Well, there was no denying that the energy level was turned up to 11 on this weekend’s Saturday Night Live, with a burst of adrenaline that was no doubt due in great part to Joseph Gordon Levitt’s raucous enthusiasm, and, perhaps, with the scathing reviews after last weekend’s January Jones episode, the cast and crew felt they had something to prove. And they came out and put on an entertaining, upbeat, cue card independent show. But was it actually any funnier?
Well, yes, it was. But was it the “best episode of the season,” the superlative that many blogs have given it, so soon after they did the same for the Taylor Swift outing? That assertion, like the Taylor Swift platitudes, is debatable. Certainly though, there was no arguing it was better, and, at the very least, not nearly as lazy. But in this case, let’s not confuse enthusiasm for a good sense of humor, or entertainment for comedy. They’re definitely related, but one does not necessarily equal the other.
Over on his EW blog Ken Tucker provided an excellent commentary that’s quite similar to my own take (so if you’re in a rush and can only read his review or ours, read his), noting that while Levitt’s frenetic monologue performance of “Make ‘Em Laugh” from Singing in the Rain was impressive (especially his two off-the wall backflips followed by a well-executed pratfall) and a crowd pleaser, it didn’t exactly make you laugh. It was almost more like a successful awards show opening number than a sharp, funny SNL monologue. That being said we’ll be lucky if all future hosts can provide as much talent and effort as “regular Joe” (However, with that kind of energy, one has to wonder if JGL was on more than just regular joe).