SNL Season 29 – REVEALED!
Episode 17: Janet Jackson (4/10/04)
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 (4/9/04):
Jason: Although I
don't think this episode will be spectacular, SNL has
nowhere to go but up after last weekend's Trump nightmare. Jackson's last
SNL appearance (I believe) was on 5/14/94 as the musical guest of the famed
Heather Locklear episode. How she'll do with double host/music duty is
anyone's guess. The only acting I've seen her do was in 1993's "Poetic
Justice" opposite Tupac. I have to say, that film was a little
My big concern will be Maya screen time. I have a bad feeling she'll roll
out some kind of singing character just to duet with Jackson. Another fear
is based on the other music stars who have hosted this season like
Timberlake and Simpson/Lachey. If history is any guide, look for 75% of
the sketches to revolve around singing. Worst. Poehler's Michael Jackson
impression wouldn't surprise me either.
I've also read that Simon Cowell will be a guest star for the episode. I
wonder what capacity he'll be used in?
Heather: I have
definite mixed feelings about Jackson hosting this week's
SNL. On the one hand, I think her hosting is a terrible idea simply
because I am so sick of hearing about the whole Super Bowl fiasco. After
the "Trump Show" we had to endure last week, I really don't want to witness
another "one-idea" show where all we're gonna see is jabs at Jackson's
maybe/maybe not publicity stunt. On the other hand, Jackson has done her
share of acting, albeit years ago. Not that she was the greatest actress,
but she is still a performer, so she might be able to pull of more than the
old song and dance routine. The one good thing is that I pretty much like
most of Jackson's songs, so I'm hoping that her performances are at least a
plus for this show. Otherwise, it's a complete toss-up in my opinion.
1. Cold Opening: Condaleezza Rice and Dick Cheney
Premise: Cheney prepares Dr. Rice for her public testimony
Jason: Much like Aguilera’s surprising impression of Kim Cattrall, I found Janet Jackson’s Condaleeza Rice to be quite funny. Everything Jackson did from the “Condie smile” to the democrat “sneer” was very well rehearsed and came off great. It was also nice to see how well her and Hammond were able to play off each other – especially Cheney’s “audible gasp” practice.
SNL also opted for an early joke regarding the Jackson Super Bowl incident when Cheney suggest Rice “flash a boob” if she gets into any trouble on the stand. However, it was another mission accomplished for SNL and NBC. The AP picked up the story on this sketch Sunday morning giving SNL more media attention after last week’s Trump hype. Hopefully this episode won’t follow the Trump Apprentice pattern and mention this topical item in every sketch though.
Heather: I have to say, it was nice to see a somewhat decent opening for a change. In my opinion, Jackson was actually quite impressive as Condoleezza Rice. Her “Condi” smile and sneer had me chuckling. I’ve always liked Hammond’s impression of Dick Cheney and this time around seemed even better with his creepy laughs and smiles. His “audible gasp,” along with his statement about Richard Clark’s heroin addiction being “classifiiieeed” had me laughing out loud. I really wish they would’ve left the boob flashing reference out of it though.
Jason: Opening line: “Did anyone happen to see the Super Bowl”? Worst.
Moments later, the breast flashing event was brought up a third time in the form of an old Jackson family home movie. Seriously. We are less than 10 minutes into the show and this incident has been mentioned THREE times already. C’Mon. A bathing suit malfunction when you were a little girl? Who is writing the jokes for this show these days? Leno’s staff? Worst. The only thing funny was the home video featuring the “other three” Jackson siblings who nobody talked too.
Heather: Ugh…another Super Bowl mention right off the bat. Well, I suppose the topic HAD to be brought up and the monologue was probably the best place to do so. It’s just too bad that SNL couldn’t be clever and come up with something totally apart from the whole controversy. With the exception of the three siblings of Jackson’s that no one talked to because they were “creepy,” this was just too boring and predictable to be at all amusing.
Premise: The host of an animal showcase can’t keep his mind straight
Jason: What in the hell is this? Morgan left the show less than one year ago and this is already the SECOND appearance of Fellow’s this season (see Sharpton 12/6/03)! I’m really sick of Morgan just showing up on SNL whenever there is a host he would obviously like to work with. If I were a current cast member, I would be furious that Morgan is allowed to waltz in and land the opening sketch spot. How are new sketches going to take form when Lorne keeps taking two steps back into the past? Horrible.
Heather: Uhhh….I almost thought that the channel got mysteriously changed to one showing a rerun, just like I did with the Stuart Smalley sketch from the Gore/Phish episode last season. Totally worst. And the real kicker….Forte FINALLY shows up for the first time in 3 weeks and it’s for fucking Brian Fellow. Double worst.
Premise: Obnoxious women wait in line for Janet Jackson tickets
Jason: Finesse finally gets a chance to bring back his Starkisha character that nobody asked to be recurring. This is now the third time Starkisha has made an appearance this season (see 10/4/03 Black and 10/18/03 Berry). Too bad Finesse has again failed to bring much new material to a role that should have never been expanded from it’s debut Weekend Update correspondent bit. Only Keenan’s “I’m just as scared of people like that as you are” line was remotely funny.
Heather: It’s too bad they didn’t just have Starkisha be a guest on the Brian Fellow’s sketch and kill two birds with one stone. This was HORRIBLE!!! Finesse is, without question, the worst cast member on the show. Rudolph and Jackson didn’t make the sketch any better either…hell Poehler couldn’t even make this skit bearable. Garbage.
5. Song: An Easter Treat from SNL
Premise: The recurring Sanz, Fallon, Kattan and Morgan Christmas Song
Jason: I see not only has Morgan returned for this episode, but so has Kattan (marking his third appearance this season). I’ll ask the same question I did when he showed up on the December Elijah Wood episode – why the hell did you even leave? At least Morgan had a sitcom in the works.
Even though it’s been awhile since this song’s last appearance, the only thing making this installment fresh was the interaction with audience member Simon Cowell. Although I’m not a huge American Idol fan, even I was laughing at Simon’s “I’d rather let William Hung lick honey off my nipples” line.
Heather: I was honestly surprised to see this spin-off of the Christmas song. It was actually kind of sad to see that Kattan has so much time on his hands. I normally enjoyed the Christmas songs in the past, but disappointingly, this Easter rendition didn’t really cut it for me. Simon Cowell’s appearance was sort of funny, but all in all, this bit was tolerable at best.
6. Music: Janet Jackson #1
Heather: I guess I haven’t watched Jackson perform in quite a long time. Does she usually lip sync?? And is it usually so bad??
7. Weekend Update
Jason: Another weak WU. The only memorable jokes for me were the no room in the ambulance at the circus and the Alabama State Spirit bits.
Guests this time were equally as forgettable. Maya came out and did a Condaleezza rice impression (presumably for anyone forgetting Janet Jackson did one about 30 minutes ago). Finesse then did an obscure bit about Leno’s band member Kevin Eubanks. Good stuff SNL.
Heather: For crying out loud, what the hell happened to Weekend Update??? It’s been three weeks since I’ve seen anything good come out of this sketch. Rudolph once again subjected us to her pathetic antics with her take on Condoleezza Rice. Maybe she was sleeping during the opener and didn’t realize that we ALREADY FUCKING SAW THAT CHARACTER!!! Finesse snuck in with a totally out of the blue impression of Kevin Eubanks. And the point of that was..?? Throw in Fallon’s absolutely worst singing, which seemed to be just another time filler, and you have yet another horrendous installment of WU. What’s up Fey??!!
8. Sketch: The Prince Talk Show
Jason: In what has apparently become Armisen’s latest recurring character, The Prince Talk Show makes it’s return after just four episodes (see 2/14/04 Barrymore). This time around, I found the sketch much more bearable. Gone was the annoying Barrymore Pink impression. While Jackson’s Paula Abdul character wasn’t great, watching her trying not to laugh at Armisen was entertaining.
Keenan, who also did great on the last Prince Talk Show, delivered a great performance as Steve Harvey. Listening to him talk was hilarious.
It’s just too bad Maya has to be in this sketch…
Heather: Thank God for Armisen. This skit is a definite winner, despite Rudolph’s utterly annoying Beyonce. While I enjoyed Jackson’s Paula Abdul and Keenan’s Steve Harvey, Armisen was undoubtedly the highlight of this sketch as Prince. “Do you think a lover can be a friend?” With the facial expressions, the spacey comments, the high- pitched crying / shrieking and, of course, the Wonder Mask, I was laughing almost non-stop.
9. Sketch: Soaking Corks
Premise: A tour at a wine factory is full of innuendos
Jason: Nothing more than the Colonel Angus (see 2/22/03 Walken) routine all over again. Horrible.
Heather: Yeah, I liked this skit just fine when it was called Colonel Angus. Come ON!!! What’s even worse was Jackson actually laughing more than Fallon and Sanz when she kept messing up her lines. Yeah Janet… “sucking cock.” That’s really hilarious.
10. Music: Janet Jackson #2
Jason: Fast forward.
Heather: What the hell?? If you’re gonna lip sync, at least practice at it a little!!
11. Good Times
Premise: Parody of the 1970’s sitcom
Jason: Talk about a sketch coming out of the blue – this was hilarious! Despite having Maya play two characters, this was easily the best sketch since Benny Hill Jesus from the Colin Firth episode (3/6/04). Keenan simply stole the show as Florida Evans. Damn. Damn. Damn.
The whole concept was basically a re-examination about why these were actually “Good Times”. In this case, you’ve got a family who can’t make rent, a student who won’t be accepted to a college because of skin color, a rat that eats a winning $50,000 lottery ticket, a character with horrible disease and a landlord so poor, he calls dog food chili. And keeping the whole group together is Keenan, in what I’m calling his best role on SNL yet.
FYI: I’m pretty sure that was Jimmie Walker reprising his role as JJ too.
Heather: Damn, Damn, DAMN!! Keenan. I couldn’t believe how much he actually sounded like Florida!! He was by far the best thing about this sketch. The whole concept was very clever and completely unexpected, which made it that much better! This is what you need more of SNL!!!
12. Sketch: Boom Boomer
Jason: Parnell’s character insisting on doing cocaine got this flat sketch off to a fast start, but because the made up game they were playing wasn’t very funny, nothing really managed to take shape.
Heather: They should’ve ended the show with Good Times. Parnell’s insistence on using cocaine to spice up the party was fairly amusing, especially when he freaked out during the game. Overall though, this sketch really went nowhere fast.
Jason: Despite some great efforts by Keenan and Armisen, at the end of the day this episode is another in the long line of Season 29’s under-20-coney-count showings. I’m seriously worried about how much longer this show can keep surviving with such dreadful material. Making matters worse is the 99% decrease of Will Forte screen time we’ve seen this month. Hopefully Maya and Fallon are on the way out after this season so Lorne is giving them their last hurrah. Although, what’s the point of a grand send off if you are just going to show up all the time after you’ve left (Kattan and Morgan).
14.5 out of 48 Coneys
Heather: Man alive! One more substandard episode to add to the mix. I think Jackson did alright with the material she was given (Condoleezza Rice, Paula Abdul). I have to blame the terrible and redundant sketch material yet again for this lackluster episode. It’s almost embarrassing how horrible most of the sketches have been this season. My biggest concern though: Where is Forte?? Armisen’s been contributing some good stuff, but let’s face it, Forte has usually been the driving force behind what funny sketches we’ve seen this season. Hopefully he’ll be back full-time on May 1 for the Lohan episode. SNL seriously needs all the help it can get.
11.5 out of 48 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
Ben Affleck/N.E.R.D. – 24.5
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
Janet Jackson – 14.5
Donald Trump/Toots and the Maytals – 12
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
Ben Affleck/N.E.R.D. – 18.5
Al Sharpton/Pink – 17.5
Megan Mullally/Clay Aiken - 14
Drew Barrymore/Kelis – 12
Janet Jackson – 11.5
Donald Trump/Toots and the Maytals – 8.5