by Brendan Wahl
While our first episode of the season was a cameo-filled homecoming of sorts that proved to be a rollicking good time, the second episode settled into the format of a regular episode a bit more and got the season off to a workman-like start. The premiere was entertaining, the second episode was almost as good, and now the third episode of the season promises a host that some members of the fan community have been suggesting for quite some time now. But before we discuss that, let’s discuss the show that our master of ceremonies emanates from.
Glee is a very popular show. VERY popular. And we all knew it was only a matter of time before someone from that show came to host. But I thank the lord that it was Sue Sylvester herself, Jane Lynch, rather than some prettyboy teen in the cast. At least with Lynch as our host, we have someone who comes from the improv world and one who has done a number of side-splitting roles in The 40 Year Old Virgin, Walk Hard, and Role Models (especially). Obviously, she was not going to get a chance to host based on a number of small roles in those film so if it takes Glee to get Ms. Lynch on the show, then it’s worth it.
Joining Jane is musician Bruno Mars. One would probably know Bruno best as the guy who provided musical assistance on the hit single, “Billionaire,” or perhaps as the man who was busted with cocaine about three weeks ago. “I’ve never done drugs before,” says Mars. Yes, we’ll see about that, Mr. Harmonic Voice. Bruno, of course, has a new album to promote though and thus here he is on SNL. Good luck following up the act from last week.
Start the program!
1. Ask Gloria Allred (4:07)
Taking a long overdue jab at the money and fame-seeking leech known as Gloria Allred, Nasim Pedrad plays her as an unrelenting lawyer who reveals her obvious motivation in defending these poor, exploited people that she represents. What a wonderful woman Ms. Allred is. But back to the sketch, Nasim does a good job here carrying this sketch. The questions she receives though (specifically the one asking her if there has been a more disgusting creature than her that has walked the earth) are side-splitting and make for the third great cold open in a row. A-
2. Monologue (4:18)
Upset at the fact that she never gets an opportunity to sing on Glee with the kids, Jane went against the SNL writers’ wishes and wrote her own Glee theme song after downing some tequilla. With assistance from Fred Armisen on guitar, Lynch’s song is full of egotism involving her character Sue Sylvester being the star of the show and the only reason worth watching. It’s a lot of fun to watch unfold though. Another winner of a monologue. B+
3. damn it, my mom is on facebook filter (1:33)
The new program (for only $3.99) designed to protect your facebook wall/status from mommy dearest (Lynch). The highlight of this commercial piece was the editing of the pictures like a naked Samberg being replaced by a shirt that says “Moms Rock!” Hader and Killam are effective here as well. B
4. Glee (6:24)
Well, obviously this was going to happen. I have a feeling that I would find this funnier if I watched Glee, but I still find the jokes here pretty funny anyway. The highlight of the children is Samberg as the gay one and Bobby Moynihan as his overly-proud father. Sudeikis is aces as the teacher and of course Sue Sylvester (Lynch) stops by as well. Surprisingly though, she introduces a brand-new student in… Gilly. And for once, I am not annoyed by that fact. This time, Gilly is thrust into a much more enjoyable situation and her act is given a bit of a makeover. Plus, if I could ever think of something great for Gilly to do, blowing up the Glee kids would rank right up there. A
5. The New Boyfriend Talk Show (4:20)
Emanating from a broken home, young Zack (Samberg) does a Tonight Show-like program where he interviews his mother’s (Lynch) new boyfriends as they wake up after a night of hanky-panky. This sketch goes from amusing to brilliant with Samberg asking if he’s his new father and then announcing that this marks the 100th episode of his show. The Joaquin Phoenix joke was funny, but man oh man that Magic Johnson (Thompson) one was top notch. Sudeikis is brilliant with his reactions, Samberg makes for a funny child, and Lynch is on her A-game as the promiscuous mother. A+
6. Christine O’Donnell (1:24)
Running an ad promoting the fact that she’s not a witch, Christine O’Donnell (Wiig) has no problem using sentences like “being elected to the human senate,” talking about her roots in the black forests of Germany 3000 years ago, and then revealing her skeletal piano player. B+
7. Secret Word (5:10)
Another gameshow parody this week? Wow, the writers sure do watch a lot of GSN. This time, Mindy Gracin (Wiig) returns while the new contestant is a catskills comedian, Peggy Zellers (Lynch). Mindy is up to her usual hijinx, not quite getting the concept of the game, while Zellers just does her tired, old routine instead of helping her partner (Brittain). Along with the wonderful performances by our host and Wiig, Bill Hader is aces as the host and has the cadences of a 1960s game show host down-pat. A-
8. Digital Short: Relaxation Therapy (2:53)
A therapist (Lynch) tries to help her patient (Samberg) by causing him to go into a dream world, but constantly interjects herself into his mind in strange, sexually bizarre ways. Lynch cranks the weirdness here to a record high, but it is the kind of role she is wonderful in. A
9. Returns & Exchanges (4:15)
To prepare for a role in which he plays a retail salesman who receives a special microchip in a bag that is returned to him, Denzel Washington (Pharaoh) works in an actual returns department. The customer (Lynch) tries to return her bag, but Denzel makes it the most difficult process in the world much to the distress of one of the other employees (Moynihan). Another great impression for Pharaoh in a pretty amusing environment. B
10. Bruno Mars sings “Just The Way You Are” (3:39)
NOT the Billy Joel song. As soon as Bruno started singing the song, I realized I kind of DO know who he is. While I can’t see myself listening to this guy on a regular basis, I have to give him credit for being a pretty great live act. A-
11. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers (8:36)
Seth pokes more fun at Christine O’Donnell’s complaints about the liberal media and then makes my night by announcing the start of the “Larry Brown Gets Caught With A Male Escort Countdown” after Brown made some homophobic comments in an e-mail. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (Samberg) stops by as well to point out some obvious things like the fact that he invented the social networking phenomenon just to meet girls and the fact that his donation to schools was clearly because of the fact that the movie made him look bad. The very fancy bedbugs at the Waldorf Astoria are pretty amusing, while the sex offenders Halloween bit was deliciously cruel. Seth’s second guest is Miguel Conjeros (Armisen) from the Mexican Board of Tourism who feigns a language barrier when quizzed about escalated drug activity and cartels and Mexican pirates but then talks a-plenty about the beaches. A-
12. The Suze Orman Show (5:02)
Making an appearance pretty late in the show this time, no? Anyway, financial advisor Suze Orman (Wiig) brings on a former roommate (Lynch) this time to seek advice regarding her charity, but Suze reads the obvious signs that her compadre is still a lesbian despite being married to a somewhat-flamboyant husband (Hader). The chemistry between Jane and Kristen is fantastic and yes, it makes for the best Suze Orman bit thus far. A-
13. Sunday Night Football (3:12)
Before Al Michaels (Sudeikis) and Cris Collinsworth (Hader) can call the NFL action, Faith Hill (Lynch) sings the insanely-long and equally-as-inane theme song. Before the game finally begins, Faith continues with the theme song and keeps going and going. Having seen the real song, I can say that this was a very fitting satirical look at the terrible intro to Sunday Night Football. Hader and Sudeikis were perfect straight men for the sketch too. A
14. Bruno Mars sings “Grenade” (4:18)
Another appearance by the soulful crooner, Mars does a tune that is schizophrenic in nature as it starts with one style, delves into another, but never falters once. Bruno clearly knew that Kanye’s performance last week would raise the expectations this week and he more than rose to the occasion. A
15. Tax Masters (2:13)
Patrick R. Cox (Sudeikis) stands in profile and does one of those lame Tax Masters commercials, but then he wants to do another with his little fetus brother on the side of his head much to the disgust of the crew. This felt like it was rushed at the end as Sudeikis did it so that Armisen could have his moment to shine as the little brother. Despite that, it was an amusingly creepy 10-to-1 sketch. B-
We get about ten seconds of goodnights as Jane thanks Bruno Mars and closes the show. The best part about the goodnights is the way Jason is facing the camera.
Well, that was the best show of the season thus far. With a very willing host in Jane Lynch, some wonderful singing from Bruno Mars and a cast that is far from being burned out after three shows in a row, this was a winning combination.
Jane in particular was probably one of the better female hosts in recent memory as well with her superb comic timing and a desire to do pretty much anything the writers threw at her. I was most surprised that Jane was involved in mostly everything, even counting the filmed commercial parody involving facebook at the top of the broadcast.
The cast rocked it this week as well with lots of highlights for most of them with the new kids still getting some exposure for the most part. Jay Pharaoh continues to dazzle people with his impressions, this time of Denzel Washington, but man, this was definitely Kristen Wiig’s highlight reel. No one can deny that she is one of the hardest-working female castmembers in a long while and she rose to the occasion this week with some choice material.
I love Bayer’s line in the Glee sketch. “What are we gonna do, Mr. Shoe? Should I get pregnant again?”
“Women are kinda bad at noticing their own orgasms.”
I love the glitch at the end of the Tax Masters sketch (“How’s the sound?” “It’s good, it’s good!”)
Host Rating: A-
Musical Guest Rating: A-
Show Rating: A-