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by Nummer and H-Bomb
Episode 17 - Tom Brady / Beck (4/16/05)
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)
Similar to last weekend’s Cameron Diaz episode, the overall coney score of tonight’s show had much to do with a stellar musical guest. Beck’s two performances from his latest album “Guero” easily joined the ranks of Season 30’s best musical moments (U2, Green Day, Modest Mouse, etc) and were definite highlights of tonight’s episode. Besides being backed by a great band, Beck also had a Public Enemy reminiscent S1W-like dancer on stage with. Not many will argue that goofy dancing doesn’t goes hand in hand with live Beck music. Glad to know Beck kept this in mind and realized that since he’d be trapped behind the guitar, tonight’s dancing should be farmed out.
Making up a bulk of the remaining coneys were the returns of Will Forte’s “The Falconer” (last seen Wilson/U2 11/20/04) and Amy Poehler’s “Caitlin” (last seen Giamatti/Ludacris 1/22/05) as well as a surprise cameo by ex-cast member Martin Short. Recurring sketches like these work better than things like Debbie Downer and Merv the Perv because they are characters that can evolve into different situations rather than relying on the same jokes over and over. Tonight’s Falconer proved this by creating a situation not seen in any of the sketch’s other appearances. This time around, Donald and Ken switch bodies during a “Freaky…Tuesday”. Sure, Forte could just have Donald the falcon go on another adventure made up of a funny pre-recorded sequence full of bad puppetry, but he seems to space his Falconers out opting only to do them when a unique plot warrants it. “Do not eat my candy!!!” Glad to see Forte finally leading a sketch again (a complaint I pointed out last week).
As for Caitlin, although Poehler elects to revisit the same essential formula for each appearance, she gets away with it by coming up with crazier and crazier “remember when” stories to pad out the middle of the sketch. Tonight’s story had to do with the time Caitlin made a cape out of sleeping bag to wear while jumping her bike off a picnic table. When she fell, the sleeping bag cape landed over her head and “night turned into day” followed by a conversation with Jesus. Brilliant. Rick! Rick!
Credit also goes to Martin Short for sprucing up the stale Weekend Update segment with his in-character visit of Jiminy Glick. Glick came on to support DVD #57 in his “Best of Jiminy Glick Interviews” home video series. A clip from the latest DVD includes a 1975 interview with Lorne Michaels (played by Will Forte). Despite not having the vocal impression of Lorne down as much as someone like Mike Myers, Forte pulled off the physical look of a young Michaels probably better than anyone to date. This funny Update segment made me realize that Fey and Poehler have had to rely on ex-SNL cast members for two weeks in a row to help save this drowning newscast. One must continue to wonder if we’ll see both these “lovelies” behind the Update desk again for the ‘05-’06 season.
Unfortunately, the rest of the show was your basic uninspired trash. For anyone arguing that professional athletes make good hosts, let me present tonight’s episode for your review. Brady’s episode featured, count them, five 0 coney segments. Along with three no-brainer football themed sketches (Carnival Games, Behind the Music and Backstage Encounter), Darrel Hammond became the third cast member (behind Jeff Richards and Will Farrell) to portray Dr. Phil. Are Dr. Phil parodies still funny in 2005? Later in the show, Maya Rudolph went for laughs by combining her horribly unfunny Versache character with Chris Kattan’s forgotten Buddy Mills (Rialto Grande) lounge act. The coney scores speak for themselves folks. This isn’t to say all athlete hosts are garbage, but for every Wayne Gretzky or Michael Jordan, there seem to be three Tom Brady-like episodes.
The lowest point for tonight was yet another installment among the likes of Derek Jeter’s Taco Hole (12/1/01), Al Sharpton’s Case de Sushi (12/6/03) and Donald Trump’s House of Wings (4/3/04). Tonight gave us the genius Tom Brady’s Falafel City – complete with the four cast members coming in on-cue to sing the jingle. None of these have been funny (aside from Sharpton’s reactions to the menu items) and I really have a hard time figuring out why they keep getting approved for air. It is almost like SNL is trying to set up a recurring sketch for the non-actor hosts so one less sketch has to be written. Seriously. Show us some effort with these.
With just 3 live episodes left, Lorne and company have cranked out another barely “average” episode. Apart from two really great sketches and some kick ass Beck numbers, most of tonight’s episode will be forgotten as fast Dean Edwards. SNL returns live on 5/7/05 with Johnny Knoxville and musical guest System of a Down. For most of April, Dave Matthews Band was slated to have music detail for this one. Hopefully they are just getting bumped up a week since I for one wouldn’t mind seeing DMB on the SNL stage again (last appearance of the whole band was 2/24/01 with host Katie Holmes).
Another week, another sub-average show. It’s no surprise, really, since Lorne, along with the entire SNL cast and crew, seem content on just squeaking by until the end of the season. Hosts like Tom Brady only appear to prove that point more. I never thought I would see the day when I looked forward more to the musical guest than the show’s sketch comedy, but apparently that’s become the routine as of late. Without Beck, this episode would’ve been, by far, the worst of the season.
The first third of the show basically went nowhere fast. The cold opener with controversial House Majority Leader Tom Delay, while imposing perhaps the most up-to-date issue of the evening, was nothing more than a bunch of lame clips intent on garnering petty laughs. Is blowing up stuff and pushing cars off cliffs really that funny? The flimsy sketches continued on from there with Brady’s monologue, Carnival Football and Dr. Phil. By the way, is Dr. Phil’s show even popular anymore? To top it off, they even had the nerve to throw in the seldom funny penis humor with the vomitacious Dr. Porkenheimer’s Boner Juice. Give me a fucking break.
So, just when I’m convinced this show is total loss, Forte comes to the rescue with his reiteration of The Falconer. I’ve got to say that the skit’s five month hiatus was definitely worth it. Forte “freaked” it up this time with a hilarious body switch between himself and the falcon, Donald. A cock fight ensued, ending with Ken (as Donald) dropping the offending rooster into a deep fryer. So best. “Donald, do not eat…MY CAAANDYYY!!”
But, within seconds, I’m once again slapped in the face with the likes of Tom Brady’s Falafel City. Are you shitting me? So, not only do we have Derek Jeter’s Taco Hole, Al Sharpton’s Case de Sushi and Donald Trump’s House of Wings, we now have Tom Brady’s Falafel City, complete with stupid jingle? I wouldn’t mind finding out the idiot that thought this recurring theme was amusing and beating him/her senseless with a damn falafel.
Fortunately, Beck saved the day with two astounding performances of E-Pro and Girl, respectively. The side-stage dancing from coverall guy was, in itself, almost enough to make up for the previous falafel debacle.
I was glad to see the laughs carry on with what I felt were the two most surprisingly funny bits of the show: Martin Short’s appearance as the hilariously cut-throat talk show host Jiminy Glick and the return of Poehler’s hyper-spazz Caitlin. Weekend Update was most definitely salvaged by Glick’s guest spot. Promoting his 57th Best Of dvd, we were witness to Glick’s 1975 interview with a young Lorne Michaels, played by Forte, an astonishing look-alike to the famous producer. Glick was laugh out loud funny with his whiny, blatant questioning. “Why are you so boring?” And who knew it helps one to stop choking on a donut by eating another donut? Always a good tip for the workplace. As for Caitlin, I have to admit that this character is really starting to grow on me. Only Poehler could have me considering a wedding dress that’s part dress, part tuxedo for my own wedding!
Alas, it seems that all good things must come to an end as the show pretty much fizzled out with not one, not two but three lousy sketches, all of which collectively received a whopping 0 coneys. I thought we might’ve gotten away with just the one football based skit in the beginning of the episode, but The Super Bowl Shuffle and Backstage Encounter had to worm their way in with absurd attempts at humor. The blow of all blows, however, came in the form of one Ms. Maya Rudoph, demonstrating YET ANOTHER useless singing character, Charli Coffee. Completely horrible and embarrassing. Please leave, Maya. It’s over, girl. Seriously.
Like I said earlier, another week, another barely watchable episode of SNL. I hate to say it, but I am looking forward to the two week break until the show returns live with Johnny Knoxville and System of a Down. If the cast and crew can’t get it together with reasonably funny sketch writing and performances, perhaps they can rely on the possible shock factor of their next host and musical guest for some laughs.
1. Cold Opening: Tom Delay Address
2. Monologue: Tom Brady
3. Commercial Parody: Dr. Porkenheimer’s Boner Juice
4. Sketch: Carnival Games
5. Sketch: Dr. Phil
6. Sketch: The Falconer
7. Robert Smigel’s TV Funhouse: Sexual Harassment and You
8. Sketch: Tom Brady’s Falafel City
9. Music: Beck “E-Pro”
10. Weekend Update
11. Caitlin and Rick
12. Sketch: Behind the Music – “The Super Bowl Shuffle”
13. Music: Beck “Girl”
14. Sketch: Charli Coffe
15. Sketch: Backstage Encounter
23 / 60 Coneys
20 / 60 Coneys