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'SNL' Scorecard: Were There any Gems in Anna Faris' Dud of a Show?

by Mike Ryan, posted Oct 16th 2011 1:20PM


So, do you want the good news first or do you want the bad news? "The good news first," you may or may not have said? Well, the good news is that after a rare four week run of live shows, 'SNL' has two weeks off to recharge. And, wow, do they need it. I mean, could last night's Anna Faris monologue have been any more phoned in? It's always a bad sign when the writing staff resorts to "fake Q&A with the audience,' but, my God, at least sometimes those can still be funny. Also, more good news: Jason Sudeikis' pal Charlie Day will be the next host on November 5, which should bring some much needed comedic inspiration. Of course, the bad news: last night's show was somewhat awful. Also, Faris introduced the show as the "Halloween show" – but where was the Halloween? Where was Hader's Vincent Price sketch? Come to think of it, where was Anna Faris? Anna Faris is funny! Why wasn't she featured more often? Regardless, thankfully, near the end of the show, there were a couple of gems. (Actually, this show, for as bad as it was overall, had my two favorite sketches of the season.) On to the scorecard...

Sketch of the Night

"Wyndemere" (Brittain, Sudeikis, Faris, Samberg, Hader) God bless you, Paul Brittain. This... is what we're missing every week as Brittain's sketches never seem to make the show. Brittain plays Cecil Wyndemere, a delightful scamp that walked right out of any sort of British period piece that features delightful, eccentric scamps. He has his own dance, he has his own melody, and he likes "sweets"! He's also Anna Faris' new boyfriend that she just brought home to meet her parents – Sudeikis and Wiig. Also, this is the first sketch this season that Jason Sudeikis appears to really be having a good time.



Score: 9.0



The Good

"Tell Him" (Elliott, Bayer, Pedrad, Wiig, Faris, Samberg) Sadly, this sketch isn't online, (Update: Now it is, sort of. It's pretty poor quality, but it's now on Youtube, at least for a little while -- embedded below) obviously due to song rights issues, but it was one of the most complete sketches so far this season. What starts out as typical "tell him that you love him," musical advice to a lovesick Bayer, turns into something a little more realistic when the still upbeat lyrics change to, "Tell him you never want to have babies" and "tell him that you play 'Call of Duty' and "tell him that you want to have a three way." This sketch is funny because this sketch is true. Also, this sketch has Abby Elliott and Vanessa Bayer's fingerprints all over it and, assuming that's true, gives me hope that Elliott is coming out of what's been a very long funk.



Score: 8.5



"J-Pop Talk Show" (Killam, Bayer, Sudeikis, Faris) A Michigan State University access channel – which also shows 'Hazing Bloopers with Alpha Chi' – broadcasts a Japanese themed show called 'J-Pop America Fun Time Now.' The problem, neither of the hosts are actually Japanese and what results is probably racist – which is repeatedly pointed out by the school faculty president who runs the television station.



Score: 7.0



"Digital Short: Drake Interview" (Samberg, Drake) Samberg does a series of interviews with Drake (that I really thought was headed toward the "Actor II Actor" shtick with Timberlake from last season), which range from "short interview" to "racist interview" to "sarcastic interview." This was fine – and it's nice to see Drake is a good sport, who appeared in two sketches last night. I know the general consensus is that Samberg is a bit lost this season without Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer, which does have some merit. But, to be fair, for being a guy who is "lost," he's still hanging in there, sort of... At least, a lot better than Sudeikis did last season. (Though, it seems Sudeikis, too, has rebounded this season.)



Score: 6.0



"Lifetime Game Show" (Hader, Bayer, Wiig, Faris, Elliott, Samberg) Lifetime introduces its first game show, 'What's Wrong with Tonya?' The idea for this sketch quite brilliant, but the payoff wasn't 100 percent there, unfortunately. In other words: The concept made me laugh (and still does!), but the sketch didn't (and still doesn't).



Score: 6.0



The Bad

"Weekend Update" (Meyers, Moynihan, Pharoah, Drake) An improvement over previous weeks, I suppose. But, still, "Update," which I look forward to every week, has been in "the bad" every week this season. There's just something missing from Meyers this season --that extra spark when he's really pissed off about something. When Meyers is focused, there's no one better to deliver biting commentary. It's just not there, so far, this season. Though, his banter with Moynihan's Anthony Crispino was top notch. I may be in the minority, but Pharoah and Drake's "Two Teenagers Dressed as Werewolves" song didn't do much for me. I just watched it a second time -- and the lyrics are pretty funny -- but with Pharoah's delivery, they kind of get lost.



Score: 5.0



"The Manuel Ortiz Show" (Armisen, Wiig, Hader, Bayer, Faris, Brittain, Moynihan) I really liked "The Manuel Ortiz Show" the first time I saw it. I still liked it the second time. The third time: I still laughed at the dancing. Now, it just feels stale. I would have much preferred a "What's Up With That?"



Score: 4.5



"GOP Debate II" (Bayer, Thompson, Sudeikis, Brittain, Wiig, Moynihan, Samberg, Hader) As a statement of personal politics, I don't care much for Chris Christie. But, for the sake of 'SNL,' I really wish he had jumped in the presidential race because this is boring. And 'SNL' knows that it's boring. This whole sketch was about just how boring the Republicans are – which, unfortunately is still boring to watch. You know how 'Community' did an entire episode about alternate timelines this week? Can 'SNL' just pretend that it's in an alternative timeline in which Chris Christie is running for President? (Also, it appears that Bill Hader has taken over the role of Rick Perry from Alec Baldwin, for what it's worth.)



Score: 4.0



"Cold Open – Bloomberg Occupy Wall Street" (Armisen) Four full shows: Still no Obama. Also, this was 'SNL''s only response to Occupy Wall Street? You've got one of the biggest and slightly absurd news stories happening in your back yard and we get a Bloomberg sketch? A Bloomberg sketch that's only interesting to, really, the people who live in New York City? Yes, in real life, Bloomberg has cracked down on cigarette smoking in parks and likes to mention the many amenities New York City has to offer, even in times of despair. But will anyone outside of New York City care? There was something to be done here, perhaps even with Bloomberg involved, but this wasn't it.



Score: 2.0



"Anna Faris Monologue" (Faris, Elliott, Hader, Samberg) As addressed before, this was pretty bad. It's an open secret that when the 'SNL' writers don't know what to do, they do a fake Q&A with the audience. So, yes, the writers didn't know what to do. And I don't blame Faris, but, unfortunately, this is the material she's given when a show that should never, ever do four live shows in a rows does four live shows in a row.



Score: 1.5



The Ugly

"Bookstore" (Wiig, Faris, Hader) Honest question, did the show run short? There were two live sketches post the second musical number – which hasn't happened in some time. And, let's be honest, Brittain's brilliant "Wyndemere" seemed like the ultimate oddball last sketch of the show. But then this came along. I would have rather seen an extended Good Nights or, yes, even more Wyndemere than this tacked on thing. Two women with thick New York accents really like the hot guys and Ferraris calendar. That's it. Ok, sure.



Score: 1.0



Average Score For This Show: 4.95

Weekly Host Scorecard:

· Alec Baldwin 5.80
· Melissa McCarthy 5.45
· Ben Stiller 5.18
· Anna Faris 4.95

You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter.

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

i still get over this was supposed to be a halloween show.......

October 18 2011 at 2:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Daniel

Wow. By far the worst show of the season. When I saw that it would be a Bloomberg cold open I thought Oh no but it actually wasn't bad. The monologue was atrocious. The redeeming aspect was Bill Hader's pervert. Overall it was one of the better installments of the Manuel Ortiz show. Vanessa Bayer cant do a Hispanic accent for her life though. As always, Bill Hader was aces in Manual Ortiz. "Whats Wrong With Tanya" was a good premise but not well executed . Anna Faris was awful in it. The digital short was great. The GOP debate was also good i guess. I dont understand why they didn't use Taran's Jon Huntsman. Bill did a surprisingly good Rick Perry, Jason's Mitt wasn't great but it was written very well, Kenan's Cain was a similar to Jason's Mitt, I wish we could have seen more of Paul's Ron Paul. Bobby and Kristen were both solid. Andy's Rick Santorum was very funny. Vanessa however flubbed a few lines. I thought WU was really good. Seth was great. I love Anthony Crispino. Every time Bobby uses that character it grows on me. I didn't love Jays thing with Drake though. I thought the "Tell Him" skit was one of the worst skits I've ever seen on SNL. Just awful. "J Pop America Fun Time Now" was ok. Good relevant premise. Vanessa wasnt great and Anna Farris was awful AGAIN. Taran did a really good job and Jason as the teacher was the highlight. The Cecil skits was decent. I loved Jason in this one. Paul and Bill both did a good job as well. It was ok but not great. The last skit was awful. The twist at the end with Bill was funny but the skit was just bad. Anna was also clearly looking at the cue cards the whole time and Kristen totally showed her up.

October 17 2011 at 6:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
irishprincer

bring back Toonces the cat who could drive a car.

October 17 2011 at 3:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
shadowracer

They need to go ahead and fire that Lorne fellow. I'm not to sure he knows what he's doing.
He picks what airs right?

October 17 2011 at 11:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Wayno

"Tell Him That" was the funniest one of the episode for me. I just hope SNL doesn't get sued for plagiarizing "The Girls Guide to Dating" ! ROTFL!!

October 17 2011 at 10:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kelliemv

I only saw a few minutes of the show but what I did see with Anna Faris, it looked like she was just reading the teleprompter. Not impressed so I turned to something else.

October 16 2011 at 7:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to kelliemv's comment
shadowracer

That's the way everyone looks. And what else was on at the same time?

October 17 2011 at 11:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jen Berry McClain

i got really excited when the "Wyndemere" sketch started - i thought it was going to be like the starburst berries & creme guy, which is awesome! it was not quite the same, but very close and still very enjoyable.

October 16 2011 at 6:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jen Berry McClain's comment
Mike Ryan

Honestly, I've watched Wyndemere five times today and I have laughed every time. He is so delightful!

October 16 2011 at 6:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Stacie

Maybe someone can refresh my memory, but when has there been a sketch in the middle of a show, not the cold open, that didn't feature the host?? The GOP debate didn't even have Anna Faris as the moderator. Plus that was a long sketch, in the 1st hour of the show Faris was probably only on screen for about 5 minutes. I get that she can't be one of the GOP candiadates, but she could have done more than Vanessa Brayer did, who was heavily featured last night.

Last week was atrocious and this week was worst in my opinion. When you say Ben Stiller and Anna Faris you think funny people, but the end result is terrible. How could they not do any Halloween skits? I remember last year's Frankenstein with the bride of Frankenstein with Niki Minaj. AND she was actually there last night they could have utilized her again. That is a major fail. As you mentioned they didn't do the standby Vincent Price skit either.

The Weekend Updates have been terrible. There have been a couple of decent lines by Meyers but the bits have been horrible, including the never mention again Kristen Wiig skit last week, and this week's Mike Crispino and the Werewolves. Very weak.

The best episode thus far has been the Melissa McCarthy episode, and even that had several weak moments, the Alec Baldwin episode was generic, the Stiller one last week was very rough and this is episode was brutal. It's definitely time for them to take a break and take a look at the mess that they call this season.

October 16 2011 at 6:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Stacie's comment
Mike Ryan

I'd say that a host not appearing in a middle-of-the-show sketch happens quite often. But the first three shows of this season featured an abnormally high amount of host airtime -- which really contrasts with this Faris episode. It's not that she didn't appear in a couple of sketches -- again, I feel that's normal -- it's that she played supporting characters in pretty much every sketch that she *was* in, for whatever reason.

October 16 2011 at 6:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lordz86

There were a couple good sketches. Lord Wyndemere was probably the first great sketch of the season. And Brittain gave me the first loud laugh of the episode when Ron Paul fought his way out of the van, even if the rest of the sketch wasn't great. So a good night for him.

I just skipped right over Manuel Ortiz. I sighed loudly and went to get myself a cup of tea.

You are correct on Bloomberg. I don't live in New York. I have probably heard Bloomberg speak at some point, but I cannot remember what he sounds like. I have no idea what his policies are. Something about smoking? See, I don't mind SNL doing a bit of New York humour, but don't let everyone else out of the loop.

It really is a problem with the political sketches. Obama is not doing anything interesting and the GOP candidates are dull as dishwater, and they have no idea what to do with them. Political comedy up to an election year should be great, but nothing is happening in politics, perhaps because the political season began too early. It is not easy being a Live show on Saturday Night when other current event comedy shows air monday to friday.

I think that, over all. it was an alright episode. Certainly nothing great, but, then again, we haven't really had any great episodes this season, so far. I think the Bloomberg sketch was the only really bad sketch. Even the Ferrari calender sketch were alright, even if it had the misfortune of coming after the best sketch of the season.

October 16 2011 at 4:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to lordz86's comment
Mike Ryan

Yeah, you may be right. Perhaps if Ferrari happened before Wyndemere, it wouldn't have seemed so putrid. Perhaps. Let's just hope Wyndemere gets a chance as a recurring character. My god, Brittain was so good. I feel there's a lot of that kind of stuff inside of him, but there's concern that it's not "mainstream." (And it's probably not.)

October 16 2011 at 4:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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