First, let’s just get it out of the way and say that Emma Stone, whether or not she had (Easy) A material, was excellent in her first, of hopefully many, SNL hosting gig. Running the gamut from an uninterested sweepstakes winner to Lindsay Lohan to a Ke$ha-like pop-tart to a French hipster to a fixated teen to a hoochie spokesmodel, Stone was pretty flawless. What was written for or around her wasn’t always top-notch, but she was, and we think her debut was even more impressive than that of her BFF Taylor Swift last season, even if that one might have elicited a bigger buzz. Many have compared Stone to Lohan (as happened in the episode itself, and on this blog); let’s hope that she continues on the path of Lohan’s early career, which includes hosting this show many times, BUT then let’s pray that Stone goes left where Lohan turned right, eventually veering totally off the tracks. However, despite her charms, it wasn’t Stone that left us with the greatest impression.
No, what struck us was that in this episode was that, mostly in the second half, the show was turned over to the JV team, rookies Paul Brittain, Taran Killam, Vanessa Bayer, as well as younger vets Bobby Moynihan, Nasim Pedrad and Abby Elliot. In fact, our favorite sketch of the night (with all due respect to Stefon) featured Brittain almost exclusively. We adored “Sex” Ex Vincent’s Sex Symposium:Vodpod videos no longer available.
The junior squad also filled out the roster for “Les Jeunes de Paris,” a sketch that basically consisted of neo-French beatnik hipsters dancing spastically to a club track and confining their conversations to their mother tongue. We were nearly horrified after three seconds, but soon appreciated its ambition, absurdity, and energy, and doggone it if we weren’t won over by end. Few points for comedy, but a handful for spunk and entertainment value. And it was perhaps quite telling that the sketch concludes with Jason Sudeikis as an old Frenchman ambling across the bar, causing the youngsters to take a brief breather. Letting the old guard pass, respecting his age and experience, but then going right back to the party. Curious.
The trend continued with Pedrad and Stone hosting the, somewhat uncomfortably incestuous, “My Brother Knows Everything,” (and, unfortunately, this was another iteration of Pedrad’s abnormally obsessed teenage characters), and the new class also rounded out the cast for the final sketch of the night, joining now grizzled old-timer Keenan Thompson in “Googie Rene’s Partially Damaged Halloween Costume Discount Basement.” This sketch also featured Stone doing a nice rendition on the ditzy NY/NJ-Guidette/Jewess-hoochie/slutty salesgirl character, reminiscent of Scarlett Johansson’s work with marble columns.
Also enlightening is that not only did the second or third (depending on where you place Stefon) best moment of the night come from another member of the youth group, it didn’t come from a featured member of the cast, but instead from writer John Mulaney. Mulaney made a winning appearance on “Weekend Update” last season with an editorial on Girl Scout Cookies, but he blew the doors the off the place this week with his new segment “I Love It.”Vodpod videos no longer available.
But it was a strong night for “Weekend Update” all around, with the already twice mentioned and always welcome Stefon…Vodpod videos no longer available.
…as well as Kenan Thompson appearing as Jimmy McMillan, candidate from the Rent is 2 Damn High party for NY State Governor (even if this impersonation is essentially a variation of Thompson’s own Oscar Rodgers, AKA Fix it!“)Vodpod videos no longer available.
In “what sketch did SNL possibly rip-off” this week we have a Brett Favre commercial parody for Wrangler No Fly Jeans. Topical, funny and they got the details right. But we couldn’t help but be reminded of another Brett Favre/Wrangler parody, that being The Midnight Show‘s “Wrangler Really Tiny Jeans,” a video they premiered a year ago. Sure, it’s not as relevant, but then it’s also more timeless. However, since new SNL scribe Heather Campbell (more new blood) was a member of the LA-based sketch group, we’re going to assume she mentioned their video and thus not hit SNL too hard for this one. Plus, no one owns the copyright on a good Wrangler parody. But feel free to compare and contrast:Vodpod videos no longer available.
And, to be fair, SNL does have a long, proud history of jeans-based commercial parodies:Vodpod videos no longer available. Vodpod videos no longer available.
And for this week’s “recurring sketch that needs to be retired” we have “Dream Home Extreme,” which reprised Kristen Wiig’s over-excited reporter character Cheryl Bryant. They tried this joke – an ordinary person shows no emotion or glee upon winning money or a prize – once before with Hugh Laurie in “Publisher’s Clearing House Giveaway,” and it wasn’t very successful then either. Perhaps they thought, three years later, we had forgotten about the sketch, and tried to slip it past us again. Unfortunately, while the sketch is unremarkable, we hadn’t forgotten about, and Wiig’s overcompensating hyper-energetic reporter was a poor way to start an otherwise strong show.
Other odds and ends:
– A fairly average The View parody, but with a fairly enjoyable Lindsay Lohan portrayal by Stone.
– Solid sensationalized newscast sketch with Bill Hader reporting on such panic inducing teen trends as sexting and trampolining. Good moments, but felt a little short, and slightly under-baked.
– A monologue that all us geeks can relate to. Plus, no musical number! Good work, team.
– Remember guys, it’s not mandatory that the cold opening be a political sketch.
All and all, now that we thinking about it, not a terrible outing. And we’ll leave you with this week’s digital short, which was another showcase for the fresh faces:Vodpod videos no longer available.
Next week! Jon Hamm returns! In what will be either the best show of the season thus far or the laziest. We shall see! Place your bets on guest stars now. Our money, unfortunately, is on Jason Sudeikis’ current squeeze, Ms. January Jones. See you then!