SNL Season 29 – REVEALED!
Episode 13: Christina Aguilera/Maroon 5 (2/21/04)
The Rating System:
4 Coneys – Best Ever
0 Coneys – Worst Ever
0-10 Coneys – Garbage
11-20 Coneys – Needs Improvement
21-30 Coneys – Average
31-40 Coneys – Above Average
41-51 Coneys - Instant Classic
55+ Coneys - Unparalleled SNL Genius
Pre-show Comments (2/20/04):
Jason: Why don't they just change the name from "SNL" to "TRL". If Simpson/Lachey, Timberlake and Britney weren't enough, now Season 29 treats us to yet another MTV staple - Christina Aguilera. Despite her brief cameo in a horrible Versace sketch when she was musical guest last season, there is absolutely no reason besides ratings to have her host.
On the musical side, I'm not familiar with Maroon 5, but I thank the Lord we aren't being hit with another R&B/rap musical guest.
Basically, I'm calling "no buzz" for this episode. Although last week's Barrymore piled on the recurring drudge, I wouldn't be surprised to see another Versace, Jarrett's Room, Boston Teens, Leatherman, Wakeup Wakefield or any other "popular" sketch make an appearance this week. You can also pretty much count on Christina doing some kind of musical monologue which will most likely make the show even worse. And why doesn't Christina playing either Britney, Jessica Simpson or Paris Hilton seem like a shocker either?
Heather: I'm really not sure what to make of Christina Aguilera hosting this week's SNL. As with Megan Mullally, Aguilera seems to just be another random choice. I mean, what is she doing right now that warrants the privileged SNL hosting duties (if you can even consider it an honor anymore!)?? I'm not exactly complaining, because there has always been something about Aguilera that has appealed to me. And I do think she'll at least try to do a good job with the material she's given, but for some reason, I'm just not getting a good vibe about this episode. I guess I'm just not up to another show filled with more Versace, Jarret's Room and Wakeup Wakefield.
I wish I could say something more about Maroon 5, but honestly, I don't know a thing about them. And if I have heard something by the group, I wouldn't have a clue. I just hope they do better than the last few musical guests we've seen.
1. Cold Opening: Hardball
Premise: Parody of the MSNBC talk show
Jason: This was an average Hardball installment. I was getting pretty burned out on this sketch the last time it showed up back in December, but enough time has passed where I’ll watch it again with an open mind.
Guests this time around included Parnell as Gary Bauer, Sanz as Rosie O’Donnell and a taped Hammond doing Arnold.
The best line was Bauer speaking out against gay marriage saying that it will open the door to such combinations as 1 lesbian, 3 gay men and a beagle union!
Other than that, it was typical Hardball.
Heather: While this was much better than the last few cold openers we’ve seen, it was still just a pretty ordinary Hardball. Parnell’s cosmetics as Gary Bauer were amusing as was his referral to the “Tampa Bay Butt Pirates.” Hammond’s taped Arnold was also rather humorous with the whole “slippery slope of lubrication” comment. All in all, a decent opener.
1 ½ Coneys
Jason: Well, the Timberlake/song in the monologue concept has been revisited. No surprise here. Although the song portion was dreadful, the backstage moments leading up to it were very funny. Lorne’s line “we hired a guy named Finesse?” had me laughing a bit. Two bad the momentum was killed with song.
Heather: This was actually pretty funny until they blew it with Aguilera’s rendition of Beautiful, which I’m absolutely sick of by the way. I loved Lorne’s “whore it up” as well as him asking, “who’s that guy?” about Finesse. It’s just too bad they couldn’t have kept the momentum going because I think Aguilera was much more capable of something more here than just singing a song.
Premise: Spoof of the HBO show
Jason: Whoa! Who knew Aguilera could do such a damn good job impersonating Kim Cattrall? The voice alone was completely flawless!
Although I’ve only seen one episode of Sex and the City, I still found this damn funny. Poehler (as Sarah Jessica Parker) and Aguilera completely stole the show. Poehler’s constant puns and frequent giggles = out loud laughing.
Heather: Being one of the unfortunates without HBO, I have never seen Sex and the City. However, I chuckled pretty steadily throughout this sketch. Aguilera was amazing as Cattrall’s character Samantha, especially when she revealed she was really “a dude.” I really enjoyed Poehler’s take as Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie. Her laugh after hearing about Aguilera’s third testicle was so best. I also got a kick out of the way Dratch (as Cynthia Nixon’s Miranda) was holding her baby. Good sketch!
2 ½ Coneys
Premise: Game show for rich kids.
Jason: This really reminded me of the game show parody from the mid to late nineties – in a good way. I love these game show sketches where the only point is to have contestants back into a response. Very clever.
Forte, Aguilera and Meyers all did extremely good jobs with their characters. Everything from Forte’s creepy laugh to Meyers’ silly enthusiastic European accent made this a memorable sketch.
However – what was up with Aguilera’s arm? It looked like she was either doing drugs or bleeding at some point in the evening. Gross.
Heather: This was ok, but I really thought that I would’ve laughed more. I did like Aguilera, Meyers and Forte’s portrayals as the rich snobby kid contestants, specifically Forte’s “stupid date rape trial,” remark. But on the whole, this sketch just seemed a bit uneventful.
1 ½ Coneys
5. Cartoon by Robert Smigel: Fun with Real Audio
Premise: Pat O’Brien is plagued day and night by pop culture
Jason: Although not hysterical laugh out loud funny, the concept of Pat O’Brien being unable to escape pop culture was pretty unique. Especially when he went so far as to name his baby “What was Britney Thinking O’Brien”.
Heather: I feel like it’s been so long since we’ve seen a Robert Smigel cartoon!! Too bad this one wasn’t better. However, I liked the concept of Pat O’Brien’s whole life revolving around pop culture. Naming his baby “What was Britney thinking” O’Brien was definitely a clever spin!!
6. Sketch: The History Channel’s “Celebration of Women Week”
Premise: The early stages of overcoming women’s oppression
Jason: Brilliant. From the opening montage (featuring footage from last season’s Colonel Angus sketch) to the acting, this sketch was great. I have to say that by this point in the episode, Aguilera is actually impressing me with her sketch ability. I had no idea she would be capable of pulling off so many voices and characters.
The best part of this sketch was Dratch’s one-word responses to whatever the situation was calling for (easily worthy of two rewinds). Poehler getting nervous that her husband will make her sleep in the fireplace if she revolts was pretty good too.
Hammond also came through with one of his most energetic Donahue impressions in years! I especially liked his closing comments –it didn’t even sound like he was speaking English. Totally best. These are the times that will make us miss Hammond when he’s gone. Forget the worn out Clinton impression – these are Hammond’s shining moments.
Heather: Well, it looks like SNL has finally gotten it’s act together. This was great! I’m glad to see Aguilera being so in character and doing such a good job at it. I loved Poehler’s wish of “knowing where her babies came from,” and Dratch’s fainting spells were just plain hilarious. The best part for me though, without question, was Hammond’s Phil Donahue. I can see Nummer and I imitating his enthusiastic talk with waving hands for at least the next couple of months! I was laughing out loud at his slow pronunciation of every letter in “goodnight,” at the end. Best!!
7. Music: Maroon 5 - #1
Jason: Not great, but much better than the crappy rap/R&B guests we’ve had for 85% of the season!
Heather: Damn, I can’t believe how much they sound like Jamiroquai! I’m sure I’ve heard this song before too. It’s not horrible, but it’s definitely not kew.
8. Sketch: Weekend Update
Jason: It really seems to me that WU is getting shorter. The last few episodes have had a few minutes of jokes, 1 guest and then an abrupt conclusion. Even though this isn’t a bad thing (remember how the Ripa WU went on and on and on and on?), it could still stand to be a bit longer.
Good jokes this time were the renaming of dinosaurs to “Jesus Horses”, the Sex and the City t-shirts and nude Peta girls.
Forte’s tribute to Black History Month was funny too, although I couldn’t tell if the audience was uncomfortable with it. The laughter seemed a little sparse for a Forte WU appearance. Personally, I thought it was great - only Forte would sum up Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse as “A great steak from a great Black”.
Heather: What’s going on with Weekend Update being so much shorter all of the sudden?? I don’t mind not having a ton of special guests, but I personally would like to hear more than just a handful of jokes/bits. The only real standout seemed to be how we should now start calling dinosaurs “Jesus Horses.”
Forte’s Black History Month speech was amusing, if not a bit strange. It made me laugh though. “Martin Luther King – Yeah! Slavery – Boo!! End of Slavery – YEAH!! Michael Jordan – Yes! Eminem – Double Yes!!” Good stuff.
2 ½ Coneys
9. Sketch: Venice Beach Dance Off
Premise: Two local street gangs solve a turf dispute with a dance off
Jason: What was this? Talk about recycling. This was nothing more than a combination of the 4/6/02 Diaz MTV Spring Break sketch, the 10/5/02 Damon Britney/Justin Dance-off monologue and the more recent 10/4/03 Jack Black Wade Robson Project sketches. How short of a memory does SNL think we have? Christ! Maya was even wearing the same outfit and doing the same moves!
The only funny parts were Parnell and Sanz slow dancing and Forte’s roller skating hippie!
Heather: Eh. This reminded me of the “rap-off” from Brittany Murphy’s monologue meets a poor rendition of Damon’s “Britney/Justin angry dance-off.” No originality whatsoever. The only laugh came courtesy of Forte’s roller-skating character with the cutoff jeans.
10. Backstage at the Christina Aguilera Concert
Premise: Various celebrities encourage Aguilera to “skank it up”
Jason: Uggh. Another buzz kill sketch. Much like the “Celebrity Poker” sketch in the Mullally episode, this was just an excuse to get some recurring celebrity impersonation in front of the audience. How many times do we have to sit through Sharon and Ozzy?
Heather: Aw man!! What’s going on?? It was going so well up until now!! Couldn’t they have picked better celebrity impressions rather than the old standbys?? I must say though, I did chuckle at Dratch’s face as Kelly Osbourne along with Sanz’s Ozzy screaming and fainting on the table.
11. Sketch: Telemundo’s “Besos Y Lagrimas”
Premise: Parody of a Spanish soap opera
Jason: I really, really want a still shot poster of Armisen’s face during his opening montage! Damn that was funny!
This sketch reminded me a lot of the old Greenhilly days. Tons of making out and absolutely nothing makes sense. Maya ruined it a bit with her way over the top/yet nothing new as a character acting, but overall, the sketch was worth it. The closeup of the little girl and her doll was funny/creep too. Overall, this was a decent recovery from the last two crappy sketches.
Heather: ARMISEN!!! Full coneys just for that range of facial expressions!!! I literally rewound his scene with the music about 20 times straight. That is the stuff that I love…just the little things that are so out of left field!! This whole sketch was hilarious, especially the close-ups (that doll was great!). The only exception, of course, was Maya trying to hog the camera and basically just screaming in her Versace voice. Otherwise, this is one of the best skits I’ve seen this season.
12. Commerical Parody: Huggies Thong
Jason: See Black/Mayer episode
Heather: See Black Mayer episode
13. Sketch: Sandy Gets Fired
Premise: A supervisor has a difficult time firing an employee
Jason: Forte. Best. Forte. Best.
While not up there with early Falconer and Speedreader, this is easily another great Forte character to add to the arsenal. I love his attitude in this sketch! Who knew you could cure Elephant Man disease by downing tons of Vitamin C and “sleeping it off”?
FYI: lesson learned – calling in sick 18 times in one month may get you fired.
Heather: Forte. You gotta love him. His smart-ass attitude was excellent, particularly his flippant remark about when he gets into work everyday. “I get in at 11, sometimes 2.” If only we could have more Sandys in the workplace….
14. Music: Maroon 5 - #2
Jason: Is this Jamiroquai? Still, it’s better than R&B and rap.
Heather: I fucking HATE this song!! WORST!!
15. Sketch: Walgreens
Premise: Clerks are obnoxious with customers
Jason: I can honestly say I was not expecting to ever see this sketch back. This character originally appeared in last season underrated Queen Latifah episode. While this latest installment was good, it wasn’t up there with the Latifah version. Keenan and Aguilera paled in comparison to the support Tracy Morgan and Latifah added during the first go around. However, this was still a fine way to end a surprisingly good SNL.
Heather: I didn’t really care for this sketch when it debuted on the Latifah episode last season and my feelings haven’t changed with this installment. It wasn’t a horrible ending, but I just don’t find it all that humorous. Frankly, I wouldn’t really mind not seeing it again.
Jason: Well, once again I’ve learned the lesson that if you go into an SNL episode with low hopes, you can be surprised. I have to say that Aguilera did a very good job as host and with the exception of the Dance-off and the Backstage Concert sketches, this is easily the best SNL we’ve seen since last November’s Andy Roddick episode.
Aside from Aguilera’s strong performance, this episode was also helped along by a good amount of Forte screen time and absolutely NO Fallon appearances in sketches. Now, if we could just work on fazing out Maya the same way….
31.5 out of 60 Coneys
Heather: Wow. Who knew this episode would turn out to be in the top 3 so far?! I thought Aguilera would give it her all, but I never expected to actually be as good as she was!! Besides JB and maybe Baldwin, she definitely had one of the best ranges of characters I’ve seen this season.
Did they get a new set of writers too?? Besides the Venice Beach Dance-off, Backstage Concert and Walgreens, the writing seemed to improve about 1000-fold! It was a pleasant surprise not to find this episode riddled with Versace and Jarret’s Room sketches like I had originally feared. Hopefully this time around wasn’t just a fluke and they’ll be able to wrap up the season with some dignity.
28 out of 60 Coneys
SNL Coney Rankings: Season 29 – REVEALED!
Andy Roddick/Dave Matthews – 41.5
Jack Black/John Mayer – 34.5
Christina Aguilera/Maroon 5 – 31.5
Justin Timberlake - 30
Alec Baldwin/Missy Elliot – 28.5
Halle Berry/Britney Spears – 27
Jennifer Aniston/Black Eyed Peas - 22
Al Sharpton/Pink – 21.5
Kelly Ripa/Outkast – 19
Drew Barrymore/Kelis - 19
Megan Mullally/Clay Aiken – 17.5
Jessica Simpson & Nick Lachey/G-Unit - 17
Elijah Wood/Jet – 16.5
Jack Black/John Mayer – 34.5
Andy Roddick/Dave Matthews – 28.5
Christina Aguilera/Maroon 5 - 28
Jessica Simpson & Nick Lachey/G-Unit – 27.5
Justin Timberlake – 26.5
Halle Berry/Britney Spears – 24
Alec Baldwin/Missy Elliot – 24
Jennifer Aniston/Black Eyed Peas - 23
Kelly Ripa/Outkast – 20
Elijah Wood/Jet – 18.5
Al Sharpton/Pink – 17.5
Megan Mullally/Clay Aiken - 14
Drew Barrymore/Kelis – 12