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by Jason Nummer
Episode 12 - Drew Barrymore / Lily Allen (2/3/07)
CONEY RATING SYSTEM
0-10 Coneys – Garbage
OAD = Original Air Date*
(*To be fair, coneys will be awarded the same as they were the first time they aired)
Da Bears! On January 22, the Grizz personally guaranteed a Bill Swerski's Superfans sketch for Barrymore's episode. With Super Bowl Sunday coming a day after this episode airs, I can't think of a better sketch prediction. The only question is will they get Mike Myers, Joe Mantegna, Robert Smigel AND Sudekis' uncle George Wendt all back around one table. It has been just under 10 years since the last Superfans sketch (the last was when Farley hosted in 1997), and the time has never been better for a resurrection.
Joining Candice Bergen as the only other female member of the Five Timers Club this weekend is Drew Barrymore. Drew last hosted nearly three years ago on 2/14/04 to hype "50 First Dates". The episode was mostly forgettable and marred by Drew's constant smiles and giggling. This actually paved the way for Jimmy Fallon and Finesse Mitchell to have big nights, and c'mon, if those two are getting the most laughs, your episode is in trouble. Maybe the 5th time will be a charm.
On music detail is 21-year-old Lily Allen. Her debut CD came out last summer in the UK, and now MTV is prepping the American audience by hyping her as their Discover and Download artist of the month. A friend gave me a copy of her disc last Fall and I'm not going to lie, it didn't leave my CD player for weeks. The first three tracks are extremely catchy and some of the lyrics remind me of Nelly McKay's brilliant "Get Away From Me", one of my favorite female artist albums of the 2000s. Still, Lily likes to talk trash about people in the music industry and was even voted onto BBC3's Most Annoying Person of 2006 list. Whether you love her, hate her, or confuse her with Lady Sovereign, you can definitely bet she'll be better than AFI was a few weeks back.
|THE GOOD||THE BAD|
I’m happy to report Drew Barrymore has improved as a hostess when compared to her boring 2004 episode. She did hide some smiles here and there, but the onscreen giggles were definitely better contained. Like Gyllenhaal, she was given light material to work with, but Drew successfully spruced things up with her trademark charm. Boring sketches like “Overzealous Interview” would have gone completely nowhere had it not been for the extra pizzazz she brought to lines like “maybe one of you bitches might be packing heat yourself” when questioning the sexual orientation of her potential employers. The monologue, disguised as a romantic comedy tribute, was pretty good as well. Similar to Piven, it is always nice to see something new during this segment. And how sassy was Wiig in that Doors t-shirt?
Apart from Drew, the first thing I noticed tonight was the cast mixing things up. Hammond didn’t appear onscreen once and Seth made his first two sketch appearances since May 2006. It didn’t make a huge impact in term of coneys, but the change was nice nonetheless.
Taking a cue from countless episodes of the past few seasons, tonight’s biggest laugh was a Digital Short. These shorts have poked fun at the 1980s by way of music video in the past, but now they’ve moved on to workout tapes. In a segment called “Body Fuzion”, SNL perfectly recreated not only the fashions and suggestive camera angles of nearly 20+ year old exercise tapes, but also how they’d look on worn out VHS if played today. Everything from poor color saturation to tracking problems were accounted for which truly made the little details of this digital short the main star.
Hader and Sudiekis also continued their rebound tonight. Suds followed up his funny “Urigro” commercial parody from the last live episode with a turn as Lonnie San Francisco in the “Firestarter Brand Smoked Sausages” sketch. Then Hader dusted off his spot on Peter O’Toole impression last seen during Weekend Update in Jamie Pressly’s episode. “No one knows how to drink anymore”. Best.
Like Tenacious D in the Matthew Fox episode or The Shins during Jake Gyllenhaal’s show, the tent poles of tonight’s episode was the music. Lily Allen may have come off a little inexperienced and her band struggled to match the rapid fire samples they were reproducing live, but both songs were fun to watch and cleansed the taste of AFI’s ratty performances from last week out of our mouths.
No Bill Swerski’s Superfans? Who knew? It was probably for the best seeing that the Bears ultimately lost to the Colts in the next day’s Super Bowl 29 to 17, but this episode really could have used the coney boost which typically accompanies guest cameos.
While I’m not surprised to see sketches about Dakota Fanning or Versache go nowhere, I’m really shocked over the drab “Poison Psychiatry” sketch from the always reliable Wiig and Forte. It must have sounded great in read through (Forte’s got a disfigured face from his wife’s constant poisoning), but what made it to air offered no payoff or closure. Wiig also came close to striking out with tonight’s fill-in-the-blanks “Target Cashiers” which felt extremely rushed and uninspired. I praised this sketch as recently as December’s Timberlake episode for spacing out each of its appearances over large amounts of time. Now we get another Cashiers just three episodes later! Looks like I spoke too soon.
Anchored around Keenan’s latest portrayal of an elderly African-American complaining about something, was Seth and Amy’s Weekend Update. Apart from an early creative surge last Fall, this duo has been having a fairly rough time at the News desk. Starting with Poehler, you’ve got a girl who is simply being overworked. She typically appears in a majority of every episode’s sketches and by the time she gets to the Update desk, all she tends to conjure up is an impression of Tina Fey giving the news. She has yet to make an “Amy was here” stamp on the segment, and I hate to say it but her time at the Update desk will most likely be forgotten if this doesn’t change fast. On the other hand you have Seth. Seth’s style of humor tends to be more sarcastic (see the Grandma/Barabaro joke from this week’s episode). Sometimes these jokes work but recently it seems like the audience doesn’t know whether to laugh or take offense.
Finally, Horatio Sanz now joins Tina Fey in the camp of cast members who left last season to already return for a quick cameo.
|THE BOTTOM LINE!|
Seth showed up in sketches for the first time this season and Drew Barrymore kept her giggles under wraps, but the episodes felt pretty blah coming off the monster jam that was Piven’s episode. It definitely wasn’t the seasons worst, but too many instances of underdeveloped writing reared its ugly head again.
1. Cold Opening: American Idol
2. Monologue: Barrymore
3. Sketch: The Dakota Fanning Show
4. Sketch: Poison Psychiatry
5. SNL Digital Short: Body Fuzion
6. Sketch: Target Cashiers
7. Sketch: Overzealous Interview
8. Music: Lily Allen “Smile”
9. Weekend Update
10. Versace’s Super Bowl Party
11. Sketch: Jo-Jo
12. Sketch: Firestarter Brand Sausages
13. Lily Allen “LDN”
14. Sketch: The Formosa
15. Commercial Parody: Baby Toupees
32 / 60 Coneys