I’m not sure how Hulu’s new policy is going to affect the links to their content because, as per usual in corporate entertainment America, it makes perfect sense to restrict content easily obtainable for free. Great job, Hulu, in managing to go from one of the most relevant sites on the Internet to one of the most irrelevant in less than a year by charging for network television and restricting access to episodic television. Even pets.com couldn’t pull that off. So, if you manage to come to one of these reviews 17 days after the SNL episode airs, it’s likely many of the links will be broken. I look forward to reading about the record numbers of people who purchase episodes of SNL on iTunes because nothing says “have me forever” like a topical satire show that doesn’t age well. It may even be more than the 35 people who signed up for Newsday’s pay wall.
Host: Amy Poehler (1) — Nice to see Amy Poehler back as host. Unfortunately (and I think long-time watchers knew this) it gave the writers an excuse to be lazy for the season premiere as they could do a nostalgia run through her characters. The monologue was the normal stuff returning hosts usually say combined with Amy narrating us through a recurring nightmare she has about being late for the show. It was really just an excuse to get Rachel Dratch, Jimmy Fallon, and Tina Fey for a few minutes on the premiere and allowed Fallon to post this photo of him probably taking the JFK helicopter shuttle.
Musical Guest: Katy Perry (1) — I don’t understand how someone can be this consistently bad live and both continually get live spots AND not go to lip-synch or autotune. Two years ago when she was on New Year’s Rocking Eve, I just assumed it was bad sound… but she always has the same robotic, out of tune delivery. It’s hysterical how low her mic is in comparison to her back-up singers. Also, maybe someone could mention that singing an awful West Coast anthem on an East Coast show isn’t the most endearing thing. Realize that California is one of the only two states we New Yorkers look at and say “goddam, they’re f*cked”. The other is Jersey. If not for Katy’s appearance on Bronx Beat — where they took the lay-up opportunity to poke fun at Sesame Street parents* — this would have been a total waste.
* – I say parents because the target demo of Sesame Street is kids under 5. The target demo wasn’t looking at Katy Perry’s outfit and thinking ZOMG SEX! Kids don’t think like sexually repressed adults. If anything, kids would be thinking about lunch and being not quite sure why. That said, Katy Perry on Sesame Street — who is famous for nothing else other than being kind of a whore and singing an experimental college lesbian anthem — was a stupid idea in the first place.
Guest Stars: Rachel Dratch, Justin Timberlake, Jimmy Fallon, Maya Rudolph, Tina Fey, Governor David Patterson(!).
Best Sketch: Gay Wedding Ground Zero Mosque. A spoof of the political commercials that dominate NYC TV during election season. It’s awesome because we get commercials for New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut races.
Honorable Mention: Bosley Hair Transplant. Bosley wants you to know it can take healthy hair follicles from a different source if you don’t have any left on your head. Ask any one who has had a hair transplantation in London and you’ll see. Also, Katy Perry’s hypnotic Elmo T-Shirt.
Line of the Week: Via Bronx Beat: “As soon as my kids went back to school I put my feet up and had a glass of white wine. So what if it was 8:30 in the morning. I’m a grown woman, don’t judge.”
Worst Skit: Maternity Matters. They did this sketch last year with Teen Talk and it wasn’t funny. I expected nostalgia sketches involving Amy’s characters, but not redoing bad sketches from last season. This would have been OK if they’d combined this with Amy’s one-legged farting girl (and it was right there, because one of the questions was a pregnant girl who had uncontrollable gas) but as it was, bleh. That’s not to say using the one-legged farter to make fun of Showtime taking itself a bit too seriously with their “deep female characters” was either wasted or unnecessary.
Should Have Been Funnier: Tiny Hat Trish. There was a lot that could have been done with this because it seemed right on the border of laying in to Bravo with the Housewives and Hader as a random fashionista gay stereotype. This was right there to lay a crushing on Bravo’s new business model of featuring horrible people who, with few exceptions, should be euthanized and their homes given to the recently unemployed.
Digital Short: Boogerman. Didn’t get it at all. They were obviously making fun of the live performances of Emmy-nominated songs at the Emmys, but it wasn’t good. Honestly, the 30-second throwaway Actor II Actor sketch with Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg was better. I think the Lonely Island guys sometimes get a little carried away with their budget and do too much.
- Really?!?! With Seth & Amy — Seth and Amy take on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s claim that Americans were behind 9/11 which leads in to their take on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and conclude that not repealing it is “gay”. Amy joined the Update desk for the balance.
- Jay Pharoah as Will Smith — Jay Pharoah replaces Darrel Hammond as the staff impressionist. As an impression of Will Smith, I give it a B-. As a replacement for Darrel Hammond, thus far, I give it a D-. I think they probably could have hit Will Smith a little harder for his transition to stage parent who pretends his kids have started on a level playing field to everyone else.
- Fred Armisen as David Patterson — Midway through another run-through of messing with New Jersey, Fake David Patterson was interrupted by actual Governor David Patterson. Patterson was forgivably off with his comedic timing as he was being delivered his lines from somewhere other than cue cards but still managed to rip off a line of the week candidate with: “You guys made so much fun of me for being blind I forgot I was black.”
- Seth’s line of the week: “Apple is testing a new app that will let users pay for their subway ride with their iPhone. Just be sure to move aside as you try to get iPhone service IN THE SUBWAY.”
Final Thoughts: Left me totally blah for a season premiere. I have no problem with the nostalgia sketches when you get a long-time player back as host, even if some of those characters weren’t my favorites… but a total lack of Keenan (last year’s clear MVP in the SNL Awards column I never finished) and a prime timeslot for what was an unfunny idea the first time around left me lacking.
Tags: Amy Poehler, Katy Perry, Saturday Night Live, SNL