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Saturday Night Live: Ellen Page/Wilco - VIDEOS

by Annie Wu, posted Mar 2nd 2008 10:02AM
Ellen Page(S33E06) Let me preface this entire review by saying that I've seen Juno multiple times and greatly enjoyed each viewing. I think Ellen Page is a talented actress and Juno would not have been as successful without her. I'm saying this because I'm worried that my review of this episode might make it look like I'm part of the online Juno backlash.

Man, this was a terrible episode. The writing was weak, but Page's awkward performance(s) didn't help the situation. I found myself almost instantly annoyed with Page's voice. "There's going to be another hour and fifteen minutes of this?!" I thought during the monologue. It's like Page can't help but talk like a rough-around-the-edges teen in skinny jeans all the time. It makes me wonder if that's all she's going to be able to play in films. Perhaps she was just really nervous and it made he scream a lot. Either way, it totally made my ears want to bust out of my skull, home skillet. Honest to blog. Obviously.

Cold Open: First off, Brian Williams never struck me as the imitable type, but Will Forte's impression totally proved me wrong. Granted, it was a little wacky, but the overall inflection was spot-on. Darrell Hammond's eyebrows, however, were definitely not spot-on. I know Tim Russert has some expressive eyebrows, but it looked like Hammond accidentally burned off his eyebrows a few seconds before the sketch and had to hastily draw them back on with a grease marker before going on-camera. Also, Fred Armisen's Barack Obama impression (which has stirred up a bit of Internet controversy) changed dramatically from last time. In the Tina Fey episode, his Obama looked a little grumpy and had a fairly deep voice. This time he was borderline Spongebob Squarepants' Patrick. To make this sketch even more wacky, Vincent D'Onofrio showed up to do a few Law & Order sound gags. No, I have no idea why he was on the show either.

The real Hillary Clinton then popped up to comment on the Cold Open, which was quite lovely. She did a nice job, especially towards the end. I guess it's only fair that she get a bit of this attention since Obama made his appearance a few months ago. Now, if only someone could get either Clinton or Obama to host. Hey, McCain did it!

Monologue: Ellen Page looked super nervous as she was giving her monologue and her voice went crackly often enough to make it difficult for me to ignore. Thank goodness Andy Samberg showed up as Diablo Cody to distract me. I was eagerly anticipating some jokes about Cody's dreadful "hip" writing that made the first ten minutes of Juno absolute torture. The final "I was a stripper!" was beautiful as well.

"The Dakota Fanning Show": Miley Cyrus' voice is painful to listen to, but Page portraying her made everything even worse. It was like she couldn't control her inflection and volume. Anyway, the interaction between Amy Poehler's Dakota Fanning and Kenan Thompson's Reggie are always incredibly simple and almost formulaic, but Thompson's reactions are usually good enough for me to laugh along. I must also encourage someone out there to actually create a band called Wanda Rwanda and record an album called "A Jam Sesh Called Wanda". Perfect.

"Saturday TV Funhouse: The Obama Files": Holy crap! When was the last time the Funhouse dog ripped the SNL bumper in a way that maintained the "Saturday" (the way it should be done, so as to show the "Saturday" in "Saturday TV Funhouse")? The nitpicker in me is happy. This piece was funny, but seemed really different from Robert Smigel's usual contributions to the show. It was like an outrageously elaborate skit that would have been too expensive/difficult to produce with real actors, as opposed to a humorous manipulation of old audio or something. Even the "X-Presidents" weren't this driven by a well-rounded story. I would also like to remind everyone that "c'mon, Reverend, lions are cool".

"College for Excellence": Tacky late-night college ad. Pretty straightforward.

"The Other Boleyn Girls": Ellen Page, her voice! Why did she have to shout everything? That goes for most of her performances that night, actually. Anyway, this sketch was worth a few chuckles, but nothing more.

"An SNL Digital Short: The Mirror": The absolute bizarre surreality of this piece was awesome. I mean, they really pushed the weirdness on this one. If they had held back at all, it would have fallen on its face, but I think they succeeded. The quick cut from the werewolf to Dracula in bed was awesome.

"Weekend Update": Rudy Giuliani felt the need to make an appearance. Good for him and Mike Huckabee, making fun of themselves like that. Fred Armisen reprised his Nicolas Fehn political comedian character, which is always beautifully played. It's so natural, I sometimes wonder if Armisen really does it off the top of his head. As for the rest of WU, the jokes were all right. My favorite was German napping.

"Shopping with Virginiaca": I'm usually okay with Virginiaca, despite its formulaic format. I guess I'm a sucker for when Kenan Thompson's characters pronounce things incorrectly (see: Virginiaca's "nuggrets" and Charles Barkley's "Ohh, Bork!") Ellen Page continued to scream, but this time with a white girl 'fro and occasional booty shake. The subtle reference to Juno at the very, very end was cute.

"The Continuing Adventures of Peter Pan": I absolutely loved that Bill Hader, super master of voice disguise, used such a boring speaking voice for Captain Hook. Beautiful touch, I must say. Will Forte's enthusiasm was also perfect.

"Post-Ethridge": As if to purposely fuel the online speculation of Page's sexuality, this skit was all about a guy's girlfriend going gay at a Melissa Ethridge concert. The writing was really funny in this, but, geez, it had the worst ending EVER. Seriously.

Next time: Amy Adams and Vampire Weekend! I wonder if Amy Adams is going to be one of those celebrities that sing during their monologues.

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chuck adams

Hey, does anyone have a video/dvd copy of the Ellen Page Dakota Fanning sketch? Let me know...mrsports24aca@aol.com...thanks...

March 19 2008 at 4:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
chuck adams

Hey, does anyone have a video/dvd copy of the Ellen Page Dakota Fanning sketch? Let me know...mrsports24aca@aol.com...thanks...

March 19 2008 at 4:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Agree that this was not a very strong episode. I can forgive alot on SNL, due to it's unique format. Watching something fail can still be interesting, wondering how they were HOPING it would turn out when they first concieved of the sketch earlier in the week. That said, if the host is weak, the show is usually weak as well. . .

March 03 2008 at 7:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

That episode is proof of why TV doesn't need writers; in fact improv would have been better with ALL of the listless, witless, humorless skits in that episode.

March 03 2008 at 1:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

and we had the black dude be in two skits dressed like a woman...somewhere Dave Chapelle is having a nervous breakdown!!

March 02 2008 at 11:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Peter Lynn

Both hands on the keyboard here:

I couldn't possibly see her in a sexual way. I still think of her as Treena Lahey from Trailer Park Boys.

Don't blame me -- it's Samberg exhibiting the suspicious behaviour here.

March 02 2008 at 8:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hated Juno, loved this episode. I laughed pretty hard a couple of times. Watched the frist 3 episodes of "Mad TV" from Season One (borrowed the DVD) and hated it.

I guess I have a much different taste than some of you folks here. I laughed real hard a couple of times to be honest.

Could be that I am watching it without ads and simply skip the music every time I watch SNL. I think they should get rid of the music altogether. So I think if you condense it mandually, it's much more enjoyable.

Oh and I hated the Simpsons Movie too because all the jokes were in the TV ads and I didn't see it in a movie theatre with people who laughed (so without a living laughtrack). Again I guess I'm different :-)

but I have to agree - Ellen Page wasn't needed. I tried to ingore her the whole time.

March 02 2008 at 8:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Bash's comment

Cutting out the commercials and musical guest does not make the show better, it just makes it end sooner.

March 02 2008 at 10:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Peter Lynn

"The Mirror" was great because, as Fred pointed out, it was awfully close to an old Kids in the Hall bit.

Did you notice that Will Forte as Smee in the Peter Pan sketch was a dead ringer for Curb Your Enthusiasm star and former SNL writer Larry David?

Did you also notice that shortly after Ellen Page climbed all over Andy Samberg in the lesbian sketch he seemed to be concealing a raging erection with his hand?

March 02 2008 at 7:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Peter Lynn's comment

Went back and checked - he had his hand lying on his leg. Nothing more. Man I wonder WHY it could have happened in YOUR brain when YOU thought that and where YOUR hands were after that sketch. Or during.


I know she's hot but she looks like a teenager (even though she's 21 now).

Same on you. Well unless you are sixteen yourself then I'd possibly understand.

If you'd like to answer please try using both hands typing. Thank you :-D

March 02 2008 at 8:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

They should have asked Michael Cera to host instead.

March 02 2008 at 6:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joey Geraci

Is there something about the Nicholas Fehn skit that I am missing? It gets it's humor from how painfully painful the skit is, but you can only carry that on so long. I got to begging for it to be over about halfway in.

Ellen Page was pretty horrible, but I think she was just nervous.

I thought Hillary was great. As someone who started out on the Hill train, took a detour to Obamaville (and voted for him in the apparently meaningless Florida primary) when Bill couldn't censor himself, and now is veering a little more towards Clinton country, I thought it was spot on, especially given the fact that it appears she had absolutely no time to rehearse. (Schieffer said this morning that all of the reporters covering her were in a panic yesterday because they didn't know where she was, so apparently this was completely spur of the moment, and was not on her itinerary beforehand)

March 02 2008 at 4:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
4 replies to Joey Geraci's comment

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