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Saturday Night Live: Antonio Banderas and Mary J. Blige

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Apr 9th 2006 4:17PM

Antonio Banderas; Mary J. Blige; SNL; NBC(S31E15) I went in to this episode expecting it to be absolutely horrible. I'm sorry, but I just didn't see Antonio Banderas as someone with good SNL hosting potential. I figured he was just coming on to plug his new film, Take the Lead. Well he never plugged the movie once, and guess what? He was absolutely spectacular as host. For those that haven't been paying attention to the news at all this week, immigration is the topic right now in Congress and SNL made damn sure it was addressed last night.

Anderson Cooper 360° - I hope they start relying on this as a cold open more than Hardball. I don't necessarily think Seth Myers is better as Anderson than Darrell Hammond is at being Chris Matthews, but it's just time for Darrell Hammond to go. This sketch was very funny. Banderas as Mexican Prez Vincente Fox was hilarious. Claiming that Mexico had a huge American immigration problem due to spring break, bargain-priced tequila, and breasts was funny stuff. The stand-out was Kenan as Rep. Cynthia McKinney. When she yelled "I will slap the Kiehl's moisturizer off your face Ann-Uh-Sun Coo-Puh," I lost it... especially since I use Kiehl's moisturizer. You wouldn't believe how soft my face is.

Antonio's Monologue - I think this was the only low point of the show for me. After he stripped his clothes off to reveal that he was a woman, I laughed because, hey, Antonio Banderas has fake boobs on. Then it got old. Fortunately this didn't last long and they moved ahead.

Basic Instinct 2: Return of the Beaver - I don't care how old I get, when I hear the word "vagina" or the phrase "hair pie," I'm gonna laugh. Beyond the humor factor that this semi-fake movie preview had, I think it made a good point. Seriously, why did this movie need to be made? The only reason that anyone is talking about it is because of the Sharon Stone Hoo-Hah factor. Will we get to see it again or not?

Deal or No Deal - I've actually never watched an episode of Deal or No Deal before, but I've heard enough people talk about it and seen the commercials enough that I think I have a pretty good idea of how it works. Fred Armisen was great as Howie Mandel and I loved it when the briefcase girls started speaking up due to Howie's poor instructions to the contestants. When they showed the family members and one of them kept yelling "No Whammy," I smiled. Press Your Luck, now there was a great game show.

Voice Recording Lady - I think this is the second time, maybe the third, this has been done. "Cute" is the best word to describe the premise. I enjoyed this if only because it was short. I laughed a few times and then it was over before they let it go on too long. I enjoyed how Rachel had her Spanish co-worker accompany her to the party. It makes you wonder though. Who does actually do those voice recordings? Some sound electronic, but some are definitely recorded. That job must suck.

Besos y Lagrimas - I don't ever recall seeing an SNL sketch that was done entirely in Spanish. My Spanish is terrible but I believe the title translates to Kisses and Tears. Which makes sense, since that's all this telenovela spoof was about. I can't stand telenovelas, so anything that pokes fun is fine by me. This played up every stereotype though. Rich families. Affairs with gardeners and illegitimate babies. Oh, and gusts of wind that blow the shirts off of muscular men named Paulo. I was very impressed with this.

The 13th Annual Women's Basketball Coaches' Fashion Awards - It's rare, lately anyway, for a host to carry a sketch. Well, Banderas carried this one. As the emcee of the event, his songs were hilarious offering praise to these women who dress like men for the sake of basketball.

Weekend Update - This was probably the best WU they've had in a while. It was solid. It started with a Tom Delay montage set to Daniel Powter's "Bad Day," which I found very amusing. Darrell Hammond made his only appearance as Dan Rather. He spoke about the Katie Couric move to CBS and politely put her down. "She's a fantastic journalist. Look at her recent piece on ways to cook with a green bell pepper!" The highlight was definitely Chris Kattan showing up. In 30 seconds we got his Antonio Banderas impression, gay Hitler, Mango, and Mr. Peepers. It was great.

Zorro - Filming a scene during the last movie, apparently Banderas decided he would not make out with Catherine Zeta-Jones due to his fears of bird flu and herpes. So he got a "make out scene" stand in. Enter Horatio Sanz, who had just eaten a fish and bean chalupa. Mmmm. This could have been funnier, but this type of part is Horatio's bread and butter so he played it up well.

The Karaoke Bar - Amy Poehler was the drunk lady with a microphone hostess at the bar and she kept getting in the way of Rachel Dratch's renditions of "Natural Woman," "Sexual Healing," and "Milkshake" by making out with her date played by Antonio. I thought this was funny but then Poehler made some comment about how she loves her husband, and says, "Right honey?" Chris Parnell, her husband, was there the whole time. Then I thought it was really funny.

Foreigners - This was my favorite sketch of the night. It was like a weird PSA. Amy and Jason Sudeikis were talking about Mexicans and how if NBC had their way, the entire cast would be "border hopping Mexicans." Of course, Horatio walks by. He's then joined by Fred and Antonio who are there to inform us Americans of their three-pronged plan. Number one, take our jobs. Number two, have babies with our women. And number three, cut us with knives. Simple plan, we should all watch out. This was good though. I liked how they took all the stereotypes head-on.

Wine Snobs - I found this to be very funny because I took a wine appreciation class about a year ago and Chris Parnell's character reminded me of the guy that taught the class. When they were taking in the various wines' bouquets, all the notes they were listing were hilarious. Electronics, gun metal, a whore's sweat. There were some other funny ones, but they escape me now. Which ones am I missing?

Overall, I thought this was a great episode. I didn't watch the two Mary J. Blige performances so if anyone wants to comment on those, please do. Also, was it just me or was Amy Poehler in just about every sketch? She was all over the place. Another thing I noticed was in the credits. Mindy Kaling, of The Office, was in there. After the writer's list, it said "Additional Sketch by Mindy Kaling." Anyone have any idea which sketch it was?

Next week is another new episode with Lindsay Lohan and Pearl Jam.

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#15 I didn't care about the vagina/vulva thing, but Mulva rhymes with vulva. Jerry's girlfriend...Seinfeld! That's probably the only time I've ever heard vulva in pop culture.

May 24 2006 at 6:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Chris Parnell, her husband IN THAT SKETCH

April 17 2006 at 10:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tracey Motolanez

Chris Parnell is not Amy Poehler's husband. It is Will Arnett.

April 17 2006 at 7:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thought it was a pretty good show. I disagree about Update though. I thought most of Tina's jokes stunk. And the Kattan cameo wasn't that funny.

Every skit was pretty good, except the only ones I didn't like were the Wine-tasters skit and the Horatio as Zorro skits. They seemed really random and unfinished.

Antonio was a GREAT host though. He put tons of energy into every skit and was REALLY into his characters. Please bring him back. Even in the cold opening, you could tell he was right on target.

April 10 2006 at 3:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yes, the vagina/vulva issue is correct, but come on, no one actually calls it that except OBGYNs and sticklers for correctiveness. Has ANYONE, in the context of pop cultre, that is, EVER used vulva when referring to that area of a woman's body?

April 10 2006 at 2:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Mary J. Blige was great. The sketchy sequences were okay, but Mary was my reason for tuning in. She looked great and sounded excellent.

April 10 2006 at 11:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
The Phil

I really thought it was a boring show. While watching I kept wondering why Banderas was in almost every skit. There's those hosts that you wish were in more skits and then there is Banderas who was in every skit and it made everything seem like everything else. It was as if it were the Banderas Show and if it were, I'm sure it would be cancelled quicker than Heist.

April 10 2006 at 2:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Danny Cohen

Uh, Urbey, everyone calls it a vagina. No one goes around commenting about vulvas. Give these people a break.

Fred Armisen was very impressive thsi episode. The telenovela sketch was probably the best one.

April 10 2006 at 2:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The first skit (and the same error made by the writer of this posting) shows you how some Americans really don't pay too much attention to other countries. The guy is the freaking head of state in Mexico and STILL they can't get his name right! On the show they had his name printed on the screen and the actor said his name incorrectly, as "Vincente". These people specialize in making fun of politicians and they can't get his name, Vicente, correct?

Also, does Amy Poehler know female anatomy? When they gave her the line in that Basic Instinct skit, "This is my vagina," why didn't she say to the writers, "Uh, guys? They couldn't see my vagina without some gynecology tools. It's my vulva. Change the line." Tina Fey is head writer. Doesn't she know the names of female body parts?

April 09 2006 at 11:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Don't forget the drugs. Take jobs, make babies, cut with knives, drugs.

I enjoyed this episode. It wasn't particularly laugh out loud funny, but that's just as well, because I prefer a quieter type humor anyway. I snickered appropriately, and was very impressed by the moments the show did have- and there were quite a few of them.

It really makes me wonder what others actually find funny if that show wasn't and the Steve Martin episode was "sub par." They were two of my favorites this season.

Additionally, I love the Digital Shorts and featured players as much as anyone, but they shouldn't be considered a requisite for a good show. Kristin Wiig also seemed to be in more sketches than usual. There really was a ton of Amy, but that isn't all that unusual. She did the Basic Instinct thing on Conan the other day too, kind of.

April 09 2006 at 9:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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