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by Nummer and H-Bomb

Episode 5: Nia Vardalos / Eve (11/9/02)

FOUR CONEYS! = John Belushi
THREE CONEYS! = Amy Poehler
TWO CONEYS! = Tim Meadows
ONE CONEY! = Melanie Hutzel
HALF A CONEY! = Charles Rocket
No CONEYS! = Self-Explanatory


OAD: Original Air Date*

*Now that Season 28 is five shows in, they have begun re-airing commercial parodies from earlier in the season. To be fair, coneys will be awarded the same as they were the first time they aired.

This episode has absolutely no buzz at all. I've never seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and have no desire to EVER. I also know a grand total of zero songs by Eve. Hence, I'm not too upset that I'll be missing this episode live due to a Chicago trip Saturday night to catch Joseph Arthur at Martyrs.

However, the last two live episodes (McCain and McCormack) were decent. Hopefully the writers can continue their streak. I've noticed that in the past when they have a lesser known host on, Lorne seems to set aside the recurring sketches and approve the more fresh and edgier ones. Hopefully this will be the case. The quickest way to make the Verdalos episode lose even more buzz is to start throwing in Jarrett's Room, Brian Fellows, etc. Still, I expect Vardalos to be on par with Gellar. We'll see.

In other SNL news, the rest of the year's hosts have been "confirmed":

11/16/02: Brittany Murphy/Nelly
12/7/02: Robert DeNiro/TBA
12/14/02: Al Gore/TBA

Well, if I had no idea what to expect with last week's McCormack episode, I really, really don't have a clue about Nia Vardalos. My Big Fat Greek Wedding held no appeal for a viewing, so I don't have any thoughts on Vardalos as an actor. And since I feel a little jaded by the McCormack episode, I don't imagine this one being much better. Hopefully, I'm wrong. I agree with Nummer in that I'm looking forward to some good, break-out, off-the-wall sketches.
Cold Opening: George W. Bush reviews 2002 Election results
Premise: Bush uses marker board and math to explain the Republican takeover
Finally! Parnell is back as Bush. This one was better than the first and I’ll take the 2 episode absence as “he was doing some fine-tuning”. He seemed to be wearing less makeup this time and the voice wasn’t Ferrell’s impression as much as the first appearance. The line about the pea-pants who switched parties was good, as well as showing his hand after using it to wipe the writing off the marker board.
I think Parnell’s George W may be growing on me. This sketch was much better than his debut as President Bush a few weeks ago. It stills seemed a little forced, but Parnell earned some chuckles. And if you’re like me and can barely keep up with anything political, especially come election time, Parnell’s whole bit of trying to figure out how many Republicans / Democrats were elected on a dry erase board really hit home!!
Monologue: Vardalos
Premise: Tina Fey (also Greek) brings her family out to give Greek food dishes to Vardalos
Stupid. Really stupid. I can’t believe she actually opened with “I’m the girl from My Big Fat Greek wedding”. Not even Fey’s surprising cleavage could save.
This was funny to me only because I used to work at a Greek restaurant and the whole way they portrayed their culture was dead on. And I’m not sure exactly what it is, but I really liked Vardalos. I’m not at all familiar with her work, but just from the way she acted made me think this might be an ok show after all. She’s just so boisterous!! And Dratch is starting to worm her way back into my heart with her little old Greek lady routine.
Commercial Parody: Swiffer Sleepers
Premise: Kids clean the floor by rolling around in pajamas made by Swiffer Cleaners
OAD: 10/12/02
See Gellar episode review.
See Gellar episode.
Sketch: The Bloater Brothers
Premise: Recurring sketch in which two loser brothers annoy those around them with comments and laughter
When this sketch debuted back in 2000, I thought it was pretty funny. My Fallon hatred had yet to mature and I was living with a “Parnell can do no wrong” motto. Nearly 3 years later, this sketch has grown as stale as all the other “loser guy” sketches of seasons past such as Martin and Aykroyd’s “Wild and Crazy Guys”, Lovitz and Hanks’ “Check-her-out losers” and more recently, the Roxbury brothers.

This installment was no exception. Armisen makes his first appearance after raking up 0 minutes of screen time during the McCormack episode as a funny sushi waiter. Other than that, the occasional goofy line was all there was. Some say “forgettable”.

Yea!! Armisen!! He was definitely the best part about this skit. “You guys are lame-o.” However, the rest of it sucked and Armisen just wasn’t in it enough to save it. I never cared for the Bloater Brother skits and this was no exception. But I’ll still give it a little something since now I’m going to be saying “thumbs-down day” courtesy of Armisen.
Sketch: CBS Special Report – Election 2002
Premise: Dan Rather reviews a school’s student council election
This was a clever idea, but failed to impress. Rather’s random comments aren’t as funny in this installment and Vardalos’ delivery as the head nerd was sub-Aguilera Gellar. Armisen again made a great cameo, this time as “the guy in the fedora shirt”.

Seth played the correspondent in this sketch and didn’t really bring any laughs either. Too be honest, Seth hasn’t been as effective this season as he was last year. He’s getting more and more screen time however, so I guess Lorne’s impressed. I predict a promotion by season end or at the beginning of Season 29 (29’s first mention?).

Great sketch!! With all the recent hype of the elections, they might as well be reporting who won the local high school student council elections!! And having the concept of the nerds beating the cool kids mirroring the Republicans defeating the Democrats was a great idea. Hammond as Dan Rathers was, of course, hilarious with all of his seriously delivered crude comments. Some great lines in this one. When it’s announced that Erica “Squarica” Faust won the position of student council secretary over slutty girl Noelle LaForge, Hammond is stunned, stating, “Wow, one usually expects a vote like this to go to the slutty girl.” Meyers, as the reporter, agrees that “it was a tough week for sluts.” Great!! And did you catch Richards face as “jock cool guy” John Thompson running for treasurer on the money poster?! What about Sanz as student council president nominee Gordo? And oh my God, Armisen supporting the nerds in a fadora!! Friggin hilarious!! Even Fallon’s speech as the former student council president couldn’t ruin this one!!
Sketch: Le Femme Day Spa
Premise: Women gets a bikini wax from an insulting employee
Dumb. Zero laughs. It almost seemed like this sketch was written just so they could get rid of all the random feminine jokes they had lying around.
This was just really weird. I mean, what an odd idea for a sketch. Dratch got really annoying as the customer, but Vardalos was kind of amusing as the bikini waxer, especially when she calls Dratch Sasquatch.
Music: Eve #1
I didn’t know any Eve songs going in, and I didn’t learn any on the way out. I fast-forwarded this one.
I’ve heard this song on the radio but never realized it was Eve. I usually turn it off. Just not a big Eve fan.
Weekend Update
This was a pretty consistent WU. Most of the jokes were decent and Fallon didn’t have too many giggle fits. There was a gag about a new security device that identifies people by the way they walk that could have been much better.

In the guest chair tonight, Seth Meyers played himself. He recycled an old bit someone (I think Sandler) used years ago. The first time around had the cast member taping a video of himself eating so the family could place a TV at the table in his absence at a holiday dinner. This time, Meyers reveals he’s actually missing his 10 year high school reunion to be on the show, so he acts out what his side of all the conversations would be. Meyers’ jokes were of the really bad overused “I was the nerd in school and now I’m popular” variety. The only clever one was about him making sure his Dad was taping Mad TV (which his younger brother Josh is a cast member of in real life).

Overall, an average update.

As usual, Fey kept me laughing during Weekend Update and tonight was no different. I was dying during her bit about Al Roker losing 100 pounds, where she responds saying she’s actually gained 400 pounds and proceeds to hold up this tiny pair of pants. The bit about the security system that identifies a person by the way they walk also garnered some big laughs. Fey’s walk was best!! I’m wondering though who’s idea it was to identify Fallon as a Stupid Asshole when he walked through the device because I would love to shake their hand, even if it was Fallon himself. However, Meyers kind of ruined the momentum with his rendition of his 10 year high school reunion which was supposedly taking place that night. Really irritating. Nevertheless...
Sketch: The Ferey Muhtar Talk Show
Premise: Sanz plays a Turkish late night talk show host
Best ever! Best ever! This was one of my favorite sketches from the infamous and often referenced McKellen episode of last season. I really had no hopes for it making a comeback since it just seemed so random last time. I’m glad I was wrong. Hammond as the side kick in this sketch is simply brilliant. Allow me to toot the Armisen horn again, but the addition of him as the house band drummer doesn’t hurt the coney count either.

Best line: “I didn’t know A&P had a men’s department” – referring to Hammond’s new suit (check out the pant legs in the long shots- so baggy)! Hammond was also exposed as keeping a goat skin canteen filled with alcohol in his jacket! This sort of comedy doesn’t grow on trees folks. It grows on Sanz and Hammond.

YES!! I’ve been waiting to see this sketch since Ian!! So good!! And now they’ve added a house band which includes Armisen on drums!!! But what was up with that crazed loogie that Sanz spit out while making fun of Hammond’s suit?! It was huuuge!! I thought Vardalos was really good as the unibrowed Turkish actress Jacaleechy Alaal. Don’t get me wrong! She was no Ian, but still pretty good. And Hammond’s mustache was coming off again!! Bulljive!! Hot sketch!!
Sketch: The Falconer
Premise: Donald the Falcon lures Forte deep into the woods only to feed him dead rats while returning to the city to sleep with his wife and dine on luxury food
HOLY SHIT! This sketch is threatening Courtroom Bullhorn (see McCormack episode) as sketch of the year. Where they hell did this come from? If Forte wrote this one, I love him. If this is the kind of comedy that he’s capable of, he may be one of SNL’s most valuable pickups in years. I’m really starting to think he wrote Bullhorn too. I may have to change my pre-season prediction that he’d venture off into SNL mediocrity if these kinds of sketches keep popping up.

This sketch had it all. Bad sound effects, fake animals and funny cell phone rings. It really rode the Toonces border a few times, but still managed to be fresh. From now on when I’m down in the dumps, all I need to think about is the Falcon talking on his cell phone.

Is this going to be a reoccuring sketch, Toonces style?? I hope so! This was so funny!! I was cracking up the entire time this was on. The falcon’s reaction when Armisen lights the cherries jubilee on fire was priceless!!
Commercial Vignette: Pier 1 Imports
Premise: Kirstie Alley harasses a Pier 1 customer
Vardalos had a few funny moments in this one. Not very solid overall though.
Another great skit!! Who knew this would turn out to be such a good episode?? I HATE those Pier One commercials so, of course, I loved this sketch!! Kirstie Alley is just out of hand in those ads and it’s nice to see her called on it. It was almost eerie how much Vardalos looked and acted like her though. By far, the best part was when she yelled out, “PIER ONE!” and then out of nowhere just shoves Sanz, causing him to fall into a bookshelf.

Sketch: Dropping the LBs with Missy E
Premise: Missy Elliot promotes her new workout video
I thought this one would get 4 coneys. I love this song in real life and Morgan playing black women is usually hilarious. Don’t get me wrong, this one was funny, but I think the testimonials really killed it. They were mostly miscued and sort of dry (except for Dratch’s). Morgan managed to keep it alive though.

Sketch tidbit: Eve makes a cameo as Missy’s doctor.

Best!! I love this song, which made this skit extra funny! And this is the type of stuff that made me realize how funny Morgan can be. And it’s always hilarious to see him dressed in drag. I even received a phone call right in the middle of this skit from one David Heggie in New York exclaiming how hilarious this was. Computer-generated stretches!! Got my her did!! This was exactly the random break-out stuff I was hoping to see!!
Music: Eve #2
FF’d again.
Nothing special. Not really interested.
Sketch: Glenda Goodwin – Attorney at Law
Premise: Rudolph plays a lawyer who tries to convince people of outrageous claims
If Rudolph wrote this sketch, I had no idea she could bring up this sort of dry humor. Here she plays a lawyer who changes people’s stories to stuff like being attacked by Gremlins, portraits with moving eyeballs and Count Dracula. “I’ll get him the money he deserves from that damn mummy”. Unfortunately, the one joke premise does grow a little thin with Maya’s weak delivery.
I guess the good sketch streak had to end sometime. I didn’t find this very funny at all. The idea was good, with all of the wacky commercials that “attorneys” have out nowadays. But the delivery wasn’t there.

Sketch: Community Accents with Vasquez Gomez-Vasquez
Premise: Sanz plays a community access talk show host with a short attention span
This was pretty funny. “You’re the best in the biz!” It’s sort of like Brian Fellows in that it’s host continually cuts the guest’s answers off with a catchphrase. This time around it’s “You’re the best in the biz”. Sanz was really energetic about it which led to a great performance. Wouldn’t mind seeing this a few more times to see if they can further develop it.

Best line: “Can I borrow five bucks for a taco burger?”

At first, I wasn’t sure whether to find Sanz funny or annoying. I finally decided on annoying. The “best in the biz” business was starting to wear on my nerves. The only slightly funny part was when Sanz asked Vardalos for $5 to buy a taco burger and splits on his guests.
Closing Comments
I didn’t go into to this one expecting much. I was really surprised to see Vardalos in practically every sketch. The episode as a whole had ups and downs, but managed to tie the McCormack episodes in terms of coneys.

One major criticism was the absence of Poehler. I know she’s set to star in two fairly high brow films next year (one with Jack Black and one with Alec Baldwin). Perhaps she was off with filming duties. Didn’t see her on stage for the final goodbyes. I’m guessing her absence was the reasoning behind the choice of Swiffer Sleepers as the commercial repeat.

Next week is Murphy and ANOTHER rap guest. Should have some left over 8 Mile buzz. Eminem has been spoofed on SNL before – perhaps an 8 Mile parody ? Time will tell.

Well, I am definitely happy to say that this episode was much better than I anticipated. But as with Armisen last week, I was wondering where Poehler was all episode. Despite her absence though, I thought it was a pretty good show.

I was also hoping to announce that next weekend, while in New York, I would be watching SNL live with Brittany Murphy and Nelly. Unfortunately, the tickets didn’t come through (although we did score Conan tickets!! Thanks Nummer!!). But there are still other avenues to explore, and with Nummer by my side, I’m sure we will find a way to embark on some sort of SNL adventure. Pictures with the cast after the show are definitely in the works. Heather + Jason + Armisen + Poehler + Camera = BEST!!

25 out of 60 Coneys.
32 Coneys out of a possible 60.

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