SNL Season 29 – REVEALED!
Episode 18: Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen/J-Kwon (5/15/04)
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 (5/14/04):
Jason: After 8 long months, we have finally arrived at the Season 29 finale. Will anyone announce they are leaving? Will the Olsen Twins fair better than last year's Aykroyd snoozer? All questions will be answered by 1:00 AM Sunday morning.
In the hosting department, I can't say I'm head over heels about an Olsen Twins episode. Their big screen debut, "New York Minute", did very poorly at the box office last weekend, suggesting their draw may not extend much beyond the sitcom/telefilm format. As a result, I'm not expecting big laughs or memorable performances from either one of them. Considering how lackluster this season has truly been, this hosting decision is actually, in a way, appropriate. What's one more Season 29 dud?
Add whoever J-Kwon is to the formula, and I can say with sincerity that I'm glad I'll be at The Cardigans' Detroit tour stop on Saturday night and not in front of my TV.
Heather: Let me just start by breathing a sigh of relief that this is the last set of preshow comments that I have to write for a truly horrible season of SNL. It's sad that even though I don't mind the Olsen Twins hosting (yeah, they're a tad overrated, but who isn't nowadays?), I just know that it's probably going to be just another mediocre episode. But then again, who knows?? Maybe they've just been holding all the funny sketches until the season finale and all of my lost faith in SNL will be restored. Maybe this J-Kwon character will end up being totally hott and I'll be blown away. Yeah, and maybe monkeys will fly out of my butt. Let's face it, SNL is most definitely on its last legs and ain't no Mary-Kate or Ashley is gonna change that. I'm almost thankful that my folks (which is where I'll be spending this weekend) don't get NBC. mainly because now I don't have to worry about the chore of watching another episode until Monday.
1. Cold Opening: Hardball
Premise: Parody of the MSNBC talk show
Jason: It has been a good 7 episodes since we last caught up with Chris Matthews and the Hardball crew (last seen on Aguilera 2/21/04). While this installment wasn’t the best, it was definitely on par with the latest offerings. The bit about Rumsfield going to Iraq exclaiming “give me all your digital cameras ya’ idiots” was pretty funny. I also really liked Parnell (as Andrew Card) describing George W. Bush’s breath as “a sweet breeze blowing through an orchard of gumdrop trees on the banks of a lemonade stream”.
Seth Meyers also weighed in with some purposely dry lines and actually made some very accurate points as Democratic Presidential hopeful John Kerry. Look for this role to be heavily expanded next Fall during the election.
The only thing keeping this from higher coneys was Keenan’s Sharpton. It was pretty much the same Sharpton impression you could see anyone on the street do, and as a result, it didn’t really come across as funny.
Heather: You know, Hardball is really not a bad way to open the show, provided you have the right combination of characters. Fortunately, this time around, there was. Granted the material wasn’t exactly laugh out loud stuff, but there were a few good lines that got me smiling, which is more than I can say for the past several cold openers. Parnell’s Andrew Card mentioning how he’s seen President Bush tear a phone book in half comes to mind as an example.
Jason: Ah the Olsen Twins. I read on Monday morning that both of them and tonight’s musical guest (J-Kwon) are all 17. Wasn’t that the age of Lohan a few weeks ago when she hosted? Stop scouring the high schools SNL! Will Dakota Fanning be the Season 30 opening host?
As reported in a variety of media capacities during the week, the twins both chose to skip their senior prom to host SNL. The cast, returning the favor, decided to re-create the prom experience as part of the monologue. The result was alright as it mainly reminded me of the old “roof of my prom limo” musical bit from the 1998 Matthew Broderick episode. Oh yeah, Maya also showed up in the monologue playing a drunk girl and it actually made you miss the Jeff Richards character!
Heather: I guess of all the possible avenues this monologue could’ve taken given the twins high celebrity status, this one seemed to be the best. Of course, while I wasn’t shocked at all to see Fallon as one of the prom dates, I was pleasantly surprised to see Forte as the other. His slow dancing with Mary Kate was best. Poehler winning the title of prom queen also earned a few chuckles.
Jason: Much like Appalachian Emergency Room and Scheinwald Studios, I can’t believe this whole season has come and gone and these are the sketches selected to be recurring.
This was last seen on the Aniston episode (1/10/04) where it picked up 1.5 coneys and actually relied on 5-year-old “Mini-Me” jokes for laughs. This time around fared no better. The whole sketch reminds me of David Spade’s “Hollywood Minute” segments. Back then, Spade made such scathing remarks about celebrities that he actually offended people and had to face consequences from time to time. This new paparazzi spin is so pale in comparison that it hopes we’ll be shocked when an Olsen twin yells at the other telling her to eat a sandwich.
Heather: I must say I was pretty disappointed to see this sketch again, if you can even call it that. It appears to be more of an opportunity for the host to get back at the press for remarks about their weight and personal life. However, I did find a bit of comic relief in Angelina Jolie’s “baby” and Courtney Love’s stumble/walk.
Jason: Falling short in the laugh out loud tally, this parody was still shot and edited wonderfully! The twins’ reactions to the seemingly never-ending character consequences was pretty good as well. Everyone needs a perfume for Sunday afternoon around 3:00 PM.
Heather: I actually found this parody to be pretty damn funny!! Mary Kate’s facial expressions in particular were hilarious!
5. Sketch: Z-105 Morning Show
Premise: Recurring sketch where Fallon plays obnoxious characters on a one-man morning show
Jason: Fallon finally gets a sketch all to himself on his last show. Z-105, along with Nick Burns and certain Top O’ The Morning’s, have actually become some of the Fallon sketches I don’t mind. This was last seen on the Affleck episode (3/13/04) where Joey Mack and his archrival Dirty Dan battled over old bits.
For this installment, Fallon returns to the normal template and goes back to simply confusing and insulting his guests (see Jessica Simpson/Nick Lachey). The characters weren’t as great this time around and Fallon seemed to have some trouble getting the flow started in the beginning, but by mid-sketch, he fell into it.
Worth noting: the very last “and we’re baaack!”. Fallon yells it so hard his neck is about to explode. Best.
Heather: I wished this sketch would’ve been better, given the fact that this was Fallon’s last show, but unfortunately it fell a little short in my opinion. I had a really hard time even understanding what he was saying for the first minute or so. But there were at least of couple of noteworthy lines, especially when Tyrone stated that Mary Kate’s farts smelled like “burnt chicken and chemicals,” to which Joey Mack replied it smelled like, “hotdogs and hummus,” and that he actually threw up in his mouth. This will be a Fallon skit that I may actually grow to miss in the coming seasons.
1 ½ Coneys
6. Sketch: The Swan
Premise: Spoof of the Fox show
Jason: “I had some x-rays done and my insides are butt-ugly too.”
I’ve never seen this show, but I understand the premise. This was another spin on the whole let’s-make-the-pretty-host-ugly routine (see Drew Barrymore back in February doing Charlize Theron in upcoming “Monster” type roles).
What kept this sketch from failing dismally was the return of Amy Poehler’s “Amber” character. “Good. I hope the judges did vote”. Also delivering some laughs were the procedures some of the contestants were having performed such as “tongue shave” and “bobby pin removal”. Dratch’s Fox News cut-in was damn funny too.
Heather: Ok, from what I’ve caught from time to time, the actual Swan show is nothing short of creepy. I can’t even believe what these women are willing to endure (full head transplants!) and I think this skit really captured the absurdity of it all. I was happy to see the return of Poehler’s infamous character, Amber. Her “jealous?” remarks are always good for a laugh.
1 ½ Coneys
7. Music #1 – J Kwon
Heather: For some crazy reason, this song actually sounded familiar to me. But even that couldn’t keep just one thought running through my head: How the fuck did this guy get on SNL?!
8. Weekend Update
Jason: The last Fey/Fallon Weekend Update. Will Tina Fey do the segment solo? Will she find a new partner? Let me say that I think Will Forte should fill the chair.
The last Weekend Update of the season wasn’t much better than the dreadful installments of recent weeks, but this time around at least had a few stand out jokes. Among them were Rumsfeld putting out Iraq fires and Chinese people looking alike.
I didn’t much care for Fey doing her Arnold impression for the umpteenth time this season either. It wouldn’t be bad if she presented it as a recurring bit, but she acts like it is fresh material every time she does it – you are only fooling the casual viewer Tina.
We were also treated to our last Fallon/Sanz pairing. The two giggled through it like always, and Sanz basically did nothing more than his Furay Muhtar voice. However, the breaking down of the model was pretty funny and overall it excelled a little more than that G.E.D. character he did from a few episodes back.
Worth noting: instead of throwing the pencil towards the camera at Update’s conclusion, a heartfelt Fallon instead returns it to his suit’s inside coat pocket.
Heather: Wow, this is last Weekend Update I’ll have to watch with Fallon. I think the realization of just how much better this now tired sketch is going to get has really hit me. That is, if Fey can get her own ass in gear. I’m not quite sure what happened to her once hilarious jokes, but I seriously don’t know how many more time she expects to do her Arnold “making California the action state of the country” bit and have it get laughs. Come on Fey!!! About the only joke I really laughed at this time around was the one on the worst dating city in the U.S. being Daterapeville, Maine.
I also realized that we would never again have to endure the whole Sanz/Fallon routine, where they end up laughing at each other more than the studio audience. I actually liked Sanz’s Greek contractor character Costas Popakanstantis until he started up with the “bro bro” talk and him and Fallon started snickering. Ah well, at least it’s over now.
Let’s just hope that next season brings with it a new and improved Weekend Update.
9. Sketch: Pat & Patti’s Backpack Shack
Premise: Infomercial on a store specializing in backpacks
Jason: Maybe it was the voice Sanz used, but I really thought all the silly rhyming was funny. Fallon, perhaps still a bit emotional after his departure announcement just moments ago, totally butchered his part and Maya again relied on her nasally Glenda Goodwin voice for her character. Sanz kept the whole thing together though and helped the episode get the pace back up after Update.
Heather: What the hell was this?? I’m all for new and off-the-wall sketches, but this ended up being completely annoying.
10. Sketch: Access Hollywood
Premise: Pat O’Brien reveals there is another Olsen sister
Jason: “and I’m always starting a second sentence!”
Fallon last rolled this one out during the Barrymore episode (2/14/04). Surprisingly, this installment relied less around him and more on Armisen. The whole idea of there being a third Olsen twin named Betty Faye was pretty clever. Armisen delivered some classic moments in the mocked up “New York Minute” outtakes that were very memorable. Will anyone forget Betty Faye in her underpants anytime soon?
I also realized that Fallon does the same voice for both Pat O’Brien and Joey Mack (Z-105 Morning Show). Hmmm.
Heather: More Fallon. I guess since it is his last show they just decided to go all out with his sketches. Whatever, at least they were smart and decided to pull Armisen into this one. Betty Faye Olsen. So best. I’ve honestly never seen such skinny legs on a man!!
11. Sketch: The Bloder Brothers
Premise: Recurring sketch where two losers attempt to meet girls
Jason: I can see now that Lorne is aptly letting Fallon go hog wild with the sketch selection tonight. Too bad Fallon choose to dust this one off instead of something like the seldom seen “Barry Gibb Talk Show”. I’ve never really found this sketch funny and nothing about it tonight really made me laugh.
Heather: Alright already with the Fallon sketches!! I mean, come on, the Bloder Brothers?? This sketch just plain sucks ass. Although, I have to admit I have never seen Don Pardo in a skit before.
12. Sketch: Family BBQ Home Video
Jason: Although Parnell obviously wrote this sketch, Sanz and Meyers (in their small roles) really stole the show. The deviled eggs w/M&Ms (“good grief”) bit was also a nice touch.
Heather: To me, Meyers was pretty much the only funny part about this sketch. Everything he did, from his dancing to his subsequent screaming and crying, made me chuckle. Everyone else was pretty forgettable.
1 ½ Coneys
13. Vignette: The Adventures of Harold
Premise: A young boy begins balding
Jason: I believe this was another short film from writer T. Sean Shannon. I felt this bit had a pretty distinctive Rushmore feel to it – in a good way. I like when SNL changes it up and adds these types of things.
Heather: This was strange to see, mostly because I wasn’t expecting it. Seeing a bald seventh grader was somewhat humorous though.
14. Sketch: Summertime
Premise: The cast reflects on the year in the theme of “Grease”
Jason: A musical sketch disguised a goodbye to Fallon. Not bad. I spent most of it trying to figure out what Hammond’s bug was though. Through pretty much the entire sketch, he stood in the back smoking instead of participating. Rumors had been flying around for awhile that this was also going to be his last show. Since no on-camera announcement was made, perhaps he has decided to stay one more season?
Heather: A decent ending to a dismal season. Fallon, of course, got the main guy role. However, I was a bit surprised to see Fey also getting such a huge part in the sketch. Luckily, it worked out pretty good. What was even better, though, was Forte and Poehler’s duet to Summer Breeze!! I did notice Hammond lingering in the background, but I guess I didn’t think too much about it. If this was in fact his last season, I surely hope they would’ve least announced it.
Jason: Season 29 has come and gone. By my count, only 3 episodes managed to score an “above average” rating. Is the coney system flawed? No. Am I being too harsh? Nope.
What made this season so bad was the poor host and musical guest selections. Gone are the days when SNL guests were well established and respected celebrities. We are now forced to flavor-of-the-week hosts and practically flavor-of-the-hour musical guests. Does anyone actually think we’ll know who Kelis or J-Kwon is in 5 or 10 years? I don’t think so. So many worthwhile stars had hits during the season that I’m left scratching my head on why people like David Carradine, Uma Thurman, Ron Pearlman, anyone from the OC, Darkness, Owen Wilson, Sean Penn, Ben Stiller and Jim Carrey were not brought on as guests.
As for the cast, I’ve been saying over the last few reviews that summer 2004 needs to see some serious house cleaning if this show is to improve. It started tonight with Fallon, but Maya, Sanz, Dratch and Finesse all need to go. It also would not surprise me if Lorne Michaels departs at the end of Season 30 as well. After seasons like this, he has got to be getting sick of it. On the plus side, we can look forward to a prime-time special next season celebrating the 30th anniversary. I thought the 25th anniversary show was pretty good (Bill Murray’s opening musical number was excellent), so hopefully the 30th will be just as memorable.
I would also like to say, to anyone actually reading this, thank you for reading my reviews for the second year. I’ll be the first to admit that they (at least my half) fell into a rut at times this year – but when SNL is this bad, it is hard to come up with new ways to describe how bland it is every weekend. However, to those still reading, thanks for sticking around and giving me something to do while nursing my Saturday night hangovers on Sunday afternoons.
20.5 out of 56 Coneys
Heather: No, the season certainly didn’t go out with a bang, but I was glad to get at least a few good laughs out of the final episode. But it does go without saying that SNL definitely has it’s work cut out for itself over the summer if it wants to get back on track. I know I’m not the only one who would like to see the show get back into the habit of having more versatile hosts, preferably some that are even over the age of 21!! And maybe some musical guests who are well known and have been around long enough to have acquired some real talent instead of these one-hit wonders who we’re likely to never see again. And don’t even get me started on the sketch writing. I just have two words for y’all. NEW MATERIAL!!! Stop airing recurring sketches that had been played out since day one!! It’s the only way SNL is ever going to survive another season.
Like Nummer, I also want to thank everyone that actually takes the time to read our reviews. This season especially has become a real chore to write reviews for and I really do appreciate the folks who continue to stick up for our comments, even when they do tend to repeat themselves at times. I’m sure with the 5-month break and hopefully an improved Season 30, Nummer and I will be able to provide those that keep on reading with some fresh and better reviews. Obvs.
18 out of 56 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
Mary Kate & Ashley Olson/J-Kwon – 20.5
Kelly Ripa/Outkast – 19
Drew Barrymore/Kelis - 19
Megan Mullally/Clay Aiken – 17.5
Snoop Dogg/Avril Lavigne – 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
Lindsay Lohan/Usher – 9
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
Snoop Dogg/Avril Lavigne – 18
Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen/J-Kwon - 18
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
Lindsay Lohan/Usher - 8