SNL: Scarlett Johansson & Death Cab for Cutie
After the unbelievable buzz that the "Lazy Sunday" video created, SNL had a lot riding on this, the first new episode of 2006. Save for the few mediocre sketches that we've come to expect, this was pretty good episode. Scarlett Johansson hosted (while she didn't mention it in her monologue, she's obviously promoting her new film Match Point) and she had some extremely funny moments. And just to clear it up now (for those of you who didn't see it) there was no Digital Short. But that's good because like anything on this show, if they overuse it then it gets old fast.
Cold Open - Interesting story about this. A good friend of mine works at NBC and every few weeks he gets to help with the audience duties at SNL. He was there last night and in case you couldn't figure it out, that Pat Robertson thing (while funny) wasn't supposed to open the show. He said there was a Hardball sketch which included Sudeikis as Tom Delay and Forte as Zell Miller but it died during the dress rehearsal so they cut it. The Robertson cartoon was supposed to be part of the "Darwin" bit that aired later but they squeezed it out and put it at the front of the show. Hard to believe that Hardball was that unfunny, but Pat Robertson claiming that Fred The Baker was killed because he desecrated bread and filled it with Bavarian creme was hilarious.
Scarlett's Monologue - Nothing too special here. Amy Poehler came out wearing the same dress as Scarlett and they sang a duet together about being a star. It made fun of that fact that Scarlett is an Oscar worthy actress and Amy only makes terrible movies with Rob Schneider.
Taco Town Commercial - Fourth time they've used it, but I'd be fine if they played it every episode. Never gets old. I finally paused it and listened to the ending. The precise name for the meal is "The Pizza Crêpe Taco Pancake Chili Bag." Delicious.
MTV 4's Deep House Dish - A fictional dance music show on a fictional MTV channel. DJ Dynasty Handbag (Kenan) was the host and Rachel Dratch played the boring sidekick. It featured musical performances from Poehler, Scarlett Johansson, and Parnell. It should have been over before Chris Parnell did his song, but it was funny when Kenan called Rachel "human Ambien" because she was boring everyone so much.
Smorgasbørd - This was a Swedish cooking show on the Food Network, which the announcer claimed was "ESPN for fatties." Hilarious. Hosted by Seth Myers (glad to see he's still alive) and Scarlett, they cooked pickled herring and meatballs because what else do Swedes eat? The funniest part was when they went to commercial break and it was for the new Swedish Chef Ringtones. Andy Samberg was the Swedish Chef (rolling-pin and rubber chicken in hand) and he hummed the tune of "Axel-F" by Harold Faltermeyer (the theme to Beverly Hills Cop).
"Darwin" - The was the TV Funhouse cartoon I mentioned earlier. It was supposed to be on a Christian Fundamentalist network for children so naturally the cartoon made Darwin seem like a bumbling idiot who kept missing out on important messages from God. It was amusing that all the characters other than Darwin were drawn in HannaBarbera fashion. This also had a commercial break advertising other shows on the network like "Bryo - The Gay Stem Cell" and "Celibots," which were Transformers who wore chastity belts.
Mike and Toni's Chandelier Galaxy - This was a commercial for a lighting superstore owned by Rachel Dratch and Fred Armisen. Apparently anything you do under a chandelier (like eating steak, drinking wine, and having sex) becomes infinitely better. Scarlett played their idiot daughter, but the best part was that every purchase came with a free set of ben-wah balls. "If you have to ask, then you probably don't want them." Same rule applies here. If you want to know, then Google them.
Duluth Live! - A live morning show on a local affiliate in Duluth Minnesota, this was supposed to feature some post holiday shopping tips, but they made the mistake of having a live band sing the show's theme song. The band, fronted by Scarlett and Will Forte, also featured Andy Samberg on guitar, Finesse on bongos, Fred Armisen on drums, Bill Hader on keyboards, and Rachel Dratch and Kristen Wiig as back-up singers. I was glad they used all cast members for this and not extras. Either way, the band kept playing and the show's hosts (Poehler and Sudeikis) could barely get a word in. Will chugged a bottle of Jack Daniels and Andy broke his guitar. End of Story.
Weekend Update - Pretty solid this week. They had a funny bit about all the inappropriate faces Alito's wife was making during the Supreme Court nomination hearing. Also humorous was the "Nutbird" quiz where Tina read Amy some outlandish statements and Amy had to guess whether Pat Robertson or a crazy homeless guy said them. Other highlights were Bush in the nominations for Terrorist of the Year (according to Harry Belafonte) on a ballot which also included Osama bin Laden and The "Burger King" King as well as Andy Samberg speaking up for all the shaggy haired people in this world.
My Super Sweet 16 - It's about time someone spoofed this ridiculous MTV show. If you haven't seen it, every episode features some filthy rich family and their daughter (sometimes son) as they prepare for their 16th birthday. They always show the party and they always look like Playboy Mansion-type bashes. Scarlett played the daughter and she was full of one liners. "Mom, you're being stupid, give me $1000." "You couldn't get the Duff Sisters? This party is worse than the Holocaust." At the end they featured Kristen Wiig as next week's birthday girl and she was angry that her Daddy couldn't get Shakira to wrestle an alligator at her party. "Why won't she do it? She's acting like a total immigrant!"
Once in a Lifetime Jewelers - Kind of funny I guess... Jason Sudeikis is a recently engaged man who goes to buy a ring. Scarlett was the salesperson, and Sudeikis just rambled about nothing really. In the end he tried to steal a tray of rings, but the security guard (Finesse) tazered him. This wasn't that good.
Deep Sea Explorers - Seth Myers, Scarlett, and Horatio played deep sea researchers who looked like they jumped right out of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Seth and Scarlett were married but she announces she's leaving him for Horatio because the previous night they made love. But how is the real question? The sub they're in is only big enough for three people, but a naked Andy Samberg shows up and admits he had sex with them as well. Seth Myers can't figure out how all this went on without him knowing as he claims, "I can barely even get the notion of a boner without it sending sharp pains through my pelvis."
Mr. Willoughby - A film trailer for the new picture based off of the lost (and only 1/2 finished) Jane Austen novel. Starring Tina Fey, Rachel Dratch, and Scarlett Johansson as three Victorian-era woman who all want to marry Mr. Willoughby. Except they can only describe all his horrible qualities. When he speaks, the air is filled with the scent of roasted meats. He has neck moles. His beard hides facial deformities. His teeth are like sharp pieces of corn. He sleeps with choir boys and screws cows. He reeks of urine and has wax-caked ears. Yet they all want to marry him. For the final sketch of the night, this was pretty funny.
Death Cab for Cutie - I love these guys and despite the tongue lashing they've received for jumping ship and signing with a major label for their recent album Plans, I don't care because the album is really, really good. They played 2 songs off of it. "Soul Meets Body" was up first and they finished with "Crooked Teeth." Both sounded great I thought, but I've listened to them for years so I'm quite biased.
Very solid episode and next week looks promising as well when Studio 8H welcomes Peter Sarsgaard and The Strokes.