Sunday, November 18, 2012
The cold open focused on the Petraeus scandal with a CSpan's Booknotes featuring Paula Broadwell (Cecily Strong) reading excerpts from All In. But they sounded more like excerpts from 50 Shades of Gray. Good premise, but it fell flatter than a soufflé in a Tokyo earthquake.
Host Jeremy Renner's monologue started slow with him reminding viewers he's not known for comedy (at this point, he still isn't). He quickly went musical and the live TV gremlins struck when his piano mic was dead. A few awkward moments while that was fixed before he displayed his surprising musical talent on the piano singing songs about action adventure films.
The mock commercial was about vacationing in your hometown and visiting exotic locations like the new Kmart and the old Kmart that's now a closed Michael's. Another belly flop of a skit. So far we're 0 for 3.
Possibly a redemption point here with the return of The Californians. This is one of those skits you either get or you don't. I always get a kick out of watching them roast Left Coasters. Jeremy played the family lawyer and despite being an actual Californian, he didn't get the accent down. It took an upswing when Fred Armisen started channeling Harvey Korman and cracked up doing his lines which gave Kenan Thompson the giggles and it almost went full blown cast giggles before they regained composure. I thought it was funny, your mileage may vary.
Next, The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer (Jason Sudeikis) reporting on the Petraeus scandal and showing the same clip of Jill Kelly over and over because that's all the footage they had besides a still photo of her with Mardi Gras beads. They threw it to their never used Tampa correspondent Victor Randel (Bobby Moynihan) who commented on spending 3 days outside Kelly's house and her not answering any questions he yelled at her. They were joined by the Mayor of Tampa Derek "Fat Deuce" Derek (Renner). When asked if he had any info on Kelly he said "She fine!" and had no clue about any sex scandal, but "She fine!". It was then discovered Derek "Fat Deuce" Derek was only the self proclaimed Mayor of Tampa.
This weeks video was "The Standoff", a take on an action film with Renner, Bobby Moynihan (channeling his inner Steven Segal) and Taran Killiam in a 3 way mexican standoff over a hard drive. Unfortunately Renner needed to pick up his kid from dance class and wanted to speed things along. The standoff went mobile when they jumped into a cab, picked up his daughter and read her a bedtime story (all the while with their guns still trained on each other). They wound up spending the night in the same bed 3 Stooges style, showered together, went to the bathroom, ate Thanksgiving dinner, ice skated in the park with their guns still trained on each other. They did everything together including giving a stranger (Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine) directions who joined the standoff with his guns before leaving. After 2 days they wind up in the same parking garage where they started and Bobby becomes sentimental telling them these were the greatest days of his life before Renner and Killiam both open fire on him. Having dispatched with Bobby they once again train their guns on each other before Killiam says "Listen, I've got to let my cat out" and they go mobile once again. Funny and original. So far this is the high point.
Musical guest Maroon 5 performed One More Night.
Weekend Update naturally kept the focus on the Petraeus scandal. Included was "Winners and Losers". Winner: Whoever writes the next Petraeus biography. Reading the current biography would be like reading Batman right up to when his parents were killed. Losers: All other biographers. For the next 10 years if you tell someone you're writing a biography expect them to say "Uh huh... yeah nice". Winner: Homeland. Just when your plot twists were starting to look a little far fetched, this scandal comes along and suddenly you look like a documentary. Losers: People trying to have affairs in the digital age. You can't get away with it... The Director of the CIA couldn't get away with it.
Kat Williams (Jay Pharoah) visited to comment on being dragged off stage after attacking a heckler and pulling a gun on another commedian. His explanation for his behavior, "I was being a pimp!".
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (the real Chris Christie) stopped by to comment on Hurricane Sandy cleanup efforts. He was very funny playing the pushy, angry, dominant Jersey stereotype and quoted the great Jersey poet Bruce Springsteen. A huge thumbs up for The Gov's performance.
Following WU a parody of The Avengers with Renner in his role of Hawkeye who suddenly didn't have much to do when he ran out of arrows. One funny line came from Ironman (Sudeikis) "Come on "Hunger Games"! Just pull arrows out of the ones you've already shot, Katniss!". Bobby Moynihan as The Hulk tried to lend a hand with an arrow he found, but broke Hawkeye's hand fist bumping him. Hulk found a way Hawkeye could be useful when he picked up the archer by his ankles and used him as a baseball bat to kill the aliens. Not bad.
Jeremy played himself in the next skit about making an action movie. Jason Sudeikis played evil tough guy thug character actor Dick Fuel (obviously modeled after Vin Diesel) who's afraid to take a slap. Meh.
Maroon 5 returned to perform Daylight.
Next was "Midnight Snack"(possibly a new TV Funhouse type segment). This was a cartoon about the use of drones and included a DOD promotional film entitled "Cool Drones" where 4 drones led a double life as a boy band.
The County Morgue was the scene of the final skit as a man (Renner) has to identify his brother's body for the Coroner and a detective. But the man is nervous and identifies him as Steven Tyler, Yao Ming, basically anybody but his brother. It took a twist in the end when it turned out the guy was still alive. "He SAID he was dead!"
This skit was much funnier than it sounds. A particular bit that broke me up was when the Coroner (Bill Hader) became bored listening to the answers and started playing bongos on the corpse's (Taran Killiam) chest and face. This didn't look like it was part of the bit and was an impromptu test for Killiam to remain playing dead with Hader slapping him randomly in the face. Hader had an evil grin on his face the whole time which made it even funnier.
This episode was very hit or miss. When it was good, it was very good. But it was loaded with an equal or greater amount of flops. At times Jeremy didn't look very prepared and often struggled with the cue cards. In his defense, there was some bad writing. I give tonight's episode a C.