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'Saturday Night Live': Scarlett Johansson & Arcade Fire Recap (VIDEO)

by Dr. Ryan Vaughan, PhD (no, seriously), posted Nov 14th 2010 2:30PM
['SNL' - 'Season 36, Episode 6']

Like a Bill Belichick coached football team, we always expect 'Saturday Night Live' to impress us coming off a bye week. They've had an extra week to prepare, with the subsequent extra week of weird/controversial/ridiculous events to comment on and parody. Add sultry sultress Scarlett Johansson to the mix and the possibility of her hubby, Ryan Reynolds, making a cameo, and we have everything in place to ensure a blow-out victory. The only thing standing in our way is our way itself.


Cold-Open: President Obama (Fred Armisen) at the G-20 conference with the president of China, Hu Jintao. We've seen this sketch before, with the Presidents discussing the American debt to China in much the same way you and your "buddy" who owes you twenty bucks from that night at the casino would. The classic interpreter bit was good for a laugh, especially when she was prompted to say, "I like to have the lights off when someone is doing sex to me!"

Monologue: Scar Jo said she has a sex tape out there! She definitely said it, right? You heard it too, didn't you?! I'm not crazy or imagining things, am I?! I have a team of "researchers" scouring the internet to find out. If that was a joke, it was the cruelest joke ever. Oh, and Dina Lohan (Kristen Wiig) and Ke$ha (Abby Elliot) joined her to ironically sing "Class" from 'Chicago.'

My Super Sweet 16 ... and Pregnant:
What would happen if MTV added a pregnancy angle to all of its programming? It would most likely serve as the harbinger of the apocalypse, but it would be one hilarious apocalypse.

Millionaire Matchmaker: Being called "Ass Fraggle," "Dog Dump," "Ass Face," and "Visible Fart" was enough to make Candace (Vanessa Bayer) refer to host/psycho Patti Stanger (Johansson) as "Oprah, if Oprah was white and really horrible to be around." They usually get right to the heart of what makes the shows they parody so ridiculous, no exception here.

The Manuel Ortiz Show: This sketch could be called, Latin Maury Dance Machine, as they brought out a string of fiery guests all linked by a questionable line of paternity. This sketch always tests the old principle of repetition in comedy. I know it's all about the spastic dance moves initiated whenever a new guest appears, and I didn't laugh. Then the security guards came out ... and they got me. If you do something silly long enough, I'm not a robot.

Unstoppable Parody: Jay Pharoah's Denzel Washington impression was back - with Taran Killam as Chris Pine - and making fun of the formulaic conventions of movies like 'Unstoppable,' the one that's like 'Speed' on a train -- kind of. The focus was on the timeless banter between "the rookie" and "the old timer," escalating as the situation became more obnoxiously dire.

Hollywood Dish: Brady Trunk (Bill Hader) and Anastasia Stix (Wiig) are the vapid hosts of Hollywood Dish, and they have a history of driving celebrities to the brink of sanity and editing the footage to create stories that don't exist ... in typical tabloid fashion. This week we found out that, "Scarlett Johandsome" was "intimidated by" her "husband's penis."

Weekend Update: In the wake of former President Bush and Kanye West's reconciliation, the two icons -- played by Jason Sudekis and Pharoah respectively -- appeared to show how deeply they had buried the hatchet. As Bush butchered every attempt to sound smooth and "down," Kanye had his back, regardless. Bush said it best when he said "we're both rich. We're both impulsive. He interrupted Taylor Swift at an awards show, and I interrupted how well our country was doing for eight years." Why shouldn't they be BFF?

St. Kat's Middle: A critical look at the Disney Channel/Nickelodeon "positive thinking" propaganda machine. Wide eyed Catholic middle-schoolers, both inspired and brainwashed by lectures about "anything is possible" and "the sky's the limit" pushed their new found optimism on their wheelchair bound friend, with crippling results as neither their positive thoughts, nor their bright eyes and bushy tales could help him through the pain of trying to walk. Eventually prompting the statement, "You guys are my best friends. You just don't know what broken knees are all about." Turned out the sky wasn't the limit, the debilitating injury was.

SNL Digital Short: Students from a model UN addressed the General Assembly through an electronica meets Seinfeld version of historic gripes: "The Holocaust, what was that?!" Terrorism, what is that all about?!" "Ethnic cleansing, talk to the hand!" If a "boombox can save the world" it should follow that dancing can make quite a difference too, and Arcade Fire showed up to drive that very point home.

Paula Deen's Kitchen: Is November TV parody month? This episode certainly seemed like it, as virtually every sketch took aim at a television show or genre ... including Paula Deen (Wiig) eating raw butter and pimping out her Big Ol' Soakems Paper Towels while acting as the emblem for all things obese and gluttonous.

Ceramic Busts:
A Scarlett Johansson tradition -- along with "Marble Columns" and "Chandeliers" -- of selling gaudy home decor to help people interested in starting "rumors that you come from a rich family," unfortunately buried at the end of the show. While it wasn't the best in the series, it had the comfort of a recurring sketch. Like Justin Timberlake's "Omletteville," but not as funny.

Host: B+
Musical Guest: could make a sweet intramural basketball team.
Laughs: B-

WATCH MORE CLIPS FROM 'SNL'
ON SLASHCONTROL.COM


Tune in November 20th for Anne Hathaway and Florence and the Machine, 11:30PM EST on NBC.

Dr. Vaughan teaches English/Media/Humor courses at Binghamton University in upstate New York, and he'll read more than your palm.You can also check out his blog at drvtv.wordpress.com or www.facebook.com/pages/Ryan-Vaughan/21931402981 and http://twitter.com/#!/TVSpeaks

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Jack

I feel like "Comic Book Guy" saying "Worst episode ever" but holy crap, that was painfully unfunny. Most sketches were too long and the whole think could have been from the late '90s. A Paula Deen butter joke? What decade is this?

November 15 2010 at 12:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
RC

I thought this was the best episode from start to finish this season. Scarlett Johansson can lead in the skits and be confident and funny, where a lot of hosts are usually supporting characters and fixated on cue cards. The millionaire matchmaker and unstoppable were my favorite skits. This review didn't mention the skit where Scarlett and one of the new cast members played child actors doing adult parts. That skit was really funny too.

http://bitsmack.com

November 15 2010 at 9:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jim

Average episode overall, but I will say I loved the Unstoppable parody, and Kenan's lines every time he hit the floor in the Disney sketch were hilarious.

November 15 2010 at 6:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Picviewer

I think I could have spent the 90m's wasted on this doing something better like hitting my head against a wall or poking my ear with a pencil. As that would have been far more humorous than this trainwreck in the end. Did they just realize friday @ 11pm that the show was new this week based on the sketches?
And yes no post-election sketches? I'm a big boy, I can take it when it goes in the crapper and not shy away so why not man up SNL?

November 15 2010 at 1:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
elf

Agree with Kent. No comment on Dems losing historic mid-term? Tons of satire / comment that could have been made about that. thought the Bush/Kanye thing was weak. Impressions were good, but beyond that, didnt really find it amusing.

November 14 2010 at 7:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to elf's comment
Dr. Ryan Vaughan, PhD (no, seriously)

Good point. The mid-terms were ripe for a cold open, but they went with what amounted to a repeat sketch.

November 14 2010 at 9:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kent

I thought the show was funny, but hello? Where was any mention of the election? How about something with Harry Reid picking on Nancy Pelosi, since he not only survived a Tea Party scare but got to keep his job as Majority Leader, while Nancy will be Minority Leader instead of Speaker?

November 14 2010 at 5:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Cordy

This episode was completely terrible with the exception of Jay Pharaoh. Johansson tried, but the writing was so miserable this week, and as usual teh pre=taped bits were the best

November 14 2010 at 4:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Cordy's comment
Dr. Ryan Vaughan, PhD (no, seriously)

Sad, but true. I'd be interested in seeing Pharoah in some sketches where he's not doing impressions. Not that being the "impression guy" is bad (Darrell Hammond), but it would be sweet if Pharoah could develop into something closer to Phil Hartman in his versatility.

November 14 2010 at 4:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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