Cold Opening – Schoolhouse Rock!
- A very promising & creative way to open the show with.
- A solid laugh from the Bill getting shoved down the stairs from Jay’s President Obama.
- I love how the song by the Executive Order just abruptly ends, with Bobby saying “and I pretty much just happen” as his closing lyric.
- Huge laugh from Bobby’s Executive Order reading its inside and getting shocked.
- The repeated gag with Kenan being shoved by Jay’s Obama is working here for me, due to mainly Kenan’s hilarious voice-overs each time he’s being shoved.
- A strong cold open overall, maybe the season’s strongest, with solid, clever political satire & creative setting. For some odd reason, it reminds me of the upcoming legendary Dershowitz in Hell cold open in season 45, even when this one is NOWHERE near strong & brutal as the upcoming aforementioned brilliant open.
- Unlike some fellow SNL reviewers, I have quite the tolerance for Q & A monologues when they’re done right.
- This feels DEAD so far. I do recall some sketches tonight (particularly the 10-to-1), having dead vibes and season 20-esque feel to them, which was yet ANOTHER season 20 comparison that a vocal minority of fans made about this season, and that’s even after the incredible Woody Harrelson episode, they still didn’t get it that this season will be more than fine in quality.
- Man, not even Aidy is able to provide me with my expected laughs here.
- Overall, a waste of time & of Cameron’s talents.
Back Home Ballers
- A sequel to the beloved Twin Bed music video from the previous season.
- A somewhat meh conceit to this music video, and has NOTHING against the hilarious original conceit of the aforementioned music video.
- As always, very catchy and solid rapping from Aidy, and I love her look here.
- A fun inclusion of Cameron Diaz, and yet again, like in all of her other hosting stints & cameos, she seems just like a cast member, blending quite seamlessly.
- A huge laugh from Kate’s insanely long & complicated WIFI password gave my biggest laugh so far in this.
- Overall, this was fine, with some decent enough highlights, but doesn’t come remotely close to the original music video, which I always find to be solid, but highly overrated. Thankfully, I know that this era will produce many female-oriented music videos that are very strong & to me, at least, better than the Twin Bed. I cannot wait to review some of them as I continue my coverage of this era.
HBO First Look – Annie
- Vanessa is obviously perfectly cast as the traditional Annie.
- UH-OH, our first Leslie Jones-starring sketch after embarrassing herself in front of the audience and the nation in the notorious The Couple sketch two episodes ago.
- Actually the idea of having Leslie cast as Annie is quite promising, that’s when it’s done right. Yet, this is our obligatory LESLIE SHOUT! sketch of the night, and yet again I’m getting very little-to-no-laughs from her here, and yet again my eardrums are getting abused.
- This feels dead, much like The Couple sketch, and Leslie’s typical shouting and constant line flubs are hurting the already-subpar material. An overall waste of my time.
- Now here comes a commercial that I always loved since the day I first saw it, but was surprised that some online SNL fans disliked it & the way it was presented.
- A very promising & creative concept.
- I’m absolutely loving Vanessa’s commercial spokesman delivery here, and how this commercial feels low-key & off-kilter. It makes it feel more fresh and unique to me.
- Subtle dark, disturbing turn that this commercial took with the Nest-Spresso machine dispensing bones from a baby chick due to Taran operating the machine the wrong way. Yet, I could see why some disliked & were bothered by that part.
- I’m enjoying Vanessa’s subtleties in her performance, considering how shaky her tenure was at this point, and in the previous season. In this season, we’ll be seeing her in those insufferable REACTING roles and with barely any sketch work of solid quality, aside from decent Update commentaries. Knowing in hindsight her stellar final two years, it feels that her struggle now is for her to absolutely crush it before leaving the show at the end of season 42.
- A solid, creative, low-key commercial that I greatly enjoyed and it lived up thankfully to my memories of it.
- The debut of this memorable recurring sketch.
- I’m getting some solid laughs from all the supposedly “deep” & “wise” commentary that these performers are aiming to provide. Beck, in particularly, is hilarious here.
- I’m enjoying the little details, and the attention to them in the bad scenes that are being performers. it’s giving me flashbacks to the Leonard Pinth-Garnell sketches back in the original era.
- Vanessa is cast in a dull, straight role. Get ready folks, we’ll be seeing her A LOT in these roles throughout this season.
- Meh, I’m not caring the explaining portion in this sketch, as they’re hurting the solid material & performances. It feels like the type that Mikey Day will be performing & writing in more recent seasons, and it ain’t funny then, and certainly not here.
- Pretty good debut for this reliable recurring sketch, and it will only get better from here on out, and I cannot wait to review a particularly fantastic one with Kate as Robert Durst later in this season.
In Memoriam – a photo of Mark Nichols marks his passing
Musical Performance – “Uptown Funk”
- Jesse Nathan: Why is Cameron wearing a hat in her introduction?
- Ah, yes–”Uptown Funk”, the most popular and arguably overplayed song of 2015, to the point where quite a number of people got extremely sick of it, including a few family members of mine. However, I still love this song, so hopefully, this performance will work for me.
- I like Bruno’s interactions with his backup singers.
- Mark’s guitar sounds great.
- I like the images of the NYC skyline behind Mark, Bruno and co.
- Nice to see the return of Bruno’s backup singers who we previously saw in his Season 38 monologue.
- I like how Bruno is wearing the same outfit he wore in the music video for this song.
- Nice dancing from Bruno and co.
- Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like I can hear Bruno’s backup singers more than the man himself.
- Cool lighting.
- Boy, Bruno’s “Don’t believe me, just watch” fell kinda flat.
- The horns sound great.
- I like how Mark’s guitar has the cover for Uptown Special on it.
- One of Bruno’s backup singers looks a bit like MC Hammer.
- I like the dancing at the end.
- Not caring for the jokes so far.
- Ok, that Bill Cosby is pretty good, particularly Michael’s ad-lib.
- The usual good laughs from Kate’s Angela Merkel, even when I never cared for the running bit with her having a crush on the President, Kate’s is performing it well.
- Funny part with Kate’s Merkel singing a “Baby Got Back” lyric, and her facial reactions are absolutely slaying me, much like her facial reactions in her breakout Ann Romney commentary from her early episodes.
- Funny makeup on Taran, and Cecily’s solid in her supporting role here.
- An ok commentary from Taran & Cecily, but it’s not as solid as I wanted it to be in order to raise this Update from being above average.
- Pleased to see Back’s breakout character returning, I do recall another sketch after this in Drake’s episode next season, but I barely remember that installment.
- A huge laugh from the initial visual of Beck’s character as he’s up the stairs.
- Beck’s eerily spot-on & hilarious in his mannerism as the Baby Boss in here, and it’s good change of pace that we see him with his wife, played in a solid way by Cameron.
- You could tell that Kenan & Sasheer are trying not to crack up from Beck’s hilarious actions. Cameron, like the total professional that she is, is keeping a perfectly straight face throughout this sketch.
- A pretty good installment of this sketch, it’s probably a good thing that the next one is its final installment. I enjoyed the change of scenery in this installment, and it’s my second favorite of those after the near-classic debut. I do look forward to reviewing the final one next season.
Dr. Dave and Buggles’ Animal Hour
- This seems to be heading towards a one-joke premise, but knowing Kenan, I’m sure he can make it work.
- Boy, Kenan is looking very young in that wig, similar to how he looked in his early SNL years.
- Not much to add here, but Kenan’s doing a solid job in his performance, and it did feel like this one would recur in the future, but it never did.
- I would say that it’s probably a good thing that this was a one-and-done sketch as I highly doubt that it would be sustainable as a future recurring sketch.
- It feels like a while since we had a Good Neighbor short. This might be our second so far this season, unless I’m forgetting something.
- I’m enjoying the dumb montage in this & especially the visual of the collapsing building.
- Wow, Beck looks much thinner and younger than ever in his photo here, even with his weight loss after the end of this season. This must around his college years.
- Funny narration as the cheesy fight begins between Beck & Kyle’s characters.
- Some good laughs from all the funny cutaways of car crashes and the like, an amusing visual that adds to the intentional awkwardness & absurdity of this whole short.
- As an example of how refreshing this season has been so far (aside from few flops), this sketch makes its return from season 39, and it feels so out of place in the current, fresh direction that the show’s taking that you can even sense it.
- I love Vanessa mostly in her Update showcases, and work on pretapes, but when it comes to some of her original sketch work, they leave A LOT to be desired from me.
- Meh, this sketch feels SO formulaic and by-the-numbers and as I said earlier in this review, it feels very out of place in the fresh direction this new era is taking.
- (*sigh*) Do we really need Aidy & Kenan as the students who read a poem to the class in the beginning of EVERY SINGLE INSTALLMENT in this tired recurring sketch?!
- As usual, Vanessa is coming off her adorable and endearing self in these and is helping to elevate the mediocre material just a little bit for me.
- Ok, I’m surprised that Pete’s giving me some good laughs here with his delivery, and especially his facial reaction toward the sketch’s end.
- A little better than the previous one which isn’t saying much. This was overall middling in quality for me, and seeing the solid & creative original sketch concepts so far into this season (and it only gets even better as it goes along), makes this recurring sketch pale even more in comparison. It’s good that this turned out to be the final installment.
Musical Performance – “Feel Right” ft. Mystikal
- Jesse Nathan: Kinda pointless that Bruno Mars would still be there for a song where he isn’t even credited as a featured artist, but then again, he did do some of the vocals on the album version.
- Boy, Mystikal’s appearance felt a little abrupt and out of nowhere.
- I’ll add that the instrumental sounds great and really captures this sound, which shouldn’t really come as a shock to anyone familiar with Mark Ronson’s work, particularly with Amy Winehouse.
- Nice rapping, but the censoring kinda ruins it.
- Once again, the horns sound great.
- Boy, The Smeezingtons’ additional vocals were poorly mixed.
- Again, cool dancing.
- Why is Mark playing a different guitar from the last one?
- Mystikal’s energy is great.
- I like the intermission.
- This seems to be one of those sketches that rely on random, absurdist, non sequitur humor. I’ll go into this one with caution.
- WTF with the camera flop right now?! A sloppy, baffling, unintentionally hilarious moment when the camera crossfades to Kate as Cameron delivers her lines, who begins to speak while Cameron is off-camera STILL SPEAKING, before she cuts herself off and lets Kate deliver her lines. Absolutely baffling sight.
- Meh, this seems to be an Anderlette sketch, as they generally seem to have a hard time with random humor (I recall a wretched sketch in the Ariana Grande episode from next season, set in a recording studio filled with desperate attempts at random humor), and the dialogue here is boring me to death.
- Overall, a terrible way to end an overall decent, reliable episode.
Segments Ranked From Best to Worst
Schoolhouse Rock! / Nest-Spresso (tie)
Back Home Ballers
Dr. Dave and Buggles’ Animal Hour
HBO First Look – Annie
- A good episode, and a little better than I remember it being. This one had consistent quality to it, aside from few flops, with several strong, reliable segments. Cameron Diaz was once again a reliable and fun host, and blended very well with the cast. Much like Woody Harrelson in the episode before, I’m still very surprised how both never became five-timers.
- My season 47 reviews continue with the Lizzo double duty episode, stay tuned!
8 Replies to “November 22, 2014 – Cameron Diaz / Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars (S40 E7)”
Cold Open ***
Back Home Ballers ****½
Baby Boss ***½
I’m not caring the explaining portion in this sketch, as they’re hurting the solid material & performances. It feels like the type that Mikey Day will be performing & writing in more recent seasons, and it ain’t funny then, and certainly not here.” Well, Mikey is a writer during this season, so that probably explains it.
Sadly, I can’t find much to say about this, since I have little to no familiarity with these segments, aside from the cold open. I will add that I do agree that Twin Bed is better than Back Home, but I probably love it more than you do. I suggest that the best way to watch that sketch is to find the studio recording, and try to sync it up to the actual sketch, so that the applause doesn’t get on your nerves.
And as always, the averages:
Pratt – 5.3
Silverman – 6.2
Hader – 6.4
Carrey – 7.2
Rock – 5.3
Harrelson – 8.4
Diaz – 6.0
Overall average (so far): 6.4
Well, I’m sure that you at least saw some sketches from the doomed James Franco debacle after I’m done with Lizzo’s episode & my celebratory post. I’ll have A LOT to say about that trainwreck of an episode.
“I’m sure that you at least saw some sketches from the doomed James Franco debacle” Only Grow-a-Guy, the monologue, Star Wars, Brain Space, and maybe Peter Pan, I’m not sure.
Oh, and by the way, I’m already halfway done with the performance reviews. The most recent review I’ve written so far is of Sia.
Oooof at Peter Pan & the monologue! You can send me your reviews on my Gmail account if you want. Thanks for the effort Jesse & I enjoy reading your musical reviews, it make my reviews more complete.
“You can send me your reviews on my Gmail account” Reviews of what? The sketches or the musical performances?
Musical performance review:
Why is Cameron wearing a hat in her introduction?
Ah, yes–”Uptown Funk”, the most popular and arguably overplayed song of 2015, to the point where quite a number of people got extremely sick of it, including a few family members of mine. However, I still love this song, so hopefully, this performance will work for me.
I like Bruno’s interactions with his backup singers.
Mark’s guitar sounds great.
I like the images of the NYC skyline behind Mark, Bruno and co.
Nice to see the return of Bruno’s backup singers who we previously saw in his Season 38 monologue.
I like how Bruno is wearing the same outfit he wore in the music video for this song.
Nice dancing from Bruno and co.
Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like I can hear Bruno’s backup singers more than the man himself.
Boy, Bruno’s “Don’t believe me, just watch” fell kinda flat.
The horns sound great.
I like how Mark’s guitar has the cover for Uptown Special on it.
One of Bruno’s backup singers looks a bit like MC Hammer.
I like the dancing at the end.
Feel Right ft. Mystikal
Kinda pointless that Bruno Mars would still be there for a song where he isn’t even credited as a featured artist, but then again, he did do some of the vocals on the album version.
Boy, Mystikal’s appearance felt a little abrupt and out of nowhere.
I’ll add that the instrumental sounds great and really captures this sound, which shouldn’t really come as a shock to anyone familiar with Mark Ronson’s work, particularly with Amy Winehouse.
Nice rapping, but the censoring kinda ruins it.
Once again, the horns sound great.
Boy, The Smeezingtons’ additional vocals were poorly mixed.
Again, cool dancing.
Why is Mark playing a different guitar from the last one?
Mystikal’s energy is great.
I like the intermission.