Saturday Night Live: Tom Hanks & Red Hot Chili Peppers
(S31E18) There was a lot to like about this episode, but there was a lot that should never seen the light of day too. For Hanks' eighth outing at SNL host, I would have expected a bit more. We've already seen so much this season with episodes from other classic hosts like Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, that I was hoping maybe we'd get cameos from some of them. Another one of those "welcome to the club" sketches would have been funny... with those fez hats, cigars, and smoking jackets. Oh well, like I said, there was still plenty to like.
Cold Open - Politically charged as usual, the show opened with Bush and Cheney chit-chatting and discussing the current state of oil reserves and gasoline prices. Tom Hanks (as Senator Bill Frist) then shows up to tell the President about his new plan since his recent idea for a $100 gas rebate for all Americans did nothing except what the President described as "eat it." The entire conversation then evolved into some kind of infomercial where Frist was selling his new plan to Bush. As a token of the Government's thanks for allowing the drilling in Alaska, all Americans would now get $120, a free vacation to Busch Gardens, and two free Wonder Mops. Sounds like a deal to me... well maybe I'd do it if there were two re-fill shammies to come with the mops. What's that? There are two shammies? Sign me up!
Tom Hanks' Monologue - In case you've been living in a cave, Hanks is currently promoting his new movie The Da Vinci Code, which comes out in a couple of weeks. The film deals heavily with the Catholic religion and the writers took advantage of this. Hanks fielded questions from the audience and before long he was being interrogated by a priest (Armisen), a cardinal (Parnell), an albino monk (Hader), a flying nun (Dratch), The Pope (Hammond), and finally Jesus Christ (Sudeikis). The last one was by far the best as Jesus made fun of The Terminal, to which Hanks pointed out to Sudeikis that he was making fun of the son of God and Steven Spielberg at the same time. Hanks went on to say, "You're one of the new guys? Sudeikis? Well, I'm sure we'll see you in September."
Wheel of Fortune - Celebrity Jeopardy was done countless times when Will Ferrell was still around, but I don't ever recall there being a Wheel sketch. Hanks was Pat Sajack and Tina Fey took on Vanna's tile-flipping duties. The phrase as it was on the board? "BY THE S_IN OF OUR TEETH." None of the three contestants could get it. Then Sajack told them all to, "fly free you stupid dum-dum birds." I enjoyed this. It wasn't the most creative idea, but it worked because they made Pat Sajack a jerk who can't stand his job.
Caitlin - This ranks right up there with Debbie Downer. I just can't stand Amy Poehler when she does this character which has any combination of mental retardations/illnesses and a killer lisp. Thankfully, this was the first time they had done it since Jon Heder hosted back in October. When you watch it though, I feel like Amy is trying to make Horatio (he plays Caitlin's brother Rick) laugh more than the audience. It's like she's playing for him and not us. I don't know, it's just a lousy character. Hanks' involvement in this sketch really isn't worth mentioning either.
SNL Digital Short - I'm still not sure what I think of this. I know I didn't laugh... I just stared at the screen and couldn't believe what I was watching. It was crazy... so yeah, I guess I like it. The setting is NYC in 1991. Forte, Kenan, and Chris Parnell are talking about music on the side of the street. They were all dressed in period clothing and Will Forte looked just like Vanilla Ice. Parnell flicks on a giant boom-box, and it cuts to the music video. I think the song was called "Testicles" and it was by Ariel and Effram[sp?] (played by Andy Samberg and Tom Hanks). They were bald and wore leather. I think they were supposed to look like Right Said Fred in the "I'm Too Sexy" video. It was weird... kind of disturbing.
Universal Theme Park - This was a good idea that lasted way too long. It just kept going on and on. Tom Hanks and Fred Armisen were these two guys waiting in line at the Back to the Future ride and they just kept yelling at their mother. "Ma! Ma! Ma! Wrong line! Get me pizza!" It got pretty annoying after a while.
Weekend Update - Topics you would expect were covered. The immigrant gatherings of the past week got a lot of heat. I loved Amy's line about Goya foods: "Makers of dusty cans in bodegas." Tina had a good one about Rosie O'Donnell joining The View: "The title will have to be changed to The Obstructed View." Some obligatory Star Jones bashing followed when Horatio came out as Rosie. Getting Tracy Morgan to stop by as Star would have really made it special though. I really enjoyed the last thing they did with Fred and Will debating the immigration issue. They literally were talking heads. Their debate was just them making noises ("nyuhhhh") in tune with some music. It was funny. They said nothing but the concept said plenty.
Yoga Class - This one reminded me a lot about that character Will Ferrell used to do. That bum who would pose naked for art classes. Tom Hanks was this incredibly sweaty/dirty guy who got partnered up with Rachel Dratch in their yoga class. He was dripping sweat on her, she had to put her head in between his legs. It was pretty funny and it even got Amy Poehler to laugh, which she rarely does in regular sketches.
Colin's Place - I really didn't care for this sketch all that much. It had a couple of great one-liners though. The idea was that on C-SPAN After Dark, you can watch original programming such as Colin's Place. I think it was supposed to be some kind of Sanford & Son rip-off starring Colin Powell (Kenan) and his son Michael (Finesse). Condoleeza Rice (Maya) shows up looking for Colin's help and he gives her duct-tape to go and fix the ugly stick her parents hit her with. That part made me laugh.
Tennis Snobs - See, to me, this is how a sketch should be done. It had a good concept, they got the joke across, and it was over quickly. It didn't run on and they easily could have with this idea. Tom Hanks and Will Forte are tennis partners, but Hanks recently lost his arm in an accident. Forte breaks their partnership and introduces his new doubles mate: Chris Parnell, the man with three arms. But Hanks had a contingency as well. He introduced his new partner too. Bill Hader, the man with seven arms. It was funny, they talked all snooty, and then it was over. Well done.
Red Hot Chili Peppers - These guys sounded great, much better than Pearl Jam from a few weeks ago. I saw them live a couple years ago when they were touring for their Californication album and I think they sounded better here. The first song they played was "Dani California," the opening song off their upcoming double album Stadium Arcadium. Then they did something that you don't often see a band on SNL do. Bands come here to promote their new stuff. So naturally I was overjoyed when they busted out "Give It Away" for their second song. Overall, a great performance. I loved how Flea had "John Belushi" written on his chest in Sharpie marker. Oh, and did anyone else notice that Chad (the drummer) looks just like Will Ferrell? The resemblance is uncanny.
-Next week is an all new episode with Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Paul Simon.