'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.
"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.
"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.
"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.)
"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).
"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.
"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?"
"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.)
"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.
"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.
"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.
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
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