out. Dealing with the Stern threat confrontationally is the way to go here. Enough of Lorne saying "Well I just think Howard is so smart, and he'll figure out this market blah blah blah." Kick his ass. Mock and berate! Go Smigel!

 

Stevie Nicks Fajita Roundup. This was a lame idea that was miraculously saved by a wicked performance by Lawless.

 

KATTAN! Surely I'm not alone here! This Banderas Sketch was one of the Two low points in the show both of which were made slightly better by Sanz. This and Goth Talk both sucked. Sanz stole both of them. What is he mocking here? The language barrier? The accent? The overt sexuality? This reminds me of the Billy Crystal/Fernando Lamas bit. It wasn't funny either.

 

Update sucks. Lose Quinn. The Chuckie thing was really weak. I thought we lost the Muppets in '76. Update needs to resemble a news show. Maybe go tabloid. It shouldn't just be fake news; it should also make fun of the news institution.

 

Music--Take more risks.

 

Biography--First rate satire. I like Hammond's strange portrayal of Perkins. And Meadows is great at mocking Puff Daddy--a performer certainly deserving of extreme mockery. Jesus, how could Jimmy Page...

 

Will Ferrell is the Star of the show. This is truly disturbing. It's rare that he chokes. He understands what SNL should be: Disturbing, mean, and funny. He is truly shameless. He reminds me of Akroyd.

 

Everything else was really bad.

 

overall--Pretty good show


Episode Review written by Jerome Chapman


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