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by Nummer and H-Bomb
Episode 2: Queen Latifah (10/9/04)
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)
For the second episode in a row, political humor has come to the rescue of what would have been a pretty lousy SNL. Kicking it off was Forte (Bush) and Meyers (Kerry) managing another great Presidential Debate parody. This time around found the opener a bit shorter than last week’s 12-minute epic, yet more animated as a result. The town hall style debate format allowed Forte to jump all over the stage while fielding questions, asking Kerry if he’d like to buy a back yard deck (since he owns a Timber company) and describing the good and bad internets. Meanwhile, I’m glad to know Kerry simply “has a plan”.
Along with the opening debate and a X-Presidents cartoon later on, strong political representation also came from the Vice Presidential debate sketch. I’m sure Hammond breathes a sign of relief that Cheney is still in office. Seriously, if Bush/Cheney lose the election, Hammond is screwed. His screen time demands a political character to spoof. With his Clinton impressions getting more tired and the possibility of Cheney exiting the arena, what does he have left? You can only do so many Hardballs a season. That will surely lead to a post Season 30 departure. That said, I must say his Rodney Dangerfield tribute tonight was excellent. Thornton Melon would be proud.
Getting back to the VP debate sketch, Forte (doing double duty tonight as Bush and now as John Edwards) did another great job. His smile while Cheney was ripping into him for skipping meetings and not hanging out after work “by our cars just before going home” was hilarious. Two episodes into his third season, I honestly feel Forte has proven himself to be the most valuable and versatile SNL player.
Worthwhile fillers during the time not allotted for political humor was another installment of The Prince Show and Dave Zinger. Both of these were decent (this was the third appearance of each), but their formulas are starting to show. The Grizz even asked if Parnell was doing the same lines in each Zinger installment. I’m hoping both of these won’t be seen again until at least Spring 2005.
Newcomer Riggle flexed more muscle during the episode with his take on a college recruiter. This sketch was actually cut from last week’s Affleck episode, but it looks like Lorne is ready to give him some more time in the spotlight. I liked the energy Riggle gave to his character (his voice at one point was totally best), but I’m still not completely sold on him. Time will tell. If it wasn’t for Keenan declaring he was going to buy the Millenium Falcon after his son decided to join the NBA, this sketch would have been totally forgettable.
This episode also saw the second Weekend Update with Fey and Poehler (who looked amazing in her Sharon Stone dress during the Prince Show earlier tonight). I have to say this duo is starting to win me over. For example, this weekend’s installment was pretty weak with its Finesse Michelle commentary and Dratch’s Martha Stewart prison bit, but the flare Poehler added to her jokes kept the whole segment a float. Her Bush morse code, Britney’s rap song (“I can’t wait to hear that….said no one) and Kerry’s pointing out who is rich in the debate audience (“Bitch, you don’t know my life”) were true standouts. Looking forward to seeing more of her behind the Update desk.
Duds this time around were the Short and Curly penis shampoo (also cut from last week’s Affleck episode), Bush/Kerry campaign supporters and finally Latifah’s musical performances AND monologue. Looks like the brilliance she brought to her 2003 episode was just a fluke. By the way, is Taxi still in theaters?
PS: Did anyone else find it ironic that Chris Kattan came back for a cameo to introduce “Hard Times” for Latifah’s second musical number?
Well, my optimistic pre-show comments about this episode being funny couldn’t have been farther from the truth. I really did anticipate this show to be much better than it was, but it turned out to be even worse than the premiere with Affleck! Was Latifah’s somewhat impressive hosting debut back in Season 28 a complete fluke?! Was it weaker sketch writing this time around? Maybe it was a bit of both. Regardless, I was not happy with the end result.
While the show as a whole was pretty pathetic, there was some enjoyment to be had. As in last week’s Affleck episode, the Presidential Debates opener was one of the funnier sketches. Regrettably, I was not able to catch all of the actual debate when it was on, so it’s good to now know how Bush would like to “keep the good internets and get rid of the bad internets” in an effort to curb all of the “rumors on the internets.” I’m also glad to have been apprised of the fact that Senator Kerry “knows a lot of people.” On a related note, the Vice-Presidential Debate offered a few good laughs with Hammond as Dick Cheney and Forte, pulling double-duty as John Edwards. I just can’t believe that Edwards NEVER chips in for the coffee fund and that he NEVER participates in the Senate Secret Santa OR the softball team! I also found both of their creepy, smiling expressions to be rather humorous. In addition to the debate skits, I also somewhat enjoyed the Basketball Negotiations sketch (“Yo, I like butts!”), Zinger vs. Snap (“Oh, you still got it. And by it, I mean hair on your butt! Zing-pong!”) and the Rodney Dangerfield Tribute.
Unfortunately, though, with the good comes the bad, and this episode was chock-full of horrible sketches, namely the Monologue, Short & Curly Pubic Shampoo and Campaign Support. Was a jazz group called “Scat Cats” really the best they could come up with for a monologue idea? I’m sorry, but Latifah is hardly a jazz singer. And while I didn’t think it could get any worse, immediately following we have more stupid penis humor with Short & Curly Pubic Hair Shampoo. Come on, SNL! More jokes about dicks? And this time going as far as to include pubic hair?! Lastly, we come to the Campaign Support sketch. The one thing that instantly gave this zero coneys was the unwelcome return of Starkisha, played by Mitchell. I honestly did not even want to watch the rest of the skit after realizing he was going to be a central character. Sadly, I wouldn’t have missed much as none of the other cast members appeared to be on at all with their bits.
As for the rest of the show, nothing else really seemed to stand out. Even the Prince Show, which is usually good for a few chuckles, fell flat on it’s face. Needless to say, this turned out to be a rather forgettable episode.
1. Cold Opening: Presidential Debate
2. Monologue: Latifah
3. Commercial: Short & Curly Pubic Shampoo
4. Sketch: Prince Show
5. Commercial: Excedrin – Racial Tension Headaches
6. Sketch: The Vice-Presidential Debate
7. Music: Latifah – “The Same Love That Made me Laugh”
8. Weekend Update
9. Sketch: Basketball Negotiations
10. Sketch: TV Funhouse: The Ex-Presidents
11. Sketch: Rodney Dangerfield Tribute
12. Sketch: Campaign Support
13. Music: Latifah – “Hard Times” Premise: Bush and Kerry campaign groups try to rally an urban neighborhood to vote
14. Sketch: Zinger Vs. Snap
22 / 56 Coneys
14.5 / 56 Coneys