First, a confession: I’ve never watched a single second of Glee. The reason for this is that I don’t want to. Nothing about that show interests me. Of course, one could argue that as the writer of a pop culture blog, the thing that should interest me about that show, if not the show itself, is the show’s overwhelming popularity and seeming capture of the zeitgeist. Shouldn’t someone who writes a pop culture blog be the least bit curious about a television program that is helping to define a generation (or something)? Shouldn’t someone who writes a pop culture blog be the least bit curious what the hilarious recaps posted on that pop culture blog are actually about? All of these are reasonable questions, and you would be well advised to fire me if I had not already quit. But actually, the real POINT that I am trying to make, is that while I’m glad that Glee, whatever that is, has brought Jane Lynch a much larger profile, Jane Lynch was great long before Glee came along. And so when she dedicated her monologue to the show, and helped create a Gilly-themed Glee parody that probably didn’t even appeal to fans of Glee (and there are no fans of Gilly), it felt off. Jane Lynch should have been invited to host because she’s an incredibly talented comedic actress with a long resume of incredible work. Jane Lynch should have been invited to host because of Party Down, and Role Models, and 40-Year-Old Virgin, and her work with Christopher Guest. Jane Lynch should have been invited to host JUST BECAUSE.
In any case, regardless of what got her there, Jane Lynch did host Saturday Night Live. So let’s talk about it:
It wasn’t that great! It does seem like this show always has a bit of stretching to do after the summer hiatus, and with all of the new performers this season, that stretching period might take a little longer. The extent of this need for everyone to start vibing together and get the show clicking was painfully apparent in at least two sketches that just crumbled in the last 10 seconds due to some unknown technical error? There was that bizarre Denzel Washington Working at Macy’s sketch, which had one of the better premises of the night because that is such a weird premise, and then kind of just was boring and weird and MadTV. I suppose it was educational insofar as I now know that I can only watch about one minute of a Denzel Washington impersonation before getting bored and antsy, and after five minutes of a Denzel Washington impersonation, I’m checking to see if Meet the Press is still on, because like lots of adults, I watch SNL on Sunday mornings. But the reason I brought that sketch up in the first place: did you notice at the end when Denzel Washington disappeared into the back, but then you saw him hovering in the hallway giving Jane Lynch’s character a scowl, and it seemed like there was another part of the sketch about to happen, but then nothing happened, and the closing “joke” of the sketch was Bobby Moynihan just saying “it all worked out fine”? That was weird!
The same thing happened at the end of the Tax Masters sketch, which was the otherwise great “Writer’s Sketch” at the end of the show, where SNL dumps all the genuinely interesting and weird comedy ideas for fear of alienating the people who watch their show, not realizing that the people who watch their show can HANDLE it, and might actually LIKE THE SHOW MORE if the show took risks. But anyway, watch how this one ends:
Just a little sloppy is all. Look, I don’t know how to create an hour and a half of live comedy television. I’m sure it’s incredibly difficult in ways that wouldn’t even make sense to me. But that’s also their job. And considering that comedy is subjective and some jokes work and some jokes don’t work, it’s hard enough to create an appealing and enjoyable show without straight up hearing the stage crew barking stressed demands into their walkie talkies in the background as the sketch’s joke is stepped on and we cut to commercial.
ANYWAY! At least Jane Lynch seemed to be having fun? She was good in Secret Word:
And also Mom’s New Boyfriend:
Is it me, or does Saturday Night Live have way more sketches about awkward pre-teens these days? Fair enough. They are good sketches. It’s just a TREND that has been DULY NOTED.
The Christine O’Donnell parody ad made a really funny point that made me laugh out loud and which I had not actually read or heard anywhere before:
As obvious as it might seem, I hadn’t actually heard anyone directly connect how funny it is to deny being a witch before launching into the whole “I’m you” thing, because of how we are all constantly having to deny being a witch. Haha. (You know what else is hilarious? Christine O’Donnell in general.)
Also, the Mom’s on Facebook thing would probably have been a slightly better zing a year or two ago when that was a genuinely new thing that people were dealing with (considering how The Social Network was the number one movie in the country for the second week in a row, people are now dealing with the fact that their moms don’t just know what Facebook is, they know THE STORY OF FACEBOOK, so), but it was still pretty well done:
And there you go. (I didn’t even watch the Bruno Mars performances. Let me guess: they were terrible?) The episode was uneven, and felt a little off at times, but it was a reminder that no matter what, Jane Lynch is the best.