Wednesday, September 19, 2012

SNL: Seth MacFarlane

I know I was supposed to write a review about a new show, but Guys With Kids was just not worth writing about, so I decided to go with the 38th season premiere of Saturday Night Live, hosted by Seth MacFarlane. Musical guest was Frank Ocean, and John Mayer played guitar on both songs Ocean sang. Once again, I have to remind that NBC really isn't fond of sharing their videos outside U.S, so try to find this episode some other way, if ya know what I mean...

 Seth MacFarlane is best know for his work on Family Guy. He created the show and voices many of the main characters. He is also responsible for American Dad and The Cleveland Show. He also directed Ted this summer. I was a bit surprised when I learned that he would be hosting, since he really isn't know for his acting. But his monologue really reminded me of how good he is at impersonating others (like George Takei and Kermit the Frog).

One of the most welcomed changes this season is Jay Pharoah replacing Fred Armisen as Barrack Obama in all SNL sketches. Pharoah really nailed the cold opening, though they over-did his makeup a bit, but he still managed to pull it off, and its pretty critical. Especially as we will be seeing a lot of him since its election year. And that might be one of the reasons Jason Sudekis decided to stay for at least half a season, since he does a killer Mitt Romney impersonation. EP and creator Lorne Michaels doesn't rule out the possibility that Sudekis might be staying for the whole season. How great would that be! (And Taran Killam does Ryan Paul, it seems)

After the monologue came maybe the weakest sketch of the show. Fred Armisen played Roger Brush as the replacement host of Sex After 50 talk show and gave some very inappropriate tips for his viewers. Like advising a man with erectile dysfunction on attaching a Popsicle with rubber bands to his ding-dong.

After this came maybe the best digital short of the evening. With Bill Hader doing his Clint Eastwood impersonation and making fun of Eastwood's appearance at the Republican National Convention where he talked to an empty chair and interviewed  Barrack Obama. The skit also included singing and juggling. With Andy Samberg gone, I really think Hader is the strongest actor of the crew.  Some enthusiastic fans even loved the part where "it was just the chair for 45-minutes while Clint ate chicken backstage". The male fan is played btw by Tim Robinson, one of the new featured actors.

SNL was the latest to get in to the Gangnam Style boom, with Bobby Moynahan impersonating Psy on a sketch where a salesperson tried to cheer up co-worker. Though the sketch was pretty decent as it is, it got even better when the real Psy made an appearance at the end. Notice the horses at the background, they really made my day.

My favourite sketch of the evening was the "introduction to puppeteering" sketch, where Hader shone once again when he played a former army men who had some "issues" from the past, which he decided to share via his puppet. This included acting out some murder scenarios and making out with another puppet.  This is the kind of sketches that Hader really shines in, since he can really dead-pan though impressions are his strongest part.

Though I love the sketches, Weekend Update with Seth Meyers is still maybe my favourite part of the show. It's constantly witty and features the best guests (real or impersonations) on the show. It was no surprise that the presidential election was the subject of most jokes. But other current talking points got their share too, like Honey Boo Boo Child, who appeared with her mother (played by Moynahan, while the kid was played by Vanessa Bayer). Moynahan does already a killer Snooki impersonation so now he can add this this to his repertoire. Meyers also joked about Innocence of Muslims, the video that sparked a lot of conflicts in Islamic countries, saying that "You guys know that YouTube has a comment section too, right?". MacFarlane was also part of the Update as he impersonated swimmer Ryan Lochte, and though they look nothing alike, he really did well (his best line "It feels so weird to be dry"). The Update also featured Cecily Strong, in her first real part at SNL as a new featured player. She played Mimi Morales, who gave viewpoints on the Latino community and how they will vote. 

MacFarlane's best sketch of the evening followed after Weekend Update, where he played a stuttering army general, trying to order around privates and asking for honest opinions for his stammer. He also shone on the next sketch, which was Steve Harvey- talk show, where  MacFarlane's character got a makeover from Harvey (Keenan Thompson). After makeover he said he feels like an Iranian DJ. The result was pretty amazing, especially when they practiced smiling:

Nasim Pedrad is my favourite actress of SNL crew, and it was really sad that she was rally part of only one sketch. Now that Kristen Wiig is gone, she and Bayer are the only two repertory actresses and it is really kinda sad, since SNL used to be really filled with great comediennes, like Tina Fey, Amy Phoeler, Rachel Dratch and Wiig, all at the same time. Lets hope that Kate McKinnon who joined last season, and the new girls will work hard this season.

The last skit was two Amish brothers (MacFarlane and Robinson) trying to advertise their wooden spoon business. Though they spelled their website like this: "double valley, double valley, double valley, time freckle, time valley, owl's eyes, stringless harp, broken ladder, hurt snake, fine snake, fat snake, owl's eyes, hurt snake, double valley, lean two, fat snake with a sex penis, broken ladder, horse bridge, child's toy, bull's scrotum, the river that took my son, the three fingered man, dot com. That's one way to spell that website.

The episode was overall really good and I can't wait to see the next episode hosted by Joseph Gorden-Levitt.

Next week I'll write review about new shows: Ben and Kate, and The Mindy Project. Now I'll start working on my weekly post.

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