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Saturday Night Live – Rosario Dawson; Fleet Foxes

Rosario Dawson(Season 34, Episode 13)

I thought that last week’s episode was one of the best of the seasons, and even wondered if Neil Patrick Harris was the best host of the season. I was curious to see if the cast and writers could pull off another great show. I like Rosario Dawson, but she isn’t really known for her comedic chops. I thought she did well with what she was given, but overall the episode was pretty uneven. There were a few laughs, and it certainly wasn’t the worst episode of the year, but I think in retrospect that nothing will really stand out from this installment when put up against some of the superior episodes from this season.

Let’s break it down…

  • Cold Open: This whole skit was one joke, and that one joke just wasn’t that funny. Didn’t the cold open used to be the best sketch of the night? At least Kristen Wiig does a good Diane Sawyer impression.
  • Monologue: After one painfully unfunny joke, Rosario got some help from Fericito, Fred Armisen’s regular character that we haven’t seen in a long time. Not terrible, but not all that funny either.
  • North American Savings: A bank that only gives loans to people who don’t need the money. A decently funny concept. This sketch was really all about the reaction shots of all the people being rejected for loans, and those made me chuckle.
  • Da Learnin’ Train: I should give props to Rosario Dawson for committing to the character, but overall this skit just didn’t work for me. It seemed to just be playing into stereotypes. Also, if you’re going to have a completely random celebrity show up, at least make sure the impression is good. Jason Sudeikis didn’t really sound anything like Harry Connick Jr.
  • Guantanamo Bay: Alright, this was fairly clever and pretty funny.
  • Aladdin: Seems like things haven’t gone so well for Aladdin and Jasmine since they got married. There were some funny jokes here, not the least of which were the costumes and the bitching about the Genie.
  • Digital Short: I just don’t know what to say. I know a lot of people love the digital shorts, but the completely random brand of humor employed just doesn’t do it for me. I usually end up more confused than amused.
  • Gilly: Even Kristen Wiig couldn’t save this sketch. It was pretty bad. I don’t understand how the writers think the same joke three of four times in a row will make it any funnier.
  • Musical Guest: I have to hand it to SNL, they certainly do mix up their musical guests. They feature lots of different types of music from huge acts to indie bands. I still fast forward every week, but I do have to give them credit.
  • Weekend Update: It seems like a lot of people want two anchors like we’ve had for a while, but Seth being up there alone doesn’t really bother me. I liked that Bernie Madoff proposed a pyramid scheme of apologizing to the people he ripped off. We got another visit of the always nervous Judy Grimes. I don’t know how Wiig manages to pull off this character with the insane speed of speaking, but she does every time. Kudos to her.

    The final guest was Andy Samberg playing a goose survivor from the big plane crash. It was a pretty funny bit, particularly the Top Gun reference: “A plane went down and goose died.”

  • La Policia Mexicano: If you’ve ever wondered what a Mexican police show would look like if it were written by a fourth grade Spanish class, this sketch was for you. Otherwise, I’m not so sure….
  • The View: I still think Wiig’s Elisabeth Hasselbeck impression is great. Inside my head I was begging that the actual Ricky Gervais would walk out and save this episode. Alas, it was just Jason Sudeikis doing a pretty good Gervais impression. I’m surprised this sketch got a post-Update spot, it was funnier than some of the skits in the first half of the episode.
  • Good Excuse: I think the funniest (only funny?) part of the skit was when they flashed to the audience and it was full of empty seats and stray cats.

So what did you guys think? I have high hopes for Steve Martin next week.

Photo Credit: NBC

11 Responses to “Saturday Night Live – Rosario Dawson; Fleet Foxes”

January 18, 2009 at 10:06 AM

Skits like ‘Gilly’ would be funnier if they didn’t add those corny intro/exit songs to them. SNL’s done that to a few skits, possibly even ones they never return to. Cut the unfunny theme songs and just show this weird character doing weird shit.

Think about it. You’re watching a TV show about a TV show (Gilly). Maybe subconsciously you’re thinking it’s just not funny because even SNL is telling you Gilly’s a completely unreal, fictional character. I dunno.

January 18, 2009 at 11:42 AM

The problem with the show isn’t just in the writing, it’s that they have basically have reduced themselves to about four templates for sketches and everything is just a variation on one of them.

There’s the completely random digital short, started by Andy Samberg but now sometimes showing up more than once an episode with other cast members trying it. More often than not it’s just some generic techno song with wacky pop culture references thrown in. And they also throw commercials in at least twice a show now.

There’s the political skit. These used to very effectively parody personalities and issues, now they just choose one or two obvious targets and keep repeating them over and over. Your review of tonight’s cold open is the perfect example of this, or go back to the parodies of the debates where they just had McCain repeating Joe The Plumber over and over and talking about how he is a small man who lives in his pocket.

There’s the celebrity impersonation TV show sketch. Have most or all of the cast show up doing their best impressions of any random person they look or sound like. It doesn’t matter if it makes no sense, look at things like this season’s Lawrence Welk and Vincent Price sketches.

And there’s the Kristen Wiig as another character who talks in an annoying voice and makes wacky faces sketch. There’s about 50 variations on this: the Target lady, Penelope, Gilly, the brother and sister performing at dinner, Judy Grimes, Aunt Linda. All of them are exactly the same: Everyone else is the straight person while Kristen does something.

January 18, 2009 at 1:24 PM

I agree. So many of the sketchs seem to come out of the same mold, but isn’t that a writing problem? ;-)

January 18, 2009 at 1:35 PM

-Opening: Not funny. We get it Cheney is a dick, thats why he isnt known as Richard.
-Monologue: Only this that made me laugh was the Yale/jail joke.
-Bank ad: Didnt find this one funny at all.
-Learnin Train: Too damn long.
-Guantamino Bay Sale: This was actually funny and I agree rather clever.
-Aladin: I liked this one. Especially the jokes about Robin William’s genie and the songs.
-Digital Short: This was just plain stupid and unfunny. One big wtf isn’t always funny. And I need to wash my eyes after seeing Forte’s ass.
-Gilly: sucked
-Musical Guest: put me to sleep
-WU: I liked it better with Amy Poeler. The Goose interview was funny though.
-La Policia Mexicano: Anyone that took basic Spanish classes has to laugh at this a little.
-The View: When I did the review for this show I thought her impression of Hasselbeck was ok. This time she was much better. The Gervais impression was spot on. The Walters was good too. The rest were once again below average.

January 18, 2009 at 1:36 PM

Da Learnin’ Train was a parody of this awful kid’s show on the Disney Channel, Choo Choo Soul,, a pretty funny parody of a show that my son hates and I could never understand

January 18, 2009 at 1:48 PM

Thanks for the link, it’s good having some context for that skit. I never thought being childless would be me at a disadvantage to review SNL.

January 18, 2009 at 3:14 PM

You are right, but I saw it more as a parody of all of the hip-hop educational kid’s shows currently on that seem to emphasize style over substance: Choo Choo Soul, Hip Hop Harry, Yo Gabba Gabba and probably others I have never heard of.

January 18, 2009 at 8:48 PM

Judy and i actually liked good excuse, i like how they made it seem like a game show when they just rambled off the excuse. but all together this week was pretty weak, lets bring back neil patrick harris =]

January 18, 2009 at 11:03 PM

If this wasn’t the worst episode of the year, which one was?

January 27, 2009 at 3:24 PM

It wasn’t Diane Sawyer…it was Kathy Lee Gifford. No wonder you didn’t like a lot of the skits. They’re too smart for you.

January 27, 2009 at 3:40 PM

Leslie, I think you’re getting your episodes mixed up. Wiig played Kathie Lee Gifford in the previous episode, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris.

I embedded the video for the Diane Sawyer skit in this post.

I recommend fact-checking before flaming someone. Otherwise, you might end up looking a little silly.

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