You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘SNL’ category.
Is Jon Hamm the perfect human being? Is he even human, or is he one of those almost-humans from “The Event” whose DNA differs from ours by 1 percent? Is he related to Greg, who is not an alien and who also hasn’t been in a “Saturday Night Live” sketch in awhile?
(I miss Greg. And I miss “What Up with That?” Why can’t they do it every week?)
Jon Hamm is definitely the perfect “Saturday Night Live” host. Alec Baldwin used to be the best 21st century SNL host, but in his third round Jon Hamm handily displaces Baldwin (who is no slouch himself).
Hamm — he says he calls himself Hamm and I’m still hoping for another Hamm & Buble sketch — is calm, cool, confident, naturally funny and not exactly hard to look at.
It’s weird to think he’s famous for playing uber-serious, brow-furrowed Don Draper on “Mad Men” since, on SNL, Hamm is funny even in stasis. He’s like Bill Murray — he can make me laugh even before he says or does anything just ’cause I know something good is coming. (Bill Hader too.)
And something good finally came this week, after a pretty disappointing season so far, including the waste of Jane Lynch. (At least Bryan Cranston got that bottle of sparkling apple juice.)
Most of the episode was on its A game, from the cold open to Rihanna returning for another Shy Ronnie Digital Short. (Although I miss Stefan from last week’s Weekend Update. Love Stefan.)
Jon Hamm was all over the place — like Betty White last season, as opposed to some weaker hosts who hide in the background. I loved his long honking “best cry ever” on “I Didn’t Ask for This” and, of course, the kiss with Jason Sudeikis in the CHiPs-like “Highway Cops.” Those wigs!
Also loved the “Back to the Future” anniversary edition “never before seen audition tapes,” allowing the SNL cast to show off their impersonations.
It’s sweeps month and you know SNL is breaking out the big guns when Bill Hader is in almost every skit. From Vincent Price to Alan Alda, he’s the Ace they still have up their sleeves.
It’s a shame they had to hire a bunch of new faces when all they need to do is give more to Hader, Jason Sudeikis and Kenan Thompson. I’m not a Kristen Wiig hater, but I think it’s time to give more to Vanessa Bayer. She’s the new person with the most potential.
When Hamm returns for a fourth hosting gig — sooner rather than later, I hope — can I request another Digitial Short with Sergio?
*** SKETCH BREAKDOWN ***
Cold Open: Great opening by Jason Sudeikis as Vice President Joe Biden, telling Americans to stop whining and think mining. “Are you above ground?” Love him. So glad they didn’t do another Obama opener.
Monologue: Awesome. Jon Hamm comes up with ad slogans for purses, diapers … even 9 volt batteries. And he repeatedly calls Bill Hader a woman, telling him/her to call him after the show. Bill Hader doesn’t mind ’cause hey, it’s Jon Hamm. I love how easy Hamm makes this look. Bad hosts make me nervous with their lack of confidence or desperation to impress.
SNL Digital Short: Ronnie and Clyde, the return of Shy Ronnie and Rihanna. I’m warming to Shy Ronnie (Andy Samberg). Rihanna looks gorgeous. They rob a bank and Rihanna takes Jon Hamm along with her to have sex. Well played, ma’am.
Vincent Price’s Halloween Special: Bill Hader returns as Price. Love! Love Fred Armisen as Liberace. Jon Hamm is John F. Kennedy.
Never before seen screen tests from Back to the Future: Eddie Murphy (Jay Pharoah), Al Pacino (Bill Hader), Jennifer Tilly (Kristen Wiig), Sam Kinison (Bobby Moynihan), Robin Williams (Jon Hamm). Pacino is the best. (“Great job, Scott!”)
Casting call: Jason Sudeikis is some kind of talent scout. Kristen Wiig comes in to audition. It gets a bit weird. “I will show my bush.” She’ll also pass gas … and might eat a very small bowl of white bird waste if it’s relevant to the part. Jon Hamm plays her husband. He bursts in when Sudeikis says she doesn’t get the part. “Are you insane in the membrane? Insane in the brain?” The Stanley Steemer commercial with the dog wiping his butt on the carpet!
More Back to the Future casting: Nicolas Cage (Andy Samberg), Alan Alda (Bill Hader). Awesome Alan Alda impression. Prince (Fred Armisen). Cosby (Kenan Thompson). Gilbert Gottfried (Taran Killam). Joan Cusack (Abby Elliott).Pee Wee Herman (Taran Killam).
Rihanna: “What’s My Name?” What’s she wearing is the question. I’m not into this whole diaper trend, no matter if it’s in Wonder Woman colors.
Weekend Update: Bill Hader as bald James Carville talking about the Tea Party. Garth and Kat! The always unprepared singers (Fred Armisen and Kristen Wiig) are back.
I Didn’t Ask for This: Hosted by Bobby Moynihan, it’s a show for people whose lives were ruined by videos posted on the Internet. Paul Brittain plays producer. Kristen Wiig plays guest. Jon Hamm plays father who reconnects with his son (Taran Killam) and sobs a long honk of a cry on a reality TV show. His long sob gets Auto-Tuned, which is awesome. “My best cry ever!”
Highway Cops: After two seconds looking at Jason Sudeikis and Jon Hamm in those wigs, I realize we need more of this. They ride a motorcycle together and Jon Hamm holds tight onto Jason’s waist. Lucky. Love Kenan Thompson as the chief too. Three of my favorite guys together. Still, there was more potential to be had here. They didn’t push it far enough. When sketches air this late in the night, the weirder the better. Oh wait. Spoke too soon. Hamm just smooched Sudeikis.
Married performers: Hamm and Wiig as a couple who mock fight in a bad lounge act. Jon Hamm is basically playing Fred Armisen. He even looks like him. Just give the part to Fred. Not a great sketch. Goes on too long too. Decent line, though: “That tiny straw is making me hate you.” “Or does it.”
Rihanna: “Only Girl in the World.” She looks great in red but doesn’t sound too hot here.
What is this Paris Hilton dog thing with David Spade?
Watch videos of each sketch Sunday morning here at NBC.com.
Catch up on my “SNL” stories here in this nifty archive.
By Gina Carbone
As the light fades, so does my energy. And my patience.
I still watch all of the shows I usually watch — plus a few more, now that I’m writing about “Castle” and “The Vampire Diaries” for Wetpaint, on top of “The Bachelor,” “Bachelorette” and “Dancing with the Stars” — but some of these things sap my strength.
So here are capsule recaps/performance reviews for most of the current shows I watch, with notes on whether I will actually keep watching them once it gets dark around 4 p.m. and I start to think I’d be better off sleeping for 16 out of 24 hours.
MAD MEN (Click title links to be directed to my archive of recaps/other stories)
Season 4 status: Awesome. Epic. Best season ever. But see below…
Recent episode, “Chinese Wall” status: Frustrating. It’s hard for me to accept season 4 as Don Draper hitting rock bottom and finding himself when EVERY SINGLE WOMAN HE MEETS HITS ON HIM. Even Megan. Megan who said she wants to do what Don and Miss Olson do. Megan who has ambitions. I loved hearing that about Megan but, of course, it had to be followed with her speaking to Don like a scene from a cheesy Harlequin romance novel. He’s in her head all day, at work and at home… Then he kisses her in the office? So that’s Allison, Faye and now Megan, on top of the women outside the office, like Bethany the Betty clone and the prostitute who slapped him because that’s what he wants (and deserves). Look, Don is an attractive, powerful man and maybe he smells like the Old Spice Guy, but this is a bit much. We’re supposed to sympathize with this guy going through a crisis and his “crisis” involves hot young things hitting on him constantly. Stop it.
By the way, tonight’s episode, “Blowing Smoke,” was directed by John Slattery, aka Roger Sterling. We finally found something for Roger to do!
Season 5 status: Boring
We’re only two episodes into the new season. I accepted that the first episode was slow. But the second one was slow too. Glacial. There’s a happy medium between the slow pace of “Dexter” season 5 and the frenetic pace of “True Blood” season 3. (It’s called “Mad Men” season 4.) Pick up the pace before I fall asleep by 9:30 p.m. every Sunday night.
Update: Oct. 10 episode picked up the pace big-time. We’re back on track with an actual stalking/murder. For once this is a good thing!
Season 1 status: On notice
I want to like “Boardwalk Empire” but I’m having trouble getting into it. Part of this is due to the too-perfect set. That does not look like a boardwalk anyone actually walks on. Those shops look like they’re freshly painted every week. The windows are pristine. Was it really like that? Maybe it was. Then there’s the dialogue. Even before the first episode aired there was a preview where Michael Shannon’s (WORSHIP) agent Van Alden says of Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) “he’s corrupt as the day is long.” The second I heard that, I deflated. Really? With all the millions they are spending on the set they can’t do better than a trite line like that? I was hoping they would never actually air that line, but they did last week. Nothing about the rest of the dialogue has shown they are planning to do anything but navigate through more cliches. I’ll give it a few more chances, but I don’t owe it anything. If it can’t show me something new I’m going to leave Atlantic City for good.
Update: Oct. 10 episode was my favorite so far. Plenty of action and interesting character development. Give Chalky more good speeches.
Season 21 status: Meh
Everything old is new again with “Nicaragua.” Maybe I’ve been spoiled from The Russell Show, but I’m not feeling too strongly about any of this season’s contestants. Even NaOnka Mixon is such an obvious villain I’m not upset with her as much as CBS for so gleefully casting someone they had to know was just going to self-destruct and ruin her own reputation. She’s just plain unstable. It’s old vs. young and I do like Jane of the old tribe, but not so much that I’m compelled to root hard for her. I’m just sort of biding time to see which boot list is correct. On the way I’ll stare at Chase and Jud/Fabio, but I’m really just waiting for Russell vs. Rob.
Cycle 15 status: Too obvious
Just give the Vogue Italia cover to Ann Ward already. She just won her fourth challenge in a row — the first time in “Top Model” history for that particular feat, Tyra says — and if she somehow DOESN’T win, whoever does win is going to have to feel like a usurper. Ann was the star of the cycle before the first episode aired. She was thrust into the controversy spotlight for being 6’2″ and having the world’s tiniest waistline. (Or something. Has anyone really gone around measuring all the grown women in the world?) My girl Kayla is still in play, but we lost my previous favorite Rhianna and the challenges just keep getting more and more ridiculous. A conveyor belt in heels? Do you hate the contestants that much? This show has no connection to reality anymore. It’s a parody of itself. So why do I keep watching?
Season 11 status update: Borderline rigged
People need to stop trying to convince me that this isn’t already an open-and-shut case. Even if Jennifer Grey weren’t the best of the crop so far, she has a RABID fan base dying to give her the mirror-ball trophy. Seriously, if you go to Wetpaint’s Dancing with the Stars Facebook page, people adore her. She is going to get the votes no matter what she does. Which means Derek Hough will be the first pro to win three mirror-balls. He also won last season with Nicole Scherzinger and won season 7 with co-host Brooke Burke, who favors Derek too. Derek runs the place. Meanwhile, Maks is mouthy. He needs to stop making everyone adjust to his attitude/the way he was taught and actually adjust himself a drop for the people around him. Just a drop.
Season 36 status: Disappointing
The premiere was all about the old school and since then each episode has given little glimpses of the new cast members. Meanwhile, the guest stars are not being served well by the material. To put it mildly. I thought Bryan Cranston was pretty much wasted last week but that was before I saw them completely waste Jane Lynch. She deserved the Betty White treatment and instead she didn’t even get a bottle of sparkling apple juice moment. What gives? She’s definitely funny and game to do whatever — same as Bryan Cranston — but they give her such weak sketches. Last season SNL had some good stuff for Jon Hamm, Taylor Swift and even Blake Lively. This season they seem more focused on the cast members, especially Kristen Wiig injecting herself into everything. Why?
TOP CHEF: JUST DESSERTS
Season 1 status: Sweet and sassy — love it!
Am I going straight to hell if I miss Seth Caro? I thought he was hot from day one and his inherent bitchiness just made him more intriguing. Until it didn’t. As in, I think he may have a serious but treatable mental illness. I want him to seek treatment and then return. Because, man, is he interesting.
I had the crazy idea that a show about sugar and spice and everything nice would be, you know, sweet. Nothing could be further from the truth. Meltdowns like crazy, and not just from Seth. Malika just quit and her face when she announced she was leaving showed such joy and relief. Maybe it makes sense. Baking is harder than cooking. If you’re a chef you can experiment more than a baker. The slightest thing can ruin a pastry. Love watching it all play out.
Sidenote: Stop teasing me with the idea of Hubert Keller as a permanent judge when he’s not even there every week. I need more face time with my beloved French Gandalf!
Season 8 status: Love the drama, not the clothes
Mondo Guerra is going to win, despite me not really getting most of his clothes. To me, he is the naked emperor. But as a person, he is fascinating. Quirky, funny, cute, and alternately vulnerable and arrogant. He laid his soul on a slab last week by announcing his HIV positive status. But this week he showed himself to be above-it-all with his rudeness to Heidi Klum, aka a judge and producer on the show and this week’s client. The editing of the previews has been very “Bachelor” manipulation, which is a shame since the natural drama speaks for itself. Ivy Higa needs to go on “Survivor” with NaOnka Mixon. Gretchen Jones should spar with Seth Caro on “Top Chef.” So many crazy reality TV personalities to deal with. But on “Runway” they are more bitchy than mentally unstable. I prefer that. I’m fine with disliking people’s behavior on TV. I’m not fine with potentially unstable people being exploited for ratings.
I never got that bottle of sparkling apple juice. Did you get it?
Between “Breaking Bad” and “Saturday Night Live,” I do believe I’ve seen more of Bryan Cranston in his tighty whities than I’ve ever seen him fully clothed. No complaints.
Not too many complaints about his “Saturday Night Live” episode either. It was OK. Not great. Average. No real belly laughs.
He was great, though. Calm, cool, confident. Sometimes new hosts can make me nervous, but he was perfectly at ease. Freakin’ rock star. I shouldn’t be surprised. He elevated the weak writing for most of the sketches. A good actor can do that.
I’m always happy when “What Up With That” plays, but especially when ultra-earnest Morgan Freeman and happy-go-lucky Ernest Borgnine show up to plug their upcoming movie “Red” and Lindsey Buckingham gets blown off again. (Bill Hader, never change.) Not to mention Jason Sudeikis dancing in his red tracksuit, which is always the best part of the sketch.
Seriously, though, Ernest Borgnine is 93 and he’s having a much better Saturday night than the rest of us. More power to him.
The cold open wasn’t too bad this week, either. Andy Samberg needs to keep up his Rahm Emanuel impressions, even if Rahm is out of the White House. And do we really need Fred Armisen to keep doing Obama? Any way around that?
The new blood had more to do this week. Last week they were sort of given cameos while the old guard took over.
This week new girl Vanessa Bayer got her own breathless TV host gig, very early on in the show. I have a feeling we’re going to see that character again, so I’d better learn her name at some point. (That was her Miley Cyrus? Way to go me for missing that.)
Vanessa also popped up a few other times; looks like she is the one the SNL brass has the most faith in, at this point.
Kristen Wiig did her not-so-sexy Shanna again. Her extended burp was a bit much but it went on so long it became slightly funny.
Musical guest Kanye West paid homage to his own “Power” video by somehow turning the set stark white and surrounding himself with goddess ballet dancer models. Considering the song is just rapping and not singing, he sounded great. (No one ever sounds good when they have to really sing live on SNL.) I’m not sure the audience knew how to react, though.
I didn’t know how to react to “Runaway.” He spent a good chunk of the song standing by some kind of keyboard. And then there’s the Auto-Tune. I did love Kanye’s red outfit, though. But it’ll never be as cool as Sudeikis’s red tracksuit.
Seth Meyers sat alone at the Weekend Update desk this week. He should rotate new people as guest anchors. Or just have the host sit with him.
Instead, Bobby Moynihan stopped by as shady Anthony, who always has slightly off behind-the-scenes tips on current events. Andy Samberg — who got a lot of action this week — also showed up as Cathy. Tiny hearts! Tiny hearts! I don’t know why I love his Cathy so much, but since the comic strip is ending we’re saying goodbye to her too. Will Andy have anything else to do on the show, besides the SNL Digital Shorts? Sweat drops!
And can I make one more pitch for Fred Armisen’s Nicholas Fehn? He’s my favorite Update guest.
I wish the “Kid Smartz” game show sketch had been a little better. It had plenty of potential, with Bryan Cranston’s slimy, smoochy ’70s game show host kissing all the kids (Vanessa Bayer, Abby Elliott and especially Andy Samberg) except Kenan Thompson — in pigails! But it ended up a bit flat.
I do love seeing Bryan sing and perform. He was Vanessa/Miley’s dad, Billy Ray Cyrus, in her celebrity interview sketch (I think that was new guy Paul Brittain as Johnny Depp), danced in “What Up With That?” and later in the show he and Fred Armisen sang to an audience of no one as the Bjelland brothers in Minneapolis.
“I sent a bottle of sparkling apple juice to your house? Did you get it?”
That’s their one song. They sing the line over and over until it gets funny. Hey, there’s a whole brand of humor based on repetition. It works if it works. I think it worked this time. Probably my favorite sketch of the night.
The final live sketch was about a tough Green Beret (played by Bryan) trying to teach his son, Henry (Nasim Pedrad, one of the new kids last season) how to be tough. It was a disappointing final sketch. This is the time of night to experiment with bizarre, cool stuff for the late, late crowd — not just a father punching out his kid.
At least Kenan Thompson — who seemed to be absent last week — got the last word, a pre-taped ad for i-sleepPRO. Again, it was OK but not memorable.
It didn’t leave the show on a strong note. It left me feeling the episode was average overall, with high marks for Bryan Cranston.
When you have a host this game to go all the way, and this comfortable doing it, give him the A-game material. This felt like the B roll. (Do NOT do that to Jane Lynch next week!)
And watch all (or at least most) of these sketches Sunday morning here at NBC.com.
I forgot — forgot! — that the “Saturday Night Live” season 36 premiere was last night. So now I’m playing catch up at NBC.com.
Former SNL regular Amy Poehler was the host, with Katy Perry as the musical guest singing “California Gurls” and “Teenage Dream.”
(Point to ponder: Has any SNL musical guest actually sounded better here than on another live show? Everyone always sounds off to me, but I’m wondering if that’s just how it is in general. Blame over-produced albums and Auto-Tune, I guess.)
Katy also spoofed “Sesame Street” and her own impressive rack in the great “Bronx Beat” skit. (OK, “sketch.” Sorry, Bob.)
Amy: “Looks like Today Show is brought to you by the number 38 and the letter double D.”
Since last season, SNL dropped Jenny Slate (a big FU to the f-bomb dropper), lost Will Forte (I still have to see “MacGruber,” I really want to) and added four new people — Vanessa Bayer, Paul Brittain, Taran Killam and Jay Pharoah.
I should probably wait until my TV has this On Demand, or until NBC posts the entire episode, because watching skit by skit in video clips doesn’t give me a full idea of how the show felt from start to finish, and I can’t even tell how many of the new folks got real face time.
I noticed Vanessa Bayer in at least four skits, a cameo from Paul Brittain in the Showtime spoof, Jay Pharoah got to play Will Smith on Weekend Update … and I still need to find Taran Killam on the show. I read that he played Jet Blue hero Steven Slater, but I haven’t seen the skit yet. I don’t think NBC even posted it.
Also saw Justin Timberlake in at least two sketches, plus Maya Rudolph with Amy on “Bronx Beat,” Rachel Dratch, Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon in the monologue, and New York Gov. David Paterson as himself in a great self-spoof/after-school-special on SNL’s “sophomoric and stupid” jokes about his blindness.
Gov. Paterson: “You should be sorry. You have poked so much fun at me for being blind that I forgot I was black.”
Weekend Update, the Bosley hair restoration sketch, Boogerman and Bronx Beat were probably my favorite sketches, but the show was pretty strong overall. No potato chip standouts, but no January Jones weak spots either.
The focus was on the ensemble as a whole, especially the “old” cast — former SNL stars and Kristen Wiig. Not much focus on the new guard.
I have sketch links below, but I’ll have to do better next week. Check out the upcoming schedule:
Oct. 2: Bryan Cranston/Kanye West
Oct. 9: Jane Lynch/Bruno Mars
Oct. 23: Emma Stone/TBA
Oct. 30: Jon Hamm/TBA
No idea what’s happening Oct. 16, but I’m pretty excited for this lineup. Jon Hamm is the new Alec Baldwin of SNL. It’s almost annoying how perfect he is at everything.
*** SEPT. 25 SKIT ROUNDUP ***
Christine O’Donnell Cold Open: Jason Sudeikis and Bill Hader of the Republican National Committee talk to Kristen Wiig as Christine O’Donnell. Why does Wiig get O’Donnell anyway? New girl Vanessa Bayer makes a cameo. This could’ve been a good showcase for her.
Anyway, at least it’s not another Obama cold open. Those are painful. This is about the RNC trying to figure out how many skeletons she really has in her closet.
Christine was anti-masturbation, but only because she didn’t understand it. She likes the masturbate all the time! She also used to stage dog fights. “I’ve been to Michael Vick’s dog fights. They were lame. Mine have action.” And she’s also The Wicked Witch of the West.
Hair Restoration: Classic ad skit. My boy Jason Sudeikis is back for a Bosley Hair Restoration commercial. What if you don’t have hair from the back of your head to be a donor? Bosley’s solution: “Hair is harvested from the mezzanine and brought to the head. Kind of like a neighbor walking over to borrow a cup of sugar.” Yes, a big, fuzzy, kinky mezzanine!
Amy’s monologue: She has an anxiety dream that she’ll be late for the show. Justin Timberlake is there, as he is in all our dreams. “Yeah, world, I’m Justin Timberlake and Amy Poehler’s a terrible kisser!” Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon return — “They’re back!” — to bully Seth and Amy as the new kids on Weekend Update.
Ladies Who Lunch: Advantage Trish! The best part of this is Bill Hader making his fashion rounds in his hot pink suit with his little dog. The smallest hat known to man. “Faking your own death is the new tiny hat.”
Actor II Actor: Andy Samberg slowly interviews Justin Timberlake on method acting, but instead asks when he’s going to make more music. Funny that they give Justin so much time on the premiere, with four new cast members.
Jay as Will Smith: New guy Pharoah gets to show off his Will Smith impression, nailing the King of Nepotism’s aww-shucks style of egomania. Love the little chuckles.
Update: Fred and Gov. Paterson: Fred Armisen returns to one of his most cutting impersonations, talking about the close race for Gov. Paterson’s replacement. He disses the Olive Garden, which is a shame. Love Olive Garden!
Seth Meyers: “Let’s leave New Jersey out of this.”
Gov. Paterson: “That’s what the Constitution should’ve said.”
The real Gov. Paterson shows up and yells stop. “This has gone on long enough.” He stumbles over his joke that he shaved his beard a year ago. “Are you blind?” “Touche.”
Gov. Paterson: “Working in Albany is a lot like watching Saturday Night Live. There’s a lot of characters, it’s funny for 10 minutes and then you just want it to go away.” Ha!
While he does have a sense of humor, jokes that degrade people just for disabilities are “sophomoric and stupid.” Even though he’s blind he’s the only one who sees what to do, he says.
Amy apologizes for poking fun at him. Gov. Paterson: “You should be sorry. You have poked so much fun at me for being blind that I forgot I was black.”
The best part is still when they wander in front of the camera.
Update: Really with Seth and Amy: When is Ahmadinejad gonna hook up with Israel already? And even if we weren’t already heading into a third war, can’t we let gay Americans help us fight the two we’re already in? “It’s time to repeal ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell,’ ’cause, let’s admit it, ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ sounds a little gay to begin with. Sounds like something a gay dude would use for the title for his e-vite.”
Also love Amy’s sarcastic argument for what gay men get out of the military and Seth’s shot at Lady Gaga for wearing a meat suit on Sunday and trying to be the voice of reason on Tuesday. Really!
Bronx Beat: Amy and Maya Rudolph return as gum-chewing Bronx housewives Betty and Jodi. “Bedbugs! Bedbugs!” Amy: “You know how bedbugs get into your house? They ride in on the backs of mice.”
It goes on for about 6 minutes, but it’s pretty funny. Amy and Maya are perfect and Katy makes a great cameo.
Katy Perry and her bouncing girls pop in as former babysitter Maureen Dichico, who has bloomed over the summer. “Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!”
Maya: “Maureen, what the hell happened to your shirt?”
Amy: “Looks like Today Show is brought to you by the number 38 and the letter double D.”
I’m just surprised at the amount of time the old school folks are getting. Then again, that used to work so maybe they hope it will again.
Showtime: “It’s official. Showtime is the home of women with secrets.” Kristen Wiig as Mary Louise Parker in “Weeds.” Nasim Pedrad as Edie Falco in “Nurse Jackie.” Abby Elliott as Laura Linney in “The Big C.” Showtime presents a new show, “The Lean Years,” about a woman with the biggest secret yet. Amy Poehler: “My name’s Amber. I got Hepatitis B, a mad case of bedbugs, and I’m rocking one leg.”
I love that they are mocking Showtime’s penchant for creating shows with characters so pretentious and self-absorbed they dare us to like them. Cameo by tall, skinny new guy as doctor. Paul Brittain! He looks cute, give him more.
Wedding Venue: Amy and Vanessa Bayer are having a gay wedding … at the new mosque by Ground Zero. Love Bill Hader as the over-the-top salesman. He needs to be in this more. Best part: The Republican National Committee stamp at the end.
Maternity Matters: New girl Vanessa plays a doctor who normally hosts a show for expectant mothers, but she’s sick (“Let’s just say they had to throw her underwear out at the A&P”) and Fred Armisen returns as the gruff, bald producer who volunteers to cover the show but can’t hear the audience’s questions. And when he does hear them, he offers … inappropriate advice.
Producer: “Your what changed color?”
Kristen Wiig as expectant mother: “Um, my nipples.”
Producer: “I can’t hear you, sweetheart, you’re mumbling.”
Mother: “My nipples.”
Producer: “Pineapples? You sound like you’re talking through a sponge.”
If they’re going to bring back recurring skits, I wish they’d bring back Fred’s Nicholas Fehn, who keeps interrupting his own headline analysis on the Update desk, or Kenan Thompson doing “What Up With That,” which is almost always my favorite skit of any night.
Digital Short: Boogerman: Katy Perry performs the theme to the film “Boogerman,” accompanied by dancers from the Boston Ballet, featuring Andy Samberg.
Finally, a shot of Kenan Thompson in the “Boogerman” video clip. Who was the guy who yelled “I was born the Boogerman and I’ll die the Boogerman!”? Looked like Peter Sarsgaard, but it may have been the elusive Taran. Or Paul?
Best part: Shots of the real stars in the audience, stolen from the Emmys or Oscars or Golden Globes or something. Morgan Freeman’s solemn nod is my favorite.
Not the best digital short, but still not the worst.
Catch up on my archive of SNL stories here.
First of all, I’m ticked at my favorite “Saturday Night Live” comedian, Jason Sudeikis, for dating January Jones since she was arguably the worst SNL host of all time.
Do you read Lainey Gossip? Lainey also loved January’s Emmys dress and hates January’s lack of personality. She is gorgeous — and probably should’ve won an Emmy for playing Betty Draper on the best show on TV — but there’s no there there.
Having said that, I was grateful for her dress after the darkness the Emmys dropped on us — long navy and black evening gowns.
Why? It’s August.
If I had a ticket to the Emmys and any style at all, I would’ve done what January did with this bold royal blue Versace. But I would’ve done something equally bold with my hair, instead of her casual California surfer girl look.
E! online did its glam or sham poll and they also called out January for her hair and boring pumps. Readers voted her 39.9% Glam and 60.1% Sham.
Hey, I liked it — a lot more than what my favorite “Mad Men” actress, Christina Hendricks, wore. Those are some ugly purple feathers. She’s one of those beautiful-in-a-paper-bag types, but this lavender Zac Posen dress is testing that theory.
Christina is my #1 girl on the show and Elisabeth Moss is my second favorite. Elisabeth stays in that position fashion-wise with her not-great-but-not-bad Donna Karan gown.
Speaking of “Mad Men,” I just saw this story about how the cast of “True Blood” — including Alexander Skarsgard — ditched the HBO party to hang out at AMC’s cooler “Mad Men” party at the Soho House. Poor HBO! At least they have all those Emmys to keep them happy.
Peggy Olson is back on the market. But if you pick her up, she comes with the free gift of Scientology.
Check out this list of other celebrity Scientologists. Some I knew, some I did not. (Jason Lee? Juliette Lewis? Erika Christensen?)
Anyway, Fred Armisen plays Obama (and not very well) on “Saturday Night Live.” I prefer him as the ditzy court stenographer and Joy Behar of “The View.”
Fred and Elisabeth were only married 10 months. SNL boy was previously married to an English singer named Sally Timms.
According to Life & Style (and picked up by other more worthy outlets), “Fred and Elisabeth separated in May. Fred is currently in Portland, Ore. on the set of his new series Portlandia. Elisabeth is in LA focusing on her career and spending quiet time with friends.”
I’m sad. I liked them.
The Emmys are only a couple of weeks away — Sunday, August 29 on NBC — and Elisabeth is nominated as Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for playing Peggy on Season 2 of “Mad Men.” Who is she going to go to the awards with? (I still hope her fellow nominee Christina Hendricks wins for playing Joan.)
Also sad news: Patricia Arquette and Thomas Jane are reportedly divorcing.
Also, Patti Stanger of “Millionaire Matchmaker” has called off her wedding to her boyfriend of more than six years because, as she described it, he wants her to be something that she can’t be. (Emotionally stable?) Apparently she wants kids now (and she’s 49 so that sounds fair) and he doesn’t.
Good news: Neil Patrick Harris is going to be a daddy of twins. I bet he’ll be a cool father.
Also good, but not new news: Jane Lynch is going to host SNL sometime in October. Can’t wait to see who else they have lined up for the new season. You think Jon Hamm will be back for a third time? Sergio! Let’s do this thing.
Also good October news: “In Treatment” will return to HBO for a third season this October. I love this show and you can check out my list of top 15 TV shows to find out why.
By Gina Carbone
Betty White just mopped the floor with Gabourey Sidibe, Ryan Phillippe, Jennifer Lopez, Ashton Kutcher, January Jones and pretty much every other host from “Saturday Night Live” season 35 … except maybe Jon Hamm.
Not to mention Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Ana Gasteyer, Molly Shannon & Rachel Dratch, who just stopped by moral support on Mother’s Day.
Ana, Maya and Molly seemed to get the most mileage out of the show.
Tina had a cameo in the Little Women-esque “Gingey” skit and came back for “Really!?! With Seth, Amy and Tina” during Weekend Update, and got her main camera time at the end of the show for the wonderfully odd Census skit, owned by Betty.
Betty was in almost every skit (including a cameo in the Weekend Update), unlike some hosts who are in less than half the show. Betty also stood alone for a kick-ass monologue, unlike some hosts who have to rely on cast members to stand up in the audience and help them out.
Betty handled herself incredibly well and is apparently not at all afraid of crass humor and ethnic jokes. I’ve never heard so much “muffin” double entendre in my life, never mind the constant “She’s a lesbian” repetitions in the Gingey skit.
And the 88-year-old has quite the foul mouth, from “ass” to the bleeped out “Are you out of your f–king mind?” in MacGruber to “Happy Mother’s Day, Mother F–kers!” in “The Golden Girls” goes S&M Digital Short where everyone sang “Thank you for being a friend…” until Betty launched her hardcore version.
She even wore a wig and danced in the … hell, I can’t remember the name of the talk show where Fred Armisen has everyone dance, but Betty danced and Bill Hader once again made me laugh out loud.
Funny, the show’s cold opening started with Fred Armisen as well, but NOT Obama, for a change. Instead, he was the other show host whose name I can’t remember, the one with Kristen Wiig with a huge forehead and tiny hands.
Betty played Kenan Thompson’s grandmother in the latest Scared Straight skit and played MacGruber’s (Will Forte) nana in the multiple MacGruber skits to plug the upcoming movie. I WISH TO GOD they would include her in the movie. The movie will be a fail without her.
Nana kept telling embarrassing stories about MacGruber, like how he had breast reduction surgery and was nicknamed Poocasso for drawing with his wee wee. They fought and ultimately got close enough that he proposed to her and she accepted (in front of a horrified Vicki St. Elmo, played by Kristen Wiig). They almost kissed before the place blew up. Again.
I love that SNL didn’t treat Betty like a china doll. They knew we wanted to see her — she even thanked and mocked the Facebook campaign during her monologue —and put her to work with lots of dialogue and movement, even though Bobby Moynihan had to help her get up off the sofa during that dance skit. Hell, I’d need help getting up from that sofa, too.
By the way, Seth Meyers needs help at that Weekend Update desk. Seeing Amy and Tina again reminded me it’s been too long since he convinced himself he’s good enough to do it alone.
Thank you (for being a friend?), SNL, for not only getting Betty to host, giving her hard R-material and having Jay-Z as her musical guest (where he dedicated “Young Forever” to “the most incredible Betty White“), but also for honoring so many SNL comediennes on the Mother’s Day ep. It was nice to see more women than men up there — especially when most of the women were from past seasons.
OK, so the writing still isn’t up to the standard of the heydey, but this is a good sign for sweeps month.
Other good news: Alec Baldwin is hosting next week. Love it!
Read some of my past SNL thoughts here in my little archive.
By Gina Carbone
“Saturday Night Live” was painful last night. I spent a good portion of it looking at my feet because I felt so bad for Gabourey Sidibe, who tried hard and gave a lot of energy, but kept stumbling over her lines and messing up her timing.
Not that she had a lot to work with. When SNL is good it’s very good and when it’s bad it’s lazy and self-indulgent, as it was last night.
Another long, dull Obama cold opening. (It’s like they know we don’t find them funny and they air them just out of spite.)
Her monologue was a peppy musical number, but it pales in comparison to Taylor Swift and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Still, that was one of her highlights.
Kristen Wiig was allowed to do more annoying voices — Suze Ormon and Judy Grimes (Just kidding! Just kidding…No, I’m not. Yes, I am. Just kidding…).
Why choose nervous Judy to bring back to Weekend Update? I’d like to see Nicholas Fehn (Fred Armisen) return to make more attempts at commenting on news stories, before cutting himself off mid-sentence.
Bill Hader once again cracked himself up as Stefon, who was supposed to give family-friendly advice to tourists on what to see in New York in the spring. Instead he talked about the hottest and most disgusting clubs in the city. That was probably the only time I laughed out loud, and partially because Hader always has so much trouble keeping a straight face.
Seth Meyers is the head writer on the show and you’d think he’d spend a little more time focusing on the writing for the hosts and not his own solo Weekend Update endeavours.
Instead, he brought out one of his writer friends to give a spoken-word essay on how he’d like to buy Girl Scout cookies all year round. Well, yeah, me too. And I’d also like to have pumpkin muffins from Dunkin Donuts year round. And Shamrock Shakes from McDonalds. (Shut up, they’re good!) And Cadbury Mini Eggs beyond Easter. It was classic Seinfeldian “you ever wonder…” stuff that came off as filler for a weak night.
I love Will Forte as creepy white supremacist Hamilton and his love story with Gabourey at the end of the night was a half-decent sketch. But it can’t touch anything from, say, host Blake Lively’s hosting gig and Blake’s night was only really notable for that Blessed From Above potato chip skit.
Last week Ryan Phillippe also performed on a weak show and I didn’t write anything about it because I was too busy trying to figure out how his voice had dropped. “Cruel Intentions” was on the other night and his voice is about an octave higher there. He has (supposedly) already gone through puberty, so … does working out a lot do that? Or taking steroids? Or just working hard to sound manly? I’m curious.
Either way, I can’t think of anything from his skit last week that I loved, but he also gave it his all. More bad writing.
He wasn’t quite up to January Jones‘ high standard of Worst Host Ever, but Gabourey fell into the same traps of obvious nervousness, line flubbing and bad timing. She’s not naturally funny in a live forum, which does not mean she’s not funny in real life. SNL producers (Lorne!) need to do a better job of distinguishing the difference.
I’m going to post the entire list of hosts from season 35, in order of my preference. For now, I am giving Gabourey a slight lead over January, but I may change my mind tomorrow.
Don’t forget: SNL is a repeat next week, then BETTY WHITE! They will not let her fail, so look for all the best material to have been saved for her. I hope that’s what they do, anyway. My God, can you imagine if they screw up Betty’s night?
This list was just copied wholesale from Wikipedia and re-ordered, so that’s why it has dates and crap at the end. I don’t feel like deleting any of it.
Keep in mind, some of these are ranked higher than others because of non-host stuff — like the digital short, inclusion of a particularly good skit or (rarely) the musical guest.
2. November 7, 2009 Taylor Swift (35.5 live)
17. February 27, 2010 Jennifer Lopez (35.15, live)
By Gina Carbone
It’s great to have Tina Fey back on “Saturday Night Live” — especially when she brings Sarah Palin along and still has time to make out with a man-sized brownie — but was the whole Justin Bieber thing really necessary?
I get if SNL is desperate for ratings, but what are the real expectations here? Won’t most of Justin’s (under 18) fans just tape the show and fast-forward through the non-Justin parts (including commercials)?
Maybe SNL tried to compensate for that by including Justin in Tina’s monologue and the teacher’s pet and school dance skits. He sang in two of those skits, of course — on top of his usual performances — and there were jokes about how perfect his hair and is and how “He’s like a dreamy Christmas elf.”
(Don’t hold out too many acting hopes for this kid. He made Michael Bublé’s cameo on the Jon Hamm show look Oscar worthy.)
There was a political cold opening, but instead of mining the gold that is Tina Fey = Sarah Palin, they had Fred Armisen as Obama again.
That Obama Census skit was OK, but what is wrong with you? I know Tina was just there to promote “Date Night” — thanks, Steve Martin, for stopping by to joke that you were in it, when it was really Steve Carell — but there was only one Sarah skit and it didn’t even (directly) involve the Tea Party movement.
They spent more time making fun of Tiger Woods.
And, of course, acting like Justin Bieber’s fans were really there. It was kind of awkward seeing him push the mic out to the audience during “Baby,” as if the adult New Yorkers were going to burst out and finish the chorus. Wrong crowd, man.
Tina came back for a Weekend Update on “women’s news,” which included bashing Tiki Barber (nope, he didn’t get to slide under the radar) and “whores” like Bombshell McGee.
“I know we shouldn’t judge people based on their appearance, but when your body looks like a dirtbag’s binder from 7th grade metal shop, it doesn’t bode well for your character.”
But I don’t think she said Jesse James’ name once. She just went off on the “whores” who sleep with married men, especially Bombshell. You know, the Jesses and the Tigers are the ones who made the vows. They could always just say no. And, not to stick up for her, but Bombshell was not Jesse’s only woman.
The real women’s movement will be when women stop holding other women 100 percent accountable for things that are at least 50 percent men’s fault.
And if Tina is so concerned with “whores,” why did she spend so much of the show dressed like one? You can be sexy, we get it. Stop trying to be Pamela Anderson on “Dancing with the Stars.” It isn’t even working for Pamela Anderson.
But at least Jason Sudeikis got to play the devil. That made me happy. Can I get a Brownie Husband shaped like him?
Fred Armisen as Barack Obama, again, about the 2010 Census. New questions on the sheet, like “How important is the role of fantasy in your sex life?” It was pretty funny, but even at four minutes it felt long. And you have Obama with Tina Fey as host and no Sarah Palin in the Cold Open? Really, Seth & Amy? Really.
It’s her second time hosting. She joked that there were hundreds of girls downstairs “so I guess I’m more of a role model than I thought.” But she acknowledged they were there for Justin Bieber. She said she worked with him before, when he was one of the babies in “Baby Mama,” two years ago.
She talked about how much she hates being asked how she “juggles” family and work. She thanked the village it takes to get everything done. “I’m Every Woman.” Her nanny. Her child’s nanny. Weird Will Forte moment. Her husband was played for this one time only by New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez.
Steve Martin was her tax accountant, who joked that he loved working with her on “Date Night.” “That was Steve Carell,” she said. She thanked Justin Bieber for helping her to get the high ratings. (Will he, though?)
“I’m gonna dress up like Sarah Palin later. Stick around we’ll be right back!”
Good to know.
Tina Fey “Brownie Husband” ad. A giant brownie man?! I’m sold. And I did get highlights today! Love this. Can I get one of these and a Closet Organizer?
You had to know they were going to spoof Tiger Woods at the Masters. And they did. Jason Sudeikis and Bill Hader as sportscasters. Tina Fey as Ashlyn St. Cloud, loud blonde leopard-striped commentator. She said Tiger’s face looked like he wanted “that filthy Ambien zombie sex.”
“PS. If Asians and Indians can compete with black people it’s not a sport.” (!)
This is the kind of generically trashy part Abby Elliott or Jenny Slate could’ve played. And it goes on too long. Give Tina the good stuff!
TIGER WOODS COMMERCIAL
Black and white ad with Kenan Thompson as Tiger and a voice-over talking about how he doesn’t want anyone to use his voice after he’s gone…
Tina Fey as Sarah. “You know, ever since I won the silver medal in last year’s vice presidential election I’ve made it my goal to connect with as many people in this great nation as possible.”
She said the next logical step for her is to start her own network.
You’ll find we aim for the heartland with Sarah Palin Network original stories like …
“My Daughter Only Sprained Her Ankle, You Can’t Seriously Be Considering Euthanizing Her.”
Andy Samberg as a doctor who claimed the Obamacare death panel said a little girl’s ankle injury was prohibitive and “We’ll have to put her down.” Jenny Slate as daughter. Kristen Wiig as mom screaming “Nooo!” I bet she’s screaming because Tina is going to take all her usual roles this week.
I actually like the “Elites” idea of playing footage of a bunch of smartypants professors and superimposing the teacher’s voice from Charlie Brown. Could be a good show.
And her “Hey Journalist, I Gotcha” idea to re-edit interviews to make journalists — like Katie Couric — look like they were the ones who were “woefully unprepared.”
I love Jason Sudeikis as Todd Palin!
OK, this was a good skit. So far they have put all the eggs in this basket. And the brownie basket.
Justin Bieber as Jason, a student in a class Tina teaches. Two students (Bobby Moynihan and Fred Armisen) complain about their grades. Then Justin is nice to her and she decides he’s her favorite student ever.
“Plus his smile is like watching a baby bunny sniff a tiny flower.”
Oh oh. Now Justin is singing about “The Lady With The Big Brown Eyes.” Come on. Adults want to watch Tina be funny. Don’t torture us.
I do like how she says she loves how his hair seems to know exactly where it wants to go.
“Look at him. He’s like a dreamy Christmas elf.”
I don’t think I have enough Bieber Fever for how long this skit is going.
“Baby.” Black jackets and colorful shoes. I don’t feel too weird for knowing all the words to this song, since there are only about a dozen. Just repeat them enough and they become ingrained. Weird how he jumped up and put the mic out like the SNL audience would be singing along. No dear. These are not your tween followers.
Jason Sudeikis as the devil, talking about how the priests messing with kids thing actually offends him. The hypocrisy gets to him. And he doesn’t appreciate how the Vatican said it was all “the devil’s work.” “I do plagues, I do earthquakes, I do all the training for Walgreens cashiers, OK, but I don’t do no coverup for child molesters, man. I can’t wait for these priests to show up on my turf.”
Nice bit about how the devil has a son — the TMZ guy.
Kristen Wiig comes out as “Aunt Linda,” who reviews movies. No. This should be Michaela Watkins as Angie Tempura. Bitch pleeze. I want her back!
Tina Fey talks about women’s issues. She talked about the Oscar curse as just a lady curse. She dissed Tiki Barber, and said the real curse is there are women like Bombshell McGee around.
Seems to me the real curse is there are men like Jesse James around. She failed to mention that.
AL ROKER’S RUFF, RUGGED AND ROKER
Kenan Thompson as Al Roker, “The Weather Mac.”
Tina Fey as Dina Lohan, Lindsay and Ali’s mom.
Nasim Pedrad as Kim Kardashian.
This is a pass.
Nasim Pedrad as nerdy teen Jenny, who adores her mom (Tina Fey), who was working the coat check at the school dance. Mom wanted her to hang out with her friends, but the girl just wanted to hang with her mom. Lots of inappropriate compliments from daughter to mom. I want to be that woman who wears Harry Potter jewelry and lets birds fly free in her home! That sounds pretty cool, actually.
Oh God. Justin Bieber is back. He worships his dad. They dance. There’s no getting rid of this kid.
JUSTIN BIEBER PERFORMS
“U Smile.” No dancers this time. Just Justin in black at the mic. The mic looks a little high for him. “Whenever Tina smiles I smile.”
Tina as a tiny 9″-tall hooker at the bar. Weird. And not good potato chip weird. Although she did mention a bidet. Nice shout out to the already-classic Zach Galifianakis skit with Kristen Wiig.
Don’t forget, Betty White is hosting on May 8!
Here’s the upcoming schedule, stolen straight from Wikipedia:
By Gina Carbone
It’s the first day of spring and neither “Mad Men” nor “True Blood” is actually in season, so to speak.
There was a time when that would’ve stopped you from catching up. Not anymore.
In this lovely age of DVD and On Demand you can rent almost any show at any time, whether it has been off the air for years or not returning for several months. And sometimes at your local library FOR FREE!
So you have no excuse but to catch up on these 15 shows, which are my current faves.
I’m only including series that are still running — so no “Northern Exposure,” “Six Feet Under” and “Father Ted,” which are my three favorite shows of all time.
Warning: I do love reality TV, including the heavy cheese, as #3 here will attest.
15.”Saturday Night Live”
It’s not always good. It’s never consistent. This is far from the best season. And yet there are plenty of reasons to stay up for SNL every week, even now. There’s Jason Sudeikis in every skit, but especially dancing in his red track suit on Kenan Thompson’s “What Up With That?” BET show. If you watched Taylor Swift’s monologue, Jon Hamm’s “Sergio!” skit or any of Andy Samberg’s Digital Shorts, you were prepared for the Sunday Internet watercooler chatter. If you missed them, you missed out. And I defy you to find a more perfect thing to watch at 1 a.m. than this potato chip skit with Blake Lively.
14. “The Tudors”
This show ticks me off almost as much as it excites me. I’m still frustrated about the casting of beautiful Joss Stone as the “unattractive” Anne of Cleves. But there are just too many things that I love about it. (Starting with Henry Cavill.) I have always been a Tudor-phile and this is a rich, colorful, sexy, vibrant world to dive into. It’s a history lesson CW-style, but with Showtime sex and violence. We’re getting to the end years for Henry VIII (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) and the fourth and final season starts April 11. I can’t wait to see this world come alive again. Long live the king.
13. “Project Runway”
My friend Trinh still finds it hard to believe I like “Project Runway,” since my fashion sense consists of wearing the same Walmart clothes I’ve had for 5-10 years — and Payless shoes. But I love the challenges on “Runway” — take a potato sack and make an evening gown. Go to the supermarket and use corn husks to make a cocktail dress. Use newspapers to make pants. It’s not just clothes, it’s art. I’m addicted to seeing creativity in action and that’s the show. I can’t even sew a button onto a jacket correctly (as my jackets know too well) but I find myself imagining how I would approach the challenges. It gets me thinking about color and fabrics and art supplies differently. It sounds girlie and I’m not usually girlie (then again, I love “The Bachelor” and “Project Runway”) but it’s fun.
Season one was genius. Glenn Close scares the crap out of me and Tate Donovan plays wounded puppy so well. And Ted Danson! His best role in years. It’s not easy to make a corrupt CEO lovable, but he found the right balance of egomania and infectious optimism. Season two was disappointing, but it did manage to find a key role for Timothy Olyphant and for that I will be forever grateful. So far season three is amazing. I was worried it would be too gimmicky with its ripped-from-the-headlines Madoff plot, but it’s working. Very, very well. Props to Campbell Scott and especially Martin Short for playing so far against type. Keep it coming.
11. “Big Love”
I’m worried about “Big Love.” This was one of my favorite shows, but season four was all over the place. Too many plot threads, too many characters. And a Monty Python moment with a severed arm. I still have high hopes for this series and I have invested too much time and energy to give up on it, but GET IT TOGETHER. Please.
10. “Parks and Recreation”
Somewhere along the way, this show got as good as “The Office.” Then, for me, it got better. Mostly because I am not a fan of Jim and Pam and they dominate everything. So done with their smugness. “Parks,” on the other hand, is consistently warm, funny and uncluttered with self-congratulatory shmaltz. Special props to Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson. You will always be my Woman of the Year, man.
I get frustrated with everyone walking around psychoanalyzing everyone else’s reactions, but I’m a loyal Hilson (House + Wilson) fan and I love watching their bromantic banter. Now that we’re past the extended torture of House hiring his new team, and the old team is back in action, I am happy with “House” again. And the medical mysteries are still good after all this time. My friend Lisa has sarcoidosis and we like to see it make cameo appearances — alongside lupus — during the differential diagnosis. I know Wilson’s first wife is coming back into the picture and I am looking forward to House getting jealous, but please don’t break up my favorite couple for long.
8. “30 Rock”
I keep waiting for this show to run out of steam and stop being so sharply funny and on point. Guess I should grab a snack for that wait. Alec Baldwin is still the funniest person on television but the entire cast is right there with him. I laugh out loud — guffaw, really — at least twice an episode and I’ll never turn down a good belly laugh.
Talk about season finales. Every Other Show, please take note: The way “Dexter” ended season four? That’s how it’s done. I can’t wait to see what happens next and that’s the sign of a good show. I get dizzy watching Michael C. Hall (forever part of my “Six Feet Under”
family) run all over the place lying to everyone, but the show always manages to figure out how to balance everything without drowning the important stuff in superfluous plot threads. There was always one overarching storyline tying everything together. That’s smart. Keep doing that and tell “Big Love” about it.
I just get caught up in the drama. Every time. I want to scream at the castaways. Tear my hair out. Vote them out myself. And that’s just for Russell Hantz. Whenever you think you can see exactly where things are going, they take another turn. “Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains” is one of my favorite seasons of all time. And it’s the 20th one they’ve done. That’s a good sign for the future … or a good place to stop. But look at the characters they’ve given us, just in this season alone: Evil Russell, Boston Rob, Coach, Colby, JT, Rupert. All brand names, thanks to the show. And that’s without even mentioning Captain Dimples himself, Jeff Probst. The single best host on TV. I mean it!
I’m not one of those Losties who memorizes every little detail and keeps flow charts to catalogue the connections. I’m here for the human element. And the No. 1 human element on this island was, is, and shall always be Terry O’Quinn as John Locke (with or without Smokey). I have never — and I mean never — seen stronger acting from anyone on television than this man as this character in the six seasons of this show. O’Quinn has created an icon and he will be missed when this ends. Michael Emerson, you get the silver medal and on any other show you would be gold. That’s saying something, especially since “Lost” is known mostly for its trippy sci-fi plot, not the strength of its character acting. Humble actors doing crazy things without getting in our faces about it. Love it.
4. “In Treatment”
I don’t blame Gabriel Byrne for getting tired of sitting in that chair all day. That’s tough acting — just sitting there. (I mean it!) But
there is no other show on TV that gets under my skin as much as “In Treatment.” After listening to problems from a divorcing couple, a cancer-stricken college student, a lonely lawyer, an embattled CEO and a troubled teenage gymnast, among others, I turn off the TV and just soak everything in. What do I think is the root of their issues? What would I do? What would I suggest? I’m so glad there will be a third season. This is the most thoughtful and thought-provoking show on television. It hits a nerve and that’s an important part of life.
3. “The Bachelor”/”The Bachelorette”
If this is not your first time glancing at this blog (don’t worry, I’m not really expecting you to hang on every word) you know I am obsessed with the land of Chris Harrison and the most dramatic rose ceremony ever. If you can’t get past the cheese of this beautiful manufactured drama, take a moment and say your goodbyes. I accept this rose. Now and always. Especially for “The Bachelorette.” One woman. 25 guys. Nuff said.
2. “True Blood”
Yes, it’s campy. Yes, it’s soft-core porn. Yes, I’m incredibly grateful for that. Alexander Skarsgard. Ryan Kwanten. Stephen Moyer. Sam Trammell. Nelsan Ellis. Jim Parrack. And a few women. (Kidding. Love ya, Anna Paquin, Carrie Preston, Deborah Ann Woll and
Rutina Wesley.) This is how you tell a vampire story, y’all. Fresh, original, exciting, sexy as HELL YEAH, with the best opening sequence on TV right now. Season one was good. Season two was outstanding, except for the maenad junk. (Eric made up for it. More. Please. Now.) Season three is looking pretty jam-packed and I just hope Alan Ball remembers to stay true to the characters we’ve come to lust over care about. That’d be Eric as No. 1.
1. “Mad Men”
Season three started kind of slow and I was worried the most amazing show on television would slip down my rankings. But it picked up steam and ended with a perfect, caffeinated, plot-heavy episode of “Survivor: Sterling Cooper.” This is a perfect show. So much character development I feel like these people just have to be real. There’s no way Peggy Olson is not an actual person. I expect to find Pete Campbell still wandering around somewhere on the Upper East Side. And the Drapers … well, Don Draper never existed as we know him and Betty Draper is about to become someone else. I cannot wait to see what they do next. Literally. I’m angry that we have to wait for the summer. Jon Hamm has created a screen icon. There is no one else who could bring
Don Draper to life and somehow make you not hate him. He’s so freaking suave. Women want him. Men want to be him. And I just love to watch the show around him. The best writing. The best ensemble. The absolute hands-down best production design on television. My eyes worship this show.