Uh. Is it just me, or was that one of the worst episodes of Saturday Night Live in a really long time? (Maybe not THAT long.) And I say that as an Amy Poehler superfan! I’m not sure what happened. There were certainly plenty of celebrity cameos to keep things EXCITING (if not particularly funny?), although that might have been part of the problem. Remember how all of these people (Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch) made an appearance just a few short months ago when Betty White hosted? So this time, rather than provide a thrill, it felt well-worn. Tired even. Not that it isn’t great to have the old gang back together, but it’s certainly not ENOUGH. I don’t know, it just never felt like the show found its footing. It had moments, obviously. It’s hard not to have moments in an hour and a half. But mostly the whole thing felt like that interminable “new Showtime show” sketch where it’s like, I think I get what you are going for, Saturday Night Live, but it’s not really working, and you are WASTING Amy Poehler, sir. (Also, go to bed, Katy Perry.)
But, so, let’s talk about the moments the show did have:
My favorite sketch of the night was the mostly cameo-free classic recurring Maternity Matters sketch with Fred Armisen. No stunts. Just laffs.
The return of Amy Poehler’s and Maya Rudolph’s Bronx Beat was also a treat, at least until Katy Perry showed up and ruined it. Good grief. The only thing worse than her musical performance on the show (see below) was when she was wedged into a sketch with her goggle eyes and her lack of restraint. Restrain yourself!
Perhaps the most “talkable” moment of the night was the appearance of New York’s Governor David Patterson. It was really awkward! And I don’t just mean the standard Saturday Night Live awkwardness that occasionally occurs when a person shows up to confront their own parody. I mean that it was awkward because New York’s Governor David Patterson was just straight up THE MOST AWKWARD, and kind of PAINFUL TO WATCH, and should maybe GET SOME NEW HANDLERS TO HELP HIM WITH SOME OF THE DECISIONS HE MAKES.
Then, of course, there is the Tiny Hats scandal.
It is hard to say (it is not hard to say) whether or not someone can “own” the idea of a hat that is humorously small. But the human mind likes to find patterns and make comparisons in this world, and it is disappointing if the show’s most unusual and absurd sketch took its idea from an even more unusual and absurd sketch.
And here is Katy Perry’s performance of “California Gurls,” which is also a joke:
And so there you go. There was also a decent “Really? With Seth and Amy,” but again, they just did this in the spring, so it didn’t feel particularly special? Also Actor II Actor with Andy Samberg and Justin Timberlake was cute, although the world is chock full of parodic talk shows at this point.
Anyway, the season is begun. Good luck, Saturday Night Live. I AM definitely looking forward to Brian Cranston and also Jon Hamm hosting. And I am definitely NOT looking forward to anymore nonsensical cocktail party trick Will Smith interviews, thanks.