Season 29 SNL – REVEALED



Episode 3: Halle Berry/Britney Spears (10/18/03)


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

41-50 Coneys  - Instant Classic

51+ Coneys - Unparalleled SNL Genius



Pre-show Comments (10/17/03):


Jason:  I'm going with the "this show has buzz" notion for this week's episode. Although I'm only familiar with Berry for her work in the X-Men movies, The Flintstones and Boomerang, I am pretty confident she will give a good turn at host. Maybe they will even poke fun at how stupid she looks in that new Catwoman suit too.

You also can't go wrong with SNL and Britney Spears. Seems like everytime she shows up, something memorable happens. Her showing up in a sketch is a complete given, so let's just hope it is not The Leatherman or Top O' The Mornin'.


Heather:  There’s just one word to describe this week’s SNL with host Halle Berry and musical guest Britney Spears ... HOTT!! Hopefully I’m not getting my hopes up too high, but I have a good feeling about this show. I’ve always liked Berry and from last night's SNL ad where she was practically forcing herself on Spears, it looks like she’ll be up for anything as far as sketches are concerned.

I'm actually looking forward to seeing Britney perform again. And if I completely have my way, Madonna will make a guest appearance to sing “Me Against the Music.” I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ms. Spears (and hopefully the Material Girl) make at least one appearance in a sketch. All in all, I’m counting on a great show.



1.  Cold Opening:  Behind the Scenes at the Kobe Bryant Trial

Premise:  Kobe’s wife Vanessa reveals her true feelings about the rape trial


Jason:   So Finesse gets his first crack at a cold opener…too bad it kind of sucked.  I’m wondering if Finesse is only capable of angry African American women themed sketches? 


While the sketch was not totally devoid of humor, resorting back to lines about “chocolate getting stuck in peanut butter” was pretty much a cop out.


Some of the better lines involved Vanessa saying she could have married anyone – Vlade Divac or Lil’ Bow Wow for example.  The whole “I hate going to my husband’s rape trial” garnered a laugh too.  Other than that, where are the George W. Bush openings this season?


1 Coney


Heather:  With all of the hype around Kobe’s impending trial, I’m actually kind of surprised this is the first sketch we’ve seen about it.  Unfortunately, it got very few laughs, the most being from the “diamond and a dry dong” comment.  Mitchell just seemed too robotic and I’ve witnessed the same type of character from Rudolph more times than I care to remember, but who else could’ve realistically played the couple??  One more thing….is Rudolph friggin preggers or what??  Maybe it’s just me, but her belly seems to be getting bigger and bigger every time I see her.


1 Coney 


2.  Monologue:  Berry


Jason:  Damn!  Halle Berry looks great. 


Basically the whole premise to this monologue was a backstage bit (complete with the token Abraham Lincoln standing around) with Lorne trying to convince Britney to kiss Halle ala Madonna at the MTV awards.  Lorne offering to donate $100 each to both of their favorite charities was funny, but the rest seemed kind of predictable. 


2 Coneys


Heather:  While anyone who has paid even the slightest bit of attention to the media could’ve seen this coming, I still think it’s pretty sad that Berry’s monologue had to revolve around something that Spears did nearly two months ago.  I actually found Lorne to be the funniest part about this.


1 Coney





3.  Commercial Parody:  Gaystrogen

Premise: Pill that helps you recapture your gay habits if you suffer from “Queer Loss”


Jason:  They actually played this commercial during last week’s Timberlake dress rehearsal.  I thought it was funny then, and I think it is funny now.  “I TiVo’d the Gilmore Girls and I waited to watch it with you”!  Loved the graphic on how the pill works too.


4 Coneys




Heather:  I was really glad to see this make it onto the air.  The way Armisen kicks the little dogs off the couch was great.  Also loved the Armisen / Parnell kiss at the end.  Good stuff!


3 Coneys 





4.  Sketch:  The Don Zimmer Sports Spectacular

Premise: Don Zimmer (played by Sanz) hosts a sports talk show



Jason:   This was OK, but Sanz resorting to all the Three Stooges physical comedy stuff got a bit stale after the first two minutes.  It also does not help much that I’m not a huge sports guy, so a lot of the jokes went right over my head. 


Still, Forte’s sketch opening jingle and Sanz getting thrown down simply by his head being held is worth a coney or two in my book.


2 Coneys



Heather:  I would have absolutely no idea what was going on in this sketch had I not caught the news clip with Zimmer getting thrown to the ground via his head.  I still didn’t find it very funny, but for some reason I got a kick out of Sanz putting his hand out and exclaiming, “I got nothin’ more to say about it!”  However, I don’t think this skit would’ve received any coneys had it not been for Forte’s introductory song.


1 Coney 



5.  Sketch:  Versache Halloween

Premise: Versache (played by Maya Rudolph) hosts a Halloween party


Jason:  WORST!  You knew this would come back sooner or later.  The sketch last appeared back in April on the Hayek/Aquilera episode. 


The only part that even came close to making me laugh was the “bobbing for coy” bit.  The rest was just recycled Maya crap.  What was up with her giving cigarettes and other inappropriate Halloween treats away to kids?  Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t the Coneheads do that same bit back in 1977?  Get with the times Maya.



0 Coneys



Heather:  I physically cringed the minute I saw the first model come down the runway.  Why is this still airing???  Rudolph was at her most annoying and Berry’s accent as Naomi Campbell SUCKED!  The “rampage music” and Sanz’s Elton John dressed as Sponge Bob Square Pants may have stood a chance if they weren’t in this vomitacious sketch.


0 Coneys



6.  Commercial Parody:  Tel-e-Link

Premise:  A cellular phone commercial gets a little too technical while describing the service


Jason:  First Maya rips of the Coneheads, now Richards (or whoever wrote this commercial) is ripping off that old Chris Farley/Phil Hartman/Rob Schneider “Dorey Flanges” commercial.  How short of a memory does Season 29 think we have these days?


Still, I have to give it one coney based on Richard’s leap when he exits the scene.


1 Coney



Heather:  This commercial was also in the last week’s Timberlake dress rehearsal, but didn’t make the live show.  And now, after really watching it, I sort of wish it didn’t make this show either. 


0 Coneys



7.  Commercial Sketch Parody:  Quick Ones

Premise:  A pill that simulates sexual contact for those on the go


Jason:  This was a weird one – mainly because it came right after a pre-recorded commercial parody.  Back to back commercials on SNL are for the most part unheard of.


However, this one was good because it gave the whole world a glimpse of a Poehler orgasm!  So best.  I’ll need to find an MP3 of this for future mix CDs (or possibly my new Microsoft system start up sound).  Who can forget Forte’s orgasm too?  He’s got one word – “whee”!


2 Coneys


Heather:  Forte!!  Best “quick” orgasm ever!!  He even had time to fall asleep!  Poehler was cute, but Berry just seemed to be trying to hard and pretty much fell flat.  The idea was pretty good though.


2 Coneys



8.  Sakihura – Japanese Steak House

Premise:  African American Women celebrate a birthday



Jason:   Finesse, Finesse, Finesse.  Why are you doing the same bit you did on the Jack Black episode two weeks ago?  He basically took his Weekend Update movie theater commentary and made a sketch around it.  Parts of it were funny, but like I mentioned back at the cold opening – I’m pretty sure Finesse is only capable of angry African American women comedy.  Dude, it’s been done by thousands of other comics.  Get some new material.


The sketch wasn’t a total loss though.  Armisen’s chef character (very similar to the one used in last season’s Bloater Brothers sketch during the Vardalos episode) delivered some strong laughs.  The other group at the table comprised of Poehler, Parnell and Thompson were pretty good too.  I just can’t believe that Finesse is using the same material again so soon. 


2 Coneys


Heather:  What is up with Mitchell blatantly recycling his movie cheerleader character from merely two weeks ago?!  I laughed a bit at it then, but it’s more than obvious it was not a character that would hold up time and time again without getting extremely tired.  I mean, it was even the same exact cheer!!  Complete with the birthday motif!  Ugh.  At least Armisen’s Japanese chef supplied some comedic humor.


1 Coney



9.  Commercial Parody:  The Sunday National Enquirer

Premise:  Ads for subscription service to the Enquirer


Jason:  Four commercial parodies in one episode?  They must not have much for Berry to do.  This sketch would have been a total loss had it not been for all the fake headlines on the papers.  “Demi Moore still not related to Roger Moore”, “Ashton Kutcher adopted by P. Diddy”, etc.


2 Coneys 



Heather:  More commercials??  I thought this show was called Saturday Night LIVE??!  Pretty boring.


0 Coneys




10.  Music #1:  Britney


Jason:  As Mark already mentioned in his Sunday 10/19/03 post, this was a horribly lip- synched version of her newest song “Me Against the Music”.  I have to be honest, I think the “music” won in this case.  It was almost as if Britney has not even memorized the lyrics yet.  More miscues than Fallon in a political sketch.


1 Coney


Heather:  Besides the fact that I already didn’t care for this song, she did the most botched-up lip-synching job I’d ever seen!  They couldn’t even keep the camera close on her face for more than a few seconds, it was so bad. 


0 Coneys





11.  Weekend Update



Jason:  Another very solid WU.  Standout jokes for this installment included Atkins Diet, James Bond dying, the four-year-old with the bag of pot and the Chinese space program.


I also really liked Armisen’s newest WU character, Native American comic Billy Smith.  I loved all his “Is it not” punchlines.  While this character is not as strong as Ferecito, I do look forward to seeing more of him this season.


The oddest portion of WU came with the re-appearance of the Superfans.  At first I thought the bit was going to just be Sanz trying to ripoff some of Myers and Farley’s old characters, but once George Wendt came out, all was forgiven.  While I have to admit that this updated version is NOWHERE near the classic early 1990s version, seeing these characters on SNL again was nice.  How about Fallon chugging that beer too?  I guess the rumors of him being a serious alcoholic are true.


3 Coneys



Heather:  Way to save the day, Weekend Update!!  Quality jokes all around.  The bits about the Atkins Diet and the Chinese space launch got some good laughs.


Armisen was amusing as the Native American comedian Billy Smith.  I loved his inflections and how he would shout out usually the last two or three words in a sentence.  “Alukay Uno!”  


The return of the Superfans was most definitely unexpected, but turned out to be rather hilarious, especially when George Wendt came out to the desk.  I couldn’t stop laughing at the beer battered communion wafers from Tommy Z’s Church and Grill!!


3 ˝ Coneys



12.  Sketch:  Joey Lawrence Pitchman

Premise:  Infomercial for the 1980s band “Klymaxx”


Jason:  This seemed way out of place.  And by out of place, I mean in 2003.  Who still makes Joey Lawrence “whoa” jokes in 2003?  This was by far one of Seth’s worst ideas yet (up their with his annoying Red Sox fan WU bits).  Absolutely nothing about this sketch was funny.


0 Coneys


Heather:  I totally didn’t get why it was Joey Lawrence doing this infomercial, but the 80’s band Klymaxx actually got a few chuckles.  That was mostly because of Poehler’s facial expressions and Thompson’s, “That pasghetti was good!”


2 Coneys





13.  Sketch:  Brokaw records voice mail

Premise:  An NBC employee tries to get Brokaw to record their cell phone voice mail message



Jason:  This could have been much better since Parnell does a great Brokaw, but Berry was just plain weak.  The premise was not strong enough to carry a 4+ minute length and not even Berry looking hot in her outfit could balance it out.  The only laugh came at the very end when Brokaw simply had enough and was borderline screaming his lines.


1 Coney



Heather:  Ok.  Berry is officially not one for live tv acting.  But Parnell’s Brokaw was best.  His screaming at the end could not have been better.


2 ˝ Coneys



14.  Music #2:  Britney


Jason:  At least she sang this time!  But wait, is that a Kabbalah bracelet she is wearing?  I thought this was funny since Fey had a pretty good joke about these things being the latest fad just a few sketches ago on WU. 


2 Coneys



Heather:  This is so lame, I know, but I kind of liked this song.  Maybe it was just nice to see her actually singing, even though she wasn’t that on.  It’s a pretty song though.


3 Coneys



15.  Sketch:  Ashford & Simpson

Premise:  Two old R&B singers perform at the Hilton


Jason:  The episode’s trend of ripping off old SNL ideas continues.  This was way too much like the old Culp sketches for me to even take it seriously.  I’m also pretty convinced I don’t like Keenan Thompson either. 


But wait…is that Finesse Mitchell in another sketch this episode involving angry African American women?


0 Coneys


Heather:  Alright, this was just plain stupid.  Ashford and Simpson??  I’d like to know who came up with this idea and thought it would be funny.  Unbelievable that this made it to the live show.


0 Coneys


16.  Sketch:  Speed Reader

Premise:  A speed reader (played by Will Forte) tries to pick up a girl in a bar


Jason:  Finally, a memorable sketch!  Forte has unleashed another classic SNL character in this Speed Reader guy.  All of his lines like “Great for me”, “Find Me” and “Poor Jesus” will end up in my vocabulary this Fall.  The sounds and faces he made while speed reading were completely hilarious too.  Will Forte is God.


4 Coneys


Heather:  OH MY GAD FORTE!!!  I love him.  I do.  From the moment he walked up in that leather vest and SLAMMED down his book, I was rolling.  His stare was BEST!!  Who knew speed reading could be so funny……and sexy??  “Frigg yeah!”


4 Coneys



Closing Comments:


Jason:  With all the buzz this episode had going in, it sure did find a way not to deliver on any of it.  I am very shocked that Britney failed to appear in at least once sketch.  I was even more disappointed with all the sketch recycling that was going on.  While the coney count adds up to an average episode, I do not see myself talking about this one much when discussing Season 29’s finer points.


Next week is an off week for SNL and NBC will use the time to treat us to the newly assembled “The Best of Tracy Morgan”.  I think this is odd since SNL didn’t give any sendoff to him at all during his last episode in May.   NBC no doubt ordered this to help hype up Morgan’s new sitcom.


The next live episode will be 11/1/03 with host Kelly Ripa and musical guest Outkast.


27 out of 60 Coneys


Heather:  On the whole, this show was very disappointing.  Berry hardly seemed in the show at all, which was not entirely a bad thing.  It’s pretty obvious she needs to stick to a well-read script with lots of re-takes.  And while I expected at least one lip-synched dance number from Spears, she just seemed way off tonight.  Considering she’s an SNL veteran, that was surprising.  Overall, it was not a memorable episode by any means (with the exception of Forte’s speed reader, of course!).


24 out of 60 Coneys