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September 2, 2015

'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."

Score: 8.5

The Good

"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.

Score: 8.0

"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.

Score: 7.5

"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.

Score: 7.5

"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.

Score: 6.5

The Bad

"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?)

Score: 5.0

"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.

Score: 5.0

"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.)

Score: 4.0

"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.

Score: 4.0

"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...

Score: 2.5

The Ugly

"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.

Score: 1.5

Average Score For This Show: 5.45

Weekly Host Scorecard:

· Alec Baldwin 5.80
· Melissa McCarthy 5.45

You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter.

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October 24 2011 at 5:06 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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October 24 2011 at 2:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wow, my four highlights of this episode were all under bad (The Lawrence Welk Show, Dancing, and WU) or Ugly (The Comments Section). And my 3 least favorites were your top 3. I loved "The Lawrence Welk Show". Dooneese is one of my faveorite Wiig character and I like Kristen. I thought that with the exception of Will Forte from the Betty White episode Taran did the best job and the straight man. I also thought it was cool to see them give Fred's Welk some character laughing and Tarans first fall joke but not at the second. I thought the Melissa McCarthy twist was brilliant. Also last time they did this skit (with Elton John) Nasim and Vanessa seemed to be kinda off and Abby was the only one on. This time they were all good. I thought the monologue was good. Not great but fun and it showed the obvious chemistry between Kristen and Melissa. WU, I thought bounced back very well. I liked Kadaffis friends the first time and still do. While I usually Kenan as Tyler Perry is ok but not a laugh out loud bit, this one was so well written that it worked. I liked the Office Romance skit and the Hidden Valley Ranch skit. They were both good. I like Jason in the Office Romance skit. Hes always had a knack for those characters. Bill was also funny. I also loved how in the Hidden Valley Ranch skit Mellissa kept insulting Abby's character. The TCM skit was fine. I loved Taran, Andy, and Bobbys voices. They sounded like they came right out of an old movie. I loved The Comments Section. I thought it was clever and relevant. The whole cast did a good job on that one. The Lil' Poundcake skit was ok but it took to long to get to the punch line which did not quite payoff. The Complaints skit was ok. I chuckled at Andy's facial expressions and at the bird call. Not a last skit Jem like we saw in a few episodes last season. I wasn't big on the digital short though. It just wasn't really funny and didn't come together. I also didn't like the Rock's way skit. Its not a great impression really. The whole thing seemed derivative of Abbys Merryl Streep on Ice skit last season. The only highlights were Taran as the theater gower (in the same character as the on he used in the streep skit and Nasim nodding her head like that also cracked me up. Overall decent show.

October 12 2011 at 10:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

you are NUTS. That was the funniest SNL in about 10 years. Good writing, but MM brought it home. I'll probably start watching again.

October 02 2011 at 11:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

How can you not like the Lawrence Welk ones?!?!? They're one of the most consistently funny things SNL still does!

October 02 2011 at 10:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kyle Kern

I mostly agree, but Weekend Update hit a stride this week, that Meyers is unfunny is not true.

October 02 2011 at 5:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Kyle Kern's comment
Mike Ryan

Meyers is very funny. He just hasn't yet seen "on" to me this season. I'll address this in the relevancy poll tomorrow.

October 02 2011 at 6:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm wondering if SNL should be just an hour long. Every sketch seems stretched way past the point of being repetitive.

October 02 2011 at 3:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Have you been watching SNL for the past few years? Other than John Hamm episodes everything is crap - seriously name more than 10 great sketches from the past 3 years that Hamm(or Timberlake) wasn't in, you can't . Lonely Island doesn't count towards this list either.

It's sketch comedy, writing "Melissa goes crazy" and letting her go wild is part of the whole improvisation thing that SNL prides itself. On. The writing was weak, I'll give you that, but it always is. Mccarthy was great though in terms of pure comedic skill in each sketch she was in.

Much better than Baldwin's premier. And I'm willing to bet everything else will be worse.

October 02 2011 at 3:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to shadowracer's comment
Mike Ryan

"It's sketch comedy, writing 'Melissa goes crazy' and letting her go wild is part of the whole improvisation thing that SNL prides itself."

Wait, what? Seriously? Improvising has nothing to do with SNL. Nothing. There is no improv. (Actually, "Garth ant Kat" with Armisen and Wiig requires some improv -- and Wiig has gone on record stating how much she likes doing that segment because it's the only time she gets to do improv on SNL.) Bringing energy to a bad sketch is much different than improvising.

Damon Wayons improvised during a sketch once -- Lorne fired him. Adrien Brody improvised while hosting once -- Lorne banned him from the show.

October 02 2011 at 3:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sex Ed Vincent
Kings of Catchphrase Comedy
Sarah Palin vs. Katie Couric
Mothersday Card
Good Night Saigon
9 inch Prostitute
Shakespeare Previews
Les Jeunes de Paris 1 and 2
Don’ You Go Rounin’ Roun to Re Ro'
Herb Welch
Merrily Brothers
Impressionist Medium

There are more, but I would have to look them up, and that would honestly be going through too much trouble for you.

October 02 2011 at 3:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to lordz86's comment
Mike Ryan

"Don’ You Go Rounin’ Roun to Re Ro" and "Sex Ed Vincent: YES and YES!

(And I will add Pharoah and Killam in last year's Unstoppable Trailer.)

October 02 2011 at 4:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

It felt like the "missed potential" kind of episode they do every once in a while. There is nothing, per se, bad with any of the sketches. The worst you can probably say about any of them is "meh", but, here is the problem, I can't really come up with anything good to say about any of the sketches beyond "it was alright". Almost every sketch missed the mark by a few inches. It could have been a great episode but, for some reason, it wasn't.

I suspect that most of McCarthys sketches were ones Wiig had written for herself but decided against and gave to her friend. They got "Wiig" written all over them.

October 02 2011 at 2:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to lordz86's comment
Mike Ryan

"They got 'Wiig' written all over them."

Good point.

October 02 2011 at 2:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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