SNL Season 29 – REVEALED!
Episode 14: Colin Firth/Norah Jones (3/6/04)
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 (3/5/04):
Jason: Colin Firth. Like most, I know him only because of recent romantic comedies like "Love Actually" and "Bridget Jones' Diary". He sort of blended into both of those films, so I'm having trouble guessing how he'll do singled out in the spotlight. I do have more faith in him than other recent hosts however. I'm sure this weekend's SNL will continue the momentum started with the Aguilera episode two weeks ago.
As for Norah Jones, I say buzz. I think it's odd she is the musical guest already again though. She last performed just 15 months ago on the dreaded DeNiro episode of December 2002. I gave her a combined coney count of 5 (out of 8) for that appearance and I'm sure this episode's total will hover somewhere around that number. Best.
In a nutshell, although this episode may appeal more to the middle aged crowd, I think it has buzz. Too bad I'll miss it live due to a Detroit stop by The Walkmen. God bless "The Rat"!
Heather: Except for maybe "The English Patient" , which I barely remember him in, I have never seen any Colin Firth movies. In other words, I'm pretty much at a loss for how he'll do this week as the SNL host. Seeming as he is an actor, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt at doing a decent job, although that has been proven to be not always be the case with the more recent hosts. I guess we'll see.
Norah Jones, on the otherhand, will undoubtedly give a couple of great performances. Although she did appear just last season, with all the buzz around her right now and SNL's streak of mediocre musical guests this season, she is definitely a good pick.
1. Cold Opening: Nightline with Ted Koppel
Premise: Parody of the news show
Jason: You knew a Martha Stewart sketch was coming during this episode, the only question was who would play her? To my surprise, it was none other than Ana Gasteyer; who makes her first SNL return after leaving the show in 2002. Ana played the role with every bit of energy she gave it during the countless times she performed it as a cast member – and that was the problem, it was like she never left. Ana’s Stewart impression, like most things SNL these days, is just too formulaic. Anyone could watch Ana do it about three times and then write every installment for her after that.
Sanz was also back as Rosie O’Donell for the second week in a row. Combine this with Keenan’s boring Chappell Hartridge impression, and you have a sketch doomed for failure. However, like a saving grace from Heaven, in comes Forte as Kevin Henson – a journalist who thinks every powerful woman is a bitch. Using such phrases as “Huuuge Bitch”, “Big Giant Bitch” and “Jail Bitch” to describe Martha Stewart is pretty low standard comedy, but Forte’s straight-faced delivery simply makes it fresh. Not enough to rescue the sketch overall however.
Heather: I feel like it’s been a while since we’ve seen this recurring sketch, so it was a nice change of pace. It went on a little too long for my taste, but it had it’s moments. I did laugh out loud at Forte’s “bitch” rants. Sanz’s initial facial expression as Rosie O’Donnell also had me chuckling. And while I wasn’t exactly thrilled to see Gasteyer back, she does do a pretty good Martha Stewart impression. Overall, a moderate opener.
1 ½ Coneys
Jason: Another cast member ensemble monologue piece. Here is Webster’s definition of “monologue”:
Middle French monologue, from mon- + -logue
1 a : SOLILOQUY 2 b : a dramatic sketch performed by one actor
Why the hell do Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch and the other cast members have to break this basic defintion week after week? ONE ACTOR!!!! True Poehler was cute and Seth’s Hugh Grant impression was great, but come on! Leave the cast for the sketches. Steve Martin made a joke during his monologue during the early 1990’s when he said “not gonna phone it in tonight”. Who knew that 14 years later, this would pretty much be the case with the host every week during this segment.
Heather: Maybe I’m speaking too soon, but it seems to me just from this monologue, Firth is going to turn out to be a pretty good host. At least he’s putting the effort into it. And seriously, could Poehler be any cuter?! I could just eat her up at times!! And she’s got some pretty nice panties to boot!! Rudolph, of course, was dismal, using her Versace voice yet AGAIN during her rendition of Shakespeare’s Juliet. Meyers, fortunately, managed to pick it up again as Hugh Grant. Not the greatest monologue, but it turned out better than I imagined.
1 ½ Coneys
Premise: An English movie star has trouble adjusting to the proper accent
Jason: Another sketch using the action/cut, action/cut, director gets upset, action/cut routine.
This one was slightly better than most fitting into the category however. Firth’s voices during the accent trouble were pretty funny, and so was Seth’s advice to “pop his p’s a little more”. However, I would not have selected this as the opening sketch. I guess it could have been worse though.
Heather: Wow…Firth was actually pretty damn funny with his character’s attempt at an American southern accent! “ I am so serious about this!” Along with Poehler and Parnell, this sketch was pretty good. I especially loved Parnell’s choice of a Chinese accent when Fallon gave up and said to use whatever voice they wanted!
Premise: Ferecito hosts a talk show
Jason: Ferecito! At last the character that made me fall in love with Armisen returns. We last saw Ferecito nineteen episodes ago when Selma Hayek hosted on 3/15/03. Almost a year has past and Ferecito has shown no signs of losing steam. I really liked the expanded talk show format used this time too. Jamming him into a monologue or a Weekend Update bit simply forces Armisen to rush the routine. Worst.
I found plenty of laugh-out-loud moments in this one: when referring to Manuel’s financial situation, Ferecito exclaims, “Manuel is so poor, even his email address is in a bad neighborhood”. Totally best. Don’t get me started on Butte, Montana either.
Heather: Ferecito!!! It’s been too long!!! It’s so nice to see SNL bring back a genuinely funny character – and for an entire talk show sketch!! While some of Armisen’s banter did get to be a bit trying, I really enjoyed this skit. Firth also keeps proving to be a worthy host.
2 ½ Coneys
5. Cartoon by Robert Smigel: FCC Cartoon Regulations
Premise: In the wake of the FCC’s Howard Stern crackdown, cartoons become the next victim of censorship
Jason: I liked this better the first time we saw it – when it was called “The Anitominals”.
Heather: I know this was supposed to be a joke, but I’m really surprised it hasn’t actually come to this. Very clever idea!
6. Sketch: Tim Calhoun Goes to Court
Premise: Tim Calhoun faces drug trafficking charges
Jason: Similar to Ferecito, I also think Forte’s Tim Calhoun character benefits from promotion to a full sketch. Not to downplay his Weekend Update appearances, which are absolutely brilliant, but having more time to spread out the character really makes a difference.
Highlight: Forte’s reactionary “NO” when the judge asked for Tim Calhoun to speak for himself. Forte is best.
Heather: It’s official – I’m in love with Forte. His Tim Calhoun character is so BEST! The slick hair, the creepy whispered voice, the long drawn out “uuuhhhhhhh’s”…….I loved everything about this sketch. Too bad the ending seemed rather abrupt.
7. Music: Norah Jones - “Sunrise”
Jason: Great song, great singer, great coneys.
Heather: I LOVED this song!! I can totally see why she sold 1 million copies of her album in it’s first week out.
8. Sketch: Weekend Update
Jason: Starting with the recent Aguilera episode, I’m glad WU is starting to pick up steam again. The jokes were pretty strong this week with highlights being Jesus dating Jennifer Lopez, Paris Hilton’s “Two picture deal”, Jessica Simpson’s pregnancy test and Fey’s opening “Ladies and Gentlemen, we got her” Bush/Stewart reference. I actually didn’t mind the unnecessary return of Hammond’s Clinton impression either – it was pretty clever to be honest with you.
The true standout of this WU had to be Sanz playing Peter Jackson. While Dratch sort of gave her accompanying Elijah Wood impression the same wide eyed/blank look she always does, Sanz completely knocked it out of the park as Jackson. I’m really shocked we haven’t seen this character before from him.
Of course, not everything can be perfect – Maya came out as a correspondent covering the Martha Stewart verdict and it completely sucked. I really don’t try to sound like a broken record with all my Maya bashing, but she is just so unfunny! She completely manages to suck the life out of pretty much every bit she is in. Horrible.
Heather: While this week’s Weekend Update was better than the last few we’ve seen, it still seems to be lacking. The only noteworthy jokes for me were Jessica Simpson’s pregnancy test and Fey telling Fallon his new nickname should be “Queer Boner.”
Rudolf’s bit as a correspondent reporting about mall riots due to Martha Stewart’s guilty verdict was just plain dumb.
Sanz and Dratch’s appearance as Oscar-toting Peter Jackson and Elijah Wood, respectively, was a little funnier but not by much.
And Hammond as Bill Clinton again?? Are they just trying to find something for him to do or what??
Overall, this WU is average at best.
1 ½ Coneys
9. Sketch: Hotel Miscommunication
Premise: A hotel staff tries to provide sexual favors to a guest
Jason: I liked it when Dana Carvey, Kevin Nealon and Adam Sandler used to do this routine in Italian restaurants and hotels back in the early 1990’s much better. What’s up with two recycled sketches in one show?
Heather: What the hell was this?! Who came up with this one? The best thing to come out of this sketch was Sanz’s dance. Otherwise, I just didn’t see the humor.
10. Sketch: Meet the Press
Premise: A discussion about John Edwards about John Kerry’s running mate options
Jason: More political humor. I’m actually kind of glad this dire season is falling on an election year. With all the political happenings, it really gives SNL more opportunity to do the political humor that helped get the show started.
Forte is back as John Edwards and this installment is just a good as the rest. The creepiness Forte adds to the character really reminds me of what Carvey added to his Bush impressions. Each performer is completely making the character their own and it really helps the performance. The result is amusing to watch and all though you are not left hysterically laughing tears, the sketch is still satisfying.
Heather: I think Forte does a great job as John Edwards! I am really bad at keeping up with all of the democratic craziness as of late, so it was kind of funny to see this take on Edward’s “real” agenda with his presidential campaign. And come on…Forte in a red speedo? Hilarious!
11. Sketch: The Sopranos – Season Five
Premise: The characters try to remember what happened in the 15 month old Season Four
Jason: As a Sorpanos fan, I found this brilliant. Hammond’s Gandolfini was excellent, as was Forte’s Ralphie, Fallon’s Silvio and Poehler’s Carmella. I’m not sure how someone unfamiliar with the show would react to this sketch, but I thought it was dead on. My only question is, where was Christopher? SNL could have really had fun with that character. Armisen would have been perfect.
Heather: I have never seen The Sopranos, so I had no idea what was going on as far as who the characters were and what their sitch was. The fact that they couldn’t seem to remember what had been happening because of their long hiatus was amusing enough though.
12. Music: Norah Jones – “What am I to you?”
Jason: Another great song. Norah Jones is not just for the middle aged.
Heather: I didn’t like this song as much as her first one, but it was still enjoyable.
13. Sketch: The History Channel’s look at films covering Jesus Christ
Premise: THC uncovers a film dealing with Christ’s crucifixion by Benny Hill
Jason: Can Forte be any more funny? Thank you for giving me the first “4 Coney” sketch since the Baldwin/Elliot episode last November! Now I’m going to have the damn Benny Hill song in my head all week.
Heather: What a great ending sketch!!! Forte, bringing out the laughs once again as Benny Hill Jesus!!! So ridiculous yet so fucking best!!!!
Jason: Well, it appears that SNL may have recovered slightly from the pretty lame December-February episode slouch (although this episode still falls within the “average” range). I’d be lying if I said this episode didn’t benefit from the 6 coneys contributed by Norah Jones though. It just again proves the theory that a host can rarely make a great episode on his own – it really does help when the musical guest is worth a damn!
Looking forward to seeing if Ben Affleck can continue the streak next week.
29.5 Coneys out of 52
Heather: I’m so glad to see SNL keeping up with the momentum brought forth from the Aguilera episode. A lot of good stuff in this one!! Firth did a great job hosting, which was a pleasant surprise. Having Jones as musical guest only added to the goodness, allowing this episode to slip into the top 5 of the season thus far. Can Affleck maintain the sudden comedic turn-around?? I certainly hope so.
27 out of 52 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
Colin Firth/Norah Jones – 29.5
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
Colin Firth/Norah Jones - 27
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