Welcome to the After Party:
Reviewing Saturday Night Live’s Season 37 Premiere Hosted by Alec Baldwin with Musical Guest Radiohead
Episode 37.1 ♦ Original Air Date: September 24, 2011
Expectation Rating: 9.0/10 ♦ Herring Bone Episode Rating: 7.5/10
Episode MVP: Bill Hader ♦ Kristen Wiig Counter: 5 (Open, Monologue, Commercial, Sketches 1 & 2)
After Party Review
I put together a list of odds of things we might see during the episode, so here’s some notables that either did or didn’t come to fruition last night:
1) Odds Stefon appeared on Weekend Update: 0.25/1.
- NO. Shockingly Stefon made no appearance and there was only one actual bit during the segment (Alec Baldwin as Tony Bennet reviewing movies).
2) Odds Jay Pharoah has taken over Obama: 9/1.
- UNKNOWN. In another shocker – the premiere included no appearances by President Obama.
3) Steve Martin appears on show: 1.5/1 & Martin appears in monologue: 2/1.
- YES & YES. Steve did a bit with Baldwin requesting verification Baldwin wasn’t using performance enhancing drugs. Seth Rogen was randomly present in this sketch.
4) Baldwin mentions Schweddy Balls Ice Cream during monlogue: 0.5/1.
- YES. He did mention, also accompanied by an appropriate joke towards these whackos promising to boycott Ben & Jerry’s over the name. Bigger problems out there people, bigger problems.
Best Sketch: In a bit of a runaway it’s the Top Gun: Anniversary DVD bit that they’ve brought back from last year’s Back to the Future sketch. It was hilarious…it could have been a 10 if they let the whole thing run. Grade: 9.0/10
Top Gun 25th Anniversary DVD Sketch:
- Problem #1: This is a great bit for weaker hosts (athletes, young pop stars, etc.) because they did enough impersonations for two seperate portions and can really showcase the casts talents; when Baldwin is hosting it’s a bit frustrating. They scrapped the second half from the live show (available here), which seems inexplicable with one terrible sketch sitting where this could have.
- Problem #2: The best impressionist on the show, Jay Pharoah, did not appear in this bit and didn’t appear on the entire show. Why they brought back Pacino (Baldwin) and Alda (Hader) impressions from last year and didn’t let Pharoah do his killer Eddie Murphy is beyond me. It was still very enjoyable. They can ride this type of sketch throughout the season.
Worst Sketch: Runaway winner again. The bit where Kristen Wiig is a field reporter on a newscast with a long delay and creatures crawling on her. Grade 1.0/10
- This sketch is the definition of Kristen Wiig on SNL at this point- she is the lead in sketches force-fed to the show despite poor premises and dialogue. I refuse to believe that the cast of writers available didn’t have something better than that during the rehearsal. It wasn’t funny at all.
Saturday Night Live Just Went There: Yes, this is a sketch about which of these two straight men would be “the top” if they were gay. It was definitely original with some great one-liners. I can only imagine this being pitched to Lorne Michaels in 1975. “You want to do a game show about WHAT?!?” Grade: 8.5/10
Who’s On Top?
Cold Open: I really enjoyed it. Taran Killam continues to impress whenever given an opportunity. This bit coupled with his impressions in “Top Gun” made for a solid night for the rising star. Grade 8.5/10
Herring Bone Opinion: I have to say that Seth Meyers is really getting a huge jump on the “Vote for Barack Obama: All the GOP candidates are clearly a bunch of idiots” game plan he so artfully painted in 2008 with Tina Fey. If you think these types of sketches don’t play a role in elections you’re kidding yourself. My best friend, who’ll never read this, has seen more bits of Will Ferrell impersonating George W. Bush than actual video of the former president. He, like millions of other Americans my age in the YouTube/DVR/Internet generation, associate Ferrell with Bush and Fey with Sarah Palin as reality and not sketch comedy. The dumber they make these Republicans look as they’re passed around office and class e-mails, the better the chance Obama rides the 18-34 vote into term number two. We’ll no doubt see Obama mockery going forward, but don’t be surprised if it’s sharpness starts to tail off in late winter and takes it’s typical left-wing bias into the fall of 2012.
Commercial: My lady friend and sister both said they didn’t love the “Red Flag Perfume” sketch, but I definitely got it. Would it have been 5x funnier with a smoking hot girl like Nasim Pedrad? Yup! Would Wiig have ever allowed that? Nope! Grade: 7.5/10
Other Sketch Ratings:
All My Children Finale. It was definitely watchable. Not amazing, but a good premise. Grade 7.0/10
Weekend Update: Did it seem extremely short to anyone else? One bit during the whole thing? I felt short-changed. The Tony Bennett smile Baldwin pulls off is almost creepy. What we got was good, it just wasn’t up to par. Grade: 6.5/10
Child Psychology: I love Nasim Pedrad and she nailed her character in this bit. It was fresh, funny, well-written. I think they maximized the potential out of the premise. And who doesn’t love a bowl of sloppy mess being dumped on someone’s head. Solid. Grade: 7.5/10
Angels in the Trenches: The night’s final bit. For the non-SNL junkies this sketch is also known as “The Writer’s Sketch” or the “Ten to One” (as in it airs 10 minutes before the 1 AM time to close the show.) I found it pretty smart and fresh as well. Add it to the list of ones that should have aired in front of the Buffalo news disaster with Wiig. Grade: 7.5/10
- I legitimately clapped out loud when I recognized that Nasim Pedrad had been promoted to Repertory Player. Congrats!! Well deserved and overdue.
- Boy did Baldwin look good – dropped a solid 20+ pounds this summer.
- Abby Elliot was added at 21 and she’s really grown up in the past two seasons professionally and physically. She looks amazing.
- Jay Pharoah and Lonely Island record “Did Not Play- Coach’s Decision” for the season premiere. Extremely frustrating.
Next Week: Melissa McCarthy/Lady Antebellum
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