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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.
“The Suitcase” was possibly the best episode “Mad Men” has ever produced — and that’s saying volumes. TKO.
It was a clever-but-not-too-clever way to bring together “the baggage” — unbreakable baggage with secrets locked inside — that Peggy Olson and Don Draper are both carrying in their personal and professional lives.
Peggy is turning into Don’s Anna — as one dies and walks out with her suitcase, the other is reborn on her birthday — even if she doesn’t quite know him as well yet. (But she thinks she does.)
Betty is actually the only one who knows the true Don now, but Peggy would probably take his Dick Whitman news in her usual clipped stride.
I loved their tour of New York during the Liston/Clay fight, even if I cringed at Peggy’s insecure jabs at Don for not sleeping with her. “You’re an attractive girl, Peggy.”
Girl being the operative word there. True, 26 is still very young, as Trudy Campbell said, but you don’t want to be Allison. You also don’t want to be the kind of person who sleeps with Duck, who took a dump (or almost took a dump) in Roger’s office out of spite at Don. You also don’t want to be the kind of person who drinks so much they vomit repeatedly. Just as a tip.
It was a surprisingly touching episode — and so simple! I love “True Blood” and that show also has at least a dozen characters in the works, but they insist on cramming all of their storylines into every episode.
I love that “Mad Men” focuses on just a few people at a time in each episode and gives their stories space to breathe. In doing so, “Mad Men” allows Elisabeth Moss and Jon Hamm to do their best work to date in “The Suitcase.”
This is why “Mad Men” has won three straight Emmys for Best Drama.
Just think — in this episode Peggy finally explodes at Don for taking credit for her work and he explodes back. But unlike Don and Betty or Peggy and her boyfriend Mark, they don’t give up on each other. Within minutes Don is calling Peggy into his office to laugh about Roger’s ramblings on Ida Blankenship, Queen of Perversions.
They are extensions of each other and both extensions are good at moving on. This never happened. It will shock you how much it never happened.
Later, Peggy opens up to Don about her baby (Don doesn’t know it’s Pete’s but we could get to that level of openness) and Don tries to deck Duck (say that 10 times fast) for calling her a “whore.” (Believe me, Don knows from whores and Peggy is no whore.)
Peggy stands over drunk Don like he’s literally watching himself from a far, asking how long he’s going to go on like this. Don cries openly in front of Peggy, treating her like the extension of himself that she has really become.
And yet, toward the end of the episode — after Don gets up from Peggy’s lap and Peggy is woken up from her office — they are still Peggy and Don. Don doesn’t freeze her out like he froze out Allison. Peggy doesn’t rush home to change before approaching Don in her professional woman mode. They touch hands. Not in a romantic way, but in a Don/Anna “I know you and accept you” way.
At the very end, Peggy asks Don a very important question: “Open or closed.” She means the door, but we know it means more than that when he says “open.”
God I love this show.
By Gina Carbone
Don’t forget to die of happiness tonight after the epic double feature of dramatic handsomeness. (Are Jon Hamm and ASkars in Jimmy Kimmel’s Handsome Men’s Club yet? If not, how can we make this happen?)
First we have “True Blood” season 3 episode 6, “I Got a Right to Sing the Blues,” at 9 p.m. on HBO. All I ask: Please provide at least one shot of Eric in his blue cashmere sweater.
Then, at 10 p.m., we have “Public Relations,” the premiere episode of “Mad Men” season 4 on AMC.
We are jumping ahead a year after the episode of “Survivor: Sterling Cooper” that was the season 3 finale. It’s 1964 and we have a new office for Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, new haircuts for some of the folks and new problems for Betty Draper Francis. Or whatever she’s calling herself. She might as well be Dick Whitman, since that name appears to be free.
I just want to know that Lois will be OK. She started on the SC switchboard, flirted with the gay art director (Sal, we need you back!), wrangled a job on Draper’s desk, screwed it up, got assigned to poor Kinsey, then ran over Guy’s foot on a John Deere lawn mower before crashing into an office.
BUT SHE STILL KEPT HER JOB, BLESS HER!
Now that Sterling Cooper 1.0 is no more, I want to know what will happen to her. And why, in the official season 4 cast pic, do we have all the SCDP folks, plus Ken Cosgrove? Are they drafting him for the new office? If so, will Pete pitch another fit? (Hope so! I live for Pete’s pouts.)
Anyway, one of my friends knows I love Lois and she sent me a link to a story that the actress who plays Lois — I don’t care what her real name is, she is Lois to me forever — has posed for Playboy. Normally I wrinkle my nose at that kind of thing BUT THIS IS LOIS. Lois is the ultimate survivor and now she’s on the cover of Playboy. Long live the foot-killer!
Anyway, not only do we get this deliciousness double feature tonight, we get it every Sunday night for at least a few weeks.
You know what, throw Colby Donaldson and “Top Shot” into this night of hot handsomeness. “Top Shot” airs at 10 p.m. on The History Channel, so you’ll have to tape it while “Mad Men” is on. But it’s worth it — to watch Colby do his best Jeff Probst impression. (Hey, if you’re going to imitate, imitate the best.)
The show itself is too much of an attempt to be “Survivor.” I hope to get through life without ever firing a gun, but even I think “Top Shot” needs more actual shooting and less strategy and plotting. Half the show seems to be about sending someone home, with only two people getting to shoot things to decide which one goes. Just keep shooting stuff through the whole program.
Tonight’s ep should be better than usual, though, since they will be doing a “Trick Shot Showdown.” Behind the back shooting and shooting objects after you throw them in the air, etc. I’m rooting for Kelly The Kid or Tara. Kelly ’cause he’s the young’un and Tara ’cause she’s the girl. Everyone else is blending together.
Catch up on my “True Blood” stories here. I’m still deciding if I want to write about “Mad Men” every week. It’s a deep show and after weeks of non-stop writing about “The Bachelorette” I may be depth-deficient for a while.
By Gina Carbone
Jon Hamm is God. He must be. That funny. That charming. That self-deprecating. If only he were easier on the eyes.
I liked his first “Saturday Night Live” appearance last year — Jon Hamm’s john ham! — but this time it was glorious from start to finish.
It was the first time in a long, long time that I enjoyed pretty much the duration of SNL — with the exception of maybe one or two Kristen Wiig moments.
Favorite skit had to be the SNL Digital Short with Sergio, the “crazy sexy sax guy” who emerges after each cool breeze to haunt Andy Samberg. Sign me up for that kind of curse.
Bonus: Awesome ending.
State of the Union address with Fred Armisen as Obama, my boy Jason Sudeikis (not in this episode enough) as Joe Biden and Kristen Wiig in one of her two appearances this ep as Nancy Pelosi.
Lots of ragging on Martha Coakley for stinking up the Massachusetts Senate race.
Best part: The flash of Brendan Fraser’s crazy laughing during the Golden Globes. LOVE that that little clip lives on.
Jon Hamm explains how he got the part of Don Draper on “Mad Men” — by basically playing the cynical hard drinker in all of his past work, including the 1980s show “Late for Class,” QVC and on a Def Comedy Jam special. “They need to wash they ass.”
The Democrats drool over Scott Brown played by, natch, Jon Hamm. Every skit Hamm is in is centered around his looks. I know he’s *dreamy* and all that, but I prefer when he tries to ugly himself up. (Like in the closet organizer “testimonial.”)
Props to musical guest Michael Buble for being open to this skit, which lets Hamm be the bad guy bully forcing Buble to sing about their new restaurant, where chunks of ham rest in glasses of “Buble” (mispronounced as bubbly).
Fred Armisen plays an incompetent stenographer opposite Jon Hamm as a frustrated lawyer. “I can’t find my crackers.” Say it 100 times and it does get funny.
I just love Bill Hader’s face. But especially as Greg, whom Kenan Thompson repeatedly insists is not an alien as they co-host their sports show. In this episode, Greg learns how to multiply, turning Hamm and others (including Sudeikis, too briefly) into aliens.
Genius. Second favorite skit after Sergio. Closet organizer commerical. Will Forte is the closet organizer in full-body blue spandex, or whatever, who grabs clothes, phone books, plants, water and other stuff thrown at him — “pies! pies! pies! pies! pies!” — to organize peoples’ closets.
Favorite part: The customer “testimonial” from a deadbeat played by Jon Hamm, who never talks about the product, he just goes on about a hot black woman he met at a club the night before; he told her she looked like Beyonce but when he moved in for the kiss she turned out to have a full man’s mustache. “And I was like, let’s do this thing.”
The closet organizer guy (whose name is Tarkey Kensington or something) returns in a bar scene with Jon Hamm, but it’s mostly wasted time. Having said that, if Jon Hamm ever invites you back to his apartment for anything — YOU SAY YES.
By Gina Carbone
This is what I wanted to happen:
- “Hurt Locker” wins best pic and best director for my hero Kathryn Bigelow. (Which would make her the second woman to win this award, after Barbra Streisand for “Yentl.” It’s time for Babs to be dethroned, no?)
- Jeff Bridges (“Crazy Heart”) or Jeremy Renner (“Hurt Locker”) for Best Actor in a motion picture drama.
- “Mad Men” gets anything and everything it’s nominated for, including Jon Hamm for Best Actor TV drama and January Jones for Best Actress TV drama.
- Christoph Waltz for best supporting actor for “Inglourious Basterds”
- “The Weary Kind” from “Crazy Heart” for best original song.
- And I want host Ricky Gervais to do something shocking to make everyone in the audience uncomfortable.
But as the sun now stands, Julianna Margulies won over January Jones (and Anna Paquin of “True Blood”), which upsets me, although Julianna looked GORGEOUS.
Michael C. Hall won over Jon Hamm and Hugh Laurie and I have to say, that head wrap is a good look for him. Not happy about why he has to wear it, but at least his cancer is in remission. He is quite the cutie and we need him (and “Dexter”) around for a long time.
“The Weary Kind” did win best song, but T Bone Burnett couldn’t find my new crush, Ryan Bingham. Was he in the “loo,” like Toni Collette was, way back when?
And everyone who won said they worked with the best people in the world and they have the best jobs in the world and it made me want to take their awards away. If you have the best job in the world, that should be reward enough.
In this lousy economy with countries falling apart, you don’t deserve major gift bags and free liquor at the table and fancy dresses and jewelry AND the best jobs in the world. Pick one.
Now let’s get to the arrival pics. These are all AP photos. Sorry, in advance, for any weird formatting issues.