Moving on to McCarthy’s (til recently) most recent hosting appearance last year. McCarthy was just about to take part in a perfectly serviceable remake of a movie nobody wanted to see re-made. But before that could happen, she made her 4th appearance on the show—which also happened to have been the show’s 800th Episode. They mark the occasion in absolutely no way whatsoever, so I decided to have fun with it and mark all the other “Milestone” episodes with the points I rate the sketches with this week. So, off we go…
Melissa McCarthy/Kanye West (Original Airdate: 2/13/2016)
HILLARY – I CAN’T MAKE YOU LOVE ME: First of all, Instant Bonus points for NOT turning the Applause light on. Seriously, when was the last time that happened…on purpose? Second, in the wake of just how badly Bernie beat Hillary in NH even Before the election, you could tell that a little extra effort was put in to this one. This sort of feels like a darker sequel to the “Summer” opener from last season, only with more twists, turns and theatrics—Kate not only plays it up big time, but she also casts her manic Hillary to the side for just a little bit to pretty much morph into a Torch Singer. I honestly did not know which direction this would take after Beck’s Jeb would show up, but at least it was a decent aside. Unfortunately, this looks like the latest in sketches that just “End”, ‘cause I honestly thought there was more to come after Kate grabbed the Guitar. Then again, in a case like this it might be best to leave the audience wanting more.
EDITOR’S NOTE: (*SIGH*) Look, I wanted to vote for Bernie Sanders as much as the next fringe millennial…unfortunately, I’m a registered independent, so I never got the chance to do so in the State of New York (Stupid “Closed Primary” rules). Brought to you by Hindsight; “Hindsight: We Told you Not to Do That!” Also, there is no clip available because apparently this is an actual song.
SCORE: 7 out of 10 Paul Simon’s (Episode 100 – Mar. 15th, 1980)
MONOLOGUE: (Same Story, use of an actual song means no clip is available) I’ll say this, she looks AMAZING compared to the last time she was on—I give it another year before she’s as thin as her cousin Jenny (That’s no joke, BTW, they ARE related). That being said, the “Glove” joke at the top was cute. Then, any of you diehard fans out there probably could’ve seen the Not!Five Timers punchline coming from miles away, but at least McCarthy looked like she was having a good time up there. For a change, I’m actually on Kenan’s side, and I’m glad the show can be as nitpicky as we can be sometimes when it comes to record keeping—yet there was NO acknowledgement that this is Episode 800, Go figure…Also, SASHEER! You’re Alive (For an appearance as a background dancer, but Still)! A standard S&D, but at least you-know-who hasn’t shown up…yet…
SCORE: 6 out of 10 Tom Hanks’ (Episode 200 – Dec. 14th, 1985)
THE DAY BEYONCE TURNED BLACK: Already mentioned this during last year’s stretch of commercial parodies. Take another look on the 8/15/2016 entry.
SCORE: 8 out of 10 Alec Baldwin’s (Episode 300 – Feb. 23rd, 1991)
TEST SCREENING: It wouldn’t be a McCarthy show without her being involved in some sort of “Focus Group/Participatory event/Getting covered in food” related thing, and in comparison to her getting covered in Ranch dressing, this was a little more heavy on physical humor and some practical effects than it was “Ha-Ha” funny. Despite the fact McCarthy was yelling at levels even Jonesy would’ve thought to be too much, McCarthy carried the bulk of this and did give us at least one or two OK laughs (I.e. Ripping Pete’s shirt off, and spitting her soda on the back of Vanessa’s head). Otherwise, it’s WAY too early in the show for someone to be trying too hard…especially if it’s a variant on something we’ve seen McCarthy do several times already.
SCORE: 5 out of 10 Elle MacPherson’s (Episode 400 – Feb. 24th, 1996)
MOVIE NIGHT: At the risk of being a movie geek and on behalf of movie geeks all over the world; Unless they were watching a Director’s cut, I think they’re overselling it a little here—the actual “T1” scene in question was less than 30 seconds, it wasn’t graphic, it was tasteful, it was largely a silent scene w/o any moaning, and considering that conceiving John Connor was integral to the plot, was the talk of Rubbers really necessary? Though to be fair, I too saw Terminator with my Parents when I was a kid, and I suddenly found myself with more questions than answers…and my Mom’s hand covering my pre-pubescent eyes. In other words, they capture the awkwardness of a similar situation almost perfectly here. Thanks to Pete’s youthfulness, he manages to become the human representative for all awkward young people faced with a similar situation—and it shows with the random things he blurts out through the sketch. Bobby continues to set records for the most career steals, especially on that random “Farmers Insurance” jingle. And McCarthy plays it subtle for a change with very little to criticize (or comment) about. This is one of many “Slice of Life” moments that they cover pretty well here…if not slightly uncomfortably. Also for the record, Hamilton’s nips were dark because the scene took place AT NIGHT (seriously, it’s filmmaking 101).
SCORE: 8 out of 10 Julia Stiles’ (Episode 500 – Mar. 17th, 2001)
Colin’s Best: Republican Debate, Sanders/Hillary’s Proposals, Ted Cruz Ad
Michael’s Best: None…but he made up for it with…
Commentaries: …The mini-comment on Music related controversy—which would’ve been more interesting if I actually followed/cared about Pop Music. Next, If you close your eyes and completely forget that it’s Vanessa playing her, she actually does a spot-on Aniston—though a touch on the whiney side (The various “Friends” nuances help a lot). The Real Von Miller (try as he might) tried so desperately to be funny, but then again so did Razor Ruddock many years ago and we all know how that turned out. Finally, Somehow, considering a Supercut of Jonesy’s flirting with Jost made its way on my Facebook feed, I had a feeling we’d get a commentary from her…and Lo & Behold, it’s actually Different, Unique and awkwardly charming (Up until she started to giggle, and the yelling started up…again). Definitely a step forward for her despite the flaws.
SCORE: 7 out of 10 WDSU’s (NBC in New Orleans…*SHOWS BOOBS, GETS NOTHING*…Huh? Oh, Right, I have testicles.)
PICK-UP ARTIST: Another McCarthy-ism rears its ugly head; the requisite “Frumpy/Surly/Weird/Unpleasant” role (Think: “Diane” and the Ribs, her Museum Floor Buffer or her riding that Horse Balloon that one time). It’s a character trait that—quite honestly—Only worked for her in “Bridesmaids”, because it just looks awkward and uncomfortable here—especially for Kenan and Mooney who have to put up with the brunt of it. I know it’s supposed to be the character’s intention to have all the grace of a Rhino, but it’s just a little too off-putting no matter how much effort McCarthy puts in. I dunno, maybe it’s because I was raised with having good manners, but sketches like this are kind of a turn-off. Also, I’m tempted to dock points for Jonesy losing it all over the place throughout the sketch, but it only looks like she’s derailing herself and nobody else—so I’ll ignore that. I would also like to thank Beck for appearing randomly at the end with a last second saving grace as McCarthy’s Strange Uncle. It’s also saying a lot when Sasheer actually has more lines tonight than J.R. who I think is gonna get “Milheiser’d” by season’s end.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Spoiler alert, Jon “JR” Rudnitsky DID get Milheiser’d by Season’s end…but since he’s making the rounds on various Comedy Central stand-up shows, I can’t complain too loudly.
SCORE: 4 out of 10 Antonio Banderas’ (Episode 600 – Apr. 8th, 2006)
KYLE VS KANYE: The least I can say about this film is “Unique”. Not “Schiller” unique, not “Weis” unique, but something that’s hard to describe…and not because Kanye had a good flow going on near the end. This was all about the buildup leading to it, all the self-made hype Kyle made for himself and just how mis-matched the “Battle” wound up being. Of course, I gotta add some points whenever we see backstage/meta stuff in addition to archive footage of Kyle before he made it big (nice poppin’ and lockin’, BTW). It sort of reminded me of [adult swim]’s “Greatest Event in Television History” shows; Lots of build up, a semi-decent payoff—not counting that last shot where Kyle’s inexplicably pantsless. But you can tell they put in the effort.
SCORE: 7 out of 10 Tina Fey’s (Episode 700 – May 7th, 2011)
BUS RIDE: Yes, we get it, it’s Black History Month (This aired in February, BTW), There’s no need for you to hit us over the head with it. Unlike the earlier “Beyonce” film, This kinda reminded me of something Louie CK glossed over in his monologue the previous year; the subject of “Mild Racism”, which McCarthy seems to be portraying here—and is also (unfortunately) her most subtle role of the evening, and I even groaned/laughed at the “Roots/?uestlove” zing. I gotta give Jonesy some credit for showing a little restraint here, given the subject matter, it surprised me that she didn’t yell at the top of her lungs this time. The “Speed” ending continued tonight’s trend of Beck supplying us with a non-sequitur to end the sketch with, but it still made me laugh so I’ll allow it.
SCORE: 6 out of 10 Vials of reconstituted John Belushi DNA injected into a Kodiak Bear (Episode 900 – Some Time in 2021…pending FDA approval)
WHISKERS R WE: At least this recurring sketch is tolerable, tongue in cheek puns notwithstanding. Unfortunately because this is one of the more formulaic sketches, this one is gonna be brief. Favorites include removing Cat hair with Nair, The “OJ” cat, the Dog in a Cat Costume, and all the various “Touch ups” in between that McCarthy unleashed on Kate. The one thing I would add would be if the next time they do this, let’s see how Kate’s character would react with a Male (call him an ex-husband or something).
SCORE 6 out of 10 Preserved Heads of Paul Simon in a Jar a la “Futurama” (Episode 1000 – Sometime in 2027)
For the record, I Can’t Stand Kanye West, but at least he brings his A-Game when it comes to the Technical extras on stage…+2 for the theatrics & use of the video wall.
FINAL SCORE: 66 out of 110 (60% Watchable)
FINAL THOUGHTS: As expected, when a show was as good as the previous week’s with Larry David, it’s gonna be damn near impossible to maintain that level of strength 2 weeks in a row. It wasn’t a Bad show per se, but it certainly pales in comparison. I wish I could say this was better than McCarthy’s previous efforts because of the overall boost in quality this year, but I’ll try. It was certainly decent enough for a McCarthy show, but altogether with the rest of the season, it was just barely Par for the course. McCarthy still played her collection of gruff oddballs like she normally does, but at least this time around, she manages to do a couple of subtle parts as well (a plus).
NEXT WEEK: With Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson hosting the Finale, it’s only fitting that we look at the show he did 2 years before.
Happy Mother’s Day, Ma…and Happy Birthday, Sis!