For the last week we’ve been taking a look at NBC’s Thursday night comedies, but with Kristen Wiig’s sendoff on ‘SNL’ this past weekend we decided to add her departure to the conversation.
It’s not worth going into detail about how the season finale of SNL – and the season as a whole – was middling. The Mick Jagger-hosted episode was a hit-or-miss mixed bag which typifies nearly every episode and every season. As we’ve learned from several seasons of recaps and now over a decade-and-a-half of religious viewing, that’s the show. It will never be too far up or too far down, so just try to enjoy it. What is worth discussing, as all of the internet has been doing for the past two days, is the exit of Kristen Wiig after seven stellar seasons, leaving behind a body of work that positions her as arguably the strongest female cast member of all-time.
Over on the wonderful Splitsider it’s “Women in Comedy Week,” so perhaps that’s why today we had the search term “best female cast members in snl history.” If that’s the case, we welcome those readers. And if that’s not why you’re here, we’re still thrilled to have you.
Well, despite our reminder to you last week, we eagerly arrived home on Monday night only to be severely disappointed when we realized that we had neglected to set our DVR to record the Women of SNL special. We had been looking forward to it ever since Jon Hamm delivered his goodbyes the day before, but the thought never occurred to us that our SNL season pass would not apply to the female-centric primetime special. OUR BAD.
To add to our dismay, neither NBC.com nor Hulu is hosting the full special. However, it appears that the only original material included a few one-on-one interviews and this excellent take on the Real Housewives (we’re going to go ahead and say they’re primarily targeting RH of NJ over the other installments, with Amy Poehler, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Laraine Newman channeling the nascent RH of Beverly Hills via satellite).
EW reports that the lady ghosts of Saturday Night Live past will reunite on November 1 for “The Women of SNL,” a two-hour prime time tribute to such greats as Siobhan Fallon and Melanie Hutsell. But wait, didn’t they already do this in May? And then again two weeks ago? Well, I guess SNL has shown time and time again that it’s never heard the term “too much of a good thing,” nor the phrase “You brought back Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Rachel Dratch and Maya Rudolph for the Betty White episode last season and then again in this season’s premiere. Don’t you think that’s enough?” But we also know the show has no reservations about repeating itself.
Let’s hope the show, which will be comprised of old sketches as well as new material, will include some of these classics, and nothing with Gilly or Penelope or anything else terrible.
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Nora Dunn, Ana Gasteyer, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Laraine Newman, Cheri Oteri, and Molly Shannon are also slated to return. However, no word yet on Ellen Cleghorne.
But all kidding aside, where’s Jan Hooks on that Murderer’s Row-esqe lineup? She was the best lady on there in the late 80s/early 90s and we’d love to see her go up against the youngins, sort of like when Rocky fought Mason “The Line” Dixon. And her appearances on 30 Rock weren’t enough to quench our Hooks-thirst, nor they did truly demonstrate her versatility.
Amy Poehler returned to host the 36th season premiere of SNL this past week, but did it feel like she ever really left? Between her frequent appearances last season on the big show and her stint co-anchoring Weekend Update Thursday last fall she was really on the show as much as Jenny Slate was, and probably more times than Jay Mohr during his brief run (cheap shot, sorry, Jay). She even capped last season by coming back for the famed, Emmy-winning Betty White episode, joining her fellow former female castmates like Tina Fey and Molly Shannon in helping White carry the hosting weight. That episode, the 2nd to the last of the season, felt more like a prime-time special than a regular show (indeed, it was billed as a Mother’s Day edition, but as a result of coincidental timing and to justify bringing in the ringers to support White, who then proved she really didn’t need assistance). And while host-in-residence Alec Baldwin made his annual appearance to close out the season a week later, White’s episode really felt like the big finish. And wouldn’t you know it, SNL felt like it picked up just where it left off, by pulling out the big guns and bringing back the all-time greats, starting with Ms. Poehler herself.
It’s hard to believe that a year has passed by since we waved goodbye to Michaela Watkins (we hardly knew ye) and Casey Wilson (probably for the best) and welcomed with skeptical arms the rookies Jenny Slate and Nasim Pedrad. And it’s sad to report that a year later we’re already saying goodbye to the former of that dynamic young duo. And once again, the changes are sure to raise eyebrows. However, this time around, we don’t have a good theory as to what precipitated the moves.
With Will Forte’s departure two weeks ago the whispers began to circulate and the dominoes began to fall. Except, they really didn’t fall so much as erect themselves next to already firmly planted playing pieces, with Taran Killam (best known from Scrubs), Paul Brittain and Vanessa Bayer from the iO Chicago, and Jay Pharoah, a comedian and talented impressionist, joining the cast, while veterans Andy Samberg, Jason Sudeikis, Kenan Thompson – rumored to possibly be following Forte out the door – remain (as of press time) at their posts. So it came as a bit of a shock when word got out yesterday that the show had released a cast member, but not one of its established male veterans with s burgeoning film careers (or even Kristen Wiig, who may have already over-stayed her welcome a season or two), but, instead, Slate, who had only put in a season’s worth of work.
Now, if you recall last year’s history lesson on women & SNL, you’ll recall that going into the season with four women (Slate, Pedrad, Wiig & Abby Elliott most recently) was on the high side. In fact, going a whole season with four veteran female cast members is just about as good as it’s ever been on the show. So, with the addition of Bayer, it’s not surprising that SNL & head honcho Lorne Michaels decided to cut loose a lady. It was a numbers game. That we understand. But then why add one in the first place?
Some people said it couldn’t be done. Others asked specifically that it not be done. Most have no idea this even exists. But, despite all the doubters and naysayers and initiated, we’ve defied expectations and reached our one year anniversary. It was just a year ago today (or “was it only a year ago?”) that Jumped The Snark launched with the unveiling of the Judd Apatow Effect. Full disclosure: we felt pretty confident that our thoroughly researched and elaborately detailed chart was going to rocket us into the blogosphere, but the truth is that it’s a year later and readership hasn’t grown since that first week and we’ve still yet to be linked to on Pop Candy. But, despite Whitney’s constant rejection and a plateau in daily views, we’re committed delivering unneeded thoughts on SNL and unsolicited commentary on The Office and irrelevant Growing Pains videos and cheap shots at Guy Fieri and news on the Muppets that’s of no interest to anyone but me. That’s a Jumped The Snark guarantee.
If you’ve joined us thus far, we do humbly thank you for spending a few minutes patronizing this little site. If, for some odd reason, you googled “Jumped The Snark one year anniversary” and ended up on this blog for the first time, welcome. We’re happy to have you, even if we question the logic of your search terms.
It’s been a great first year. But we’re looking forward to bigger and better things in year two and beyond. As long as there are videos of TGIF sitcoms on YouTube we’ll be around. Now, let’s have some cake!
Alright, it’s not EW’s* fault that all these people passed away this year (and what makes it even more depressing is that they couldn’t even fit everyone who died in 09 on the cover. Didn’t even have room for Ed McMahon!), but it’s still kinda creepy and even at 26 years old this deceased all-star team makes me confront my mortality (also, Dominick Dunne over John Hughes?! I don’t even know who Dominick Dune is (I thought he was a minor character from the Veronica Mars series finale, which, I admit, is more symptomatic of my ignorance of American literature than an oversight on Entertainment Weekly‘s part)!). But I guess this was preferable to another Twilight cover (the issue did contain, however, a feature article about the record New Moon opening, so not a total victory over Team Jedward).
If this issue read like the Academy Awards “In Memoriam” montage I would have applauded loudest and longest for Bea Arthur, obviously.
*Entertainment Weekly is a division of Time Warner, of which is completely unaffiliated with Jumped The Snark.
Continuing with the ‘F’ theme, first let me apologize for a little bit of a hiatus, following a period of unprecedented output. I will (hopefully) be returning to regular updates now. Moving on!
After the tease that is Weekend Update Thursday, Saturday Night Live returned for real this past weekend to, I must say, middling results. After two strong editions of the Thursday night show, and the benefit of the summer to clear their heads and develop new material, the show was lazy and disappointing, in Heidi Klum’s words, a “snoozefest” (jog ahead to 40:40). Megan Fox proved game, and wasn’t a liability (to be fair, she did play herself in three sketches (not including the monologue), but she played herself very convincingly), but the sketches were uninspired. And with all the new material they could have introduced they instead went immediately back to the well, giving us a second helping of Kenan Thompson’s Grady Wilson character (who demonstrates various sexual positions, named for a less lascivious action with the same motion), and during Weekend Update inviting up frequent guests Parisian Def Jam comedian Jean K. Jean (Thompson again) and Kristen Wiig’s nervous travel writer, Judy Grimes (again, to be fair, their spots were at least topical, Jean K. Jean discussing the G-20 and Grimes talking about travel during the recession). I’m not sure if Jean K. Jean was ever more than mildly amusing, but the Judy Grimes bit was once very entertaining. And while I think the character’s rapid fire delivery demonstrates Wiig’s phenomenal and undeniable talent, it’s getting a little tired. Maybe for the first show they wanted to play some classics first, instead of challenging the audience with some new characters. Of course, for those who saw the East Coast feed it didn’t matter because the mediocre nature of the show was overshadowed by new cast member Jenny Slate uttering the F word during her debut sketch, “Biker Chick Chat.”
As this was Jenny Slate’s first show, and her first lead role in a skit, the obvious initial thought was that perhaps she had ended her SNL career before even getting through an episode, that perhaps she would experience a similar fate to that of the late Charles Rocket, who was axed after uttering the F-word during the 80-81 season. However, it seems that her slip-up has proven beneficial to both Slate and SNL. Instead of being semi-known as a new cast member, overnight Slate made her mark, albeit notoriously. And, as NY Magazine’s Vulture blog points out, SNL and NBC don’t seem to mind the publicity, as they have not pulled down clips of the sketch in question from YouTube, as they normally do with their proprietary content. Furthermore, Slate has gone ahead and created a catchphrase, “I f*cking love you for that,” that will now enter the zeitgeist, and will have far more staying power than the FCC approved alternative (plus, as the premise of the sketch was that every sentence includes at least one use of the modifier “freaking,” it was basically an accident waiting to happen).
Despite a lackluster premiere for SNL classic, last week’s Weekend Update Thursday continued to provide solid laughs, welcoming back Fred Armisen’s Gov. David Patterson and his unprovoked barbs towards New Jersey. The cold open was also a success, sending up President Obama’s recent interviews with numerous news outlets. The highlight of this sketch was probably Jason Sudeikis’ Glenn Beck impression, (and tip of the hat should also be given to Nasim Pedrad’s for her first appearance, as a convincing enough Kathy Griffith) but our favorite moment was another new impression, that of Food Network personality and TGI Fridays spokesman Guy Fieri (as played by sophomore Bobby Moynihan). The host of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, has been a favorite (target) for JumpedTheSnark for a while, and is the subject of a very upcoming post, and it was nice to see SNL take note of Fieri and his propensity of take meals to the extreme (For further proof, just visit his BBQ-Sushi joint, Tex Wasabi’s). Here’s hoping Moyniahan reprises his Fieri impression again, and soon (and maybe they can throw in an Alton Brown for good measure. Oh, and Melanie Hutsell could stop by with her acclaimed Paula Dean mimic).
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However, the recent sketch from an SNL member that I enjoyed the most is actually a bit I caught on Jimmy Fallon last night (okay, former SNL cast member). I was describing to my roommate a segment in which Fallon instructs his house band The Roots to improvise song lyrics based off scant facts about audience members and to compose the tunes in a very specific musical style (like Bollywood movies or a Disney opus); lo and behold when I turned on the show last night he was playing this very game (and with all respect to Jimmy, the Roots are the most talented people on the program). So after this bit we kept the dial tuned to Late Night and caught this sketch with guest (and mixed martial artist/street brawler) Kimbo Slice:
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It certainly wasn’t the smartest piece, but I laughed harder in those 3 minutes than I did during the 60 odd minutes of material on last week’s SNL. And to Fallon’s credit, while his interviewing skills are still very suspect, Late Night has putting out some of the best (and most absurd) comedy bits of all the late night talkers (take note, Jay).
And as for SNL, Ryan Reynolds hosts this weekend, so I have high hopes. If it’s not funny, at least I know it’ll be charming.