Review: Saturday Night Live - James Franco/Muse
by Annie Wu, posted Dec 20th 2009 12:50PM
(S35E10) I hope you all rolled a towel against the crack of the door before watching James Franco host. This was the most I've laughed at an episode in quite a while, but I am still not entirely sure if it's because watching for ninety minutes gave me a bit of a contact high. Okay, even if you argue that I'm inferring a lot because bits of Pineapple Express are still lingering in my brain, there's no denying Franco was definitely extra-squinty, extra-grinny, and was half-slurring, half-spitting his speech through most of the night.
There was also a lot of making out. No man, woman or tree was safe. Or bong, I guess. Maybe.
This was one of those few episodes where there was a clear willingness to be weird within the writing and a host that can pull off weird. It's a magic combination. Franco did wonderfully and worked really well with the rest of the cast (in some cases, maybe too well). I think the show knew that too, because they wasted no time bringing on Franco, throwing him right into the Lawrence Welk cold open.
Of course, this episode was not without its flaws, but I definitely think it's my favorite from the season so far. I guess they had to work extra-hard for the last installment of the decade.
Bobby Moynihan: I just wanted to take a second to once again mention how great Bobby Moynihan is. I swear, tthis isn't even like when I was obsessed with Jimmy Fallon when I was a teen, just because I thought he was super-cute (embarrassing, I know). Moynihan takes any character he gets and runs with it and makes it likable. I think if anyone else played Jersey Shore's Snookie on "Weekend Update," it would have been unbearable, but Moynihan made it great (almost as much as Bill Hader's back-abs made it terrifying).I hope he sticks around the cast for a long time.
All right, side-note, but this is important. I don't watch Jersey Shore and I hope never have to, but for the love of God, could someone please explain how this photo happened? Do I have to call Mr. Feeney?
What Up With That: Oh, I still laugh at this sketch, I won't lie. It functions well within its formula and allows enough room for fresh ridiculousness (tiny Kenans this week). 30 Rock's Jack McBrayer was a fun face to see for a few moments; I liked that even his disappointed face includes a toothy grin. And Jason Sudeikis? That's one mesmerizing bastard in a tracksuit. See below for more thoughts on this sketch.
The Kissing Family: Ahh, I thought we were done with this after Paul Rudd had his go with the family! I would like to know which cast member had a big enough crush on Franco to submit this sketch again. Bill Hader, I'm looking at you! I saw that kiss. We all did. The only other kiss that came even close to topping that ridiculously lengthy one between with Hader was the one between Franco and Forte, just because of how ridiculously sloppy it was. I loved how the entire audience groaned when the grandparents walked in; they knew what they were in for.
SNL Digital Short: Tizzle Wizzle Show! A perfect balance between horrifying and hilarious, which seemed to be a recurring theme through this episode. It was like a mish-mash of Yo Gabba Gabba! and Battle Royale, which is something I didn't know I wanted to exist but apparently do. Also, everyone instantly looks more adorable in jammy sets.
Vincent Price: Yes! The Vincent Price specials rarely fail. Hader is perfection as Price, and Wiig is always welcome as the over-energetic Hepburn. Franco dropped in to play James Dean, which was way more predictable and not nearly as hilarious as something unexpected like Jon Hamm as James Mason. What happened with Liberace and James Dean was not quite so expected. Everyone wants a piece of Franco tonight.
NOT SO GREAT STUFF
Manuel Ortiz Show: It was funny for, like, the first minute. And then I just stared blankly at Franco's mustache for the rest of the sketch.
Mike Tyson talking about existentialism: Tyson, you were a funny guy in The Hangover, but you can stop now. You don't have to put yourself through this! You don't need to read things anymore.
Jerry: I demand to know two things: Who keeps writing these? And who keeps digging up Rob Corddry's old hair for Will Forte?
Lawrence Welk Show: When the girls popped up onscreen, I thought it was really cute how it was Kristen Wiig and then all of the new girls. And then I realized that those are the only girls on the show. I'm a fan of Wiig, but, at this point, I'm starting to feel like we're overloading. They'd better even out the appearances or even her fans will get sick of seeing her. That said, I still laughed out loud when she started eating snow with her tiny hands. You got me this time, Wiig.
Monologue: It was cool of Franco to bring up that photo of him sleeping in class. I remember the gossip sites getting a good laugh out of that when it first made its rounds on the Internet. The audience reaction to the fake movie was also quite cute. It was around this point in the episode that I started to notice Franco looked a lot like the way I do when I'm outdoors without my sunglasses for long periods of time, and he wasn't just making that face for his smoking jacket-ed Lawrence Welk character.
Fraternity: A simple but effective, really funny idea. "Where do the tiny people go, and are they okay?" This has the potential to be a recurring sketch, I'm sure, but I really hope they don't bring these guys back. It was perfect the way it ended.
Weekend Update: Jokes weren't spectacular, but, again, Moynihan as Snookie was great. Armisen and Wiig were also fun to watch, but only to see Armisen and Wiig struggle through songs together and not because those characters were genuinely able to hold my attention.
Christmas Tree: Weird. Kind of funny, but just mainly weird. By the end of this sketch, I started questioning whether or not I had made out with Franco at some point in the evening.
Mark Wahlberg: This was the best when it first appeared and the real Wahlberg did it. Since then, it hasn't been particularly funny. I was also suddenly filled with anxiety when Samberg started chit-chatting really close to that reindeer. Man, do you not see those antlers super-close to your eyeballs? Seriously, one buck of the head...
|Quite a bit.||216 (51.6%)|
|C'mon, that's just the way Franco acts.||127 (30.3%)|
|Whoa. Wait. What?||76 (18.1%)|
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