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by Nummer and H-Bomb
Episode 3: Jude Law / Ashlee Simpson (10/23/04)
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)
Nobody will argue that this episode will go down in SNL history for Ashlee Simpson's lip-sync blunder. I think what blew this out of proportion wasn't so much the lip-sync exposure, but the way she reacted. Pop stars lip-syncing on SNL is nothing new. Just last year, myself, H-Bomb and Uncle Grambo talked about how obvious it was that Britney Spears was faking her way through "Me Against the Music" (http://www.whatevs.org/snl_berry.htm). The difference here was that Simpson just gave up, walked off stage and blamed her band during the credits. What a clear demonstration of immaturity on live National TV. Making it even worse was Geffen Records later passing the blame to a “computer glitch” only to have Mr. Simpson change the story again by citing Acid Reflux Disease. Can’t they even get their stories straight?
If anything comes out of this, it should be the SNL music director wising up and bringing back real talent to the show. Just two seasons ago we were treated to acts like Zwan, The Donnas, Phish, White Stripes, Beck and Bruce Springsteen. Compare that to some of the classic moments Kelis, J-Kwon, G-Unit and Clay Aiken have given us during the 2004 calendar year. Knock off the flavor of the hour musical guests and the results will follow. That said, I found the whole thing funny as hell and decided to give it full coneys.
Moving on, don't forget there were actually some comedy sketches during the rest of the 89 minutes of the episode! It really is ashamed that Simpson's gaffe overshadowed the performance delivered by Jude Law and company. Sketches haven't been this consistently funny in a long time and I've really got my hopes up for what else Season 30 has in store as a result.
Political humor took center stage again for the third time this season. Right off the bat, Hammond and Forte (as Zell Miller) gave us a wonderful Hardball which made me feel stupid for writing the sketch off as "tired" last season. Forte’s screaming was so over the top that I seriously got worried about his health. Anyone who saw this sketch can vouch for how insane red his face became (granted some of it was probably make-up). Totally best.
Forte also rolled out two more sketches as George W. Bush. The first was a well done fictional "9th" Presidential debate and the second was a C-Span Press Conference with Jude Law as Tony Blair. The debate was the stronger of the two, but by putting them both in the same episode, Lorne has demonstrated how SNL is firmly backing Forte as Bush and that last season's frequent changes (Parnell to Hammond to Forte) can be forgotten.
Political humor aside, the Sky Captain parody (“why would I bite a fireball?”), Trump’s Halloween promo, Weekend Update (ghost hot dogs!!), Paris Hilton’s apology (“so hot”) and The Adventures of Caine and O’Toole (set in Detroit no less) were all great. Damn, it was refreshing to laugh at nearly everything on screen again.
As if those sketches weren’t enough, I have to say my personal favorites were Arimsen’s “Dyson Toilet” commercial and the two Bear City films. I had been reading about the Dyson commercial for awhile since it had reportably been cut from the Latifah episode. Lorne is losing his marbles if he thought Short & Curly (which made the Latifah episode cut) was funnier than this. Coming at the close of the show to fill in the time vacated by Simpson’s second song, writer T. Sean Shannon (who did the “The Adventures of Harold” film from the Olsen Twins season 29 finale back in May) unleashed the instant classic Bear City. I’ve read some negative early reviews on these, but I thought they were wonderful. This is the kind of obscure humor I wish SNL threw out every weekend. Bravo. Here’s hoping this episode wasn’t a fluke and that Season 30 can keep cranking them out like this
In closing, the only thing mediocre tonight besides Ashlee was the monologue. It was another cast musical ensemble piece that just died.
FYI: Since the whatevs (dot org) SNL reviews began in 2002, this is only the fourth episode to break the 40 coney barrier. Some say seldom.
Wow! Was this even the same show? This episode will easily go down as one of the best for this season. Not only were most of the sketches unique, the writing and comedic acting were consistently funny. And unlike most hosts we’ve seen as of late, I personally thought Law was fantastic in the role and definitely wouldn’t mind seeing him back again. Not sure I can say the same for Ashlee, though!
While I thoroughly enjoyed the whole episode, my favorite sketches (that I laughed at the most) were the Dyson Toilet, the Paris Hilton Apology, Donald Trump’s Halloween Promo and the Bear City installments. Armisen as Jim Dyson, inventor of the Dyson Toilet, was just fucking hilarious. “It’s brilliant, isn’t it?” Yes, Armisen, it was! Closely following Dyson was the Paris Hilton apology, in which Rudolph surprisingly did not annoy me in her portrayal of Paris. She actually did a really good job! I mean, seriously you guys, “racism is so not hot.” And as always, any sketch that’s Trump related can usually be counted on for some laughs and the Halloween promo was no exception. Trumpsylvania? Count Trumpula? Wanting to shatter like glass where each piece of glass turns into a bat and the last piece turns into the NBC symbol? Best. And as if these weren’t funny enough, we finally come to the Bear City skits. While I did like both films, I was especially partial to “A Day at the Office.” The boss bear growling at his employees alone had me rolling! “Grrrrrrrr!!”
I also found the political sketches amusing, but in my opinion, the debate skits are starting to wear a little thin. Now, that is not to say I didn’t laugh and I know that with the upcoming election in less than a week, the Bush/Kerry satire is going to be hit pretty strong. However, I just didn’t find the fictional 9th Presidential Debate or the Bush & Tony Blair sketches as funny as they might’ve been say two weeks ago. Hardball, on the other hand, was extremely humorous! Everyone was dead on with their characters, especially Forte as Zell Miller, who proved once again what a valuable asset he is to the SNL cast. “SPITBALLS!”
Other sketches deserving of approval were Air Commander (“I was using my Wonder Woman cuffs to deflect the bullets”), Weekend Update (“ And even if I wasn’t sick, I’d still get a flu shot, so suck it” – Dick Cheney) and The Adventures of Peter O’Toole and Michael Caine (“I’ll have the gin lover’s pizza).
When looking at the show’s forgettable moments, I’m delighted to say there were only a few! Law’s monologue, unfortunately, was one of them. Is it just me, or does the old “song and dance” routine always come about when it seems there’s nothing else noteworthy about the host’s life/career? “I’m so good-looking, I don’t need to be funny to make people laugh.” Uh yeah, Jude. Whatever. I’ll be the first to agree that he’s hot, but we don’t need an entire sketch devoted to it!
Lastly, of course, there’s the now infamous SNL walk-off of Ashlee Simpson during her second “song.” Frankly, I’m pretty sick of hearing about it, so I’ll just say that it was probably one of the funniest things I’ve seen on the show and was glad that it not only left room for more Bear City, but also made the overall show that much better! Here’s hoping for more of the same next week with Winslett and Eminem!
1. Cold Opening: Hardball
2. Monologue: Law (cameo – Ashlee Simpson)
3. Sketch: Dreamscape Studios: “Air Commander”
4. Commercial: The Dyson Toilet
5. Sketch: Presidential Debate #9
6. Sketch: Paris Hilton Apologizes
7. Music: Ashlee Simpson – “Pieces of Me”
8. Weekend Update
9. Sketch: George W. Bush and Tony Blair
10. Sketch: NBC Donald Trump Promo
11. Sketch: Jane Eyre
12. Music: Ashlee Simpson – “Pieces of Me” (take 2)
14. Sketch: The Adventures of Peter O’Toole and Michael Caine
15. Film: “Bear City – Part 2”
41 / 60 Coneys
35.5 / 60 Coneys