(Season 35, Episode 14)
Ashton Kutcher is a name that either sends people running in a panic away from the multi-plex (Just Married, What Happens in Vegas) or sometimes he is seen as an amiable comedic actor who can be entertaining in supporting roles or even when he played a version of himself in Punk’d. I guess what it comes down to is that most people either love him or hate him with no real in-between. I must be in the minority as I am somewhere in the middle leaning more towards liking Ashton Kutcher, but not when he does those crappy comedies that he likes to do so often.
The musical guest on this given evening was Dave Grohl’s new super-group, Them Crooked Vultures. To have a musical guest with the likes of a Foo Fighters member, a Queens of the Stone Age member, AND an original member of Led Zeppelin. The last time Mr. Grohl appeared on the show, he was snubbed by host Jon Bon Jovi, who decided to limit the Foo Fighters to one musical performance. This time though, there was no dictator-like figure like Mr. Bon Jovi and Dave Grohl got a little more freedom.
1. On The Record
Another parody of FOX News to start the show? I’m down. Indeed, this week we get Greta Van Susteren (Wiig) discussing with her regular panel the issue of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” being removed from the military. Of course, the usual conservative pundits (including Moynihan as Karl Rove, Forte as Oliver North, and Elliott as Attractive Blond Lady) completely agree with the fact that the policy should stay. Sudeikis gets to do his terrific Glenn Beck impression yet again too, which is the icing on the cake. A-
Ashton delivers one of the more ridiculous monologues in recent history as he tries to remain serious and somber, but can’t help but laugh at silly things like dogs riding surfboards and old ladies dancing. B+
3. Gertrude’s Will
The “sudden death” of a 110-year old woman brings together her family (Moynihan, Slate, Sudeikis) and her pool boy (Kutcher), who satisfied her sexually for the past ten years. Unfortunately for him, in comparison to her family, he gets next to nothing and a whole lot of sexually transmitted diseases. Ashton is quite good in this bit. B+
4. The View
It’s the umpteenth time they’ve done this incarnation of The View and it usually depends on who their guest is on whether it will work or not as a sketch. This time though, Ashton drops the ball doing a terrible Mel Gibson impression. The dialogue between Mel and the ladies makes up for it though and the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy is brought up once again. B
5. Cialis For Threeways
Yes, you read that right. In this commercial parody, Ashton plays an old man who invites his wife’s friend over for a night of steamy action. The best part about this was the additives that are in this version of Ciallis to make the mornings-after less shameful. A-
6. Slave Boy
The emperor (Forte) of a Roman nation is constantly fed grapes by his slave boy (Kutcher) and finds himself far too distracted by the feeding to pay any attention to a soldier (Samberg) pleading for his help in battle. Forte sold this sketch like a trooper and really made it work with his over-exaggerated yummy noises and his overreaction at getting stabbed. B+
7. Them Crooked Vultures sing “Mind Eraser, No Chaser”
So, here it is! The super-band of Grohl, Homme, and Jones rocked out on Saturday Night Live! Did they rule? Aw hell yeah! This was one of the best musical performances of the season (Lady GaGa still ranks at the top). A
8. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers
Another great week for Seth! We also get FOUR commentaries along with some great jokes as per usual from Seth. Andy Samberg plays a teenager who just woke up and stops by to comment on Obama’s budget…well at least he tries, but all he can do is just recall his dreams that he just had. Eliot Spitzer (Hader) also stops by to advertise his new line of Hallmark greeting cards. Jean K. Jean (Thompson) makes his 3447374th appearance and it’s whatever, but then the icing on the Weekend Update cake was the second appearance of Garth (Armisen) & Kat (Wiig) singing their “previously rehearsed” classic songs. The fact that Fred and Kristen continuously broke character was delightful. A-
9. What is ‘Burn Notice’?
Out of all the gameshow parodies I have witnessed in the grand history of this show, I’ve never seen one quite as obtuse and bizarre as this. The premise is simple: the host of the show (Sudeikis) quizzes several contestants (Kutcher, Forte, Wiig) to see if they know ANYTHING at all about the USA Network hit series ‘Burn Notice.’ This is not even a sketch to make the contestants look stupid, as many people would probably think that question to be a ‘head-scratcher’ despite the show being in its fourth season, a pretty big ratings success, and also being something of a critical darling. A-
10. Access Hollywood
Billy Bush (Kutcher) and Maria Menounos (Pedrad) host Access Hollywood with their usual vacuous selves and then segue right into the announcement of the best picture nominees for this year’s Oscars. It eventually gets ridiculous though as suddenly, older films, sequels that haven’t been released, and even football teams are announced as nominees. This could’ve been a bland one-joke sketch, but for some reason it still works. B+
11. An Even-Tempered Apology
It’s our good friend, Rahm Emanuel (Samberg)! This week, Rahm takes the time to apologize to people he may have insulted with his profanity-laced tirades but then tells them what he REALLY thinks. His lashing out at Sarah Palin and referring to her as a gimmick is one of the best things I’ve seen all season. A
12. Them Crooked Vultures sing “New Fang”
It’s another great performance by the super-band. B+
13. Crisis Of Uformity
It’s a wedding and dad (Armisen) invites his old band-mates (including Kutcher, Hader, and Dave Grohl!) to reunite and play at his daughter’s big day. Instead of it being an awkward performance though, the band rocks out much like the Dead Kennedys and the father works the crowd like a grunge musician. It was a tremendous way to end the show. A
Well, that was it and man what a ride it was.
Ashton Kutcher proved he could hang with the late-night scribes and players of Saturday Night Live like nobody’s business by not being opposed to playing any sort of role. Although I’ll admit that he sported the worst Mel Gibson impression I’ve ever seen or heard, he was a trooper throughout the night and the cast played to his strengths a lot as well.
Dave Grohl proved that he doesn’t have to just play with the Foo Fighters all the time as his new band rocked the house and didn’t take names. Why didn’t they, you ask? They were too busy rockin’ your freakin’ socks off.
Host Rating: B+
Musical Guest Rating: A
Show Rating: A-