ZOË RICE: The Fox News spoof wasn’t a home run, and it lagged a bit (with weirdly dated references, to Christmas trees for instance), but it was passable.
HOWARD MEGDAL: SNL’s Fox News problem is that it is consistently battling The Daily Show, which can use actual Fox News.
ZOË RICE The monologue played at Manning’s comfort level, and he came across as rather endearing.
HOWARD MEGDAL: I own an Eli Manning jersey. So my big fear was seeing Eli fail. He was surprisingly strong with his timing here. Then again, he is an elite quarterback.
ZOË RICE: An excellent concept perfectly executed. I enjoyed the timely spoofing of Fifty Shades of Gray, and an Amazon Mother’s Day commercial was a brilliant venue for it.
HOWARD MEGDAL: Utterly perfect zeitgeist spoofing. This one goes in the time capsule.
NFL MOTION CAPTURE
ZOË RICE: Is it a known NFL thing that Eli Manning has no particular touchdown move? If so, then this is a clever send up of that. If not, it’s still a pretty clever use of a limited-comedy-talent host. Manning started off a bit stiff but eased into it, peaking with the grenade. Honorable mention to Pharoah’s Victor Cruz.
HOWARD MEGDAL: Yes, Eli’s lack of accoutrements was perfectly lampooned here. Surprising strength from this episode.
ZOË RICE: A fun way to highlight the absurdity and ubiquity of texting, with good work from Manning. Nice emoticon faces.
HOWARD MEGDAL: Again, Manning shows comic timing here that put professional actors- Channing Tatum, anyone?- to utter shame.
LITTLE BROTHER PROGRAM
ZOË RICE: This was cute, short, and sweet, with the punchline about Peyton very good icing on the cake. Eli Manning’s winning me over.
HOWARD MEGDAL: A perfect bookend to the Peyton Manning United Way ad.
ZOË RICE: I will not miss Herb when Hader leaves.
HOWARD MEGDAL: Amazing that this is still on. Target? A random elderly person? No thanks.
ZOË RICE: I like Rihanna, but this performance was a bit monotone and touchy-grindy.
HOWARD MEGDAL: I don’t love the music. But she sure is pretty.
ZOË RICE: A rare flat week for Seth, and although the impulse to have Wiig spoof the Tanning Mom was right on, unfortunately Real-Life Tanning Mom is much more over-the-top and crazy (and even more orange) than Wiig’s impression, so the bit unfolded lacklusterly. The Dictator made me roll my eyes a bit. I’m getting tired of Sasha Baron Cohen’s antics. Scorsese was a good sport, but he’s at his best behind the camera.
HOWARD MEGDAL: If you’d bet me that multiple Eli Manning skits would be stronger than Update, I’d have given you some great odds. But they were.
WHAT IS THIS
ZOË RICE: The typical dating-related “What is this?” angst translated well to the game show format. Eli Manning pretty much just had to act like a clueless dude, but why not give him credit for it? Fun sketch.
HOWARD MEGDAL: Felt like a great idea with moderate execution, the jokes kind of flattened out.
ZOË RICE: I don’t watch Chelsea Lately, and although I imagine I’d like the sketch better if I did, I know enough to get the premise. The execution felt a bit too one-note: Chelsea Lately. In Swedish!
HOWARD MEGDAL: The General, this wasn’t.
ZOË RICE: This performance had a bit too much spectacle for my taste, but the song strikes me as great to work out to, so I hope my step instructor adds it to his set list.
HOWARD MEGDAL: Nice-looking lady.
MISS DRAG WORLD
ZOË RICE: Ah. They always put the star athlete host in drag. But this was terrible all around.
HOWARD MEGDAL: And, we had some time to fill, and extra costumes.
TCM CHEECH AND CHONG
ZOË RICE: I’d cut Richard from the cutting Richard bit. And also Cheech and Chong.
HOWARD MEGDAL: Not one of these TCM remakes has worked yet. It isn’t even the typical recurring SNL skit problem, the same jokes failing. Each one, this included, has failed in its own way.