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by Nummer and H-Bomb
Episode 1: Jack Black / John Mayer (10/04/03)
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)
New season, new hopes. Although I'm very, very concerned about the addition of the "fat kid" from Good Burger to the cast, I'm still keeping my fingers crossed for a good episode. The sheer fact that Jack Black is present will guarantee higher coney counts. The last Jables episode gave us so many gems: the birthday song, Russell Putnam and the infamous "Bass Off". I'm pretty sure we'll get some equally memorable sketches this time around.
Don't know much about John Mayer. The only songs I've heard of his are whatever the frat guys play on the Sterling Heights BW3 internet jukebox. If anything kills the coney counts, it will probably be this pretty boy.
My only other concern lies in Lorne's history for sketch approval in season openers past. Since the openers tend to do higher ratings than most episodes during the season, Lorne tends to roll out the "favorite" sketches. I wouldn't be surprised to see any or all of the following: Jarrett's Room, Wake Up Wakefield, The Falconer, Top O' The Morning or Boston Teens. Uggh.
I am looking forward to seeing the new stage setup and hearing the new theme though. In a word, I still say buzz. Let's hope Season 29 can extend beyond the mediocre season that was number 28.
Ah...SNL!! How I've missed thee! I can only pray that Season 29 is superior to it's predecessor and I think Lorne is making that a reality by having Jables kick off the premiere. In my opinion, JB is really the best possible choice. He's got a hit movie with upcoming School of Rock, a must-have Tenacious Dvd (The Complete Masterworks) being released November 4th, and let's face it....he's just plain kick-ass.
On the flip-side, I couldn't be more disappointed with the choice for musical guest, John Mayer. This guy is such a TOOL!! Seriously worst. I'm hoping maybe Jack jumps on stage and teaches him something about a little thing we like to call "ROCK!"
Nonetheless, I have high hopes for this show, with lotsa coneys in sight. Add to that a new stage, theme and featured players, and I'm counting on an interesting night to say the least.
|Cold Opening: Californians for Schwarzenegger|
Premise: Arnold lays out his five-point plan to save California
: “…and creating new jobs, good jobs, where people come to the place and work for the employer and he gives them money for doing these things”
In cold opener tradition, the show and new season kicks off with some political humor ala Hammond (whom I’m guessing will leave after this season). I’ve long been a fan of Hammond’s Schwarzenegger impression and this one was no exception. He really nailed Arnold’s constant sentence-ending “all of these things” and “all of these places”.
The sketch did drag a little by the four minute mark, but Hammond’s out of character smirks and laughter hiding helped it keep going. Still, much better than last year’s Brokaw and Cheney opener.
I can’t remember ever seeing Hammond’s Schwarzenegger impression, but this was awesome!! I loved how even he was laughing at how ridiculous he was sounding, with the redundant “and all of these things.” While it wasn’t surprising to see this topic as the cold opener given all the hype surrounding the recall election, it was a refreshing change from all of the Bush/Iraqi openers from last season.
Now this is what I call a monologue. This is up there with SNL’s best – The Five Timer’s Club, Steve Martin’s “Not gonna phone it in tonight” and more recently Matt Damon (2002), Jack Black’s previous effort (2002), Joan Allen (1998) and Conan O’ Brien (2001).
Black basically came out and admitted he was a “gigastar”. But hey, he’s still a normal guy. “I still eat the Cheetos”. Cameos by the cast and Will Ferrell (in a post SNL Jon Lovitz type appearance in the terms of – should we get used to him hanging around the set?) only added to a perfect monologue.
I really like the new set and theme as well. And what’s this? Apparently Will Forte and Jeff Richards HAVE been promoted to full cast member. That’s what I guess for going on internet rumors for the pre-show comments.
Tasty-fantastic!! Perfect monologue! I loved everything about this, the song, the dance…I am officially in love with Jack Black. I still can’t get over how much energy this guy has! Only Jables could pull off that degree of involvement from the cast, KG and Will Ferrell, yet still keep it HIS monologue. The new set and theme/credits were also pretty kew!
|Commercial Parody: Huggies Thongs|
Premise: Thong diapers for babies
Much better than last year’s commercial parody kick off with those Aflac deals. This was pretty funny since sexy/trendy clothes seem to be aimed and worn younger with each given year.
Highlight was showing that wearing these diapers actually makes more of a mess than wearing nothing at all.
I thought this was great! I got some good chuckles out of the demonstration where the diaper completely falls apart when wet.
|Sketch: Queer eye for the Straight Gal
Premise: Parody of the Bravo show
Back to back Maya Rudolph already! I see not everything changed over the summer.
I’m guessing this was a Tina Fey sketch since she played “the straight gal”. This sketch was pretty solid, but felt a little like the Bob Dole/Real World parody in that everyone was kind of ganging up on one clueless person – but I guess that was the point.
Poehler shined as “Pam” whose profession was listed only as “softball”. Black’s opening line of “Where are your dildos?” got a laugh too.
Despite having NEVER seen Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, I am already so sick of it, simply because it’s been blown way out of proportion. This skit, however, was alright. The credits were inspired, especially Black and Poehler, as was Black’s remark of, “Where are your dildos??!” But who was that random chick in the sketch??
|Sketch: Wade Robson Project|
Premise: Parody of the MTV show
I’ve never seen, let alone heard, of this show in real life, so I may have missed any cutting edge satire this sketch had to offer. However, despite another Maya appearance, this sketch was best. Seth also delivered his best showing since last season’s Walken episode “Pranksters”.
Jack Black’s performance of “Sparkle” was amazing. How one could manage to get kicked off what appears to be a dance contest with moves like “Tiger Rolls”, “Donkey Kicks” and “RUSSIAN!” is beyond me. “Step aside mortals. Prepare to have your minds blown straight outta ya’ asses”.
Finesse Mitchell also makes his debut playing “Boogie”. He looked a little stiff at times, but he already has a much better presence than say…Dean Edwards.
Poehler breaks out again with “Katanya” – a 23 year old on permanent vacation after falling into a pork shanker…TWICE.
The first time I ever witnessed the phenomenon / train wreck that is The Wade Robinson Project was over Labor Day weekend. It was seriously one of those things that is SO bad, but you just can’t look away, which of course paved the way to a kick-ass sketch! Seth Meyers and Finesse Mitchell did a decent job as Wade and Boogie, respectively. But, once again, Poehler and Black took the cake as “dancers” Katanya and Sparkle. Between Poehler’s extreme hatred for her former employer (“Suck on it Pheifer Meats!”) and Black’s Tiger Roll/Russian/Donkey Kick combo (all narrated, mind you!), it was constant laughs through this whole skit! It seems to me we should all be like JB, and instead of goodbye, end the night with, “Aight, fine, but I will leave you with this….a couple more donkey kicks!” And then just let em fly!!
|Sketch: Cooking School (with Vasquez and friends)|
Premise: A recurring group of losers try to learn Italian cooking
Whoa! Who knew the first recurring sketch/character of Season 29 would be the Vasquez group? The only small adjustment being Chris Parnell’s new character used to replace the departed Tracy Morgan’s.
The characters were all in top form tonight after getting a bit stale towards the end of last season. Dratch being there because “Under the Tuscan Sun” inspired her to cook, Armisen to learn how to cook in the bedroom, Parnell for a strange revenge type ploy and Sanz - “I might steal some of this garlic in my pockets to scare off vampires on my way home”. Jack Black was simply amazing as the course instructor, Gerald O’ Shea (the man with hair that can’t be tamed).
Not a bad installment for these characters, but Vasquez’s “fish taco” from last season’s Vardalos episode still holds a special place with me. “You’re the best in the biz”.
Well, if they were going to pick a recurring skit, I’m glad they went with this one. While the usual characters played by Armisen, Dratch and Sanz are usually enough to pull this sketch through, Black definitely spiced it up as cooking teacher Gerald “Lion Mane” O’Shea. His resume “shortlist” alone was enough to make this laughable. The only thing I wasn’t overly impressed with was Parnell’s angry character, Phil. But Sanz is so loveable as Vasquez, who just wants to learn how to cook because he’s “sick of eating peanut butter and jellies.”
|TV Funhouse: Yankee Superheros|
Premise: The New York Yankees double as superheros
This was funny, but it was basically the Ex-Presidents repackaged. The aliens were pretty silly, and the fact that the cardboard cutouts still managed to score three runs got a chuckle, but I kept waiting for Reagan and Nixon to come out.
Could be a sign to hang it up when you have to start recycling your own ideas Smigel.
This cartoon was just plain wacky! I didn’t really get the hook (I’m not a huge baseball fan), but there were a couple of funny moments. The newsperson stating that, “Aliens are planning on eating our insides and, BOOYA, stealing our souls,” was excellent, but usually anything with BOOYA in it makes me laugh. Probably the highlight was when Derek Jeter used his “brain liquefying, ultrasonic shriek,” which he absorbed by making out with Mariah Carey, to kill an alien.
|Music: John Mayer #1|
Didn’t know the song. Didn’t know the dude. He looked like he was missing 2003’s standard rockstar costumed mesh hat though.
At least Jack Black doesn’t care enough about this flavor of the minute either. Introducing him as John “Meijer” was classic and almost worthy of a coney all by itself. Way to bring down a good show John Mayer. Go find some drunk college girls to sing to.
Ok. First of all, Black’s slip and calling John Mayer, John “Meyer” was classic!! His face after he said it was so best! And second of all, I really don’t care for Mayer, but I did take the time to watch this song, and I’ve got to admit I’ve seen worse performances. I’m sure it was probably the amazing new set, which looks about twice the size with the new background!
It was bound to happen. Fallon had to show up at some point in the evening. Looks like his longer “Season 27” longer hair is back too. Yippee.
This was a pretty solid Update. Good jokes all around. The Latino AOL, crazy bread and twins jokes being some of the better ones.
Solid impressions stood out from Richards doing Rush Limbaugh, and newcomer Keenan Thompson as Bill Cosby.
I’m sort of mixed on Mitchell’s commentary about going to the movies though. Not only did Tracey Morgan do a bit about stereotypical African American behavior at a movie theater once last season, HE DID IT TWICE. Doesn’t Mitchell bone up on reruns before writing material? I was impressed with his confidence and delivery though. I need to see more of this guy.
It was interesting to see that the Weekend Update opening didn’t get a facelift as well, with all of the new changes. But check out Fey’s and Fallon’s hair! Looookin goooood!!
This was an enjoyable Weekend Update. Good jokes and even better impressions. Richards was fantastic as Rush Limbaugh, defending accusations of racial comments and buying thousands of pain pills. I mean, he only bought them to, “trip his balls off!” Thompson’s impersonation of Bill Cosby fighting with Wanda Sykes at the Emmy’s was also amazing!!
I also laughed a bit at entertainment correspondent Finesse Mitchell’s account of trying to see a movie at a theatre in his neighborhood. I particularly liked his impression of the girls cheering.
|Sketch: The Wheel Bar and Grill|
Premise: A father and son reunite at a bar
This was easily the strangest sketch of the night. Not sure what the hook was supposed to be. Shelly Long? Black’s musical son character? Sanz’s great performance of a drunken dad? Keenan Thompson trying not to look at the camera? What?
Still, this sketch has some good replay potential. The line about Sanz dressing up as “Abraham Drinkin” was good and Osama Bin Laden disguised as Cat Stevens raises eyebrows.
It seemed to me this completely random idea for a sketch was just another way to get JB a-singin’. Luckily, it had some good parts, especially when JB accused Sanz of getting drunk at his 8th grade Halloween party and throwing up in a top hat, to which Sanz replied, “I was Abraham Drinkin!” I also got a kick out of Sanz singing the Cheers theme song.
|Music: John Mayer #2|
Got up for more Sparks and Sweedish Fish during the live show and fast forwarded the next day on VHS.
Not even the new stage could save this song.
|Sketch: Tuscany Wine Tasting|
Premise: A tough wine critic visits a winery
I really thought this was going to re-introduce Will Ferrell’s classic “Sean Mundavey Vinyard” since he was on the set this night. Alas, I was wrong.
Was that going to ruin this sketch though? Hell no. This was probably my favorite of the night. I’ve read a few early reviews of this episode on the various SNL fansites and many criticize this sketch as being a one-joke premise. While I can’t say that it isn’t based on one joke, it does manage to succeed in using material over and over rather than be bogged down by it. Black’s ability to spit differently nearly every time was great and his accent kept you going between the sips.
Mark my early October 2003 words, Jack Black’s portrayal of Sebastian Peppington Smyth will go down in Season 29 infamy.
Sebastian Peppington Smyth. How BEST is that name?! I’m sure it was Black’s own creation. And it was good to see such a hilarious name go with a hilarious sketch. I loved Black’s accent and his spitting of the wine had me rolling!! It was different every time!! Sanz’s final spit was the funniest though. So much volume!!! Even Meyers was trying not to laugh at the force of it! “Disgusting, wretched, horrible, God awful, vomitatious, blah-ah-ah-aahhhh!” BEST!
|Sketch: Excellacom Telemarketing LLP
Premise: Musical about the “Do Not Call” List
I guess nobody should be surprised that a Jack Black hosted episode went out with a musical number. Glad to see Will Forte got at least one line in during the episode as a background dancer too.
I give the writers credit because this song has been in my head for two days. America let us call you. Did anybody else catch the premature fade out though? They must have been running a tad behind schedule and needed to jump to commercial.
“America let us call you!” Black’s facial expressions alone kept me cracking up the entire skit. Forte’s “AH-HAAAAAA” was just icing on the cake! Great way to end the show!
Despite SEVEN appearances by Maya Rudolph, I could not of asked for a better season opener. We got only Weekend Update Jimmy Fallon, the two new cast members looked good early on and Jack Black practically commanded every scene he was in. Too bad the originally reported pairing of Jack Black and Jane’s Addiction (as the second Season 29 episode) didn’t happen though – John Mayer cost the episode a full eight coneys with his tired pop bullshit. Despite perfect showings by Black and Poehler, this episode teaches us that, in terms of mathematical coneys, great SNL episodes as a whole need some musical contribution too. Perhaps upcoming musical guests Justin Timberlake (10/11/03), Britney Spears (10/18/03) or solo Dave Matthews (11/1/03) can help out in this area.
Bravo all around to Lorne Michaels though. Thank you so much for not drowning us in recurring sketch Hell for the opener! Nothing can kill a new season faster than showing us a five month break yielded nothing but more Jarrett’s Room.
I knew this was going to be an excellent season premiere, and it definitely delivered. Jack Black was exactly what Lorne needed to start this season with the laughs. And I’ve got to give props to the cast as well!! It seems everyone is really geared up to make Season 29, hopefully, on par with Season 27. I’m also looking forward to seeing more of Mitchell and Thompson, who gave humorous performances their first time out.
I do have to agree with Nummer on the fact that a crappy musical guest can make or break a show, as far as coneys go. But, on the whole, I think this show absolutely lived up to it’s potential and was the best that it could’ve possibly been.
34.5 out of 52 Coneys.
34.5 Coneys out of a possible 52.