As Season 43 begins, we take two seasons backward to Ryan Gosling—a guy whose Only connection to the show (aside from the episode we’re about to go over) was in the form of a passing lyric in the famed “Lazy Sunday”…but that’s not what any of this is about…Though, yes, we’re All getting older. This is about a guy whose mere mentioning of his name can turn women into putty (Or if you’re Pam from “Archer”, something…uh…far less subtle), while at the same time mentioning wife Eva Mendes’ name can turn those same women into balls of Fire and Jealous Rage…but I digress. Gosling isn’t exactly known for his comedic skills…because he has none (that we know of), but since he is Canadian & Canada is one of our main comedic exporters, maybe there’s a secret talent in Gosling that he’s waited until now (or in this case, 2 years ago) to unleash.
Time to try & love this show like McAdams (Used to) Love
Ryan Gosling/Leon Bridges (Original Airdate: 12/1/2015)
TRUMP XMAS MESSAGE: Taran looks like everything but his eyes was the shade of a carrot, while the voice seems to have regressed into a “Sudeikis as Romney” level. Cecily remains eye candy, while her accent remains as mysterious as a James Bond Villian. This was unusually short for an opening sketch, which I guess is a plus since it doesn’t drag itself out too much and it’s pretty much the same sketch as the one from the Premiere, but there could’ve been a lot more potential in the whole “Naughty V. Nice” idea—though I agree that the Hillary/Nutcracker joke was the best of an otherwise limited bunch.
SCORE: 6 out of 10 homes Trump has on the Florida Coast (I gave an extra point because of how short it was).
EDITOR’S NOTE: Ah, yes, it was a simpler time 2 years ago…one where not only was the idea of Donald Trump as President seemed like a bigger joke than what he’s doing in the White House right now, but also that Taran Killam thought he could pull off an impression of him when somebody far superior was waiting in the wings…after Darrell Hammond did Trump for the rest of the year. I really have nothing to add about this sketch, I’m just wondering if 2 years is too soon to wear “Nostalgia Goggles”?
MONOLOGUE: (No Video…I’m guessing the Song they sing is based on an actual work) 7 shows without “Audience Questions” has to be a record of some kind, but I’ll forgive it since there was only One question from Cecily…………oh, and MIKE FRIGGIN’ MYERS was kind enough to show up. It also helps me greatly to have re-watched SCTV reruns and some of that week Conan O’Brien was in Toronto so that I could get some of the references (Especially Bonhomme the Snowman). The song was OK; if not for more Canadian references I need to look up, than for Gosling & Myers’ soft-shoeing. Also, as much as we give the show a lot of flack for “Regionalized” humor, I gotta give ‘em a charity point for remembering the old “Money Store” commercials with Scooter Rizzuto.
SCORE: 7 out of 10 Peter Mansbridge’s……….you don’t even know who that is, do you? (No, I’m not gonna put up a link…Educate yourselves for a change!)
EDITOR’S NOTE: This would be a good time to mention that we get a LOT of readers from Canada—in fact, on some days the amount of Canadians reading us out-number the U.S. a little. Having never actually set foot in the country before, I hope you can forgive me in advance if I get a few references wrong today. Also, on that last part I was probably a little too angry about something that day—I forget. For my Non-Canadian readers, think of Peter Mansbridge as the Maple flavored equivalent to someone like Tom Brokaw.
SETTL: A little short & too “on point”, but I get it…I fit the description of the men being portrayed here a little TOO accurately, but I get it. This was sort of a spin on that old Amy Poehler joke, “You Date Bert, but you Marry Ernie”. All the women seem hilariously repressed in the choices they made (with Jonesy & Vanessa being the highlights), but it could’ve been fleshed out a little better. (*HYPOTHETICAL RANT ALERT*) One idea for a joke could’ve been if during one of these dates, Gosling happens to walk by as a newly single man; he bumps into one of his lady friends (Pick a cast member) while dating a person she’s “settling” for, Gosling talks about how great life would be if he only had “The One” by his side. The woman would then seethe so much over her schlubby date AND the fact that she can now Never get this other guy, that she winds up breaking a wine glass with her bare hands, all while maintaining a manic smile (*RANT OVER*). BTW, it’s a pretty sad state of affairs when Pete’s ONLY appearances of the night are a couple of Dorky still-shots—just like the tag of the commercial says…Tick, Tock, Pete!
SCORE: 6 out of 10 times I need to realize I need to hit the Gym.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Hammer of Plagiarism strikes again. A few days after this sketch aired, it was revealed that the idea has already been done not once, but THREE TIMES by other—shall we say, “Scrappier”—sketch comedy troupes (Although to be fair, one of them used the “Settl” name before SNL even though they themselves are one of the copycats…confused? Here, just read Jeff Bezos’ newspaper.). At the time I wrote this review, I actually had a Zero Tolerance policy against Plagiary—although if, say, for example, someone wrote something one place and THEN they became writers for SNL and they wound up doing an SNL version of that same sketch, THEN it’s OK. Neither this sketch or any of the others on the WaPo article were the original versions of what is essentially the same concept. And I know what you’re thinking, “What about Hollywood Reboots? Those recycle things all the time!” As much as they do, at least the Reboots give credit as to where they are getting their source material from. Whether this is coincidental or not, Stealing isn’t nice unless you ask first…then it’s “Borrowing”. At either rate…
UPDATED SCORE: 0 out of 10
UFO INTERROGATION: A Sketch I already covered on our Main Page Over a Year ago—and despite the fact that this sketch has now seen 2 (or possibly 3 come 9/30/2017) sequels as of this writing, the original still holds up pretty well thanks to Kate…still gotta dock points for the giggles.
SCORE: 7 out of 10 Unsolved Mysteries of…Unsolved Mysteries (The TRUTH is Out There!)!
SANTA BABY: Hmmmm…Adults that Still believe in Santa……Why does THAT Sound Familiar? Thankfully, this was Miles better than the ’94 Baldwin sketch, but the overall concept is still there in spite of a much better execution here. Some people want to compare the film style to that of Tarantino, which is an OK comparison to make. As for me; I don’t know why, but I seem to be getting a P.T. Anderson vibe from this film, very dark yet bold at the same time (not unlike “Boogie Nights”). Vanessa must also be enjoying her screen time with Gosling a little TOO intently here, especially after playing “Meg Griffin” style roles over the years—call that an Early Christmas present for her (and for Us too…RAWR, ‘Nessa.). Beck manages to shine as the put-upon party host being forced to dress as Santa, while Gosling further proves why he’s a better Dramatic Film actor than he is a comedian. Somewhat Dark humored, if not a little dry, but it gets the job done.
SCORE: 8 out of 10 Glasses of “Johnnie Walker Red” an “Adult” Santa would Drink—mostly so his drink would match his suit.
ANOTHER CRUSH ON DAD: Of all the things to bring back a 2nd time, this one ranks about 3rd on the “Least Likely” list. Same jokes as the one with Drake? Check! Total coincidence that this is Aidy’s 2nd Canadian she’s hitting on? Check! Aidy selling the hell out of her performance, Including pulling a “Farley” at the end with the coffee table? Check-a-doodle-Doo! And really, aside from the obvious cut-and-paste job, Aidy is Still the most entertainingly creepy highlight of this sketch…which isn’t really saying much because this is yet another sketch that did Not need to be repeated in the first place—Gosling giggling again doesn’t help either…also (and forgive me for nitpicking) wasn’t Aidy’s character in her 30s with Drake, and now suddenly she’s “13 and a Half”. Continuity, What’s That?
SCORE: 5 out of 10 Canadian Men on Aidy’s Tinder profile.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Want my Original Thoughts on the first one with Drake? Here ‘ya go.
Colin’s Best: Ben Carson in Jordan, Isis Cosby
Michael’s Best: The Wiz, Male & Female Brains (only because of how Hackey it was)
Commentaries: Mini-Comment on the San Bernadino/ISIS/Guns/Planned Parenthood clusterfuck going on was very welcome catharsis. Cecily’s new “Glamour” character seems to emulate her “Girl…at a Party”, only with 50 additional IQ points, though I’d be lying if I didn’t think she was also emulating Wiig’s “Flirting Expert” from 2011. The addition of Gosling aside, Bobby should really consider retiring the Crispino character while he has a chance—I know it’s gonna be hard to do since Jost created the character, but it’s run its course (I’ll give both of them a pity point for the harmonizing and the Tea Kettle joke at the end).
SCORE: 7 out of 10 KUSA’s (NBC in Denver, CO)
EDITOR’S NOTE: It’s funny, Before 2016 was considered the “Worst Year Ever”, 2015 was almost as bad—nowadays, I PINE for two years ago…Paul McCartney was right, “Oh, how I long for Yesterday…”
RYAN & TREVOR: (No Video Available…for some reason) I’m all for Kyle getting a little more exposure, but this was just plain obnoxious—especially once he took off his shirt. On the other hand, something felt “Familiar” about Kyle’s performance here—The whiny voice, the Canadian-ness of the character, the fact that he seemed hyper as hell…and then it hit me, Kyle was trying to do an impression of Mark McKinney. Which Time? Let’s say somewhere between “Taddli” and the “Chopper 4” guy…Yes, THAT annoying (Sorry Mark, I know you’re good at other things, and I’m glad you found work on “Superstore”). Add to that the fact that Gosling can’t carry a tune or keep a straight face to save his life, and we’ve got Canadian awkwardness in about 4 minutes (but at least he can still bust a decent move). The fake magazine headline at the end pretty much telegraphed the sketch’s lameness.
SCORE: 4 out of 10 “Scarborough Suitcases”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Once again, this was 2 years ago…we had yet to know the power of “La La Land”, and the fact that Gosling actually could carry a tune…if the tune is low, slow & mellow enough.
NESPRESSO: Taran may have the look down, but Clooney is a hard one to emulate—You can mimic his voice, you can mimic his looks, you can even mimic his mannerisms. But I have yet to see someone who can do All three at the same time successfully. Bobby, on the other hand improves a little on his DeVito, though he could use a few more cigarettes to get the voice right. Of course, if you’ve seen the Real Nespresso commercial interrupting your Youtube videos, this is actually a spot on, almost Shot-for Shot parody of them—so on that merit alone, this one gets props for being true-ish to the original. Even the “Whaaaat?” tagline at the end sums up how bizarre the Real commercials are, let alone this one. I’ll even give ’em an extra point for a Batman connection—which I guess makes the Real Clooney & DeVito distant cousins to the franchise.
SCORE: 7 out of 10 Malfunctioning Keurig Machines.
THE WIZ: It doesn’t take a lot to say this, but this is the best sketch of the night. Major, big league credit goes to the make-up department for making Che & Jay (or was that [musical guest] Leon Bridges?) almost unrecognizable as Scarecrow & Tin Man respectively. Gosling gives his best performance of the episode by channeling his inner Ray Bolger, Sasheer gets a few good words in for a change, Jonesy is unsurprisingly good as Queen Latifah’s “Wiz”, and even Kenan was above average playing the Lion. Some of the racial jokes were a little touch & go, but the overall energy of the sketch still made this a fun one to watch—and the make-up department should get an Emmy Nomination for fooling me pretty well.
SCORE: 8 out of 10 drafts Joel Schumacher wrote for the film version in 1978…and yet they were STILL better than him directing “Batman & Robin” (Hey, Two Clooney References!).
EDITOR’S NOTE: Not only did SNL’s Makeup & Costume department get nominations that year, they also won the Shit out of them—Thanks in Part to This sketch, and another one Kate McKinnon did that will swear me off of seafood for life.
SANTA AND HIS ELVES: Of all the things to bring back a 2nd time, this one now replaces the earlier “Crush on Dad” as 3rd on the “Least Likely” list. Largely because unlike “Crush on Dad” where it was actually amusing the first time; This was about 11 Herbs & Spices worth of Wrong the first time it aired with Louis CK back in May 2015, and it’s only worse with Gosling as a 3rd elf & Bobby in the Louie role. On the plus side, at least the subject matter was a better fit for the 10 to 1 slot, so there was less of a risk in being too offensive/squeamish for certain viewers. But considering it was the Exact same set of jokes as the first one—only with Christmas clothing and no “viewer poll” at the end—I would’ve rather watched a 3rd performance from Leon Bridges instead.
SCORE: 2 out of 10 times the “Elf on a Shelf” uses an Alias when “Buying” at the Bunny Ranch in Nevada.
BONUS POINTS: (Follow along on their Bumper Page)
+1 for the Moving Bumper of Gosling throwing himself an Ice Cube (Unavailable).
+1 for Romancing a Mop backstage (Pic #9)
FINAL SCORE: 69 out 110 (62.7% WATCHABLE)
UPDATED SCORE: 63 out of 110 (57.2%)
FINAL THOUGHTS: This was a Weird one. Certainly not “terrible” by any means, but between all the giggle-fits, unnecessary rehashes, bizarre filmed pieces even by filmed standards & Mike Myers showing up, this was about as wildly uneven as it could’ve been considering the largely positive streak the show has been in so far. Gosling may be a decent Dramatic actor/Eye candy for the Ladies; but clearly, he needs to work on being a comedic actor a little…not cracking up in most of the Live sketches he was in would certainly help—I guess this kinda makes him an Anti-DeNiro. The show might’ve also been slightly better if everybody was on duty tonight—seriously, where was Pete? And does J.R. even realize where he’s working yet? That aside, at least the positives outweighed the negatives here…but barely.
Now that that’s over, I am going to take a Much needed break from Gabbing about Sketch comedy for a little bit. Nothing personal, I’ve just been writing stuff non-stop since June, I need a little time to re-group. Shouldn’t be more than a month before I come back with full-on editorials, but until then, do me a favor and click on…
Not only will you hear TV’s Greatest Hits (Including Theme songs, covers and Original Music for Television), but who knows…you may even get to hear one of 5 different SNL Theme song arrangements I was able to track down. If you like what you hear, don’t be afraid to throw a couple of coins our way too.
I still have to write a few Obits regarding Messer’s Stanton & Hefner; but after that, I will probably see you again after Halloween; for now, enjoy the next few weeks, and welcome back to S.O.S.N.L!