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September 30, 2014

Review: 'Saturday Night Live' - Ashton Kutcher/Them Crooked Vultures

by Annie Wu, posted Feb 7th 2010 11:33AM
kutcher crooked vultures
(S35E14)
There was a different tone to this episode. The writing was a bit more ambitious than usual, going out on a limb a few times to tackle an idea that would require a little more work to get the laugh. It was admirable, sure, but a lot of the sketches still fell flat this week. It was strange. I also realize it's extra-weird if one considers my review of Ashton Kutcher's last stint on 'Saturday Night Live', in which I pondered out loud about whether or not he and the writers could have afforded to get a little wackier.

Kutcher's enthusiasm was nice to watch but the episode really felt mediocre. Maybe the low end of mediocre. Is that even a thing? Well, it is now.

Also: I usually manage to keep my eyes peeled back through all 90 minutes, but I fell asleep a record number of five times during the course of this episode and had to re-watch most of it later. Not awesome.

All right, let's get to the break-down. Videos as they're available!

BEST

Monologue: This ran on way too long and Kutcher's delivery was a bit choppy, but the various examples of "awesome" things were fantastic. I want to see a full-blown sketch with Superman, a Stormtrooper bartender, and Mark Twain on a tiny bike. Breakaway pants are also inherently funny.



Rahm Emanuel: I'm absolutely crazy for the 'Saturday Night Live' version of Rahm Emanuel, and this was just further fuel for my love. Sometimes I want the real Emanuel to do more crazy things just so we can see Samberg's version go nuts as well (I'm just kidding; please don't kill us, Rahmbo).



Weekend Update: Lots and lots of appearances behind the Update desk this week. Seth Meyers had a couple of really good lines, and Bill Hader's return as Eliot Spitzer was awful/great. I even laughed at Garth & Kat this week, though that was mainly because Fred Armisen and Kristen Wiig were definitely struggling to keep it cool. I like it when the actors push themselves so far that they occasionally break character... as long as it doesn't reach Jimmy Fallon levels of giggling.





NOT SO GREAT STUFF

'The View:' My brow was furrowed with confusion through the entire thing. Kenan Thompson's Whoopi had one good line and the bit about 'Precious' was funny, but that was about it. Nasim Pedrad sounded like a pitched up take on Rachel Dratch's impression, rather than her own intepretation of the real Baba Wawa. Ashton Kutcher's Mel Gibson was just plain weird. I was trying to figure out what was going on during his, like, three lines, and my only even-remotely-plausible guess was that Kutcher's voice couldn't get low and gravely enough to sound like a frustrated Mel Gibson and that's why it sounded so bizarre. That, or he has absolutely no idea who Mel Gibson is or sounds like.



Oscar Nominations: I realize this was topical and probably had to be addressed in some way or another but, man, you've got a host that's (seemingly) willing to do anything and you make him play a picture-in-picture Billy Bush for an entire sketch? Wasted.



OTHER STUFF

Cold Open: Someone in the audience loves the idea of out gays in the military. Also: What was going on with Jason Sudeikis's Glenn Beck hair? Did I miss a real-life Glenn Beck hair makeover?



What Is 'Burn Notice'?: A few lines were funny, but I took it as a bad sign when this was one of the starter sketches.


Pool Boy: Overall premise was very funny but wasted on poor execution. Best line was definitely "What was she gonna do; give birth to a ghost!?" In other news: Bobby Moynihan looked like an owl.



Cialis for Threeways: Again, funny premise but it lost something in the execution. Not that I'm entirely sure how a series of threeway jokes could be handled in a funnier way but just as tastefully. Hey! I'm not paid to hammer out the dents on 'SNL,' just eat popcorn while watching and get butter in my eyes.

Emperor: Damn, that was one elaborate sketch. Visually, I mean. The set and costume people really had to crank this one out, or at least it looked like they did. This went on a bit long, but i did enjoy Will Forte's slightly too casual "Ohh, no. He stabbed me" and Grape Lady-esque pained noises.



Fistfight in the Parking Lot: I appreciate the dated cries of rebellion but, damn, this could have been so much more fun. Maybe more Dave Grohl was in order? I love that guy, by the way. He's done some pretty hilarious stuff throughout his career, despite being very music-oriented. I would love for there to be some excuse for him to host 'SNL' at some point, or maybe doing a slightly larger role in a sketch, like Michael Bublé in Jon Hamm's episode.



Grohl did have a few more lines in this fake Kutcher-tastic social media commercial that didn't air. Some other unexpected, funny appearances are in this too. You've gotta sit through a plethora of fart jokes to get to them, though.

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John

I don't read comments really, so no cluw if anyone said this. But the What Is Burn Notice sketch felt like a complete rip-off from a bit Aziz Ansari did on his recent Comedy Central stand up special.

February 08 2010 at 5:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
nick

that Tooter ad was 1000 times funnier than half the things they aired last night (the only real moment of inspiration was the rahm emanuel sketch...and them crooked vultures rocked pretty hard. john paul jones is still a monster!)

February 07 2010 at 11:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Pat L.

I would LOVE Tracy Ullman to Host SNL so that she could teach the writers the art of sketch comedy. Seth Myers is awful and the cast are mostly mediocre. The writing is so uneven I watch not for the laughs but just to see how bad it could get. That is sad.

February 07 2010 at 11:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jen

The best sketch by far was the Rahm Emanuel (my former congressman) rant. Strangely, Samberg sounds just like he does when he's doing Mark Wahlberg when he does Rahm. I especially loved the line about Palin/Facebook when he said: "What are you, 14?" Like most of SNL, it was a couple really good sketches and the rest not very funny.

February 07 2010 at 4:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Greg

I liked HxC Fred Armisen in the last sketch. Better than the Roman sketch.

And I also liked the Burn Notice sketch, being an avid BN viewer.

February 07 2010 at 3:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David Gunter

Cold open was good impressions and tame unimaginative writing.Pool Boy and the roman skit were total wastes of time.Fell asleep during WU doubt I missed anything after.

The person who does the SNL reviews for this site must be young like under 25 because she likes this show way more than it deserves and the sudience they seem to want is people in their teens and twenties.

Once you've aged beyond that point,have a reasonably successful life and a bit of maturity the show becomes a waste.It used to have an edge and make a difference.Now it's let other shows do that and has just become silly and though silly can be ok bad silly is not.

February 07 2010 at 2:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to David Gunter's comment
Annie W.

This is extra-funny to me because I've also been accused of being "too old" to enjoy SNL anymore when I give an episode a bad review.

February 07 2010 at 3:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
osumarko

Burn Notice is a show that has more viewers and better ratings than at least 95% of whats on NBC.

February 07 2010 at 2:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kyle

Loved John Paul Jones' one line of "I was in Led Zeppelin."

February 07 2010 at 1:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Professor Zed

I had/have no idea what "Burn Notice" is, and therefore the sketch was not the least bit funny. I stayed with the show until Weekend Update - or rather, it should now be called, "Weekend Guest Date" because there's just way too many guests - the majority of which are seriously unfunny - coming in and sitting at that desk. Is it simply because Seth is too overworked trying to come up with his own - now mostly lame - takes on the week's news? From the first 45/50 minutes of the show I watched, the Pool Boy sketch was funny, and that was about it. From that point, it was back to the computer and "30 Rock" on Netflix.

February 07 2010 at 1:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chas Winterbottom

I think Grohl is old enough. He was in Dain Bramage in1984.

February 07 2010 at 1:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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