ZOË RICE: Ok, so the Trump debate is a good, timely topic to spoof. But relying on Darrrell Hammond’s impression wasn’t enough. We’ve seen countless Trump impressions before, and none are as buffoonish as the real thing. I think a version of the actual debate (adding some extras, maybe Palin? Some clever hypothetical candidate-replacements? ) would have worked better.
HOWARD MEGDAL: Poor Darrell Hammond: they bring him back, and don’t bother to write his part. Based on what I heard on Fresh Air, he’s been through enough abuse already.
ZOË RICE: Oh look, Katy Perry’s blonde. And that’s about all I got from this monologue. Hilariously funny she is not.
HOWARD MEGDAL: Yep- we’re in for a show that relies as much as possible on singing and looking at Katy Perry, I assume.
J POP AMERICA FUNTIME NOW
ZOË RICE: First Anna Faris, now Katy Perry. So they haul out this sketch for the ditzy female hosts? Surprisingly, I liked the concept a little better the second time around, mostly because I appreciated the target: young people who enthusiastically appreciate a culture and consider themselves experts when they’re actually quite ignorant.
HOWARD MEGDAL: Yes, there’s a target, but these two don’t ignorantly pontificate- they do the same two things, over and over again. I think this misses the target.
ZOË RICE: Loved it. A great way to spoof all these celeb-heavy holiday movies. Why have we never seen Wiig’s top-notch Drew Barrymore before? Her Kim Cattrall was another highlight. Abby Elliott’s Kirsten Dunst, Kenan’s Al Roker, and surprisingly Jay Pharoah’s Cuba Gooding Jr. were all misses, but the writing and effects absolutely made up for it. Great final beat.
HOWARD MEGDAL: Utterly perfect. A confluence of two Hollywood formulas in an original way. I absolutely loved this.
ZOË RICE: I found this bit oddly amusing. Katy Perry’s not a strong actress, but the absurdity of the clips and Wiig’s strange but endearing Scandanavian host entertained.
HOWARD MEGDAL: Pretty random and funny. My concern is that the surprise of “we have a clip” won’t wear well, and we’ll see this character again and again until we want to run screaming from the room.
ZOË RICE: This one attained awesomeness when Matt Damon entered the picture. He’s an undervalued comedian and I request more Matt Damon on SNL in any capacity imaginable. Val Kilmer added some excellent randomness. And then: A muppet! Oh, I loved this. The time Machine took it over the top in a good way.
HOWARD MEGDAL: Why can’t my holidays be like this? Top notch. Surprised this episode has held up so well so far. Expected January Jones Redux.
ZOË RICE: See, this felt like overkill so soon after The Apocalypse. Should they have saved the second impression-driven vehicle for another episode? That said, Katy’s Florence impression was the best one. Good moments for Armisen and Sudeikis, but I wasn’t jazzed here by Hader’s Eastwood – use this popular impression sparingly, SNL.
HOWARD MEGDAL: Seriously on Eastwood. Why make him Eastwood in that one movie? But kudos to SNL for exposing me to Florence a few weeks ago, thus allowing me to appreciate how strong Katy Perry’s impression was.
ZOË RICE: I heartily admit that I’m no musical expert, but should I have ever heard of Robyn? Seems like Euro dance pop? I don’t quite know what to make of her enthusiastic dance moves, but in concept I dig the idea of stained glass window leggings.
HOWARD MEGDAL: Love that the drum paid homage to the bird from Tweetcaster. That logo is sweet!
ZOË RICE: Seth was a little beside the point this week, so on to the characters. Rebecca Larue – I hate to say that Kristen looks good as a bouncy blonde! Her new character was a little one-note until the legs came out, but I’m glad to see Wiig trying new material, and she had some moments here. Capt Steve Rogers/Alec Baldwin – Here was a fun way to address Alec’s latest anger management situation, and if nothing else his appearance on Update was bound to be buzzworthy. Do I think Alec Baldwin is talented and funny? Yes. Do I think he was likely in the wrong in the airline situation? Also yes. But it’s true – Words With Friends can be a frustrating mistress. Stefon – Ah, Hader’s Stefon is always so popular. I just wish the audience didn’t egg him on when he breaks. The breaking ruins it for me.
HOWARD MEGDAL: I thought Rebecca Larue’s Sarah Jessica Parkerish take on flirting was the best Update character Wiig’s had in forever. Really good, though target is unclear. Baldwin was Baldwin, and Stefon is always less than the sum of the writing that goes into his bits- weird, because Bill Hader is generally fantastic. I must admit to repeating “Menorah the Explorer” around the house ever since.
ZOË RICE: What else is there to do with this one-joke sketch? Katy Perry added nothing worthwhile. Shelve it please.
HOWARD MEGDAL: I’m not even clear when they’re supposed to be pretending and when they’re supposed to be bawdy anymore. Enough.
ZOË RICE: Something tells me the real Sharpton will always be funnier than Kenan’s version, but at least he’s sort of trying out a new voice? Oh, Katy Perry, I enjoy your cotton candy pop music, but acting’s not your strength.
HOWARD MEGDAL: Poor Kelly O’Donnell. She deserved better than this.
ZOË RICE: She’s like an SNL character herself, even more outlandish than some of those old Deep Dish acts. I Imagine she’s very big in Europe, but this isn’t my music. And for what her lyrics are worth, I do believe she dances on her own.
HOWARD MEGDAL: Thanks. Now I’m hungry for Chicago-style pizza.
ZOË RICE: It’s nice to see Sudeikis singing. But the rest was not as funny as I wish it had been – I tend to like the absurd stuff, and Moynihan’s tattoo was a decent moment, but overall the material was lacking.
HOWARD MEGDAL: At least this long song had a punch line. I chuckled a few times throughout. Mostly, I was glad it wasn’t that Northampton song again.