SNL Scorecard: Did the Rookies Save Gwyneth Paltrow's Show?
Last night's Gwyneth Paltrow-hosted edition of Saturday Night Live used an interesting formula: The first half of the show featured mostly the established cast-members (Kristen Wiig even got to do that Kristen Wiig thing that she does, a rarity as of late), which has been, at best, hit or miss all season. Then, after a notably feisty "Weekend Update," new featured players Jay Pharoah, Taran Killam and Paul Brittain, respectively, gave us three individual sketches that all killed. Were their efforts enough to make this a memorable show? On to the scorecard!
Sketch of the Night
"Digital Short: Andy and Pee-Wee's Night Out" (Samberg, Reubens): If Paul Reubens ever wants to host SNL again (he hosted before on Nov 23, 1985), I'm officially on board. Especially if it involves Andy Samberg and Pee-Wee Herman (want to feel old? He turns 60 next year) downing tequila shots then hitting Anderson Cooper over the head with a chair. Yes, this is bizarre as it sounds.
"Fresh Prince Lost Episodes" (Pharoah, Thompson): Yeah, yeah, I know, Pharoah finally gets some considerable airtime again and, of course, he's doing an impression. Yes, it's still a concern, but if the guy is going to do impressions, I could listen to his Will Smith all night, especially as the Fresh Prince version of Smith. This sketch really isn't that far from the truth; Smith used to be such a terrible actor that he would visibly mouth the dialogue of the other actors so as not to miss his lines. Here, Pharoah's Smith channels Scooby-Doo upon hearing that Carlton had been inappropriately touched by a teacher.
"Weekend Update" (Meyers, Armisen, Wiig, Thompson, Hader, Bayer, Pedrad): Perhaps Seth Meyers felt some sort of regret last week for not addressing the shootings in Arizona; perhaps he wasn't allowed to address what happened so soon after the event. Regardless, Meyers came out swinging and was absolutely on fire. It's nice to see "Update" take a relevant stand on an issue and not just be an outlet for quick one-liners. Meyers' rant hit upon the longstanding argument about what the founders would have wanted today when it comes to gun control. As a visibly agitated Meyers notes, being "freaked out by cars" and wondering, "'Why are all the slaves out?' You can groan all you want, but they would think that," would most likely be at the top of their lists of concerns. Where has this Seth Meyers been this season? Also, Garth and Kat, from a technical standpoint, is still one of the most fascinating segments to watch.
"ESPN Deportes" (Brittain, Paltrow, Armisen): It's the Spanish-language version of SportsCenter that features anchors who insist on using American accents and slang when pronouncing names and catchphrases like, "POP goes the weasel!" on an NBA dunk. This is just one of those weird sketches that gets funnier the longer it goes on. Great to see Brittain with some quality airtime.
"Shakespeare Previews" (Killam, Paltrow, Moynihan, Hader): A revisionist's history look at what would happen if Shakespeare had implemented a never ending stream of coming attractions at the Globe Theatre. It didn't go over well with the Globe crowd (and, unfortunately, it's not on Hulu) UPDATE: a terrible, terrible version is on YouTube, watch at your own risk.
"The Cape Promo" (Ensemble): Yes, The Cape is pretty bad. It's never a good sign when a comedy show goes after a new series on its own network. The cape gives this guy magical powers, so, in addition, watch out for future superheroes The Smock and The Spanx, "My secret identity is someone slightly fatter... than this."
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