Cold Opening – Super Bowl Shut Down
- Great Richard Sherman voice from Jay, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to any.
- Kenan is hilarious as Marshawn Lynch too.
- Jay’s pretty solid in this open, and is carrying himself very well, showing tons of energy and charisma.
- For a sports-related open, I’m enjoying this one, even when I barely know who these people are outside of Sherman, and the energy here is fun.
- Taran’s stealing this whole open with his own energetic, fun performance as Pete Carroll.
- Ah, it feels so good to review J.K., considering how much of a fan I’m of his excellent work. A real shame that this is his only time hosting SNL, much like Taraji P. Henson & Michael Keaton in few episodes from now, I expected all three to become recurring hosts, but alas.
- Lovely applause for J.K. at the beginning.
- I’m enjoying the premise of J.K. reprising his fantastic character from the great movie Whiplash. Come to think of it, 2014 was damn strong year for film.
- Great self-deprecating line from J.K., in response to Kyle’s comment about his own hair, “I think all hair is ridiculous” which gets a great audience reaction.
- (*Blood stares at his screen as Fred Motherfucking Armisen appears for his obligatory cameo #37378 since leaving SNL not even two full seasons ago. And with total resignation and no second thoughts, Blood spills gasoline all over his bedroom and on himself, burns his whole world and life for the ever eternal pain of burning alive, gleefully smiling as he’s burning and dying on the spot, finding it more enjoyable than sitting through this fucking cameo*).
Totino’s Super Bowl Activity Pack For Women!
- The debut of the fantastic Vanessa-starring Totino’s trilogy of ads. It will be lots of fun to review this era-highlight trilogy in these three upcoming seasons.
- Ah, here comes Vanessa’s first utterance of “my hungry guys” which will become an iconic obligatory line in these commercials.
- I’m LOVING the various ridiculous, demeaning activities that women can do during the Super Bowl, the sticky-hand-on-the-fridge always stuck with me as a particularly standout moment from this standout trilogy.
- Fantastic commentary on suppressive misogyny in this commercial, reminding me of the legendary Chess for Girls commercial from the 1995-2002 era, another era, much like this one, that had MANY outstanding, brilliant, and sharp commercial parodies.
- Vanessa’s natural innocence and likability are phenomenal here, and sells her character’s inner turmoil and despair perfectly. A great showcase for Vanessa, and knowing her trajectory in her two final years, this is only the beginning.
Miss Trash 2015
- Good, cheap laugh from the reveal of the pageant’s title.
- J.K. is just perfect as the host here, and his straitlaced, comfortable delivery is elevating the shaky material.
- J.K. is an excellent straight man here, particularly his pretty deadpan, calm reactions to the contestants.
- This sketch, while not bad or mediocre as a whole, to me at least, feels cliched and not up to thr standards of this solid season. Yet, the performances, are selling the hell out of this sketch.
- I recall reading somewhere that this is a Kelly/Schinder sketch. If so, it feels WAY different than their usual work & comedic style, this one is nowhere near as solid as their usual work, but certainly not bad. This one is more on the average side.
Cinema Classics – Casablanca
- Because I didn’t review the debut of this great, era-defining sketch, I’ll say it here: Ladies and gentleman, we have major recurring segment debut!
- The usual, always-funny “Worst. (insert event here). Ever.” from Kenan’s Reese D’What.
- Strong Ingrid Bergman voice and accent from Kate.
- Fantastic twist to this sketch, with the spoof of the memorable airplane scene in Casablanca.
- Big laughs from Kate’s Ingrid Bergman jumpiness to get on the airplane when told that she’ll otherwise end up in a concentration camp is a freakin riot. Kate is excellent here.
- I’m enjoying the digs at classic movies here, particularly how fast-talking the performers are, you could tell the writer/s of these Cinema Classics sketches are huge fans of classic cinema.
- Overall, this has been always one of my favorite Cinema Classics sketches, and amongst Kate’s finest moments. This has been a strong season for her in general, and she’s beginning to deservedly reach her superstar status as the season continues.
Teacher Snow Day
- Another installment to these types of music videos, much like Boys Dance Party and Office Christmas Party.
- While the concept of these shorts is wearing thin to me by this point, the energy here is more infectious and the fun conceit of this short makes it well… far more fun the drab previous installment.
- Very fun usuals through this short, particularly of Cecily breathing out the smoke, Aidy in the hallway, and J.K. in his car.
- J.K. is stealing this whole short with his very fun & infectious energy, and is coming off incredibly well as expected, blending into the cast.
Musical Performance – “Really Love”
- Jesse Nathan: I rarely say this in my musical guest reviews, but…I honestly have little-to-no familiarity with this artist and the music he makes. I know I said in a comment that I’ve seen this episode in full, but to be honest…I kinda skipped these performances. So with all that said, this should be good. Let’s see.
- For some reason, J.K.’s perfectly Simmons-esque intro of D’Angelo made me chuckle.
- Already off to a good start with the cellos.
- Boy, the lady at the beginning was poorly miced. At this point, I’m beginning to wonder if it’s a YouTube problem.
- Is that lady speaking Italian? I can’t tell.
- Ooh, I like the use of Spanish guitars.
- Man, I’m loving this intro the more it goes on.
- Nice falsetto from D’Angelo, but part of me wonders what he sounds like in a lower range, and whether or not he’d sound better in that range.
- Wait, are we on the verse or the chorus? I honestly can’t tell.
- Oh, okay, that was the verse. So with that said, I kinda like this chorus, but it also sounds kinda lazy.
- I like the integration of different genres throughout the song.
- D’Angelo’s falsetto is almost reminding me of Barry Gibb.
- Okay, the chorus is starting to sound a bit repetitive as the song goes on.
- Man, the Spanish guitarist is really having at it as the song nears its end.
- That was awesome!
- Some surprisingly awkward delivery from Michael of few jokes at the beginning of this. I guess he’s still growing as anchor despite showing some solid job these past few Updates.
- A good stand-up style rant from Michael, even when it’s not as strong as his usual rants, which shows how damn strong Michael’s stand-up pieces are behind the desk.
- The return of A One Dimensional Female Character From A Male Driven Comedy (boy that’s a long ass name), which is good as she’s one of the very few solo characters from Cecily that I tolerate.
- This commentary seems to be treading in the same water as the previous one, and Colin’s befuddled reactions are almost identical to how he reacted last time. Yet, I’m enjoying this, and this commentary has several funny lines, and good characterization from Cecily, which is very rare for her character work.
- JEBIDIAH ATKNINSON!!!!!
- Jebidiah Atkinson, on if he’s excited about the Grammys: “ Oh, yes. Who wouldn’t be excited for a night long tribute to the Spotify playlist of a 12 year old girl?”
- Jebidiah Atkinson on the 57th annual Grammy nominees in general: “This year’s Grammy’s nominees make me wish I lived in a soundless vacuum of space!”
- Jebidiah Atkinson, on Iggy Azalea: “Hey, Iggy, wake up and smell the azaleas – YOU’RE WHITE! The last time anyone stole THAT much from black people, everybody still dressed like me!”
- Jebidiah Atkinson, on Celine Dion: “Celine Dion. Someone turn her Celine Di-off! My heart will go on? This song is bigger disaster than the actual Titanic. And I should know, I was there!”
- Jebidiah Atkinson on being on the Titanic as it was sinking: “ I certainly was. And if you ask me, there were too many life boats. (*audience reacts in horror*) Save it! That’s just the tip of the iceberg!”
- Man, Jebidiah is going HARD in this commentary of his, even more so than usual, and I’m loving every single second of this.
- A strong Update in general, with another ruthless, hilariously brutal, and expertly-performed Jebidiah Atkinson commentary by Taran as usual.
- A very out-of-ordinary sketch concept & presentation, I’m already onboard with this one.
- Bobby is perfect as the Clippy-esque annoying assistant.
- Yet another sketch tonight that utilizes J.K.’s great straight man abilities as his various reactions to Bobby’s Pushie are slaying me here, as well as Bobby’s solid, perfect performance.
- A great, emotional turn with Bobby sadly instructing J.K. on how to activate the “Disable Pushie” feature.
- A strong, creative sketch in general, keeping this episode’s hot streak in quality.
The Jay-Z Story
- Always great to see another Mike O’Brien short, considering how reliable his shorts are, and that the last one (Grow-A-Guy) saved me from jumping out of my bedroom window to my demise, when I was reviewing the wretched James Franco episode.
- An absolutely hilarious idea of having a Jay-Z biopic starring Mike O’Brien, of all people.
- Love Mike’s reaction when told that he’s great at rapping.
- Hilarious reaction shot from Pete as the star-struck, shocked fan of Mike’s Jay-Z as he walks past him.
- Ah, it feels so good to see Jason back at SNL here, a cast member who actually WAITED for his time to cameo, and what a welcomed cameo from him in this excellent piece.
- J.K. is perfect as Nas here, and I absolutely love the part with his heated fight with Mike’s Jay-Z.
- An overall yet another excellent Mike O’Brien short, and another outstanding segment in this great episode.
Musical Performance – “The Charade”
- Jesse Nathan: Nice intro.
- I like how this song sounds almost entirely different from the last one.
- I like the messages on some of the backup singers’ shirts.
- The guitar sounds nice.
- Good chorus.
- Once again, I like D’Angelo’s falsetto.
- Oh HELL YEAH to that guitar solo.
- Oh, now D’Angelo’s starting to get into his lower range. Awesome!
- Man, I’m finding myself really vibing to this song the more it goes on.
- Since I really enjoyed both performances, I have to ask: how have I never heard this guy’s music before? This is some strong stuff.
Rating: **** (that last ⅓ brought my rating up half a star)
- Ah, HERE WE GO!!! A very famous & highly-acclaimed sketch from this season.
- I LOVE J.K.’s casual delivery of his now-immortal line, “I am a Japanese messy boy” as well as Cecily’s perfect reaction to it.
- J.K. is absolutely hilarious here and the dumbfounded reactions by everybody here is selling this already-fantastic premise even more.
- I’m loving J.K. here, and his straitlaced, casual description of his job is excellent, especially how he delivered the following: “Well, there is a small group of rich powerful Japanese women enjoy watching muscular older American men eat messy food in a sloppy almost childlike way. And I do that for a living.”
- I absolutely love the part were J.K. proudly displaying his bib that says ‘Lil Missy’ & particularly his smile after showing his hat, a visual that always stuck with me from this sketch.
- Strong disturbing, subtly-dark reveals throughout J.K.’s disclosure of how his normal workday is like, particularly the part about being driven into a huge empty mansion and disrobing and putting little boy’s underpants.
- Pete’s performance here, while not groundbreaking or anything, is FAR better than his giggly, unprofessional one in a certain upcoming Career Day sketch.
- Bobby & Leslie’s reactions here are perfect.
- A great ending to a great, memorable sketch, An SNL masterpiece.
- Overall, one of the finest 10-to-1’s in recent SNL history, if not of all-time.
Cut For Time: Grandpa
- Interesting characterization from J.K.
- This is fine so far, but the setting reminds me of an awful sketch in Kumail Najiani’s hosting stint in season 43.
- Big cheap laugh from J.K.’s comment about his dead wife’s having a big ass.
- Vanessa is not convincing me AT ALL in her role, much like Taran, both are very young-looking. And this is coming from a 25 year-old baby-faced guy.
- J.K.’s “colored” part gave me cheap guilty laugh.
- Kenan, as always, is a great straight man here.
- Ok, the bits about the ass are being repeated to death here, despite J.K.’s always on-point delivery.
- Not caring about the cheap visual at the end.
- An ok sketch overall, despite some shaky portions, yet it was elevated by J.K.’s commitment & Kenan’s great straight man work.
Segments Ranked From Best to Worst
Totino’s Super Bowl Activity Pack For Women!
The Jay-Z Story
Cinema Classics – Casablanca
Miss Trash 2015
Super Bowl Shut Down
Teacher Snow Day
- A fantastic episode, lots of great sketches, including THREE that I gave a perfect rating to, and are widely-hailed and highly-regarded as SNL masterpieces and definitive pieces for this era, and with the weakest material not even dipping below three stars. The post-Update half, in particular, was phenomenal with every single sketch rated between 4-5 stars, rivaling the fantastic post-Update half of the Liev Schreiber episode. Ah, pretty much the episode consisted entirely of solid, premise-driven, one-off, silly, and fun sketch concepts, the template of a perfect show. And, not the last time that this will happen in this new era, which is why I absolutely love it, even with the shakier material as it moves forward.
- Unsurprisingly, J.K. Simmons was an outstanding host, coming off game, energetic, and incredibly charismatic. I especially loved how the writers utilized his fantastic, reliable delivery, and great straight man work, particularly by having him lead the phenomenal Career Day sketch by the episode’s end. Also, the great music by D’Angelo deserve a special mention, as it also contributed to how damn much I absolutely loved this episode.
- Sadly, the great vibes won’t continue, as Dakota Johnson hosts with musical guest Alabama Shakes.