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April 16, 2014

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Review: Saturday Night Live - Charles Barkley/Alicia Keys

by Annie Wu, posted Jan 10th 2010 12:45PM
charles barkley
(S35E11)
Charles Barkley isn't much of an actor. I knew that even as a little kid, when I saw him pop up in Space Jam for all of five minutes. If anyone was expecting to be blown out of the water by Barkley's performance, they really need to reconsider if their entire life is plagued by self-sabotage, as that was clearly a silly thing to hope for and a set-up for inevitable disappointment.

Going in with low expectations made this episode easier to watch. There were a few points here and there where Barkley seemed more comfortable, and some of his pre-taped segments were pretty funny. Overall though, this wasn't a particularly memorable episode, apart from the fact it was bumped by over thirty minutes, thanks to something called the NFL.

And yes, as a young person that isn't very well-versed in sports Space Jam is my go-to reference for Barkley.

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Review: Saturday Night Live - James Franco/Muse

by Annie Wu, posted Dec 20th 2009 12:50PM
james franco muse snl
(S35E10)
I hope you all rolled a towel against the crack of the door before watching James Franco host. This was the most I've laughed at an episode in quite a while, but I am still not entirely sure if it's because watching for ninety minutes gave me a bit of a contact high. Okay, even if you argue that I'm inferring a lot because bits of Pineapple Express are still lingering in my brain, there's no denying Franco was definitely extra-squinty, extra-grinny, and was half-slurring, half-spitting his speech through most of the night.

There was also a lot of making out. No man, woman or tree was safe. Or bong, I guess. Maybe.

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Review: Saturday Night Live - Taylor Lautner/Bon Jovi

by Annie Wu, posted Dec 13th 2009 12:58PM
taylor lautner bon jovi
(S35E09) Hello, Twilight fans. I know you're only here because of your screaming hearts, thudding so hard that every beat is a case for internal bruising. I'm going to be upfront: I don't like Twilight. I tried reading it before it was a "thing" because my friends recommended it to me and I found myself struggling to get through it because, well, even then I knew it was embarrassing. I also watched the film, which I thought was very funny, though I realize that was probably not the intended effect.

That said, I thought Taylor Lautner did a great job. See? I'm not just swimming in haterade. Obviously, I wasn't prepared to like him, but just like Blake Lively from last week, Lautner delivered a strong performance. He seemed really comfortable throughout the entire episode and was surprisingly natural, more natural than some of the actual cast members at some points, at least in terms of blatantly looking at cue cards.

And thanks for keeping your shirt on for all 90 minutes, Sharkboy.

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Review: Saturday Night Live - Blake Lively/Rihanna

by Annie Wu, posted Dec 6th 2009 2:35PM
blake lively rihanna
(S35E08)
I will be perfectly honest: I was not at all looking forward to this episode. A few months ago, I had forced myself to watch two seasons of Gossip Girl for blogging purposes (okay, it was also an excuse to stare at their fantastic costuming), and I couldn't bring myself to continue. One of the reasons why I disliked the show so much was Serena, Blake Lively's character.

However, I'm happy to say I was pleasantly surprised by this episode. Lively was minimally awkward and brought great enthusiasm through the entire evening (though not an exhausting amount of zeal Joseph Gordon-Levitt style). I liked how it didn't seem Lively went on the show with a mission (apart from showing off her crazy legs); she didn't try to show off her musical side, cling to strictly "pretty girl" skits, or get controversial. She was just there, having a good time.

Also, for the most part, the writing was solid this week. Probably the most consistently funny installment in quite a while. Even the strange treatment of the Cold Open (with the Obama party crashers) was adorable.

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Review: Saturday Night Live - Joseph Gordon-Levitt/Dave Matthews Band

by Annie Wu, posted Nov 22nd 2009 12:38PM
joseph gordon levitt snl
(S35E07)
I imagine it played out like this: Joseph Gordon-Levitt was at home last week, trying to mentally prepare for his first go as Saturday Night Live host by watching January Jones. Her performance turned out to be wooden and incredibly low energy and, consequently, the laughs were minimal. This struck fear into Mr. Gordon-Levitt's heart, and, terrified, he dropped the pint of Phish Food that he was eating in my imagination. "I won't let this happen to me," I bet he said. "I'm going to eat two fistfuls of Pixi Stix at 11:25 p.m. Saturday night and have someone inject me with a near lethal dose of adrenaline. I'll also wear a lot of vests."

And that's how Joseph Gordon-Levitt managed to exhaust a seated audience through sheer enthusiasm and volume alone. Maybe.

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Review: Saturday Night Live - January Jones/Black Eyed Peas

by Annie Wu, posted Nov 15th 2009 12:32PM
january jones snl
(S35E06)
There was a strange moment of nodding recognition at the end of the night, as I watched Jason Sudeikis and January Jones in the cloud-gazing sketch. Throughout, the man pauses to consider the woman's weird behavior and then concedes, "Ohh, you're a very pretty, pretty woman." Yup. That's pretty much how I reacted the entire night, especially during really bad sketches like the farting Grace Kelly (take a moment to think about that: Farting. Grace. Kelly.)

Jones was kind of a stiff host with not particularly daring material, but, goodness gracious, her real-life 50s Barbie prettiness was mesmerizing. Her performances in the mid-century instructional video and the aforementioned cloud-gazing sketch were the best of the evening, but that's not saying much since the rest of her appearances were strange and wooden. Even her good night felt like it had been programmed in and auto-tuned for maximum polite insincerity.

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Review: Saturday Night Live - Taylor Swift

by Annie Wu, posted Nov 8th 2009 9:40AM
taylor swift snl
(S35E05) I had to talk myself through being allowed to criticize Taylor Swift. Ever since Kanye West VMA outburst turned everyone in America into Swift's over-protective mom, she's been shown even more as an innocent country-inspired sweetheart. Every time she messed up in this episode, I felt the need to hold back any not-super-great remarks because, well, she's a teeny-bopper! Teeny-boppers are just kids goofin' around!

And then I have to pause and remind myself that she's almost 20-years-old, around the same age as Shia LaBeouf and Ellen Page when they first hosted and Abby Elliiott when she initially joined the featured players. Screw it, there's no need to hold back. Swift is a musician, so we can't expect her acting skills to be super-good, but the fact I keep thinking she's only 14 shouldn't affect anything else.

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Review: Saturday Night Live - Gerard Butler/Shakira

by Annie Wu, posted Oct 18th 2009 2:03PM
gerard butler and shakira
(S35E04) I remember sitting down and staring at Gerard Butler as he made funny, smarmy faces at the camera. And then I blinked, only to see Butler was thanking the cast and viewers for a wonderful show. I looked on the computer screen. There were half-remembered notes haphazardly tapped out at some point.

Somehow, I had jumped forward ninety minutes. Had I finally mastered short-term time travel? Or did I just watch an incredibly forgettable episode of Saturday Night Live? Probably the latter. However, I vaguely recall a destructive robot adorably struggling through a wall. If that was actually a dream and not real life, please don't tell me.

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Saturday Night Live: Drew Barrymore/Regina Spektor

by Annie Wu, posted Oct 11th 2009 10:29AM
drew barrymore snl
(S35E03) Drew Barrymore is energy. Pure, almost-scary energy. It's disorienting to watch when one is bleary-eyed and staring at a tiny TV in the wee hours of the morning, but this trademark makes for consistent television-viewing. While the quality of Saturday Night Live's writing may waver from episode to episode, every time Drew Barrymore returns, one can safely expect absolute enthusiasm and a palpable willingness to step back and laugh at herself.

All right, little Ms. "I Extra-Love Female Empowerment," prepare for me to work that ego.... Especially when one compares her to the typical "hot girl" host (see: Megan Fox's SNL premiere), Barrymore doesn't box herself in and offers a lot more opportunity for fun characters. Would someone like Fox ever be willing to bolo it up to play Nina Wilkes Booth? I doubt it.

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Saturday Night Live: Ryan Reynolds/Lady Gaga

by Annie Wu, posted Oct 4th 2009 2:38PM
madonna lady gaga snl
(S35E02)
After that Jenny Slate f-bomb nonsense and Megan Fox's not terribly original hot girl material from the season premiere, it was exciting to see a really solid episode (and a star-studded one, at that). Ryan Reynolds did a fantastic job as host (snaps for his wavering voice during the porcelain fountains sketch and accent in SYTYCD), though he didn't have any major stand-out roles. Did I miss the memo that Lady Gaga wasn't just musical guest but co-host as well? Such a role is normally left up to Ryan Reynolds' giant biceps.

It's been a while since we've seen such consistently enjoyable writing in an episode. Usually, there's a distinct lull during the course of the 90 minutes, but I didn't feel it this time. Hopefully, this is a good indication of the rest of the season.

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SNL (probably) welcoming two new female cast members

by Nick Zaino, posted Sep 4th 2009 12:24PM
Nasim Pedrad Saturday Night LiveSeveral sources have been following up on a report on Sean McCarthy's The Comic's Comic blog about two new Saturday Night Live cast members, including the New York Post and Variety.

The two newcomers will reportedly be Jenny Slate, who has appeared in the "7th Floor West" series of sketches on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and the Iranian-born Nasim Pedrad, who had a one-woman show called Me, Myself, and Iran at The Comedy Festival in Las Vegas a couple of years ago. Both have worked with the Upright Citizens Brigade troupe. (Note: although several sources have said the new additions are official, NBC's publicity department is not confirming it, as of about 11 AM today).

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