SNL Season 30 – REVEALED!



Episode 13:  Hilary Swank/50 Cent (2/19/05)


The Rating System:                               Totals:


4 Coneys – Best Ever                             0-10 Coneys – Garbage

0 Coneys – Worst Ever                           11-20 Coneys – Needs Improvement

                                                            21-29 Coneys – Average

                                                            30-39 Coneys – Above Average

                        41-49 Coneys  - Instant Classic

                                                            50+ Coneys - Unparalleled SNL Genius


1.  Cold Opening:  Neverland Ranch

Premise:  Michael Jackson receives visitors while at home with the flu

Jason:  0 Coneys                      Heather:  ½ Coney   



2.  Monologue:  Hilary Swank

Jason:  2 Coneys                      Heather:  1 Coney 



3.  Commercial Parody:  Grayson Moorhead Investments (#1)

Premise:  Investment firm that prides itself in losing client’s money

Jason: 1 Coney                          Heather:  1 ½ Coneys



4. Sketch:  Sheila Choad’s Los Angeles Face

Premise:  Talk show about the Botox lifestyle

Jason:   1 Coney                        Heather:  1 ½ Coneys   



5.  Commercial Parody:  Grayson Moorhead Investments (#2)

Premise:  Investment firm that prides itself in losing client’s money 

Jason:   1 Coney                        Heather:  ½ Coneys 



6.  Sketch:  Hot Plates

Premise:  Customers dine at a restaurant where plates are extremely hot

Jason:  4 Coneys                      Heather:  1 ½ Coneys 



7.  Sketch:  Debbie Downer

Premise:  Recurring sketch in which Debbie brings down the mood of everyone in attendance, this time at the Oscars

Jason:  0 Coneys                       Heather:  0 Coneys 



8.  Music:  50 Cent “Candy Shop”

Jason:  0 Coneys                       Heather:  0 Coneys 



9.  Weekend Update

Guests:  Fred Armisen as Tom Jankeloff, Finesse Mitchell as Morgan Freeman

Jason:  2.5 Coneys                    Heather:  2 Coneys 



10.  Sketch:  Seasons of Love

Premise:  Soap opera actress needs the help of a crying coach

Jason:  1/2 Coneys                    Heather:  ½ Coney 



11.  Sketch:  City Court with Aaron Neville

Premise:  Aaron Neville presides over courtroom show

Jason:  3 Coneys                       Heather:  3 Coneys 



12.  Sketch:  After the Grammys

Premise:  Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez continue to sing back at their home

Jason:  0 Coneys                      Heather:  1 Coney 



13.  Music:  50 Cent “Disco Inferno”

Jason:  0 Coneys                      Heather:  0 Coneys 



14.  Sketch:  Project Runway

Premise:  New reality show to find the perfect designer 

Jason:  1 Coney             Heather:  2 Coneys 



Final Coney Order (out of a possible 56):

Jason:  16 Coneys                     Heather:  15 Coneys




Episode Comments:


Jason:  And the winner of the worst episode of SNL Season 30 to date is…Hilary Swank.  Better luck this Sunday at the Oscars Hilary.


I’m more than a little surprised Swank managed to unseat Colin Farrell in terms of lousy episodes.  This latest installment of SNL was plain and simply broken record festival.  Rounding out what can safely be called a February slump, Swank’s episode showed little creativity and too much reliance on safety laughs.  Question for the writers:  am I to believe that all your comedy training, higher education and NYC salaries only add up to another Debbie Downer segment?  C’mon. 


Similar to Topher Grace, completely blaming the host isn’t entirely fair.  Swank appeared fairly confident and comfortable in front of the cameras for not having much comedy under her belt (a fact she reminded us of during her monologue).  What sunk the crew was crap like Neverland Ranch, Sheila Choad’s Los Angeles Face, Debbie Downer and Seasons of Love.  These four sketches easily made up some of the most uninspired comedy seen on TV in a long time.  I think half the country stopped laughing at Macaulay Caulkin’s hands to the face routine, stiff faced Botox jokes and Maya Rudolph long enough ago for a red flag to go up during the weekly creative process.


And where did we get to turn for relief?  Why none other than 50 Cent of course (or “Fitty Sent” according to Swank).  Am I the only one wondering if 50 Cent has gotten more SNL screen time than Jerry Minor yet?  50 Cent’s latest SNL appearance was unfortunately about as entertaining as his last two times.   This makes it very hard for me to see this guy’s attraction.  Granted I’m not a rap fan, but at least Ludacris sparked my interest a few weeks back. 


Just when I was about ready to shut off the episode for good, none other than Horatio Sanz came to the rescue.  His Hot Plates sketch tonight was absolutely hilarious.  “Ha-la-la-la-la hott pla-tes”.  Despite being a simple one-joke premise, it worked.  Something about Sanz overreacting as drastically as he does (especially in a Fallon free environment) really gets me laughing.  Later in the show, Sanz debuted a damn near perfect impression of Aaron Neville to keep his hot streak going.  It seems Neville, who is not a judge but simply likes settling disputes, is now hosting a TV court show.   However, he uses a majority of his time to rave about cocoa butter rather than hearing out the case at hand.  This sketch succeeded because it broke the monotony seen during most of the episode’s first half.  It is ashamed these two wonderful sketches are attached to such a forgettable episode.


This leaves us with Weekend Update.  Although Poehler is really finding her voice, it has been hard not to notice how dry it has been over recent weeks.  I put most of this fault on Fey.  Heather has already pointed out how Fey’s in-between joke banter has gotten a bit out of hand lately, but it also seems she simply isn’t giving it the effort she used to.  Now that she is a millionaire and on her way to becoming a household name, she seems content with just rolling out anti-Bush jokes and slang every week.  Some have predicted that despite the multiyear contract she signed with SNL not too long ago, this Mean Girl may be setting herself up for a departure come May.  I don’t know if I’m on board with this theory yet, but after a few more Updates like this, I can’t say I’d miss her much.  Luckily, Armisen debuted his Tom Jankeloff character who was let loose on the Central Park “Gates” exhibit.  Week after week, Armisen continues to prove he is one of the show’s strongest links (Franklin the Cat aside). 


SNL now gets a, cough cough, well deserved break and returns live 3/12/05.



Heather:  Ok, seriously.  What is it going to take for SNL to break out of this less-than-average slump they’ve fallen into?  Here’s a suggestion:  Quit airing recurring skits/characters that aren’t funny.  Here’s another:  Quit having the same boring musical guest come back every season for the past three seasons.  One more:  Please don’t bring back essentially the same ideas again and again and play them off as new just because they have a different name or use different people.  Exactly one half of the sketches shown in this episode, with host Hilary Swank and musical guest 50 Cent, fell into one of the above three categories.  No wonder it ranked as the second to worst episode of the season.


Recurring skits and characters tonight included Debbie Downer and Michael Jackson at Neverland Ranch.  If there was ever a sketch that needed to be retired, it is Debbie Downer.  This time at the Academy Awards, Debbie yet again finds a way to thoroughly disgust those around her with her pessimistic statements.  The writers’ best stab at making this go around different was using dog sounds instead of cat meows and leaving out the tired “feline aids” joke.  Sorry guys, not nearly enough to make up for that 3 minutes of my life I just wasted.  While I was a bit surprised at how long it took for SNL to make fun of him, the Michael Jackson cold opener certainly didn’t surprise me with any laughs.  Jackson is probably my least favorite of Poehler’s impressions and this installment did nothing to change my mind. 


Swank’s monologue, in my opinion, was another classic example of an over-used idea.  While the concept of the host walking around the studio and encountering various cast members has been done successfully before, Swank’s routine seemed to be just that; routine.  And also maybe a way to show off her jump-roping skills from Million Dollar Baby. 


And what about Grayson Moorhead Investments?  Or should I say, Grayson Moorhead Securities?  I knew I had seen this before and with a little investigation, rediscovered that this very commercial spoof had been done nearly ten years ago, but this time with a another name and a few more lines spoken by Mr. Jim Downey.  Overall, however, both were disappointingly similar.


50 Cent as musical guest failed to offer any entertainment value, whatsoever.  As far as I’m concerned, he is a huge reason as to why the show flopped so bad in regards to coneys, much like Kelly Clarkson boosted last week’s disaster with creepatronic Jason Bateman.  


On a brighter note, Sanz and Armisen provided some real comic relief that I’m convinced got me through the show.  Sanz was so best as “Judge” Aaron Neville in the City Court sketch.  The funniest part, by far, was Sanz’s little dance in that sleeveless judge’s robe during the opening credits.  I still can’t get over how much he sounded like Neville!  Despite some obvious likenesses to Fallon’s singing in Barry Gibb Talk Show, I still enjoyed this skit very much.  It was great to see Sanz expand his character repertoire a bit.  In the same way, Weekend Update saw yet another outstanding character from Armisen, Tom Jangeloff, a native New Yorker interviewing people about “The Gates” exhibit in Central Park.  “Do your research!”  I was laughing out loud, especially at his idea to throw in a memorial to himself, despite the fact that he was still alive, just to “spice up the ending a little bit.”  


Speaking of Weekend Update, Fey and Poehler are getting way out of hand with the little remarks and giggles in between jokes.  Quit commenting on your delivery, Fey!!  And stop condescending the audience when, Heaven forbid, they think your joke is a little off color.  It appeared that Poehler was even flustered enough from the “boos” to pull a Fallon by throwing papers off the desk after their goodnights.  Worst.


The remaining skits of the night turned out to be rather average.  Project Runway had a moment with judge Parnell’s remark about “clothing tsunamis.”  Hot Plates’ over-exaggeration of just how hot restaurant plates really are was decent enough, but turned very strange the minute Forte stumbled out in a devil’s suite to exclaim, “You’re in Hell!”  Sheila Choad’s L.A. Face, Seasons of Love and After the Grammys seemed more like fillers than anything else and Swank’s huge flub in After the Grammys surely didn’t help matters.


I was really hoping to say that this week’s episode turned out to be much funnier than I expected, but sadly it looks like my preshow comments were pretty accurate, at least in my own opinion.  I believe Swank really did try her best to put on a decent show, but again, the writing, or lack thereof, really kept that from happening.  Seeing 50 Cent perform three times in as many seasons certainly didn’t do anything to make it a better night either.  Let’s see if a three week break can work wonders with the cast and crew when the show returns live with host David Spade and musical guest Jack Johnson.



SNL Coney Rankings:  Season 30 – REVEALED!




Jude Law/Ashlee Simpson – 41

Paul Giamatti/Ludacris (with Sum 41) - 33

Paris Hilton/Keane - 31

Luke Wilson/U2 – 29

Robert DeNiro/Destiny’s Child - 28

Liam Neeson/Modest Mouse - 25

Ben Affleck/Nelly - 23

Queen Latifah – 22

Jason Bateman/Kelly Clarkson - 20

Kate Winslet/Eminem – 21

Topher Grace/The Killers - 21

Colin Farrell/Scissor Sisters - 18

Hilary Swank/50 Cent – 16




Jude Law/Ashlee Simpson – 35.5

Paul Giamatti/Ludacris (with Sum 41) - 29

Robert DeNiro/Destiny’s Child – 26.5

Liam Neeson/Modest Mouse - 23

Luke Wilson/U2 – 23

Paris Hilton/Keane - 22

Jason Bateman/Kelly Clarkson - 19

Kate Winslet/Eminem – 18.5

Colin Farrell/Scissor Sisters – 18.5

Topher Grace/The Killers - 17

Ben Affleck/Nelly – 16.5

Hilary Swank/50 Cent - 15

Queen Latifah – 14.5