Cold Opening – Giuliani Birdman
- Boy, Taran is not even putting any effort in sounding like Giuliani, although the eventual replacement is not in any way better…
- Oh, I LOVE the twist with this turning into a Birdman parody, a very creative premise for a political cold open.
- A very solid Michael Keaton impression from Taran, and in certain facial expressions, Taran looks just like him.
- A no-brainer with the casting of Bobby as Zach Galifianakis.
- Very rare to see the host in the cold open, and Dakota is surprisingly good here, unlike later on…
- It’s great that this cold open is using SNL’s backstage and it’s fun seeing them redecorate it differently for this open.
- Beck is great as Birdman.
- A solid ending to this creative, sharp, and strong cold open, possibly my new personal favorite of this whole season.
- Great LFNY delivery from Beck.
- Hooo boy, Dakota is already coming off rough a minute or so into her monologue with iffy, low-volumed delivery and absolutely butchering the jokes written for her so far. A sign of how rough she’ll be in this episode.
- Ah, Kyle is here to hopefully add something to this drab, dull monologue.
- Got a good laugh from the Visual of Kate & Kyle in their bit. But man, if not even Kate McKinnon could steal this dull monologue, you’ve got a problem.
- It’s certainly nice to see Don Johnson & Melanie Griffith, I’ll accept anything to stop my ever-increasing boredom here.
- Here comes an infamous commercial from this season.
- Taran is still too young-looking to play a middle-aged dad. And as much as I love Taran, he was never convincing to me in these roles.
- MEH at the desperate reveal of this being an ad for ISIS, not even Kyle’s goofy look and the amusing way he delivered his “Death to America” chant is able to save this D.O.A tripe.
- Of course, this commercial would cause tons of controversy for both SNL & NBC, and I recall some demands to boycott the show which is kinda ridiculous to me. This ad to me is just desperate, trying to be edgy and failing to have an edge no sharper than a marshmallow. Look, I’m all in for edgy, dark humor, when executed well and with proper payoff, as there is a favorite short of mine that is very dark & disturbing airing towards the season’s end. Yet, this pretape and the premise of it, is just whole bunch of nothingness to me, poor, weak attempts at being edgy and failing miserably.
- OH NO. Cathy Anne officially becomes recurring, after that particularly wretched sketch earlier in the season.
- I’ll have to ask: REALLY SNL?? You’re putting THIS as the lead-off sketch of the night??!! This is going to be a loooong episode isn’t it?
- UGH, this character is still as insufferable as ever, and those lines are still cringe-level lame. Please SNL stop wanting Cathy Anne as some big recurring character to happen, it will never.
- Did we really need a repeat of that “CU next Thursday” catchphrase? Each time I hear it, my soul dies a little.
- I’m more than halfway through this, and I’m still patiently waiting for the supposed “comedic” conceit of this tripe to finally show up. Where the fuck is the joke here? Is it how out-of-place Cathy Anne is in this period? Or her usual dull, unfunny ramblings? Or is it the “twist” on the classic tale? So many questions, so little laughs.
- Just noticed how gorgeous the period sets and costumes are in this sketch, too bad these elaborate details are in a service of a sketch like THIS.
- Am I supposed to be laughing at Cathy Anne’s weird “dancing”? What is this? This is Fucking TERRIBLE. Absolutely unwatchable. What’s this sketch even GOING FOR?! What an embarrassment.
- Overall, while not as unbelievably cringeworthy & dismal as the soul-crushingly bad first installment, this one, still did not have a SINGLE fucking redeeming quality about it. How did this tripe, much like the first installment, get even pass the table read?!
Say What You Wanna Say
- A good idea for an all-female music video.
- A very odd and unconvincing pairing of Pete & Leslie, she looks about twenty years older than him. Unlike how she surprisingly fit perfectly with Liev Schreiber in the legendary House Hunters short in season 44.
- Some good energy & nice visuals in this short, particularly of Cecily & Kate’s scenes, yet this feels more serviceable instead of strong. I recall this season having rough time in coming up with excellent female-led musicals shorts, unlike seasons 41,42,43 did so well and memorably.
- An overall ok music video, with nothing much to say about it, decent enough.
- Pretty pleased to see Kyle getting some good airtime tonight.
- Solid characterization & voice from Kyle. And this sketch feels incredibly welcome in this episode, it feels old school in a good way.
- Hoo boy, Dakota’s low-energy, iffy delivery in this is bothering me and is almost ruining the potential of this sketch.
- I also love the detail with how the camera is showing Kyle, the angle they’re using is making him look like a child, which fits well with the sketch’s premise.
- I don’t know if Dakota’s uncomfortable demeanor here is part of the sketch, I would say so. Yet, she was even rough in the monologue where she was supposed to tell “jokes” and bombed hard.
- I’m enjoying the uncomfortable nature of this sketch, and as I said it feels old school and writerly to me, too bad that Kyle’s solid performance is not matched with Dakota’s odd timing and low-energy delivery.
- An overall solid sketch, not as good as it could’ve been due to the aforementioned iffy, odd timing from Dakota Johnson.
- Oh god, I’ve always despised these Anderlette-written sketches with Aidy as a character with broken arms, like that wretched Stakehouse sketch from the season 39 Seth Rogen episode.
- Even the way the characters are dressed here is bothering me. Hey, at least Dakota looks great here.
- Solid delivery from Aidy as always, but this sketch so far is PURE DEATH. Absolutely unwatchable. What’s this even going for?
- Oh god, they’re just repeating the same joke over and over and over and over….
- Oh, this is now over? Mercifully I would say, if it was slightly longer like the typical Anderlette tripe, then it would’ve gotten a lower rating than the one I’m going to give it right now.
Musical Performance – “Don’t Wanna Fight”
- Jesse Nathan: Dakota’s introduction of Alabama Shakes is kinda stiff. I vastly prefer the way Christoph Waltz introduced their first performance back in Season 38 (Here’s the link for anyone curious).
- I love the guitar intro.
- I recall one YouTube commenter saying that Brittany Howard’s voice sounded like a mix of James Brown and Janis Joplin. While I admittedly don’t know much about Janis Joplin’s voice in order for me to agree with that comparison, I definitely agree with the Brown comparison, because sweet Jesus, this is good stuff.
- Brittany’s vocals are a little poorly mixed.
- Good chorus.
- Okay, I do like the way the vocals are mixed with those of the background singers.
- The instruments in general sound great, particularly the guitars. In fact, this song pretty much consists of nothing but guitars.
- Oh, I LOVE the use of an organ, and it mixes perfectly well.
- Brittany’s really having at it with her vocals.
- I love the way the backing vocalists drop and let Brittany go solo at the end, and she’s selling this well with her facial expressions.
- Overall, definitely a strong performance.
- Ooof at the “possible presidential run” joke about Uh… hmmm…. oof. He Who Should Not Be Named as of now. Oof, I’m now reminded that I’m only few episodes away in this project from reviewing that nightmare-fueled episode.
- Kate’s RBG officially becomes recurring after debuting early on in her tenure, in one of those Kickspit Underground Festival commercials. And this is the version that we’re all now familiar with.
- Good energy & likable performance from Kate here, but I certainly don’t need a BILLIONTH “ya just got Ginsburned!” dance sessions in EVERY FUCKING MINUTE of this commentary.
- A good laugh from the whole Kanye apology tweet, and I just remembered ANOTHER nightmare-fueled episode (mostly because of Kanye & Pete) that I’ll be reviewing in few months from now.
- Not caring for Jay-as-Kanye’s whole song, but at least Sasheer looked gorgeous next to him & her facial expressions cracked me up.
- RIBLET! A great entrance by him by the way.
- I LOVE that Riblet is now delivering jokes instead of Michael & Colin, basically trying to takeover Update.
- Yes! I’m loving how now Riblet is now removing his casual, urban clothes, and the sides of his hair to reveal a suit underneath them and then proceeds to tell jokes as an Update anchor.
- The usual solid Bobby commentary. Sadly, aside from him, I didn’t care for the other two commentaries, which will lead me to rate this whole Update lower than I want to.
- UH-OH. Here comes a very infamous, disastrous sketch that garnered a reputation back when this season originally aired as being one of the worst sketches in SNL history.
- So, this sketch is why Kenan was surprisingly missing from the majority of sketches tonight, in order to apply all the Worf prosthetics.
- I’m about a minute or so into this and boy, the hell am I watching?! What is THIS?! Is this sketch going for the “so bad, it’s good” or the “so dumb, it’s funny”? Because in both cases it’s failing miserably. And I certainly don’t need to be reminded of Miracles of Science (my least favorite SNL sketch in history), that laugh-free disaster is one of the very few sketches that make me shudder in fear due to the dead feeling and how it produced ZERO laughs, no more than quick chuckles. And that sketch was cited by fans as a sketch that failed to be about dumb humor. This sketch, while nowhere near as bad as that one (and I know that some consider this one bottom 10 ever, I disagree as a certain Warehouse sketch later on definitely deserves that spot), is still bafflingly bad and unwatchable to me.
- WTF with Dakota’s low-volumed, iffy, hesitant delivery of both “I can’t” and “No, I can’t. You look so stupid”?! If it’s part of the script, then Dakota didn’t do nearly well to make it seem so, and Kenan’s response seems to be totally in script, unless he’s that damn good of a cast member to easily try and “save” this sinking ship.
- Kenan is coming very likable as always here, but boy even he cannot save this sketch.
- Wait, that’s the ending? With the the whole “This fall on NBC, Worf M.D.”?! Boy, they didn’t even TRY with this sketch didn’t they?
- I’m sure that the Leonard Nimoy tribute at the end of this is well-meaning by SNL, but it shouldn’t have come after such a laughless, humorless, disastrous trainwreck of a sketch.
- Ok, we need to absolutely point out that when the In Memoriam for Leonard Nimoy showed up on-screen and the audience is applauding the end of the sketch, Kenan can be heard basically trashing this sketch, saying in a breathless, relieved, almost joking voice “Cue that applause” basically acknowledging how rough this was for him to perform, and that he’s kinda embarrassed, if not flat-out demeaned to be performing this embarrassing disaster. Boy, that reminds me when Kenan finished performing St. Kat’s Middle, a sketch that’s deservedly cited as bottom 10 in SNL history, where he could be seen DROPPING CHARACTER and walking off stage even with the camera still on him after just finishing the sketch. It also reminded me of another consummate professional, Chris Parnell, who also zipped his alien suit, basically dropping character RIGHT ON CAMERA after finishing a despicably homophobic anal-probing aliens sketch in the dreadful season 30 Johnny Knoxville episode. To have true professionals doing that, and not even wait for commercial shows us how sometimes these performs basically perform disasters that are so bad, that they feel demeaned and embarrassed by them. And this sketch, is easily one of them.
- An interesting time capsule with the whole mention of the ridiculous “Is that dress blue and black or white and gold?”
- Ok, I get what this sketch is aiming for, and I respect the concept, but it needed one more revision before submission. This sketch is just PEOPLE YELLING WITHOUT ANY FUNNY OR AMUSING LINES!!!!
- Ah, Bobby’s tirade about pornos steals this entire sketch, too bad he couldn’t save it with his dependable sketch-saving abilities.
- This is possibly the only sketch all night that I enjoyed Dakota in, aside from that horrid Cathy Anne one, which shows you how rough she is as a host.
- A good laugh from how Taran looks with the bald cap and especially the white, thick beard.
- Ok, not caring for the part were Taran just slaps everyone, yet I did enjoy Dakota’s delivery of “Harder!”, and that’s about the only compliment that I could say about here aside from being generally decent in this whole sketch.
- An overall mediocre sketch as a whole, despite the promising concept. The biggest problem here is the shoutfest without actual amusing or absurd lines to back it up, and the rather lack of presentation.
Musical Performance – “Gimme All Your Love”
- Jesse Nathan: Okay, someone please help me, as Dakota Johnson’s mere presence is making me think weird thoughts that can’t be summed up in human words. Let’s just say that I can look at this woman for hours and not get bored.
- Great intro, and I love how this is more of a slow jam than the last one.
- Nice to hear Brittany’s vocals with barely any instruments.
- Brittany’s vocal delivery of “gimme all your love” was fucking great, and once again gave me massive James Brown vibes.
- Great guitar tone.
- I like the turn with the song suddenly picking up the pace, and I love Brittany’s guitar work.
- I’m really digging this sudden change in pace the more it goes on.
- And now the song goes back to its normal pace. Absolutely incredible.
- Overall, another strong performance from this band. Too bad this might end up being the last time they perform on SNL, as they are currently inactive as of this writing (2022, for anyone reading in the future in case they end up back together).
Rating: **** (though I may go higher)
Mr. Riot Films
- Ah, Beck & Kyle are here to save this episode!
- Some really solid commentary from this short on those “social experiment” YouTube videos, and interestingly enough, this short aired before those went that viral.
- I’m loving all the graphics and direction in this short, absolutely spot-on. It reminds me of the excellent Viral Apology Video that Kyle would later do in season 46’s Daniel Kaluuya episode.
- Great bit with Kyle in drag, and a funny visual with his natural stubble still not shaved during the filming of this supposed “social experiment”.
- The bit with the dog at the end is excellent, and I don’t know if those on YouTube do this in real-life, but if so, they’re even more ridiculous than I thought they were.
- An overall strong way to end tonight’s miserable episode. Thankfully, the show opened and closed with strong material.
Cut For Time: New Playroom
- I love Kyle, but he’s not convincing to me AT ALL in this role, why not have Beck instead of him?
- A rare pairing of Bobby & Taran.
- Blaah at the turn this sketch just took, desperate and juvenile.
- Aside from the energy brought by Bobby & Taran, despite not caring for this premise, this sketch is just NOTHING. Just repeating the same pervy comments and coming off more unlikable, and I know that we’re supposed to dislike these two characters, but you could make it at least passable in quality.
- An overall waste of my time. Yet, not as horrible as it could’ve been.
Segments Ranked From Best to Worst
Mr. Riot Films
Say What You Wanna Say
CFT: New Playroom
- A very weak episode, I enjoyed very little in this, and was left bored & miserable for the majority of the night. Not to mention how massive of a downgrade this episode was from the fantastic J.K. Simmons episode. Aside from three segments which I found to be solid, two of which opened and closed the night, the rest was between average to flat-out bad. And what was bad in this episode, was exceptionally & particularly horrible, some of the lowest lows of the season were in this episode alone: another horrible, cringe-inducing Cathy Anne sketch, and especially the notorious Emergency Room sketch, which most certainly lived up to its reputation as an ALL-TIME SNL lowlight.
- Also, contributing to the low quality is our host Dakota Johnson, while certainly a likable presence, was not the right fit to host a show like SNL, the many awkward, halting, low-volumed deliveries by her throughout the episode made the weak material even worse. Even SNL knew what a failure this episode was, because IIRC, it never got a re-run, although some said that might be because of the wretched ISIS parody. I will say at least one positive thing about this episode: the great music by Alabama Shakes helped me get through it, much like how Margo Price helped me in surviving Russell Crowe in the following season.
- Chris Hemsworth hosts with musical guest Zac Brown Band. Now that’s a host!
4 Replies to “February 28, 2015 – Dakota Johnson / Alabama Shakes (S40 E14) ”
Cold Open ***½
Press Junket ***
I Can’t **
Emergency Room **½
My Riot Films ****½
I vaguely remember this as a poor episode, however, we may have to fight in the parking lot. I love the ISIS sketch. This is really one of my all time favorites. The way it sticks to the original commercial with no hint of where the comedy is coming from and then, wham, a reveal, a “death to America” And we’re done.
Seeing you mention Dakota having low-volumed delivery kinda reminds me of Kristen Stewart in her hosting stints. Not sure why it works better for her than for Dakota.
“Unlike how (Leslie) surprisingly fit perfectly with Liev Schreiber in the legendary House Hunters short in season 44” Well, to be fair, both were born in 1967, so that kinda makes sense.
“Here’s the link for anyone curios” Okay, I’m pretty sure that I spelled that correctly in the email I sent you.
“I disagree as a certain Warehouse sketch later on definitely deserves that spot” What Warehouse sketch? Are you implying that it’s from later this season? Because the only warehouse sketch I could find that matches your description is the Warehouse Fire sketch from the Chadwick Boseman episode in Season 43. Is that what you were referring to?
By the way, I feel that your review of that Emergency Room sketch didn’t quite convey exactly why it’s supposedly terrible (I personally haven’t seen it), aside from it failing at dumb humor. How did it fail at doing that, exactly?
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
Franco – 4.8
Freeman – 8.0
Adams – 6.0
Hart – 5.9
Shelton – 6.8
Simmons – 7.9
Johnson – 4.8
Overall average (so far): 6.4
Wow, both you and Stooge find this episode to be tied with James Franco.
Oops, I probably deleted that letter by mistake as I posted your review, and yes I meant the one in Chadwick Boseman’s episode. And the Worf sketch failed because it didn’t lean enough into dumb humor instead of just having sprinkles of it. A sketch that I love in the next episode, is a perfect example of doing dumb humor, which I’ll explain hopefully there why it works so well.