Opening — Christine O’Donnell Goes to Washington — 1
After last year’s mostly unsuccessful Washington based skits, SNL decides to open with another one. This poorly paced and mostly laugh devoid sketch has Delaware candidate Christine O’Donnell, played by Kristen Wiig, talking to Republicans in DC. She indicates that she’s changed her stance on masturbation. It might be funny if we found out the genuinely clueless O’Donnell thought the word meant something else entirely, but instead it’s just simply an excuse for some cheap sex humor. Then she is asked if she has any skeletons in her closet, because it’s going to be a real dog fight, which leads her to reveal that she knows all about dog fighting. The sketch is poorly written and the pacing is awful. They’ve had all summer and they came up with THIS? It’s gonna be a tough year.
Credits and cast are mostly unchanged. Jenny Slate got the f’n boot. Vanessa Bayer, Paul Brittain, Taran Killam, and Jay Pharoah are the new featured players.
Monologue — Amy Poehler — 7
Amy talks a bit about what she’s done since leaving the show and shares an amusing dream she had about being later for the show, with cameos from Justin Timberlake, Tina Fey, Rachel Dratch, and Jimmy Fallon.
Bronx Beat — 7
Maya Rudolph and Amy Poehler reprise their fake talk show, which I didn’t care for much when she originally did it. This is a refreshing change, though. Katy Perry shows up wearing an Elmo shirt, exposing her most well known assets, which leads to some very funny banter by Maya and Amy. Much more enjoyable than their typical Bronx Beat.
Bosley Hair Restoration Commercial — 8
Bosley Hair Restoration specializes in using your hair……. um…. down there to replace your bald patches on your scalp. What sounds like another typically crude SNL commercial parody is exactly that, but with a visual payoff that made me laugh in spite of myself.
Maternity Matters — 3
Fred Armisen reprises his role as insensitive producer Roger Brush, answering women’s question about maternity with minimal tact. What was somewhat amusing once is just a predictable bore now.
Mosque at Ground Zero Commercial — 7
Amy Poehler and new cast member Vanessa Bayer are shown celebrating their gay wedding. Where? Bill Hader breaks in to do a fast paced pitch for the Mosque at Ground Zero, followed by an amusing twist at the end.
Katy Perry — California Girls — 9
Okay, she appears to be lip syncing, but who cares. It’s a great song with some unpretentious choreography and the sunny Katy Perry.
Weekend Update — 6
Almost immediately Amy Poehler shows up to do a “Really” with Seth about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell that just isn’t funny. Jay Pharoah shows up to do a bad Will Smith impersonation that’s about ten years too late. Fred Armisen’s impersonation of New York Governor David Paterson is halted midway through by the real David Paterson, who tells the audience, “working in Albany is just like watching Saturday Night Live. There are a lot of characters, it’s funny for ten minutes, and then you just want it to be over.” The appearance of Paterson saves a mostly ho hum Weekend Update.
Funny lines: “New York Subway is testing a new system that will allow passengers to pay by using an app on their iPhones. Just make sure that you stand to the side so that everyone else can get through while you wait to get service….. in the subway.”
“It was announced Wednesday that the new judges for this season’s American Idol will be Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler, and Randy Jackson. Otherwise known as coffin nails 1, 2, and 3.”
The Lean Years — 5
A promotion for another “woman with a messed up life” dramedy on Showtime. This one stars Amy Poehler as a woman with only one leg. It’s essentially another excuse for Amy Poehler to play a variation of her crazy lady character. The laughs are sparse except for when Amy rattles off names considered for the series, including One Leg to Live, and Glee. These types of parodies would be funnier if they were filmed in advance, I think.
Digital Short — Katy Perry — Theme From Boogerman — 2
A terrible digital short of an awards show with Katy Perry singing over clips from a fake film called Boogerman. Is that Will Forte in a cameo?
Tiny Hats — 5
Three women (Kristen Wiig, Vanessa Bayer, and Abby Elliott) meet for lunch, when Amy Poehler walks in wearing a tiny hat. This leads to a war between Wiig and Elliott over tiny hats. Typical late evening sketch on SNL. Very mildly amusing.
Katy Perry — Teenage Dream — 9
Once again. She might be lip syncing, but I am a sucker for a great pop song.
Actor II Actor — 7
Andy Samberg sits down with Justin Timberlake to talk acting, resulting a silly tossed off bit that made me laugh. Filler, but fun.
Even More Expendables — 6
The sequel to Expendables has D Listers like Steven Seagal, Chris Tucker, Brigitte Neilsen (played by Andy Samberg). That’s followed by the second sequel, the Availables, with Hooch from Turner and Hooch, and Tracy Chapman, and The Unwatchables with Kim Jong Il. Amusing, but again, filler.
Overall — 6
An okay start to the season with good but not great sketches that didn’t rely too heavily on the tiresome schticks of last year. The political openings are as bad as they were last year and the show tends to go crude when it could be attempting clever. The new featured players didn’t make much of an impact, and I’m sad to see Jenny Slate go, but perhaps some new blood will help breathe some more life into the show this year.