'SNL' Scorecard: Was Melissa McCarthy Even Given a Chance?
by Mike Ryan, posted Oct 2nd 2011 1:55PM
Someday Melissa McCarthy will be a good 'SNL' host. Her name will be mentioned alongside recent 'SNL' hosting phenoms like Jon Hamm and Justin Timberlake. Hell, if given some better than average material last night to back up her deliveries, we may already be mentioning her name as part of this class. Unfortunately, McCarthy did what she could with a writing staff that seemed to take the week off from writing anything interesting and, instead, just gave her a few sketches that resembled poor man's clones of 'Bridesmaids.' To be fair, this was probably to be expected with her first outing immediately following her breakthrough comedy role. But, now that this is out of the way, hopefully, next time, the writing staff will giver her more things to do than pour food on her head and have her fall down a flight of stairs. Alas, on to the scorecard...
Sketch of the Night
"Lulu Diamonds" (McCarthy, Sudeikis, Samberg, Moynihan, Killam) Speaking of falling down the stairs! Yes, my biggest gripe in the introduction is also the sketch of the night. But that's only because McCarthy is just so f-cking good at falling down the stairs. What's interesting about this sketch isn't necessarily the physical comedy, which, again, McCarthy does well, and is what will be remembered – but more the banter between McCarthy and the fellas in between the pratfalls:
"Aw, Lulu, why don't we just do it down here?"
"Yeah, Lulu, we can put down some towels."
"Don't be silly, we can go up the monkey way."
"Hubba, hubba, hubba."
"That doesn't seem very logical."
"Lil' Poundcake" (Bayer) Wow, this was dark. Needles and adolescent girls! Yikes! Lil' Poundcake seems like your average childhood doll – she smells like frosting! -- but Lil Poundcake also serves a second purpose: administering your child with a vaccination for HPV. "Lil' Poundcake protects against HPV with a series of three injections over a period of six months. And she's got her own phone!" Considering that Vanessa Bayer is the only cast member in this commercial parody, I'm going to make the assumption that this is her creation. If this is the kind of thing lurking in the back of Bayer's mind – please, more of this.
"Chris Rock on Broadway" (Pharoah, Pedrad, Thompson, Bayer, Killam, Elliott) After his successful run on Broadway, now Chris Rock is in all of your favorite classic productions. Which pretty much entails Rock delivering one line from the play, then going on a Chris Rock rant. What's great about this is just how much the other actors in Rock's plays seem to be enjoying Rock's monologues, "At one point they just sat down on the stage and started laughing." Also, Pharoah's Rock is top notch. Also, yes, Pharoah had a big sketch last night and, yes, of course he was doing an impression. It's been over a year: It seems this is just the way it's going to be.
"Taste Test" (McCarthy, Moynihan, Killam, Elliott) Again, kind of like with Lulu Diamonds, everyone will remember McCarthy pouring ranch dressing on her head, but the best part of this sketch is the dialogue. Right after Moynihan announces that there will be a $50 bonus for the best comment, watch how McCarthy delivers the line, "that cash could really help me get out of a couple of jams." And, later, "we'll split that $50 -- $25 and $25 – it will get me out of one jam." Lines delivered like that is the McCarthy I look forward to on future shows.
"Digital Short: Stomp" (Samberg, Hader) I almost feel guilty for liking this one. The Stomp action wasn't doing it for me, which is probably why -- after being lulled into boredom -- I found the killing of Blue Man Group, mistaken for aliens, so funny. So, put it this way: I wasn't particularly a fan of the sketch, but I did like the punch line.
"Weekend Update" (Meyers, Armisen, Bayer, Thompson) "Update" is still trying to find its groove for this still very young season. I know they don't want to rely on a character like Stefon to breathe life into the show -- and I agree with not overusing Hader's quite popular character – but a visit from "Gaddafi's Friends" and Tyler Perry isn't cutting it. The concept of "Gaddafi's Friends" is solid, but, on another night when Meyers' news delivery is still off, for whatever reason (an Obama mic drop joke?), that's not the type of segment that's going to give "Update" the shot of energy that it needs. (Also, come on, mentioning 'Bridesmaids' twice during "Update" alone? Not to mention the time it was already mentioned in the monologue?)
"Melissa McCarthy Monologue" (McCarthy, Wiig, Moynihan, Killam) Shadow dancing? Ugh. And, also, it was just bad timing, too, for this to follow Wiig and McCarthy hamming it up in the excruciating "Lawrence Welk Show" cold open. At this point, it really looked like the show was going to turn into the "Kristen Wiig/Melissa McCarthy Variety Hour" (thankfully, that didn't happen). Again, McCarthy delivers her lines well and I will give credit for trying something different than just taking fake questions from audience members, but the payoff – the whole dance routine aspect -- was not very enjoyable to watch.
"Complaints" (McCarthy, Samberg, Thompson, Wiig, Bayer, Pedrad, Brittain, Hader) Oh, "Complaints," I had such high hopes for you. Samberg plays a guy hitting on McCarthy at a bar while making the declaration that there's been "no complaints" about his ability as a lover. Of course, there are complaints. A lot of them. This is a classic example of a sketch that, on paper, sounds quite funny. And I thought it would be funny! But, man, this just went nowhere. (Though, it was nice to get our one glimpse at Paul Brittain for the evening.)
"Arlene" (McCarthy, Sudeikis, Hader, Thompson, Pharoah) "Arlene" is one of the laziest sketches I've seen on 'SNL' in the last few years. Not on McCarthy's part, who seems to be putting quite a bit of effort into this sketch – but there's absolutely nothing here. I mean, did the script consist of anything other than, "McCarthy acts nuts"? Credit to McCarthy for giving this sketch her all, even though there's no substance or point to it whatsoever. What made her other two heavily physical sketches work was the addition of some clever writing. This, though, is just nothing more than a huge waste.
"Cold Open: Lawrence Welk" (Wiig, McCarthy, Armisen, Bayer, Pedrad, Elliott) There was no possible way that this was going to be good because the recurring "Lawrence Welk Show" sketches are never good. When Kristen Wiig gave up Penelope and Gilly, I wish she would have added this to the list, too. The only reason this isn't "The Ugly" sketch of the night is the lack of any expectations whatsoever, as opposed to...
"The Comments Section" (Sudeikis, Moynihan, Pedrad, Killam, McCarthy, Hader) Wow, this was bad. In a sketch that, really, should have been a goldmine for comedy – nothing. Nothing! How is that possible? "Mad gay yo." "Epic fail haha you loser u r fat." That's the extent of what "SNL" wants to cover? In a world where people do hide behind online usernames to deliver quite personal and vitriolic attacks, there was a lot here that could have been said. (Check out the comments at my main gig over at Moviefone some day – since I started two months ago, three times a commenter has disagreed with a post and has called for me to be fired. Which is fine! But, of course, there's no real name in sight.) But, yes, let's just go for cheap jokes about being punched in the stomach instead.
Average Score For This Show: 5.45
Weekly Host Scorecard:
· Alec Baldwin 5.80
· Melissa McCarthy 5.45
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