Review: 'Saturday Night Live' - Ashton Kutcher/Them Crooked Vultures
by Annie Wu, posted Feb 7th 2010 11:33AM
(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!
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.
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.