SNL Season 29 – REVEALED!
Episode 11: Megan Mullally/Clay Aiken (2/7/04)
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 (2/6/04):
Jason: I say no buzz. SNL's booking department must be having some serious troubles. They've dipped into the NBC employee ink twice in the last THREE episodes! At least Aniston's appearance was justified by Along Came Polly, but seriously Megan Mullally? With all the films opening right now, why the hell aren't we getting Owen Wilson (Big Bounce), Ice-T (Torque), Scarlett Johansson (Perfect Score) or Amy Smart (Butterfly Effect) episodes? Instead we get NBC star Mullally who's latest theatrical project was a voice in last month's Teacher's Pet. No buzz.
Add 2003's Clay "old news" Aiken and you aren't getting much help in the "must tune in" category. Why do I think Kattan will show up and do a Aiken spoof? Please tell me I'm crazy just for thinking that...
Heather: I rarely, if ever, watch Will and Grace. The times that I have caught the show, I've chuckled a bit, mostly at Jack (Sean Hayes) and Karen (Mullally). However, I don't quite see the appeal of having her as this week's host on SNL. I do find her cute and quirky, but she's just such a random pick! This episode is pretty much a toss-up in my opinion.
Clay Aiken. Clay Aiken?! I'm yawning already.
1. Cold Opening: Nightline
Premise: Ted Koppel can’t stay on topic due to the Janet Jackson Superbowl stunt
Jason: You knew at least one sketch themed around Janet’s boob was coming this week. While this was better than an attempt to reenact the moment, this opener was just one long “boob” joke. Hammond, Forte, Meyers and Parnell all did good jobs with their impressions, but when working with such weak and juvenile material, the talent quickly goes to waste.
Heather: I am so sick of hearing about Janet Jackson’s damn boob!!! And did Hammond really think that pronouncing “byooob” would make it any funnier? Hopefully they now have the subject out of the way and we won’t see it again this episode. (Yeah right.)
Jason: Whoa! Did anyone catch Don Pardo introducing Chris Parnell as Chris Kattan during the opening credits? He also stumbled over Maya Rudolph a little too.
On to the monologue. This is the SEVENTH song/dance monologue this season (eighth if you count the Fallon/Sanz/Baldwin disaster)! Since this is only the eleventh episode this season, it is plain to see the writers are completely out of ideas. This one wasn’t even funny either. Basically the entire male cast acted like gay dancers because on Will & Grace, Mullally is “surrounded by gay males” and was hoping to do something different tonight.
The only semi funny thing was Megan saying Will & Grace should be called Jack & Karen. I don’t really watch Will & Grace, but even I know that is pretty much true.
Heather: What the hell?! What an utterly boring monologue. I can’t even believe that this is the best the writers can come up with, or maybe this was Mullally’s bright idea. Either way, it doesn’t give me high hopes for the rest of the show.
Premise: Spoof of the cable network show
Jason: I can see this episode is going nowhere fast. After a lousy cold opening and monologue, SNL bombards us with a parody which is simply an excuse to role out some recurring celebrity impressions. I’ll admit Sanz as Shalit is funny, but only in small doses (like once or twice a season!). Meyers and Hammond are good as Carrot Top and Geraldo respectively, but give it a break SNL. Give us something new for a change!
Note to Fallon, when you do an impression, try to IMITATE the person! Don’t just sit there in your normal clothes and talk in your normal voice. How many times has he done this now?
Heather: Well, this sketch was a bit better than the last two, but not by much. Mullally certainly did seem comfortable doing live comedy, even though she hasn’t been all that funny. I did enjoy Hammond’s Geraldo and Meyer’s Carrot Top, but the only real laugh came from Sanz’s huge pile of deviled eggs “hidden” behind his cards.
4. Commercial Parody: Huggies Thong
Premise: Thong diapers for babies
Jason: See Black/Mayer review
Heather: See Black/Mayer review
5. Sketch: Mother and Son
Premise: A mother refuses to stop treating her 34.5 year old son like a 5 year old
Jason: It official, slow motion on the VCR reveals Poehler butt crack when she gets knocked down so Seth can run downstairs to get waffles. This sketch now officially ranks in the Poehler greats:
4/6/02: Cameron Diaz/Jimmy Eat World: “MTV Spring Break 2002” sketch revealing Poehler nips.
10/19/02: John McCain/The White Stripes: Poehler in the shower during the “Gillian Woodward Story” sketch.
11/15/03: Alec Baldwin/Missy Elliot: Poehler in a bra during the “Dr. Frank Landsman, Plastic Surgeon” sketch.
Poehler. The cutest woman on TV. Period.
The rest of the sketch was decent. Meyers and Poehler playing a couple is always entertaining. Mullally was excellent as the Mom too. Her reaction after “finding” Baby Bear was great.
Heather: This skit was sort of funny at first, but got pretty annoying towards the end. Luckily it ended before I got too fed up. The baby bear bit definitely had me giggling. I really liked Mullally’s extreme mood changes between Meyers and Poehler. I also loved when Meyer’s defensively blurted out, “You’re weird!” to Poehler.
6. Sketch: Golden Globes with Sharon Stone
Premise: Mullally gets bored at the award show
Jason: Another one-bit premise. There was nothing more to this sketch than speech/cut to audience/speech/cut to audience. At first the idea of a celebrity in the audience being caught off guard was funny, but it kept getting worse and worse.
The only redeeming moment was the concept of Michael Douglas getting the “Red Buttons Lifetime Achievement Award for Dynamic Screen Bravery”.
Heather: Hmmm…another sketch that completely lost it’s steam at the end. Poehler was adorable as Sharon Stone, especially with the drawn out laugh. But instead of Mullally’s “caught off guard” camera shots getting progressively funnier, they just got more boring and obvious.
7. Sketch: Oprah’s Favorite Things
Premise: The Oprah audience goes mad over the free gifts
Jason: I’m not a regular Oprah watcher, but I know this is a pretty accurate portrayal of her insane fans. Poehler, Dratch and Mullally really made this work. Mya’s Oprah was pretty weak, so the cuts to Poehler kissing Mullally or Dratch throwing chairs were a real saving grace. I loved Fey’s homage to Kattan’s Mr. Peepers with she got the turkey too! Add the montage of disasters at the very end and you’ve got the funniest sketch from this episode so far.
Heather: Finally! A refreshingly hilarious sketch!! I could not stop laughing at Poehler’s excited facial expressions! Do Oprah fans really act this way?! So best!! It was nice to actually be able to laugh at a skit. Go figure!
8. Sketch: African American Lovin’ Cab Driver
Premise: A white female cab drive runs through the list of black stereotypes
Jason: Dumb. I do not know why SNL feels the need to do this type of sketch so much. Hearing conversations between whites and blacks like this used to be “shocking”, however now that every prime time sitcom does these same routines, the sting is gone.
I’m really sick of Finesse Mitchell too. He’s hardly been on at all this season, but he’s making Dean Edwards and Jerry Minor look like SNL greats. Get some new facial expressions man!
Heather: Ok, now I’m just mad. How can they follow up the only funny sketch so far with more crap?! This episode is officially lost.
9. Music: Clay Aiken
Jason: Is this for real?
Heather: I honestly cannot believe that I’m watching an American Idol RUNNER-UP as the musical guest on SNL!! I totally HATE his facial expressions. News flash….YOU’RE NOT SEXY!!!
10. Weekend Update
Jason: With very small amounts of standout moments so far this episode, I was really hoping for a great WU. Although the last two WU installments (Aniston and Simpson/Lachey) were weak, I honestly thought this one could be better. Unfortunately, I was dead wrong. This was probably the worst WU in the last two seasons! We got THREE Janet Jackson boob jokes, George W. Bush material a child could have written, a completely unnecessary return of Dratch’s Barbara Walters and Armisen completely dying with his Native American comic bit. I also expect more from Fey than the “Lieberman looks like the ALF Dad” jokes too. I think I first heard that one from my Dad way back in Summer 2000.
Just when it couldn’t get any worse, we are treated to a videotape of Fallon auditioning for American Idol. I’m sorry, but this was just awful.
Heather: Seriously you guys, is some actual funny material really too much to ask for after a two week break?! It’s crazy to me that the audience is even laughing at this shite. I hardly found any of the jokes the least bit funny. Dratch as Barbara Walters doing an interview with herself was absolutely stupid. Fallon’s American Idol tryout was anything but amusing. It was funnier when I saw it the first time with the actual contestant. Even Armisen blew it with his Native American comedian character, Billy Smith. All and all, a terrible Weekend Update. At least Fallon decided to cut that damn mullet of his.
11. Sketch: Wizard of Oz
Premise: Dorothy lands on more than a witch when her house crashes into Oz
Jason: At first glance, this seemed like it would be another great Poehler parody sketch along the lines of “Willy Wonka” from the Gore/Phish episode. However, great set design and casting aside, this sketch failed to pick up any real steam. Mya once again tried to steal the spotlight whenever the camera was on her causing noticeable flow problems.
The sketch really hit rock bottom when Hammond came out recommending you play Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon while watching Oz. What is this? 1998?
Heather: Gee, this wasn’t a completely predictable sketch, right down to Armisen’s “awkward,” which we’ve seen him use a few times now. So disappointing.
12. Sketch: Zinger Vs. Slam
Jason: I was honestly a little shocked to see this character back so soon. I gave this sketch four coneys when it debuted last November on the Baldwin/Elliot episode, but this second installment paled in comparison. What made the first one standout was how in to the character Baldwin was. Mullally did a good job here too, but nowhere near the energy level of Baldwin. The “zingers” and “slams” weren’t as good this time either. I’m wondering if these are just the leftovers from the Baldwin episode?
Heather: I must say I was surprised that of all the recurring skits, they picked this one. After the initial shock, I was really happy that they did because I loved its debut during the Baldwin episode back in November. Unfortunately, it wasn’t anywhere near the caliber as it’s predecessor. I was hoping that the “zingers” and “slams” would’ve been more amusing, but they were actually pretty lame.
13. Music: Clay 2
Jason: Just awful.
Heather: In the infamous words of Summer, “Ew!”
14. Sketch: Grammy Tickets for Celebrity Relatives
Premise: Celebrity relatives are denied access to the Grammys
Jason: I’m missing the point of this one. Did something like this really occur or is the whole punchline supposed to be desparate celebrity relatives? If the joke is the latter, couldn’t they have picked some funnier celebrities than Dionne Warwick and Bonnie Rait? The only thing funny about this was Keenan’s character’s ego.
Heather: This really sucked up until the point where Mullally started singing directly into Parnell’s face. I have no idea what she was supposed to be singing, but I laughed pretty hard. Poehler, of course, was the cutest as the ticket collector. Certainly not the best ending by any means though.
Jason: Man does this season suck. We are now 11 episodes in and only 2 episodes have managed to score an above average rating. I blame not only a lazy cast (Forte, Poehler and Armisen excluded), but also the horrible musical guest selections. For the most part, the hosts have been doing the best possible job with the material given to them. However, when you have nothing but dick and boob jokes, you have nowhere to go but down.
One more after thought, where the hell was Jeff Richards?
17.5 out of 56 Coneys
Heather: Wow, I knew this episode was going to be up in the air as far as the comedic factor went, but I did not anticipate it to the be the worst I’ve seen this season!! I really did expect to laugh a lot more than I did. But while Mullally wasn’t terribly funny as the host, I think she definitely did as well as she could given the sketch writing. I place most of the blame for this season’s mediocrity directly in the writer’s hands. In all of the sketches we’ve seen, I’ve only given 7 of them full coneys. And most of those were for JB, whose antics alone made them hilarious despite the writing. The sketch material better improve drastically or I really do fear for the future of SNL.
Note: I wrote this review last night after hearing the awful news about Richards. How the hell they can fire one of the funniest cast members on the show, yet go right on writing bullshit sketches is beyond me. I’m really starting to wonder what the hell is going on in Lorne’s head.
14 out of 56 Coneys
SNL Coney Rankings: Season 29 – REVEALED!
Andy Roddick/Dave Matthews – 41.5
Jack Black/John Mayer – 34.5
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
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
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