Powered by i.TV
September 1, 2015

'Saturday Night Live' Amy Poehler/Katy Perry Recap

by Dr. Ryan Vaughan, PhD (no, seriously), posted Sep 26th 2010 11:30AM
'Saturday Night Live'['SNL' - 'S36 E01']

Why do little girls dream about becoming dancers and veterinarians (or dancing veterinarians) when they have someone like Amy Poehler to be their role model? Who wouldn't want to be a member of an influential improv comedy group (Upright Citizens Brigade) then become a cast member on 'Saturday Night Live,' only to later star in their own sitcom and achieve comedy's holy grail as the host of 'Saturday Night Live'?

I can't answer that, but I can tell you that I never wished I was a girl more than while watching Amy Poehler host the show's 36th season premiere. Then Katy Perry made me wish I was a man again.

Cold Open: It's no surprise the show snatched up the topical Christine O'Donnell turmoil and turned it on its ear for the cold open, with masturbation being the joke du jour. Though they squeezed that joke until every last drop was on the floor, they didn't ignore her experimentation with witchcraft, as she mounted a broom and floated above the studio to deliver the first "Live from New York, it's Saturday night" of the 36th season.

Monologue: What started as a clunky run through a couple "get-to-know-me" jokes about 'Parks and Recreation' quickly transitioned into something 'Saturday Night Live' is famous for: Cameos! Poehler wandered into a stress dream where Justin Timberlake and 'SNL' alums Rachel Dratch, Tina Fey, and Jimmy Fallon dropped by for a few quick-hitting jokes. The 'Inception' parody monologue was a nice save after some pretty generic Betty White and Taylor Lautner cracks.

Bronx Beat: There's always an added sense of excitement when an ex-cast member hosts the show, as we all anticipate which iconic characters will make an appearance. Not surprisingly, Betty and Jodi from Bronx Beat took us out of the break with their first-ever female guest: Maureen DiChico (Katy Perry) whose cleavage almost stole the scene from the spot-on accents of Poehler and a cameo from Maya Rudolph.

Bosley Hair Restoration: No one does commercial parodies better than 'Saturday Night Live,' and this one, about pubic hair transplants, was no exception. It was really just a matter of time before 'SNL' went there.

Maternity Matters: One of Fred Armisen's recurring sketches where he plays no-nonsense producer, Roger Brush. He produces decidedly female-oriented talk shows with hosts who never show up, leaving him the final arbiter of womanly wisdom. His advice to a pregnant women who wants to know how she can feel attractive: "get a flowery dress, put on a bunch of make-up, walk into your husband's room and say 'I'm sorry honey. This is what you get.'"

Mosque at Ground Zero: The season premiere also benefits from an entire summer's worth of cultural news and events worthy of becoming fodder. The spin on the mosque as your one-stop shop for all things liberal: gay weddings, immigrant naturalization, abortion, and espresso gives the used car parody some added bite.

Katy PerryKaty Perry: I'll be honest, I usually use the musical appearances on 'SNL' to go get snacks or to check my scalp for unusual growths. But for you, dear reader, I'll give them some love. I'm very bad at telling if people are lip-syncing, yet ironically skilled at identifying celebrity voices in animated movies. Perry sounded great, and looked even better: like Betty Boop in a unicorn's bedroom for 'California Gurlz,' and like a teenager in a unicorn's dream for 'Teenage Dream.'

Weekend Update: Update continues to be one of the most consistent sketches that 'SNL' has to offer. Seth and Amy hit most of the highlights of the off-season, including an inspired 'Really? with Seth and Amy' skewering the controversy over military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy. New featured player Jay Pharoah made his debut with a fantastic impression of Will Smith -- Update impersonations are always a good way to get your feet wet. The zenith of Update, and arguably the episode, was a dueling Pattersons bit with Fred Armisen reprising his role as the blind New York governor only to be upstaged by the real Governor Patterson, who delivered the line of the night: "You have poked so much fun at me for being governor that I forgot that I was black!"

The Lean Years: Another of Poehler's classic characters returns in this mockumentary about the next Showtime dramedy about women with secrets. Amber, the chick with one leg (jealous?!), stars in 'The Lean Years,' because "the best titles mean two things." It was great to see Amber again, even if for only one joke -- one of my all-time favorites -- when she breaks wind and asks whoever is listening if they are somehow jealous.

SNL Digital Short, 'Boogerman': I was hoping for a lot more out of the digital short, especially with Timberlake showing up in the monologue, but I also can't say I've ever been truly disappointed by a short, either. 'Boogerman' was memorable for its repetition and exaggeration of movie cliches and the random cuts to celebrities applauding. It was nice to see them getting their money's worth out of Katy Perry as well.

Little Hats: This somewhat absurdist (if there is such a thing) sketch was an elaborate set-up for the line "faking your own death is the new tiny hat."

Actor II Actor: Samberg and Timberlake flaunt their real friendship in this cross between 'Inside the Actor's Studio' and the old sketch 'The Chris Farley Show.' It started with the pretentious posturing of the former and quickly deteriorated into the childish antics of the latter when Samberg asked "when are you gonna make some more music?" and Timberlake stormed off the set.

The Even More Expendables: The show closed with some punch during this "worst case scenario" trailer for possible sequels to 'The Expendables,' including 'The Availables' and 'The Unwatchables.'

Host: B+
Musical Guest: A-
Laughs: B+

It just feels right to be watching live comedy on Saturday night again, something I've been doing for around 25 years now. This was a solid episode, and we should all be looking forward to Bryan Cranston and Kanye West next week.

Dr. Vaughan teaches English/Media/Humor courses at Binghamton University in upstate New York, and he will wrestle you for food. You can also check out his blog at drvtv.wordpress.com or www.facebook.com/pages/Ryan-Vaughan/21931402981

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:

I thought Pharoah's Will Smith was spot-on. The voice inflection was perfect, and he captured one of his vocal eccentricities, the weird way we seems to phlegm-up (or whatever) when he's publicly speaking. Very specifically accurate impression.

September 27 2010 at 2:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wow, I only listened to Katy's first song, but at least to my ear, it did not sound good.

September 26 2010 at 9:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Solid episode.

Was that Peter Sarsgaard in the Boogerman Skit?

September 26 2010 at 6:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Chris's comment
Dr. Ryan Vaughan, PhD (no, seriously)

It was. A nice touch.

September 26 2010 at 9:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have never heard a Will Smith impression. Ever. I thought Pharoah's Will Smith was very good and his Chris Tucker was on point. I didn't expect this much from a featured comedian on SNL. Since I've been watching they usually are in the back ground to start.

September 26 2010 at 5:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You failed to mention that in the "Bronx Beat" skit, Katy Perry was wearing an Elmo shirt, making the skit (and the cleavage jokes) a reference to this week's controversy about Perry's aborted appearance on "Sesame Street,"

September 26 2010 at 1:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thought the program was one of the strongest debuts they've had since 1986 (Sigourney Weaver). But I too thought that Pharoah's Will Smith was a rare FAIL in a great show. He doesn't look like Will Smith, he doesn't sound (to me) like Will Smith, and he wasn't funny. I was surprised he got so many laughs, and surprised to see the reviewer lauding it.

Otherwise loved, loved, loved it.

September 26 2010 at 1:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

what happened to the reviewer from the past two seasons?

September 26 2010 at 12:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Edward's comment
Dr. Ryan Vaughan, PhD (no, seriously)

She lost to me in a 'Beat It' style knife fight.

September 26 2010 at 4:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Dr. Vaughan: This comment was funnier than anything in your original post!

I thought it was a disappointing premiere. I always liked Amy Poehler, but she doesn't have the clout to open a season. Maybe she was a back-up?

The Bosley commercial was good, and I give MAJOR props to Gov. Patterson for a great cameo. Let's hope that signals the end of Fred Armisen's impression.

September 26 2010 at 6:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Maybe the problem was just boring writing, but I got very little out of Pharoah's Will Smith impersonation. Not funny and not really all that much of an impersonation. He's going to have do a lot better with these bits to live up to all the hype he's been getting.

For that matter, it was only the cameos and not the jokes that made the opening good. I really miss Tina Fey being the head writer.

All in all my favorite bit was the shortest: Actor II Actor.

September 26 2010 at 11:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Leroy's comment

I agree, I was slightly disappointed with his impersonations, but I chalk that up to the lazy writing.

At least he actually got some screen time unlike the other new guys who were on for about 20 sec. total.


September 26 2010 at 2:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I must have been the only one to get the Will Smith impression, Jay was spot on, I was laughing constantly, especially with the whooooo!

September 26 2010 at 11:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Follow Us

From Our Partners