It's Not Her Fault: January Jones on Saturday Night Live
This weekend's groundbreakingly unfunny episode of Saturday Night Live spawned a new straw man in the seven year old argument "Why is Lorne Michaels's sketch show so disappointing?" Usually the only two parties indicted are the non-Kristin Wiig/Bill Hader castmembers and the writers, but following January Jones's particularly stiff night headlining Studio 8H, some online reviewers and ardent SNL fans placed the blame squarely on Betty Draper's dainty shoulders. The truth is that no matter how much Jones left to be desired in an SNL host, the precautions that Seth Meyers & Co. usually take for its model-turned-actress, athlete or pop star hosts, went egregiously ignored.
On Saturday night, there were two kinds of SNL viewers making up the show's 4.7 rating: the kind who recognized January Jones and the kind who had no idea who the f*ck she was. Mad Men fans knew not to expect any characters outside the Betty Draper Range-of-Stiffness (demonstrated during her appearance on Late Night last week). But there was that slim chance that Jon Hamm, John Slattery and Elisabeth Moss might appear in a Mad Men sketch, so they tuned in.
Alas, SNL squandered its Sterling Cooper currency on Jones's monologue, when a few Mad Men-superfans clambered on stage to sing their own lyrics to the the AMC program's theme song. The show continued, with Jones appearing in a Today Show sketch, as an animal wrangler who complains that Kathie Lee's singing is enraging the caged talent, a 50s party-planning instructional video, a cloud-gazing skit in which Jones plays a ditzy first date who is not familiar with Guns N' Roses and then that Rear Window flatulence gag (below).
Jones delivered a Fallon-esque performance, in which she giggled through her lines, and at one point, asked which camera she should be looking at. But again, all blame could have been avoided if SNL writers had given her some of their typical host-proof sketches. Here are three ideas:
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