TV ________: We’re Gonna need a BETTER Name

As I often do, whenever I experience down time at work, I like to go on what some would call a “Stream of Consciousness” when it comes to googling things. I.e. Search for one thing, then see how far the Rabbit Hole goes. Just for shits & giggles, I decided to check and see if there were any online radio stations that played TV theme songs—Quite honestly, I hope there are, because what fun would it be if you had the game to yourself (besides, I’ve always admired the “Underdog Mentality”). So imagine my surprise when I typed in the words “TV Theme Song Radio Station”, When THIS Page popped up as the top entry…

 

name change2

 

Surprisingly, I’m actually not angry about this for a number of reasons:

 

  1. I’ve heard the channel, and it sounds pretty good…Really. Like I said, I’m glad there’s more than one of this kind of channel, because at least I know there’s an audience for this kind of thing. Therefore, the only thing to do if/when we launch (Still slated for September, BTW) is to sound better than the others; because where would the fun be without a little spirited competition?
  2. I technically haven’t done anything yet, so changing a name shouldn’t be that big a hurdle to jump–just gotta do some touch-ups in photo shop once I come up with a better name.
  3. These things happen in all forms of business (big ones & start-ups alike)—not everything is going to be 100% perfect to the intended design (TRIVIA: The Old UPN TV Network was supposed to be called “Blade”…just goes to show ‘ya). That’s why there’s a lot of honing, molding, shaping and polishing to be done until you pull the trigger so to speak.

 

The only thing that annoys me is that I now need to change a logo and revise some audio I put together…but again, this is no challenge whatsoever. I’ve been in radio now for 13 years, and if there’s anything I know how to do, it’s making a quick fix. Hopefully in a few weeks, we’ll have a New Name for our (Still to Premiere in September) TV Theme Song Channel, and we thank you for your patience. Just know for certain, that the show will go on…………I’m just glad I didn’t order any business cards/stationary yet. Stay Tuned.

DEFERRAL: Why I Like Bad Movies

I want to start a new feature here—partly because there are certain things I have been wanting to talk about since I started this blog, but for whatever reason; I don’t have either the time or the energy to write long diatribes about them…but I still want to anyway. In some cases, whenever a certain subject pops up that somebody else can talk about in a far more eloquent way than I ever could (but I still agree with it), that is when I will put up these entries that I will call “Deferrals”. In other words, I step out of the Editor’s chair for a moment, and let somebody else do the talking.

 

I wanted to talk about the phenomenon of movies that are “So Bad, they’re Good” since mentioning a particular SNL sketch that seems to have followed that formula once. As far as my own personal experience goes; I became a fan of “SBTG” movies ever since my sister showed me an episode of “Mystery Science Theater 3000” (MST3K for those who speak in acronyms). From there, thanks to the never ending ingenuity of the internet, I gradually got myself sucked further into the world of these movies, yet for some reason I never truly understood why I liked them so much. Bad Acting? Bad Story/Writing? Unintentionally intentional Bad Moments that make the movies that more “enjoyable”? Some sort of chemical imbalance? I honestly had no idea why I would become such a willing fan of such stupidity………….Until just this morning when I came across a video from the website Vox—and on that note, this is where I make my deferral. Using one of the reigning Kings of Bad Movies (Tommy Wiseau’s “The Room”) as a patient zero; here now is why (according to them) myself and countless others enjoy watching “So Bad, They’re Good” movies…

 

 

Thank you, Vox. That’s certainly a hell of a lot better than I could ever explain it.

TV ________: A Long Overdue Update

NOTE: I’m about to use a lot of technical jargon that may not be 100% understandable by some. If you need to know what something means, feel free to comment below and I will try to translate.

 

6 Months ago, I announced the “groundbreaking” of a thing that I have been wanting to do for a few years now—a Radio station that plays nothing but TV music; Mostly theme songs (including full-length versions & covers), but also Original songs that were written for Television; and slap a bunch of TV sound bytes in between them for nostalgia sake. Many months have passed, and you might be curious as to what exactly is going on (or, if you’re Just finding out about this today, you could also be wondering what this is all about—in which case, here ‘ya go, come back in about 5 minutes).

 

Short Answer: Life keeps getting in the way, and we (by which I mean “I” and maybe 2 other people) have been using what little spare time I have to get everything* put together (*Everything meaning music, imaging, calibrating sound quality, identifying artists/composers, and altogether making sure I don’t suck at this like I sucked the last time I tried to make an online radio station that lasts).

 

Shorter Answer: “Here’s where Cameron goes Berserk”

…which I think might also be that actor’s reaction to appearing in that Domino’s Pizza commercial—you KNOW which one.

 

Long Answer: Putting something together from scratch is probably one of the most difficult things a person can do—Especially something that has never/rarely/seldom been tried before, and Also if you’re a complete nobody who doesn’t have the clout to raise money in a heartbeat—Not all of us are Warren Buffett or Bono–not that I don’t have my ways (More on that later). Then again, why do you think they call it a “Passion Project”? You have to be passionate enough in order to see things through right down to the bitter end, and we (nee: “Me + 2”) haven’t even hit the starting line yet…hell, I’m having a time just trying to get the grandstand built……….But enough metaphors, here’s how I spent my non-work & non-blog free time the past 6 months:

 

 

As of this writing, I have about 800+ pieces of music that I hope to use on this channel—which may seem like a lot, but don’t forget, TV Theme songs (the ones that air on TV) run about 30-60 seconds long. So when you take those, and add it to the other stuff (the “Full Length” stuff), it may sound like a lot, but it falls just under 20 hours worth of content—the Goal? AT LEAST 48 Hours. Why? Because you don’t want to create “burnout” (I.e. Hearing the same stuff over again too soon). The more music, the better. Of course, the music can only sound as good as the source you get the music from; which brings me to my first problem…

 

 

When doing research for this venture, I have discovered that the average level of sound quality a song can have when streaming is 128Kbps, a level that some consider “Broadcast Quality”. Other people consider 192Kbps “Broadcast Quality”, but that’s if you’re willing to shell out the money to afford a higher quality stream. Of the 800+ TV songs I have, only 550 of them have a sound quality of 128Kbps or Less, another hundred or so fall between 128 & 192, leaving a big chunk of songs that need to be “remastered” so that they play at the proper streaming frequency. If I were to play JUST those songs, I would suddenly wind up with 13 hours of content. What’s more, some of the theme songs I have come from varying sources over the past 20 years (yes, I’ve been collecting TV theme songs That long, thank you very much). Some of the files In my possession have become so degraded, that I have to find other sources to get them. But considering this is a Radio Station I’m trying to build, I want to be able to obtain nothing but the best quality audio there is without having to rip the audio from Youtube or some 3rd generation copy at some other website—The music (I feel) has to be Authentic, but if there’s something out of my control, there’s very little I can do about it. So, remastering music is one of Many hurdles that are keeping me from going on the air. But that’s not half as big an issue as Music Identification. What’s Your favorite TV show? Does your favorite show have a Theme song? If so, do you know who’s composing the song? Or Singing it? Well, that’s the case for about 30% of these songs. I may know them by heart, but I don’t know who’s responsible for them without spending marathon hours on Google, Wikipedia, Shazam, and to an extent Jamie Foxx to research them. Identifying all of the nuts & bolts of a song is one of the more important aspects of a radio station—if not for the listener to wonder who’s singing the song, but also so that it’s easier to enter data when I eventually load the song into the library—to say nothing of the biggest and most important reason this needs to be done.

 

 

Ever wonder how musicians/singers/everybody associated with the record industry gets paid without sleeping around? It’s through these clearing houses where every time a song plays, an angel gets its wings…to the tune of about (INSERT MINISCULE CENT FIGURE HERE) per airplay. They can’t get paid until the song, artist, composer, etc. are logged into a tabulation provided by either of these clearing houses—and what’s more, (With ONE Exception to the rule I might Have to use again) until I get the permission from these clearing houses to play music, I can’t run a radio station. So I have to pay for licensing……There are a number of ways to do this, each of them costly but varying in difficulty. I’ve been told by experts about a website called Stream Licensing; which would be the cheapest way to go, but also the most time consuming. Basically, I’d be able to run my station at a reasonable price depending on how many listeners I get in a month—but I have to enter Every Single Song & Production element in order for things to remain legal. There is also the more expensive/less toiling way via obtaining a “Blanket License” through BMI…If I even began to explain the ins & outs of how that works, I’ll go gray before I turn 35, so instead, just look at this (https://www.bmi.com/digital_licensing) and you’ll pretty much see what I’m up against in terms of just how expensive & expansive getting one of these licenses can be. Then there’s the matter of getting the damn thing on the air somehow…preferably on the cheap. So I have to look for a Streaming service ON TOP of a BMI License—and don’t even get me started on advertising/social media, where there’s so many “Right Ways” to do things, you don’t know what to believe.

 

 

With all of these things destined to weigh heavily on my shoulders in addition to my “Real Life” happenings, one has to wonder if it’s worth it to continue to try & get this off the ground. The answer is a resounding Yes. If you read the first “TV Tunes” related entry 5 minutes ago, you would’ve noticed a poem I put in at the end; “It couldn’t be done” by Edgar Albert Gest. I put that poem in there as sort of a declaration, but also to prove a point. How many times did Thomas Edison fail before inventing the Light bulb? How many times did the Wright Brothers crash before getting off the ground? How many Pocket Fish did Ron Popeil let Swim away before the Pocket fisherman cut them all down to size……….wait, that’s not right…….anyway. The point is, if you’re truly passionate about something, you need to see it through to the bitter end. We may not be 100% where we should be by the time we (SPOILER ALERT) Launch in September, but at least the world will know that we are giving it a try. As for Fundraising, don’t worry too much about that–Thanks to eBay, I was able to get enough to make it past the launch, but I need a booster rocket in order to stay in orbit. Sometime before we launch in the Fall, we will be opening up some sort of crowdfunding to help get this sucker off the ground, and it will be at a reasonable price. From there, we only hope to keep this going as long as we can; I want this to be a “Listener Supported” station in every sense of the word (whatever that means, I’ve been awake for 18 hours today, cut me some slack), and I can only do it with your help–again, once we get to it, there’s still a lot of work to do before that happens…and hopefully I can get it all done without passing out a la Alec Guinness in “River Kwai”…Madness…

 

Don’t Touch that Dial, September 16th.

 

Rocky Johnson, Hi! (Part 2)

So, once again, any plans to take some time off have been thwarted by my “Duty before Pleasure” mentality. Yes, it’s true, I came across another “Retro Review” of an episode hosted by the guy who just hosted one hell of a finale. Some background before we start on this one; It was during this year (my 3rd as an SNL episode reviewer for the fabled defunct fansite) that I started to become more “Gimmicky” in my approach (Especially when trying to infuse the review with lines from Vintage “Family Guy” shows……which at the age of 17, I thought were revolutionary…Fast Forward to my 30s, and we add another log to the Fires of Shame). At the same time, I was still having a hard time using fundamental English correctly. I wouldn’t complain about it so much if it wasn’t my Senior Year of High School at the time I wrote it, but like I say time & again around here, Hindsight’s a bitch, And I got better. Once again, all grammatical errors will be left in tack for posterity/punishment to myself, New thoughts in Blue. So with that, let’s get this over with…

 

DWAYNE_COVER3

The Rock*/Andrew WK – Original Airdate: April 13th, 2002 (*He didn’t become “Dwayne Johnson” until just a few years later when he actually started doing Good movies…and also “The Tooth Fairy”)

 

 

 

FROM THE OFFICES OF “THE DOC”:

HI Ev-er-y-body! (AUDIENCE: Hi Doc!) Once again, I have nothing too important to start the show with. (Which is OK, I guess. It saves time and everything.) So, lets get right into it. There are a great number of “Rock-isms” I could bring up, (I.E. “If you smell what the rock is cookin'”.) but since I’m more of a “Triple H” fan, I’d rather not. Last time “Rocky” came on the show, there was a lot of emphasis on his “Wrestling”. Now, the emphasis has moved over to his newlyfound “Acting” ability. Yeah, Like there’s a difference between the two.

 

 

DWAYNE_BUSH
Bush on Mideast or …”Do I look AraFAT to you?” (AUDIENCE BOOS BAD JOKE)

(Hey, C’mon! That was a group effort since my One Writer came back from “Strike” in Mexico!) Now then, here’s a question… Say one of these Suicide Bombers pick up one of these “Fine” Women. Now, let’s say that one of these women have a certain “Disease”. How would they feel about living then? (See, you didn’t think about that.) Is there anything that “bush” can’t do? (Other than to come up with the half-assed approach to things?)

Diagnosis: C+

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Was there supposed to be a Writer’s Strike in ’02 that eventually got resolved? I honestly don’t remember the context of what I said (Unless somebody else was striking at the time). Anyway, at the time this aired; there was only an inkling that Will Ferrell was about to leave the show, so chances are, this particular instalment might’ve been riddled with “Senioritis” on Ferrell’s end. Watching it again, the humor content is actually unchanged today, but I’m honestly surprised they were able to get away with showing some of the censored pictures.
DWAYNE_MONO
Monolouge or “YO ADRIANE!… Whoops, wrong “Rocky”.

At first, when I saw Kattan come out as “The Rock’s” Victim, I thought “Alright, someone is finally going to put him in his place”. But when he landed one on “Rocky”, that kinda made me pissed off. Think of how wrong this sounds, A man with “Guns” Bigger than the ones that are Whupassing The Middle East, Vs. A guy who has been called an “Albino Smurf” on one occasion. I know what people are saying right now “But doc, this was just a pretend hit, no one was hurt”. As true as that sounds, you’re missing the point. Anyone who can’t take a punch by Chris Kattan (real or fake) is one sorry S.O.B. in my book. You know, this reminds me of the time I was punched in the face by a Nerd at school. And if you can believe it or not, it only felt like a simple breeze in the air. Actually, it felt more like a woman slapping me in the face, but less. Getting back to the point.

Diagnosis: C+

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: (*THUNDER RUMBLES*)…Spoiler alert, Kattan is gonna be EVERYWHERE in this episode. This appearance was actually his most tolerable of the show.
DWAYNE_FELLOWS
Brian Fellow or “Flippin’ the “Bird”

(Admit it, it sounds aprropriate) I can’t believe the following things…

Number 1: That this sketch still exists.
Number 2:  That it’s on this early in the show.
Number 3: “It’s not butter”

(SCATTERED LAUGHS FROM AUDIENCE) Well, at least it’s not a “Boo”. Does Tracy Come up with these characters all by himself? If so, this explains a great deal much.

Diagnosis: F

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: (*SIGH*) Hindsight…that’s all I gotta say. But in complete fairness, I kinda see why I would’ve thought my otherwise rambling thoughts back then. I legitimately did not know what the appeal of these sketches were until Years later when Tracy became more prolific on “30 Rock” (as well as meeting him in person); thus granting me a much larger appreciation for the sketches today. Let’s get specific; there is a bird in this sketch, and it’s also one of the rare times Fallon doesn’t giggle his way through a role. Then we get to Dwayne w/the Tarantula, and that’s actually the lower-key part of the sketch until we get to the sketch’s usual hallucination—which, now that I think of it, is a lot funnier than I remember. Anyway, I gave these sketches a hard time back then for seemingly no reason; now I can’t picture Tracy doing anything else.

 

REVISED SCORE: B+
 

SCORPION
Scorpion King & son or …”Now this may sting a little”

(Doc talks to writer) Jeb, I think you were better off on “strike” Jeb: Dang it! I’ll done better next time. Doc: When you do better, speak in an inteligable language, mmm’kay? Now then, might as well get a preview of what the Millions (AUDIENCE: “AND MILLIONS!) of people will see next weekend. It’s always nice to see people screw up their lines every now and then, (Tomb/Tome) that’s a plus I guess. Seth plays a good “Pissed off Teen”. (I should know, I am one.) But that’s about all that’s good about it.

Diagnosis: B-

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: I mentioned a little bit about this sketch when discussing the “Tomb/Tome” blooper a while ago. But since that had little bearing on the plot, there’s no need to be redundant. Instead, I want to talk a little bit about how Seth Meyers as a Sketch performer got a LOT of flak from a lot of us fans back in the day (Hell, some of the so-called “Die Hards” have ragged on him through his ENTIRE tenure, Including “Update”). A Flak which, I’m happy to say, is about 90% justified considering I’ve heard Seth say in interviews (and even on the show itself) that he never really cared for being a sketch performer—which would also explain why he felt more comfortable doing “Update” and more behind-the-scenes stuff years later. Having said that, it doesn’t mean that Every single thing Seth Did when doing sketches was terrible—a little whiny at times (such as this sketch), but certainly not terrible. Clearly though, he had to do something right in those early performances in order for him to wind up on the career trajectory he’s currently on; so, good for him. As for the sketch itself, it was alright if not a little meandering—and Seth Really Did play a “pissed off teen” pretty accurately; and quite honestly, it’s probably one of his best Non-Update roles. Dwayne is his usual charismatic self despite weak material, Fallon just HAD to giggle at the mention of Tomb/Tome, and even Maya was reserved (Though granted, it was only her 2nd full season—we had yet to know the dangers that lay ahead).
 

DWAYNE_ANDERSON
Arthur Andersen or “…(Peter Griffin) “Says here I’m getting an Audi. (Brian Griffin) ‘No Peter, it says “Audit”‘. (Peter) No, no Brian, the “T” is Silent, sweet I’m getting an Audi! (Chris Griffin) ‘I have an Innie'”.

(How’s that for a stretch?) As long as I stay unemployed, I don’t have to worry about taxes. For those who do worry about it, Sorry! This gets my first “OY VEY OF THE DAY” Award of the show, (The next one is coming up.) mainly because it was too much like an actual commercial. That and the jokes were stupid.

Diagnosis: F

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Aside from Post 9/11 trauma, one of the bigger stories to happen around this time was the collapse of energy company Enron, and the mis-dealings being conducted by its law firm Arthur Andersen. Of course, since 9/11 happened, a lot of people thought the Enron/Andersen story would be swept under the rug; but leave it to SNL to help re-open the wounds. I probably gave this an F because at the all-knowing age of 17, I probably had no idea what Taxes were, let alone what the Tax code was—so yes, this was one of those “Lost in Translation” moments where I simply didn’t get it at the time. Thanks to the world we live in now, not only do I understand the sketch a little better, but some parts of it are painfully true…and you wonder why we have the current Presidential administration.  Does the gained knowledge make this sketch any funnier? Not really, but at least it doesn’t fly over my head. Though if I had to pick a silver lining, I’d go with Ferrell’s “Drilling/Sex Joke” bit.

 

REVISED SCORE: C-

 

 

DWAYNE_HARDBALL
Hardball or …”Strap on your cup and Batter up! (“Yeah it rhymes, big whoop, wanna fight about it?”)”

The great thing about this one, is that they used a line from one of my favorite shows (Family Guy), and put it into this one. The line was at the expense of “Dick Armey”… Or should I say “Vagina Coast Guard”, (I Smell a Lawsuit!) I thought that that was good. Also, Darrell was seen cracking up (BONUS POINTS!) The only thing about this that I didn’t like, was that fact that he was treating “Begalla” a little softer than he usually did. (Calling him an “Old Friend to Hardball” just didn’t seem right to me.)

Diagnosis: B+

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: And Speaking of “Ripping off ‘Family Guy’”; let’s talk about the fact that SNL actually Stole from them, instead of it being the other way around like most would’ve expected from Seth MacFarlane in the early days of his show. For those unfamiliar, take a second to watch this…

…and then watch the above sketch. Family Guy released that episode on  July 25th, 2001—considering animated TV episodes take about 9 months to fully produce, that means the joke may have first been developed in November 2000. SNL used their version in April 2002—Well After FG did it first. I know, this seems like beating a dead horse; but if some no-name can sue Conan O’Brien for stealing jokes, justice should’ve prevailed here too…then again, MacFarlane eventually hosted in 2012, so I guess they made up by then. Anyway, the “Hardball” sketches were probably Darrell Hammond’s 2nd most popular recurring character next to Clinton; and for at least 2 good reasons, one being that there were times when you couldn’t tell the difference between Hammond and the actual Chris Matthews; and the other being the absolute “Tearing a new one” he always gave Kattan’s “Paul Begala” (and rightfully so). The only thing I would change is awarding Bonus points for the Hammond crack-up in the middle.

 

REVISED SCORE: B-
 

DWAYNE_DRUNK
Drunk Girl or (Slurred speech)”I’m Not Drunk, I have a speach Impediment… (VOMITS) …And A Stomach virus…(FALLS DOWN) …And An Inner Ear Infection.”

So, they actually gave “her” a sketch. And I guess it’s great to see “Rocky” in a dress again. But for some reason, he doesn’t get the same reaction as before. (ROBIN LEECH: “I Don’t know why!”) Having Drunk Girl on Update is one thing, but giving him/her a sketch may be a little too much. That, and the fact that we have gotten the joke a few times. I give this one SOME credit, because the sight of a Muscle man in Drag can really Boost things up. (No Bra Pun intended.)

Diagnosis: D+

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Ah yes, Jeff Richards—one of SNL’s many “Lost Souls”. In my world, an SNL Lost Soul is someone who starts out with a sliver of promise, only to disappear from the face of the earth (Just ask Paul Brittan, Dan Vitale, Peter Aykroyd, and other people that make you want to say “Who?”). Richards’ “Drunk Girl” was (unfortunately) his most popular character in the 2 & ½ years he was on the show—and while I grant that there were certain aspects about the character that were both Funny & “True to Life”, it’s that same “True to Life” feature that made the character a little too painful to watch at times. Now that I think about it, I’ll applaud them for taking the rare step of placing Drunk Girl outside of his/her usual “Update” element, and Johnson helped in his inimitable way; but otherwise, “Drunk Girl” will always be a reminder of just how much of a footnote (at best) Richards was to the show…On another random note, I wonder if “Drunk Girl” and “Drunk Uncle” are related somehow………Ah, who gives a shit.

 

REVISED SCORE: C-
 

DWAYNE_SUBWAY
Homies on a Subway or “Aiight”

This must have been one of those rare instances where the sketch isn’t ment to be funny. So I’m going to judge this by Maya’s singing ability and Tracy’s acting skils. Put 2 and 2 together, and you have…

Diagnosis: C-

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: (*Sorry for using a Getty Image*) There I go being “Vague” again…and I’m probably going to be even more so because there is no Clip or Transcript aside from the picture you see here. Anyway, For what seemed like an eternity during Tracy’s last few years on the show, He & Maya Rudolph would every so often team up in a number of “Pseudo-serious” pieces where—for the most part–Maya would either sing or give a dramatic reading while Tracy played comic relief. For the record, not unlike “Solomon & Pudge” with Eddie & Joe, I never understood why these sketches were a thing. Yes, I know, there have been sketches/films on the show before that weren’t necessarily “Funny” but are still endearing in some way. But for whatever reason, these Maya/Morgan bits stuck out like a sore thumb to me. Since I can’t find the actual sketch, watch This One instead, it’s pretty much the same thing
 

DWAYNE_GAYDAR
Girl W/O Gaydar or “…I was going to call it Peterland, but that Gay bar by the Airport already took it.”

This gets my 2nd “OY VEY OF THE DAY”, Because if the sketch from the John Goodman show taught us anything, it’s that Pandora’s Box is meant to be closed. (Interesting Segway, eh?) And just because “Rocky” managed to show off his hidden talent on the last show, it doesn’t mean he has to be a killjoy about it.

Diagnosis: F

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: (*Damn You, Getty…no footage/transcript either*) I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again, In the words of Demitri Martin, I’m “Not Gay, But Supportive”. I think what they do for tolerance is very important, I feel the country should be more open minded when it comes to the LGBTQ community…………But seriously, FUCK THIS SKETCH! Not for the Gay stereotypes, mind you, but because they thought this would be an idea worth repeating a few times (I think they did 4 of them—which is about 8 too many). I’ve seen “Boilerplate” sketches in my lifetime, but this ranks right up there with Molly Shannon as “Helen Madden”  in terms of sketches that not only have no development or advancement whatsoever, but I just think whoever wrote these sketches simply painted themselves into a corner with no way out. The one joke is that Rachel Dratch doesn’t realize people are gay……AND? I’m sorry, I know this sketch had SOME good intentions, but I just get Really angry when I watch these.
 

DWAYNE_UPDATE2
Update or “…He’s probably going to get interviewed by Connie Chung or that DREADFUL Gene Shallit!.”

These aren’t the same Update jokes that I’m used to seeing. Maybe they were replaced by the FOX network in a desperate attempt to lure viewers away from SNL to “Mad TV”. The “Gene Shallit” segment drilled the whole thing into the ground. This is definately “Not my father’s update”.

Diagnosis: F

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Again, I was 17—and lord knows how many times I’ll keep using that excuse. So let’s be fair;

Favorite Jokes: Al Sharpton, Italian Hall of Fame, Alanis Morrisette, Cocaine Vaccine.

Commentaries: Kattan may have been the insufferable one in the cast back then, but Horatio Sanz was a close second—Thankfully his work on “Good News” more than makes up for everything these days; but back in the heyday of him & Fallon ruining sketches with their constant cracking up, an appearance by ANY Sanz character made me want to roll my eyes “Liz Lemon Style”.

 

REVISED SCORE: C+
 

BIGFOOT
Bigfoot & Neil Diamond or “…Believe me Chris, you don’t want to get started on drugs. I tried them once, Big mistake! Things got way too real.” (LIVE ACTION “PETER GRIFFIN”.) “Holy Crap, I am freaking out!”

The only reason that this was good in the first place, is because of the fact that Will was saying some of the most messed up shit I have ever heard. (And believe me, watching stoned people make asses out of themselves is good TV!) Was it just me, or did “The Rock” look like one of “Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer’s” relatives? Anyway, the funniest line (of the show, maybe) was “I sold a human foot to a chineese guy in a van”. Mainly because of the fact that it was sung, and a whole lot of crap sound funny when it’s sung.

Diagnosis: B

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: See my Updated thoughts Here on the 8/12/2016 entry…it was bizarre then, it’s just as bizarre now…but I wouldn’t change a thing to it.
 

DWAYNE_UNDERCOVER
America Undercover or “…To the owner of a John Deere tractor your parked on top of a pig…John Deere tractor on top of a pig.”

I didn’t know that Kattan was that flexable!… Which is too Gross even comprehend. Like “Drunk Girl”, this has gotten to the point where we know what the thing is about. So it loses points for Predictibility, but gains points back when Amy make “The Rock” feel “Uncomfortable” (Very Few points, BTW.)

Diagnosis: D+

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: (*QUIETLY SEETHES*)……………………Have I mentioned how much I Hate Chris Kattan?! Because I Hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, HAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTEEEEEE him So Much! And this series of sketches where he’s playing white trash opposite a far better talent in Amy Poehler (who is just starting out in this season) is just one of 72,494,608 Reasons why I do—Another reason is because of the increasingly gratuitous shots of his junk in sketches. The ONLY Reason why I wouldn’t outright condemn the sketch today is because of Poehler, who BTW has the rare distinction of going from Featured player to Full-Timer within half of their first season—the only other cast member to achieve that? Eddie Murphy—and when you see her trying to out-Kattan Kattan in this sketch, it’s pretty easy to understand why she’s gone far in the world while Kattan got booted off “Dancing with the Stars”…in the First Round. Seriously, a round of applause for Amy putting up with the contents of Kattan’s short shorts.
 

DWAYNE_XMAS
A Message from SNL or “…AHHH, Damn You!”

Well, at least it’s not a “Christmas Song” based song, But not even that helps! They try to be original by letting Tracy join in, but let’s face it… The damn thing died in May 2001.

Diagnosis: F

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: As much as I agree with myself here, I only do so to a point. Partly because, they actually Do try to mix it up with a different song entirely instead of the usual “Christmas Today” songs. Of course, I’m often reminded of the wise words of one Phillip J. Fry; “That’s not why people watch TV. Clever things make people feel stupid, and unexpected things make them feel scared.” So the fact that this was not the usual song they sung might’ve been slightly jarring to some, but at least they tried something different.

 

REVISED SCORE: C+

 
Grand Diagnosis: C+

Prescription: If any of the WWF Superstars had the Chutzpah to show up, (Like they did the last time.) It would have turned out better. But I’m afraid that the morally corrupt city of Hollywood has claimed yet another victim.

 

UPDATED SCORE: A Solid C

 

UPDATED THOUGHTS: A Middle of the Road show for an otherwise watershed season (Especially with Ferrell yet to depart). Johnson still had charisma to spare; which is good because considering he had to deal with the likes of Richards, Sanz & Kattan, he needed to get through some of these sketches with a Steely resolve.

 

 

OK, NOW The Season is over, Now we have to continue to Prepare for Starmaker, in addition to the following Summer Specials in a few months:

Favorite Bobby Moynihan sketches

Favorite Vanessa Bayer sketches

A Commentary on Sasheer Zamata

…and in August, “Update Week”

 

In the meantime, Have a Good Summer, and keep watching! (NOW can we endt he Season Properly?)

 

Thanks, much better.

Rocky Johnson, Hi! (Part 1)

IF ‘YA SMELLLLLLLLLLLL……..Nah, forget it…never did understand what the deal was with that catchphrase anyway. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is not, has never been and (unless he does a cross-over with the Food Network) will never be a Chef…but I’m sure he’s a fast learner. He has to be in order to be one of the more enjoyable—yet underappreciated—hosts of the show in recent years. In addition to being “The Most Electrifying yadda, yadda, yadda”, Johnson also managed to play everything that was given to him with a heightened level of commitment…even if that commitment included acting like Mr. Peepers, playing a better Obama than any Cast Member ever could AND Dressing in Drag (twice). It’s that rare combination of Charisma, Talent & Professionalism he has that could help give SNL the rough equivalent of a Steroid injection right about now. So, before we see the Brahma Bull do his best David Hasselhoff impression on the Big screen, harken ‘ye back to the year 2015…

 

DWAYNE_COVER2

Dwayne Johnson/George Ezra (Original Airdate: 3/28/2015)…wait a minute, “Ezra”? That means I can FINALLY use This Joke!

 

ROCK OBAMA: When this aired, I think a number of us saw this coming since it has become a signature bit whenever Johnson hosts. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter if there have been a few casting changes/glaring continuity errors since the last time it happened with Fred Armisen playing Obama instead of Jay Pharoah, it’s still the same routine…Though to be fair, The Michelle/She-Hulk Twist ending was actually kinda inspired & saved this from complete mediocrity. Otherwise, we KNOW what the joke is, we KNOW what the setups are, and we KNOW that there’s really nothing we can do about it, and it ultimately leaves us feeling “Meh” about it despite Johnson’s Energy and Ms. Jones’ first LFNY.

 

SCORE: 6 out of 10 Presidential-Strength People’s Elbows.

 

 

MONOLOGUE: Sorry, “Talk-singing” counts as singing too…and speaking as a fan of Old School R&B, this was a little hard to watch. I will grant that despite S&Ds being instant poison for a given episode, at least Johnson does his in a way that Doesn’t make me want to rip my ears out. He’s smooth, he’s suave, he’s not over the top (always a plus)…too bad his ego seems to be in overdrive and he could barely carry a tune (a minus). This might’ve been better if it wasn’t a little too self-referential for my tastes, though I liked the “Smurfs” joke. Not really much to say about this one, other than it appears to be a musical ego trip.

 

SCORE: 4 out of 10 pending “Furious” movies listed on Johnson’s IMDB.

 

 

PEP BOYS: Something tells me they might’ve found a little extra “Inspiration” from an “Onion” article earlier that week, but that could be a coincidence. This spot is about as subtle as a beehive in the pants, but it does try. There’s really only one “joke” in this; tough, surly mechanics attempt to talk about sensitive issues, hilarity ensues…except there wasn’t much of that here (save for Kate, and even that was a minor straight role). It kinda reminded me of those god awful sketches where Fred Armisen would play Roger Brush (AKA The Producer of those female-centric talk shows where the host won’t show up), only with Mechanics in the Fred Role. Except here, there’s only a little bit more effort.

 

SCORE: 4 out of 10 point inspections.

 

 

WRESTLEMANIA PROMOS: It’s time for Everybody’s Favorite sketch cliché…“Person is asked to do a simple task, Person Misses the Point entirely, No Real Resolution, Lather Rinse Repeat”. This is certainly no exception, but at least Johnson & Bobby’s combined energies make this otherwise “tried & died” formula worth watching this time. Unfortunately, Johnson’s spitballing of the jokes kinda deteriorates their quality a little; The initial jokes are fine, but the rants go on FAR too long (Remember, “Less is More”). Bobby reacts accordingly as the foil, and Taran’s slight subtlety of switching from smartphone to announcing on the turn of a dime deserves a mention. Otherwise, it’s just another in a long line of these sketches where We get the point despite the characters not doing so.

 

SCORE: 5 out of 10 Turnbuckles.

 

 

BAMBI: For the record I honestly can’t stand any of the “Fast and/or Furious” movies, But Damn if they didn’t capture the style of the movies to the letter—Though it helps that both “Furious” and SNL are produced by various branches of NBComcast/Universal/Sheinhart Wig Company, so this would ultimately look effortless. That being said, why is it that “Bambi” of all things is a common target for SNL to aim for (No Hunting pun intended)? Have we forgotten the Smigeltoon where they try to make Bambi all “Hip” and “With It”? Well, this is pretty much that, only live-action and on Steroids. Only Johnson can say “I’m Bambi” and Still manage to hold on to 100% of his masculinity. Taran steals the show as Vin Diesel/Thumper, Jay’s OK as Tyreese/Flower but makes up for it with his Luda, and Cecily barely registered. Otherwise, it’s Disney meets High Octane, and all is well—the visual style is perfect, the costumes/dialogue are goofy, it all meshes together very well.

 

SCORE: 8 out of 10 Direct to DVD sequels Disney will inevitably make from this.

 

 

DINNER DATE: I already mentioned this sketch on a completely different review. But really, no matter who is playing Cecily’s beau in these sketches, it doesn’t change the fact that James Anderson & Kent Sublette sketches make Paint-by-Number paintings scoff in disgust. Fuck You, Anderlette.

 

SCORE: 2 out of 10 Mozzarella Sticks (FAR Better than Onion Rings)

 

 

ESCAPE FROM JUNGLE ISLAND: Speaking of “Heightened Level of Commitment”, I can’t really complain about the otherwise gratuitous/homoerotic acts between Johnson & Pete here. We’ve seen Johnson in Drag several times before, we just saw him in a Bambi costume, there’s no doubt whatsoever that Johnson is beyond comfortable in his masculinity to do a sketch like this…almost in the same way Kate is Comfortable in her Femininity & Sexuality to want to have Johnson do stuff to her (I’m still convinced she’s more Bisexual than Lesbian, but I STRONGLY Digress). Say what you will, but the overall shock of each sucking position followed by Johnson pushing away Kate actually made me laugh a little…and I’m honestly amazed they were able to get away with a 69-er-sault on Television. But if I were to watch this on a repeat viewing, the novelty would instantly wear off.

 

SCORE: 6 out of 10 Temples of Doom.

 

 

DWAYNE_BROGAINE

BROGAINE: If ever there was a “Generic SNL Commercial”, this would be the wood-carved drawing in the encyclopedia. Don’t get me wrong, it WAS funny, but it just seemed so standard. We’ve all seen variations on the “[PRODUCT] for [PERSON WHO WOULD NORMALLY NOT USE IT]” many times that the only way it could be good is if we see a twist on it we haven’t seen before. But nope, it’s another one of those “A+B=Hilarity Ensues” formulas that makes this a little too predictable despite its best efforts. Yeah, the sight of everybody in those oxymoronic Bald Wigs was good for a chuckle, but the thing still felt a little too straightforward for it to be jokey.

 

SCORE: 5 out of 10 Hair Clubs for Men.

 

 

DWAYNE_UPDATE

UPDATE: (Part 1, Here. Part 2, There.)

Colin’s Best: Indiana Law, American Apparel, Shooting over OJ

Michael’s Best: 440 lb. Peanut Butter cup

Commentaries: Kate’s Russian character (whose name I can never spell correctly) continues to be a quirky foreign voice, but all the nuances she has make it worth watching each time. Colin’s Mini-Commentary on “The Jinx” was F—ing Brilliant (and not just because I’m a fan of songs from the 90s), it was the way he executed the commentary that made it entertaining. Of course, things can’t be all perfect as Kenan continues to suck dry any goodwill that was building up. Meanwhile, Holy Hell, Colin was on Fire tonight! Between his “Jinx” commentary and good pacing on most of his jokes, he was a force to be reckoned with—or at least the best he’s been so far. Meanwhile, meanwhile, Che legitimately tried, but his pacing seems to remain stuck in neutral—though he did make up for it a little with Jost on the “Starbucks” back-and-forth.
SCORE: 7 out of 10 WRC’s (NBC in Washington DC)

 

 

DWAYNE_PAUL

COOKING WITH PAUL: (*DEJECTED SIGH*) OK, Where did I put my Season 20/40 Checklist, again? (*SEARCHES*) Ah, Here it is……gonna make an adjustment here……

Sketch Involving Pedophilia/Sex Offending [X]

 

Though, granted, this isn’t Nearly as bad as Chris Elliott & Mark McKinney’s Adventures in Envelope Pushing 20 years ago, it was almost as incredibly painful to watch. I’ll also grant that unlike 20 years ago, the crime seems more implied rather than actually shown—plus it also helps that Johnson is doing his best with bad material. But in the end, Sex Crimes—not unlike ISIS—is one of those areas that needs to be tread with extreme caution. At least when Will Forte played a Sex Offender, he was naturally goofy enough to pull it off. But when Kenan is seen mincing his way through the part in his usual brand of acting, it makes an already hazardous attempt at comedy even more doomed from the start. It also doesn’t help matters that the sketch was just flat-out unfunny to begin with.

 

SCORE: 2 out of 10 (Oh yes, I’m being charitable here)

 

 

DWAYNE_DURST

ROBERT DURST IMPROV: Much to my surprise, this Clip WAS available despite heavy use of a “Beastie Boys” song…but I digress. The ONLY Good thing I’ll say about this is if Julie Kavner ever passes away/retires from playing Marge Simpson, Kate will (hopefully) take over in a heartbeat. Her performance as Durst—though questionable—continues to showcase just how fearless she can be at times. Otherwise, considering my lack of HBO at home, I haven’t really caught on to the whole “Jinx” phenomenon in order to appreciate this a little better. Also, considering he was arrested earlier this week, why would Durst be free enough to attend an Improv show in the first place? As for everybody else; Cecily briefly flaunts herself as Pirro, and the Improv troop acts about as well as any other Improv Troop there is in the Western World…Johnson was wise to sit this sketch out.

 

SCORE: 5 out of 10 Life Sentences to Theater Camp.

 

 

DWAYNE_INTERROGATION

INTERROGATION: Thank God for Randomness, this was probably Johnson’s best—and strangest—performance of the night (Though I gotta dock him points on some line stumbles). The way he delivered some of his lines were almost as ridiculous as the lines themselves—my favorites include the theme from “Friends”, the various “Jeff” runs, and holding it in during a performance of “Rent”. Vanessa continues to do straight parts for a paycheck, Taran is simply there to act cocky. This was all Johnson here despite a few glaring errors.

 

SCORE: 6 out of 10 Episodes of “Law & Order” Johnson probably should’ve watched in order to get his performance right.

 

 

DWAYNE_CIRCUS

KYLE ON THE STREET – CIRCUS: This edition was actually slightly better than the one that was cut for the anniversary show, largely because kids will steal the spotlight every time AND because Kyle’s child-like performances in these pieces make it almost a perfect match. Yeah, we kinda get what the shtick is by now, but as long as there are different venues to try it out in, it somehow turns out original each time. Just about every one of the “Interviews” were awkwardly charming (especially the first one with the girl hiding), and The low-rent animations continue to be the icing on the cake. This is one of a small handful of things I wouldn’t mind seeing on the show every so often.

 

SCORE: 8 out of 10 Clowns emerging from a Smart Car.

 

 

 

BONUS POINTS:
+1 for Johnson as the Old-Timey Weightlifter
+1 for Johnson “Breaking” the “camera” (4th picture in…BTW, that’s what I’m gonna do from now on if I need to describe a particular bumper, I’ll just refer you to a photo gallery)

 

 

 

FINAL SCORE: 70 out of 130 (53.8% Watchable)

 

 

 

FINAL THOUGHTS: So let’s see, earlier in Season 40 we had a show hosted by a guy named “Rock”…it was weak. We had a show hosted by a Girl named Johnson…it was weak. We just sat through a show with a host named “Rock” And “Johnson” at the same time……Folks, though Not the Worst show despite a few saving graces here & there, this one still felt kinda painful to watch in some places—Especially when the most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment has to play foil to a Sex Offender (among other problems). Don’t get me wrong, Johnson—as usual—seemed pretty game for the material and he gave it all he got (Especially on “Bambi” and “Jungle Island”). But something in the back of his mind must’ve failed to tell him that some sketches were bad ideas before performing them. Moral of the story, Try to resist getting a host named “Rock” or “Johnson” for a little while…yeah, the content wasn’t really his fault, but now this is just creating a needless superstition.

 

UPDATED THOUGHTS: What makes this episode particularly puzzling to watch was the fact that this was the episode Lorne & the other SNL higher-ups submitted for that season’s Emmy Awards—Maybe because they knew they were going to win big for that year’s 40th Anniversary show, they probably felt nothing would be lost or gained if they submitted a sub-par program for their regular submission…unless, of course, I’m actually missing something here. Johnson certainly has Talent & Charisma to spare, but something about this episode just felt a little off. Hopefully when he helps wrap up this current season tonight, the 2 year rest will do him some good.

 

On that note, NOW the season is over. For those who missed my Earlier announcement, the “Summer of Starmaker” will be taking place beginning June 19th—also, in an effort to keep that separate from our Regular S.O.S.N.L page, look for a tab on our masthead that says “STARMAKER” within a few weeks. That way, if any “Breaking” news happens during the summer, I won’t run the risk of crossing a few wires. I’m also going to work on a “Best of Bobby” tribute in honor of (the soon to be leaving) Bobby Moynihan who has a new show on CBS next year, look for that tribute later in the Summer. Until then, thanks again for reading—and if SAG/AFTRA can behave themselves, we’ll be back with new, old stuff in the Fall. Take us out, Howard Shore!

 

(*SILENCE*)

 

Uh……..Music, Maestro…Please?

 

(*SILENCE*)

 

What Gives? That’s the Season, we gotta wrap it up, who killed the music…

 

(*AOL “YOU’VE GOT MAIL” CHIME*)…Pardon me…

 

(*READS EMAIL*)

 

…SIGH…Well, it looks like I can’t take a break just yet. Apparently I have some unfinished “Rock/Johnson” related business & repressed memories to attend to…Which we’ll take care of on the Next Page…

Sweet Melissa: Part 2

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…

 

 

McCARTHY COVER 3

Melissa McCarthy/Kanye West (Original Airdate: 2/13/2016)

 

 

 

McCARTY CLINTON

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)

 

 

 

McCARTY MONO

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)

 

 

 

McCARTY SCREENING

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)

 

 

 

McCARTY MOVIE

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)

 

 

 

 

 McCARTY UPDATE

UPDATE:

Part 1:

Part 2:

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.)

 

 

McCARTY PICKUP

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)

 

 

 

McCARTY KANYE

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)

 

 

 

McCARTY BUS

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)

 

 

 

McCARTY WHISKERS

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)

 

 

 

BONUS POINTS:

 

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!

Sweet Melissa: Part 1

As I mentioned a few months ago; aside from Alec Baldwin, no person is benefiting more from “The Reign of the Infected Tangerine” than Melissa McCarthy—whose Sean “Spicy” Spicer has pretty much put the cherry on top of SNL’s political humor this year. This week, as McCarthy becomes the latest in a long line of stars to become SNL “5-timers”, we’re going to take a look at her 3rd and 4th time hosting. First from 2014, McCarthy was sort of on the fringe between TV Star & Movie star as this aired, so we weren’t quite sure where this would go. At the same time, SNL had no idea where it was going to go; especially considering this was Seth Meyers’ last as a cast member before going to “Late Night”. There’s no real reason to mention that aside from historical context, so on that note, let’s take a look…

 

 McCARTHY COVER 1

Melissa McCarthy/Imagine Dragons (Original Airdate: 2/1/2014)

 

 

McCARTY HALFTIME

HALFTIME SPECTACULAR: If you’ve seen one parody of highly-flamboyant Broadway before…here’s another. When this first aired, I had a feeling that with an “oversized” cast like this one was, it might’ve resulted in “Epic” sketches a la “Steve Martin 1991”? Well…this one kinda missed the mark by about 100 miles, but it wasn’t “Terrible”. Taran, Kenan & McCarthy each played their parts with the over-the-topness that only parodies of Broadway could accomplish. Beck, Bobby & Jay do their parts as the bemused straight men of Fox NFL Sunday, though it’s Jay who steals this one as Michael Strahan. On the plus side, welcome to the LFNY Club, Beck Bennett, and Bonus point for use of the phrase “You’re Tearing me Apart!” from whoever played the football (Milheiser?)…which IMO counts as Two references to “The Room” in one.

 

SCORE: 6 out of 10 minutes of the Halftime show I will actually watch.


EDITOR’S NOTE: Does ANYBODY know who John Milheiser is? (*CRICKETS CHIRP*) Just checking…

 

 

McCARTHY MONO

MONOLOGUE: I don’t know if it’s leftover acting from starring in “The Heat”, but McCarthy really doesn’t want to let go of her Badass side—Especially If a number of the upcoming sketches are any indication—it’s very prominent here, and it shows. While I feel 13 years is a little too late for any “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” homages, I still have to applaud them for at least trying something different (Especially something highly technical). And while it’s always Bobby who steals the scenes, he lets Taran do it this time while Bobby plays straight man. Just the fact alone that this is highly unconventional, and NOT a Song and Dance-ologue certainly propels this Monologue into the Top 5 for the year, easily. Bonus Meta Points for use of Lincoln & The Llama in the Hallway.

 

SCORE: 8 out of 10 Fists of Fury.

 

 

McCARTY CVS

CVS/VALENTINES DAY: (*CHANNELING DAVID SPADE*) I liked this sketch the first time I saw it…when it was the “Little Bear holding a Heart” ad from 2006 (*END*). Yeah, I know the “plot” is different, but who are we kidding? It’s the same basic idea, a “Gift” of “Love” that requires little to no thought whatsoever. To be fair though, unlike the 2006 ad, this one actually had some decent jokes (Favorites include: “Jewelry” next to the Dog food, Kyle as the “Jewelry” “Expert”, A Christmas stocking as a gift & Aidy’s subsequent response). If it weren’t for the fact that this was similar to that OTHER commercial from 2006, I would say that this was good on its own merits…and since this and the other commercial were Years apart, I’ll forgive it.

 

 

SCORE: 6 out of 10 days to go until stores throw away the Valentines Displays to make way for Easter.

 

 

McCARTHY DELAWARE

DELAWARE 1 NEWS: And speaking of things we’ve already seen before, just replace “Angry Congressperson” with…oh…say for example…ANGRY BASKETBALL COACH, and, yeah, this is pretty much That sketch all over again minus the ESPN elements. But to be fair, this is actually a lot funnier than the other sketch. Each camera angle gets progressively funnier, and McCarthy’s surly nature is icing on the cake. But once again, if it weren’t for the fact that she played the same character in a previous season, this too would be perfectly fine on its own merits alone. Still though, our attention spans aren’t THAT shot to shit!

 

SCORE: 7 out of 10 Screen Door factories in Wilmington (5 points if anybody gets that joke).

 

 

 

WOMEN’S GROUP: I mentioned this one last year as part of “Ghostbuster week”; see 7/14/2016 for the review of the sketch.

 

SCORE: 5 out of 10 times a day McCarthy’s character watches the movie “Commando”.

 

 

GUESS THAT PHRASE: First thing’s first, glad to see Kenan as a Contestant this time. And thank GOD, because the role of Game Show host seems to have Beck Bennett written all over it—you can tell that all his time shilling for AT&T is actually paying off here. Of course, the sketch belongs to McCarthy…though I dare ask if she’s portraying her character as one with…shall we say…”Special Needs” (Oh wait, they mentioned UCLA Medical Center, I’m guessing she’s a Guinea Pig). Though FAR better than last week’s “Couple’s Quiz”, this one seems to be just a straightforward game with a random idiot, and not a game with a plot twist like we’ve been seeing a lot of lately. Not complaining, though, sometimes it’s good to alternate between the twists.

 

 

SCORE: 8 out of 10 vowels I’d like to buy…even though there are only 5 of them in the English Language.

 

 

 

28 REASONS: For all the slack we gave Jay for not doing much outside of playing Obama, When he shines, he REALLY shines…what a pity it has to be during a pre-taped piece. That being said, this is yet another music video with a very catchy beat that also happens to be very funny in an awkward way. In the grand scheme of things, I’d probably make this my #2 choice for best music video of the season (“Twin Bed” still holds the lead, BTW). Kenan & Sasheer are simply there as back-up singers, and Bobby proves himself as a scene stealer once again with his brief part. Also, am I the only one who noticed how Kate’s teacher character looked Scarily like Tina Fey?

 

 

SCORE: 8 out of 10 Professor Shabazz K. Morton’s

 

 

McCARTHY UPDATE

UPDATE:

PART 1:

PART 2:


Seth’s Best: State of the Union, Motley Crue, And only because it was his last Update joke ever, the “Weed” story.

Cecily’s Best: Super Bowl, John McCain, Sexercising.

Commentaries: I’m just going to jump ahead to the big one first, a sizable representation of Seth’s friends show up to wish him the best; Amy, obviously, Andy Samberg (who I’m still trying to get used to calling a “Golden Globe Winner”), and of course, Stefon Returns! This was more of a sentimental moment rather than it being “Epic” like Stefon’s Finale, and certainly more sentimental than any other “Update” departure in history. But if that’s the way Seth wanted it, so be it. In fact, so touching was the moment that not even Fred Armisen’s random appearance as “David Patterson” could ruin it at the last second. Back to Business, I don’t know why, but Taran’s “Buford Calloway” would probably have been more effective if he dressed like a Southern Gentleman from the 1800s (White Suit, Big Hat, Magnolia in the Lapel, etc.).

 

SCORE: 7 out 10…Seth Meyers’ (You’ve earned it!)

 

 

ART EXHIBIT: For a second, I thought they were going to Exile Nasim into a Non-speaking role, but thankfully she spoke up–Though to be fair, standing perfectly still in costume DOES take a lot of skill, ask anyone who plays a Living sculpture on the streets of New York. McCarthy continues to let her surly side show, and unfortunately, this was one of her weaker performances of the night. Unlike her mercenary character earlier, this character is just unlikeable, rude & childish. Also, I think I’m going to start a swear jar for any/all times Mike O’Brien says a line awkwardly and/or flubs it. If you liked it, good for you, but the sketch just have me a very negative vibe.

 

SCORE: 3 out of 10 exhibits on loan from the Lourve.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Now that I’m seeing this again, it actually seems like par for the course for McCarthy now that she has “Spicy” under her belt. Tough, Brash, willing to pick a fight at the drop of a hat. It doesn’t change the fact that it might’ve been a little TOO abrasive for my tastes, but at least it makes more sense in perspective. Also, Mike O’Brien as a cast member might be one of the more spectacular backfires the show had in recent memory. Unlike Mikey Day today, not everybody who’s a good writer on the show is gonna have good stage presence—and O’Brien should’ve spent some time boot-camping with Second City before going on camera.

 

 

GIRLFRIENDS TALK SHOW: Normally when they move a fairly popular sketch to later in the show, it’s either because of language/subject matter, or because it’s starting to get phased out. In this case, I’m going to assume it’s an 80/20 split respectively—especially once we get to talking about “Body Awakenings” and the 5-O joke. While this was pretty much a standard edition of the sketch, I gotta give them a little credit for having McCarthy play just “A Friend” of Aidy’s character instead of the more predictable route of playing her Mom/Aunt/Relative or something.

 

SCORE: 4 out of 10 teenagers who snicker at the word “Lei”

 

 

DIANE (AKA “Summer in a Day”): This seems to be a trend with most of the characters McCarthy has been playing in her past three appearances; Frumpy, Awkward, Bizarre, sometimes with Food all over her face, or even a combination of each. I’m going to go with the Frumpy/Food combo here. Aside from pigging out on ribs and cussing out Bobby, she didn’t really do much here. Then again, neither did Bobby—despite doing most of the heavy lifting in narrating. Most of the “Humor” of the sketch comes from just how silly the premise is, but then again…Take it, Tommy…Which makes Three “The Room” references in this review.

SCORE: 6 out of 10 orders of Ribs from “Tony Roma’s”

 

 McCARTHY CHAMPIONS

GOOD NEIGHBOR – SUPER CHAMPIONS: Ah, this must be that “Man on the Street” routine of Kyle’s the board keeps talking about; It’s pretty good, if not awkwardly charming. Though to be fair (Boy, I’ve been saying that a LOT tonight) Kyle’s “Character” seems to be a mix between Samberg’s “Shy Ronnie”, the late Calvert Deforest (AKA Larry “Bud” Melman) and about 90% of anybody Fred Armisen played in his “Bad” years…and yet, that’s actually NOT a bad thing in this case. He plays up the fact that he’s an awkward interviewer pretty well, and the random animations that play in between his questions are simply that—hilariously random. I wouldn’t want this bit to recur, however, simply because it’s still just one joke of Kyle being ill prepared to interview people and that particular joke can only work so many times.

 

SCORE: 7 out of 10 runs on the Super Bowl Toboggan ride in Times Square.

 

 

FINAL SCORE:  75 out of 120 (62.5% Watchable)

 

FINAL THOUGHTS: Though not a “Best Show Ever” by any means, its one of the strongest shows I’ve seen in months, and it will certainly be enough to satisfy us until March. McCarthy was her usual funny self (Give or take a couple exceptions), Seth’s Sign off was classy & somewhat dignified, and with his sign off, an era ends for SNL.

 

UPDATED THOUGHTS: McCarthy would get a little better in her Next episode (which we’ll talk about Tomorrow), but you could tell that the show in general was about to set the wheels in motion for a major transitional phase—if the massive hiring spree earlier in the year wasn’t already an indication. With Seth, Head Update writer Alex Baze and about 30% of the Writing Staff getting ready to migrate across the hall, there was renewed hope that the show would get back on track after a bumpy half-year. Eventually, the pieces would come together, but it wasn’t instantaneous—the rest of Season 39 was a little frantic, Season 40 was downright Schizophrenic, but they would sooner or later find their footing in Season 41 only to maintain & strengthen that footing this year…but I’m getting ahead of myself.

 

We’ve got More McCarthy tomorrow, this time from just last year.