Saturday Night Live: Tina Fey/Ellie Goulding (5/7/11)

Posted: May 8, 2011 by Brendan Wahl in SNL Reviews
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by Brendan Wahl

(Season 36, Episode 20)

1. Cold Open: Osama bin Laden Video Will (4:41)

C-Span presents the last will and testament of Osama bin Laden (Armisen), while a translator (good ol’ Jim Downey) reads off the terrorist leader’s wishes and demands.

– I, for one, am very glad that SNL decided to tackle this story. I really wasn’t sure if they were going to hit it head-on or do some sort of patriotic theme in regards to the news. It would’ve been acceptable either way, but I’m glad they took this route.
– That being said, this wasn’t a terrific cold open but that’s not to say it wasn’t without its moments.
– In particular, I liked his constant clamouring for a 12-year old virginal Dakota Fanning to be one of his pallbearers and his gratitude for his “human shield, Fatima.”
– Fred was an obvious choice here and people may complain that he plays these foreign dictators too much, but honestly he does a good job of it.
– I also like how Downey always does the translator’s voice with these types of sketches. He has that dry, witty voice that works perfectly.

2. Monologue (4:54)

Tina discusses the upcoming birth of her new baby before bringing out fellow pregnant pal Maya Rudolph. It soon turns into a duet about childbirth before they are also joined by their fetuses in song.

– Tina’s got quite the baby bump now, doesn’t she? Good thing she addressed her famous impression right away.
– I liked her comment about having “the number one book in the country and the number 86 TV show.” It’s a shame more people don’t watch 30 Rock.
– I groaned when Maya came out, but her singing skills were put to good use especially when the two ladies decided to add some funk into their groove.
– The visual of the babies joining in on the song was a little creepy but funny nonetheless. Kristen and Kenan’s facial expressions combined with the microphone umbilical cords were pretty damn funny.
*** 1/2

3. GOP 2012 Undeclared Candidates Debate (6:57)

Shepard Smith (Hader) hosts the debate between the GOP candidates Mitt Romney (Sudeikis), Newt Gingrich (Moynihan), Michele Bachmann (Wiig), Sarah Palin (Fey), Jimmy McMillan (Thompson), and of course… Donald Trump (Darrell Hammond!).

– If this is a harbinger of things to come for the debate sketches we’ll see in 2012, it’s a good sign.
– Plenty of highlights here for everyone involved like Newt backing out and leaving early, Bachmann using a Fatal Attraction-style strategy, Mitt Romney using a lot of self-deprecating methods, Sarah Palin lamenting on vanquishing the world’s greatest villain in Katie Couric, McMillan rants about going underwater to find bin Laden, and Donald Trump has his own podium made of gold and being held up by marble columns while he compares himself to Citizen Kane (a movie he’s only seen half of).
– Hader’s Shepard Smith had a bunch of great lines too like when he responds to Bachmann’s rant by saying, “I’m scared AND horny!”
– “In closing, we’d like to congratulate Barack Obama on his re-election.”

4. Below The Waves (3:34)

What starts off seemingly as a Little Mermaid spoof devolves into something more than that as Osama bin Laden’s body lands on Crabby (Thompson) and the sea creatures start having an intellectual discussion about the news item.

– Well, I breathed a heavy sigh of relief here when I realized it was NOT going to be a lame spoof of The Little Mermaid.
– The bin Laden twist was funny as it meshed with all of the colourful characters, especially when it came to the conspiracy nut manta ray (Armisen).
– “It’s some sort of body wrapped in a … what’s that called… SHROUD!”
– Lots of things to enjoy here like Brittain using Osama’s death as a reason to get drunk, Crabby suggesting to use the body as a trap for terrorists at GITMO, and the princess (Fey) remaining content throughout the whole ordeal made me chuckle.
*** 1/2

5. Digital Short: Jack Sparrow (3:11)

While recording a new club-banger with Michael Bolton (!!), the Lonely Island is put off by their compadre’s knack for referencing Pirates of the Carribbean and Jack Sparrow in particular, thus ruining the track.

– Another major hit for the Lonely Island. If this is any indication of how the next album’s gonna turn out, sign me up.
– Michael Bolton was an absolutely random choice to be in this video, but he was hilarious, especially how he just stood on the beach and turned the song from a club hit into a ballad about Johnny Depp’s iconic character.
– Bolton had many moments of genius here: I loved him showing up in the club with the pirate hat on but the icing on the cake was Bolton deviating from that even and referencing Scarface, Erin Brockovich, and Forrest Gump.
**** 1/2

6. Ellie Goulding sings “Lights” (3:29)

– This was a really solid performance from this up-and-comer. She is not only gorgeous, but she also has a very nice voice that lends itself to this well-written ballad.
– I also found out that she writes her own music, so kudos to that as well.
– Plus, this may be the smallest back-up band I’ve ever seen someone have on SNL in recent memory, outside of the Ting Tings.

7. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers (14:28)
Guests: The Devil (Sudeikis), Kaddafi’s best friends from growing up (Armisen & Bayer), and Stefon (Hader)

Best Jokes: The opening Osama jokes; Conspiracy Theories; Free Black Eyed Peas concert; elderly newlyweds

–  I’ve been really enjoying Sudeikis as the Devil, so whenever he shows up I usually get a huge grin on my face. The costume is simple ala Mephistopheles back in the day. This time, the Dark Lord shows up to complain that now he’s got to live with bin Laden… and they lost him too. I loved little bits from him like admitting that Hell has dial-up internet and his little snide remark about “Outsourced.” Suffice to say, that sums that show up for me. I also loved how the Devil’s mother is the Snapple Lady.
– The two friends of Kaddafi essentially took a one-joke premise and ran with it for a while, but it was still amusing thanks to Armisen and Bayer’s performances. For a second, I was afraid that Fred would drag out his impression of the foreign dictator again, but thankfully that did not happen. I liked the ending with Seth joining in as well and then Vanessa saying, “Seth Meyers, everybody!”
– Finally, Stefon comes out for the final commentary. This character will never get old. This time, he gives advice on where one can go for Mother’s Day and of course, he evolves into a rant involving things like “Jew Diamond Philips,” “Baloney Danza,” and the club “SPICY!” Of course, Hader loses it like always but the character is so damn endearing so he can get away with it. When he suddenly kissed Meyers on the cheek, I lost it. Hilarious.
– Seth – “This woman raised me and changed my diapers.”
Stefon – “Lucky lady…”
– Seth’s jokes were not top-notch as usual this week, but he still had some good ones.
*** 1/2

8. Birthing Seminar (5:05)

A number of expectant mothers and their husbands (Fey, Elliott, Moynihan, & Sudeikis) sit in a birthing seminar room and watch a video to help them all prepare for natural childbirth.

– There’s so much to say here. This may have been my favourite sketch of the night just for the insane things that were going on in the instructional video.
– Hader and Rudolph were fantastic as the couple in question and kudos to them for not cracking up at all during the whole ordeal.
– I was not expecting Maya’s massive pubic wig, so when that showed up I howled in shock.
– Some of the comments from the parents were pretty hilarious (“Oh, that is some murky business”).
– When the other couple (Thompson & Wiig) joins the original one in the video, it gets REALLY insane.
– The twist at the end was fantastic too.
**** 1/2

9. Bedelia’s Sleepover (4:33)

The introverted teenager, Bedelia (Pedrad), makes her third appearance and tricks her mom (Fey) into coming over during a sleepover.

– Bedelia is one of my favourite characters and I was really worried she would never show up again. After her appearance with Fey last season, it must’ve been Tina that asked that the sketch come back.
– The type of humour here is a little different from the typical SNL style too in that it’s more observational and relies less heavily on jokes.
– Killam showing up as a fellow nerd and then saying a very specific thing at the same time as Bedelia was classic.
– Based on the reviews I’ve read so far, this was a very underrated sketch and I only have praise to heap on it.

10. Ellie Goulding sings “Your Song” (3:19)

– This is the song that sold me.
– Ellie shows off her vocal talent to the max here with this excellent cover of Elton’s classic tune.
– I am officially in love.

11. Pregnant in Heels (2:06)

A spoof of a series I’ve never seen involving a fashion designer named Rosie Pope (Elliott) helping out a millionaire pregnant girl (Fey).

– I didn’t really get most of this, but there were some funny parts with the bits involving “signature Bravo music and cuts to a dog,” the appearance of Jay Pharoah, and the attempt to put a suit on the baby while still in the womb.
– It was okay overall.
** 1/2

12. Googie Rene’s Slightly Damaged Prom Wear Barn (3:00)

Googie (Thompson) is back again, this time with a showcase of his damaged prom dresses and with the help of a different assistant (Fey).

– For some reason, I enjoy this character. I really shouldn’t because, I mean, it’s Kenan in a big, loud obnoxious role but… it just works. Googie just looks insane the whole time, almost daring the viewer to look at him, which always makes me chuckle.
– The forced-wooden acting here is the cherry on the cake.
– While this wasn’t as strong as the one on Stone/KOL, it was still very enjoyable. I particularly enjoyed the dress with the grass stains on the back of it, Googie’s constant mispronounciations and awkward way of walking, and Shanelda (Fey) saying that she is ready for her first kiss with a girl.
– Why was Maya in this sketch too? Not complaining, but it was just odd.
*** 1/2

13. Hallmark “Mother” Collection (1:08)

A commercial for the new series of Hallmark cards for Mother’s Day. In a delirious twist, it’s for people who are crazy and are their own mothers.

– This was a twisted delight and a good way to end the Mother’s Day edition of the show.
– Paul gets a rare lead role in this Norman Bates-like part minus the actual killing.
*** 1/2

14. Goodnights

– Is it just me or did Taran and Nasim seem awfully close? If so, good on ’em. They would make a pretty adorable couple.
– Also, did anyone else notice that Tina and Ellie kind of looked at each other for a second and then turned away? Awkward.

OVERALL: This was a fantastic show. I know the first thing that people will say is that I overrated it but to me, this was the best show of the season thus far. This makes me forget all about Elton’s episode and gives hope for the next (and final) two episodes of the season. Tina was relegated to a few background roles, but she still excelled with her reliable Palin impression, her nuanced performance in the Bedelia sketch, and her funny turns in the “Pregnant in Heels” and “Below The Waves.” The writing was pretty top-notch this week too with only an average sketch sticking out, but nothing bad overall.


HOST: TINA FEY – 7 segments (Monologue; GOP 2012 Undeclared Candidates Debate; Below The Waves; Birthing Seminar; Bedelia’s Sleepover; Pregnant in Heels; Googie Rene’s Slightly Damaged Prom Wear Barn)
CAMEO: MAYA RUDOLPH – 3 segments (Monologue; Birthing Seminar; Googie Rene’s Slightly Damaged Prom Wear Barn)
FILMED CAMEO: MICHAEL BOLTON – 1 segment (Jack Sparrow)


FRED ARMISEN – 3 segments (Osama bin Laden Video Will; Below The Waves; Weekend Update)
ABBY ELLIOTT – 4 segments (Below The Waves; Birthing Seminar; Bedelia’s Sleepover; Pregnant in Heels)
BILL HADER – 3 segments (GOP 2012 Undeclared Candidates Debate; Weekend Update; Birthing Seminar)
SETH MEYERS – 1 segment (Weekend Update)
BOBBY MOYNIHAN – 3 segments (GOP 2012 Undeclared Candidates Debate; Birthing Seminar; Bedelia’s Sleepover)
ANDY SAMBERG – 3 segments (Jack Sparrow; Bedelia’s Sleepover; Googie Rene’s Slightly Damaged Prom Wear Barn)
JASON SUDEIKIS – 3 segments (GOP 2012 Undeclared Candidates Debate; Weekend Update; Birthing Seminar)
KENAN THOMPSON – 5 segments (Monologue; GOP 2012 Undeclared Candidates Debate; Below The Waves; Birthing Seminar; Googie Rene’s Slightly Damaged Prom Wear Barn)
KRISTEN WIIG – 4 segments (Monologue; GOP 2012 Undeclared Candidates Debate; Birthing Seminar; Googie Rene’s Slightly Damaged Prom Wear Barn)


VANESSA BAYER – 4 segments (Below The Waves; Weekend Update; Birthing Seminar; Bedelia’s Sleepover)
PAUL BRITTAIN – 3 segments (Below The Waves; Bedelia’s Sleepover; Hallmark “Mother” Collection)
TARAN KILLAM – 3 segments (Monologue; Bedelia’s Sleepover; Pregnant in Heels)
NASIM PEDRAD – 1 segment (Bedelia’s Sleepover)
JAY PHAROAH – 1 segment (Pregnant in Heels)

EPISODE MVP: Kenan Thompson

  1. Geoff says:

    Great show, I agree. “Below the Waves” was the only sketch that didn’t work for me.

    As for Taran, he’s already engaged and has a child with Cobie Smulders from “How I Met Your Mother”, so I’d guess he and Nasim are just friends.

  2. Daniel Martin says:

    Who said anything about Taran and Nasim being together??? Overall I thought the episode was ok. But Brenden I dont understand your new scorring system. If you could explain it that would be great.

  3. Daniel Martin says:

    If anyone could explain the new grading system sytem to me that would great. Also Taran Killam was a voice over in the Hallmark Mothers Day skit.

    • Brendan Wahl says:

      It’s a five-star system. Meaning… five stars being the best, one star being Melanie Hutsell…err, I mean the worst.

  4. Daniel Martin says:

    O. I get it. I liked the old one better though.

  5. […] Tina Fey/Ellie Goulding […]

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