After a long break, you'd expect the "Saturday Night Live" writers to come out swinging with their best material. Unfortunately we got a lot of strange set-ups and sketches with no punch line. Adding to the troubles, host Jamie Foxx stammered through his lines, broke character, and didn't do much to make the material he was given work.
Best of the Night
While you could say that the unspoken premise of the "Saturday Night Live" game show "Dylan McDermott or Dermot Mulroney" was "All white people look alike," pretty much everyone out there has confused these two guys at some point. Throw in D.B. Sweeney for me and it's just a trifecta of confusion. While the guest host and fellow contestants Jay Pharoah and Kenan Thompson didn't have much to do, the concept was still a winner, especially when Dermot Mulroney himself showed up--or was it Dylan McDermott?
The "Saturday Night Live" cold open had President Obama making an agreement with John Boehner to raise no taxes because he feels sorry for his Republican foe, who's being bullied by his fellow party members. And by bullied, we mean stealing his milk and sending him to fake pizza parties. While it wasn't any kind of political satire, this one worked because of Pharoah's total commitment in describing schoolyard taunts in a heavily dramatic, presidential tone, and Hader's hunched-shoulder, squeamish responses.
The "SNL" Weekend Update had a run of good jokes this week, and Aidy Bryant had an amusing monologue as Mrs. Claus on the perils of being married to a guy who's "unemployed for 364 days of the year" and subjects you to "a month of milk farts." Foxx also had his best sketch of the night with his rant as a Hostess Ding Dong, who feels there's some chocolatey bigotry at work with all the recent focus on the Twinkie. Watch all the best "Saturday Night Live" sketches on their video page.
Worst of the Night
There is a possibility that a rapid-fire, over-the-top delivery on the game show "Bitch, What's the Answer?" could have made this one funny. Surely someone thought it would, since this total show-killer was the first sketch after the monologue. Unfortunately Foxx struggled with the lines, at times even seemed uncomfortable with the material, and the mostly silent audience was left with a repetitive "Isn't saying 'bitch' funny?" nightmare. Bobby Moynihan's frightened contestant managed to squeeze out a chuckle or two, but it was too late to save this one.
The host gets credit for giving his all in a video segment that spoofed Tyler Perry doing an Alex Cross sequel, with half his body made up as Medea. The Oscar winner did his best to wrestle humor out of the premise, mostly with Medea repeatedly grabbing Cross' gun and shooting randomly. It never got past being a totally weird sketch, though, and could have been a lot funnier with only a Medea parody in the role.
Foxx and Thompson then joined together for "Tree Pimps," about former pimps applying their business knowledge to selling trees. This seemed mildly amusing to start, with the pimp asking a prospective customer "You like what you see?" but just got weirder and weirder until Thompson was humping a fir tree. This probably looked a lot funnier on paper.
The Final Verdict
The rest of the sketches had some laughs scattered here and there, but Foxx's tripped up delivery often knocked the jokes flat. Some skated by on familiar charm, like the J-Pop sketch, but overall the show felt like a chore to watch.
Ne-Yo brought some life to "Saturday Night Live" with a whole dance crew on "Let Me Love You," but his ballad "She Is" just never seemed to go anywhere outside of the same three notes. It didn't help that the singer's asymmetrical sweater at first gave the impression he was wearing a fanny pack--in the front. I know the 80s are back, but that's never a good thing.
What did you think, "Saturday Night Live" fans? Was the show a total bomb for you, or just another average hit-and-miss episode?
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