Four days have passed since Lindsay Lohan returned to host Saturday Night Live, and the benefit of time does nothing to portray her performance in any more of a positive light. Yes, in spite of her wooden, stumbling, at times helpless appearance, the show delivered some of its strongest moments of the season (including Bill Hader reaching new levels of brilliance as both Shephard Smith and James Carville, and an inspired, if somewhat haphazardly placed, “Music of the 70s” commercial parody with a retro-coiffed Jason Sudeikis), but those sketches don’t negate Lohan’s awkward struggle, her 90-minute death march, and nor has almost a week of reflection.
It wasn’t always this way. And that’s why this is so sad, so tragic. There was a time when Lindsay Lohan was a bona fide star, white-hot and electric. The next big thing while simultaneously being the “it” the girl. And, yes, she had curves, but she also had talent. Was she a young Jodie Foster? Outside of the freckles, no. But she had something that a young Jodie Foster did not. Sizzle. Sparkle. That special something.
But where does that special something go when it dies?
Sometimes life just hands you a gift, whether it’s turning on the TV in the morning to find Regis inadvertently giving Meryl Streep a heart attack, or turning on the TV at night to witness Anderson Cooper absolutely destroy an opportunistic, insipid politician. So this morning, while brushing out teeth, we flipped on the tube to see what was happening with WFAN’s Boomer & Carton, simulcast on the MSG Network, and, well, our birthday present came early:
Enlighten us, Boomer: which play was that?
And speaking of spit-takes, here’s this. And speaking of uncontrollable laughter, there’s that.
It was an up and down decade for Saturday Night Live, but then again it’s been an up and down 34 years for Saturday Night Live. The show started gangbusters in 2000, taking advantage of the 2000 election and perhaps becoming more relevant than it had at any point during the previous decade (media and communication majors and political scientists will be analyzing SNL‘s Gore-Bush debates for years to come, studying how the show interpreted the real events and how the sketches then in turn affected the election). Then the show kind of treaded water until the 2004 election when it once again made the best of the political fodder, although with the relatively benign John Kerry as a central character the political satire was not as entertaining or as incisive as 2000. But With a mostly new cast then the beginning of the decade the show returned to prominence in 2008, most notably mining the comedy goldmine that was the renegade Sarah Palin. However, although SNL’s strongest seasons were during the election years, the best sketches were scattered throughout the aughts, with a fair share of political material, but also crazy characters, inventive monologues, traditional bits and the now ubiquitous Digital Shorts. Here, in a particular but not necessarily meaningful order is a very subjective list of the top ten (and then some) Saturday Night Live sketches of the decade that was.*
I wasn’t blogging when this Alec Baldwin episode aired in early 2006, but if I was I would have no doubt touted it as the best show in years, and I would have been in good company. It stood out as the most buzzworthy episode since the 2004 election, and its success was due in large part to Baldwin, who excelled in sketches like a new “The Tony Bennet Show,” “Platinum Lounge” (with Steve Martin) and a Valtrex commercial parody. But the stand out sketch, for us, was “Carpool,” a duet with Kristen Wiig. Sharing a ride to work seemed like a good idea, until each person continuously and unwittingly brings up a painful wound from the other’s past. Simply, any sketch that can truly sell the line “Bobby McFerrin raped my grandmother,” deserves placement on a “best of” list. It’s the best sketch in what might have been the best episode of the decade, and perhaps the premier episode among Baldwin’s 14 turns as host (I guess because this sketch includes a brief cameo from a Celine Dion tune it’s prohibited from being posted on Hulu. Luckily, some random Russian site saved the day and has no such qualms about hosting a video that includes unlicensed music from the French-Canadian ice queen).
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See the rest of the list. Did your favorites make it???…
Cause it’s birthday time over here at Jumped The Snark! So, in honor of the occasion, here are a few prudent video selections:
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