ZOË RICE: Timely, relevant, and funny. All good things! The most amusing bit comes early with Pedrad’s jab at Romney’s popularity, but SNL was right to include Moynihan’s Chris Christie. A strong open.
HOWARD MEGDAL: Love how this actually foreshadowed the Christie endorsement of Romney. And if we get a President Romney, Jason Sudeikis is very good- much better than Armisen’s Obama.
ZOË RICE: Best host monologue in ages – would goy viewers agree? Samberg’s Jewish Willy Wonka was joyful, “Also fun complaining” a pitch perfect lyric, and even standing sandwich Bobby Moynihan added value with his Jewy hand gestures.
HOWARD MEGDAL: We are the three percent… that loved this. Audience was much too quiet. So depressing how much less of a reponse this got than some of the awful skits to come.
ZOË RICE: This series of commercials got off to a decent start, if not as strong as earlier ad spoofs this season. Unfortunately the second spot set off a swift deterioration not quite redeemed by a final Ben Stiller in drag.
HOWARD MEGDAL: You have the rich field of talking to your future self… and the only joke you can come up with is sex and drag? What wasted potential.
FOX & FRIENDS
ZOË RICE: Begins by capturing the hypocrisy and fact-fudging of Fox News, continues with Sudeikis’s excellent take on Hank Williams Jr, and ends with what when watched in slo-mo are quite funny “fact corrections”
(I only wish they had scrolled more slowly). Sudeikis’s later call back with “Are you ready for commercial” was just awesome. Great episode so far!
HOWARD MEGDAL: Nicely done here, though it’s usually The Daily Show that fact checks Fox and Friends, not the show itself.
BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
ZOË RICE: Andy Samberg tickles me as both the masculine and feminine Hugh Jackman. Stiller’s Mandy Patemkin worked, as did Hader’s Clint Eastwood. Unfortunately the sketch didn’t hold up – Real Hugh Jackman’s interaction with Andy Samberg came across as too self-conscious, and the bloody chaos at the end forgot to be funny.
HOWARD MEGDAL: Ultimately, this moved too slowly, I think. Lots of humor within it. Pace kept it from sailing, not idea or writing.
ZOË RICE: A Zoolanderish v-neck off. Love it. Ben Stiller has been an ace host so far, and he helps make the short work. Most important? It ends just when the joke has wrung out what laughs it could.
HOWARD MEGDAL: Agreed. This one worked far better than last week’s.
FOSTER THE PEOPLE
ZOË RICE: I have never heard of these people, nor of whom they foster. But I like ‘em. The boys are endearingly twitchy, I dig the song, and I feel no hipster need to boast “I knew them before they were famous!” – (are they famous?). But why do they want to shoot people in cool sneakers?
HOWARD MEGDAL: There’s music in stores I shop in that I like, there’s music that makes me walk out. I’m safely ensconcing Foster the People right in between.
ZOË RICE: Oh Seth, this avid Mets fan walked right into your Mets joke, and she laughed (if sardonically). But overall Seth’s jokes were a little tepid this episode, save for the image of the bumbledog. Nan Washingtom ranks as a fail for Kristen Wiig, and I hope she doesn’t repeat it. The bit felt awkward to watch and ran too long. “Syrup” was a funny pay-off, but not worth the pain in getting there. As for Stefon – I’ve been converted. I have grown to enjoy Hader’s popular character, but I do still wish he cracked up less. His noises are funny, just less so when he’s his own biggest laugh. Enjoyed seeing Stiller’s (aging, oy) Zoolander, loved his SoWoHoNoBeHeWo, and he only got better mistaking tourists for terrorists. Great writing in the Stefon/Zoolander segment, and admirable work from Stiller.
HOWARD MEGDAL: Nan Washingtom was brutal. Stefon has not converted me, and this felt like a far weaker than usual Weekend Update as a whole. Reyes joke worked quite well, though.
ZOË RICE: We’ve seen the character before several times, but I still giggled at Wiig’s physical humor. Shanna’s not as fresh as it once was, and I’m not sure the character will hold up for another round, but I was okay with this one (if not entirely gung-ho).
HOWARD MEGDAL: Oh man, I couldn’t wait for this one to end. It’s either annoying or disgusting for the entire skit, while utterly predictable throughout. The series of three reactions even slows it down! At the risk of sounding like Jewish Willy Wonka, What’s to like? When I compare audience reaction to this with the opening monologue, I weep for the future. The present, too. And I’m not feeling that bullish on the past.
ZOË RICE: I’ve never been a fan of this sketch, but I appreciated Stiller’s moment.
HOWARD MEGDAL: They do a lot with very, very little. Another skit out of the “throw random allusions out there and see what sticks” school. If this isn’t written by the same person who writes Stefan, I’d be quite surprised.
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN JUST THE STORIES
ZOË RICE: I’m not even much of a Springsteen fan (heresy, I know) and I enjoyed this, so I can only imagine it reads better for the die-hards. A solid idea executed well.
HOWARD MEGDAL: Agree- Armisen’s Little Stevie also quite good here.
FOSTER THE PEOPLE
ZOË RICE: I like this quirky little band. I’m enjoying what the piano adds, and then the horns, and then…hang on…the reed? Kenny G? This might be one of those “he’s so uncool it’s cool” ironic moments, but I don’t care. That’s so unexpected that I love it. Great song.
HOWARD MEGDAL: Is it?
ZOË RICE: A great, relevant spoof on Moneyball. Just great. Gets the movie spoof part right, gets the baseball spoof part right. I wonder, given the many hits out of the ballpark this episode: is Ben Stiller steroids for SNL? Without being flashy about it he’s proved himself one of the series’ top-notch hosts.
HOWARD MEGDAL: Absolutely agree. Surprised they didn’t lead with this right after the monologue.
ZOË RICE: Also? At the close? How can you beat the vision of Hugh Jackman hugging Kenny G?
HOWARD MEGDAL: Two sides?