by Brendan Wahl
(Season 37, Episode 4)
1. Cold Opening: A Message from Mayor Mike Bloomberg (5:21)
– Pretty funny cold open with another good performance from Fred Armisen as Mayor Bloomberg. OH WAIT! I MEAN I HATE THIS CAUSE IT HAS FRED ARMISEN IN IT AND HE’S BEEN THERE TOO LONG. Groan. I’m really getting sick of people writing off a sketch just because of the fact that it has long-time castmember Fred Armisen or Kristen Wiig in them before actually analyzing the content of the sketch itself.
– My favourite parts here was Fred talking about New York City having the reputation of being the cleanest and most sanitary city in the world with “streets you can eat off,” him declaring himself not as rich as other New Yorkers (and then giving out their addresses), and the bit about using violent measures against people smoking.
Rating: *** 1/2
2. Monologue (2:37)
Anna says that she’s not as nervous as she was during her last hosting stint and decides to take questions from the audience. Unfortunately they rely on economic and religious issues rather than the fun light-hearted questions she was expecting. Eventually, Hanna Garris (Elliott) comes to the rescue.
– Good monologue; this was probably better than the first one she did back in Year 34 and I especially liked her interaction with Abby as her doppleganger.
– Bill Hader showing up as the creepy guy in the audience was hilarious and it was something I could imagine Will Forte doing back in the day when he used to play tons of characters like that.
– Anna seemed a little under the weather here.
3. The Manuel Ortiz Show (4:15)
Manuel (Armisen) invites a woman (Wiig) and her mother on (Bayer) the show because the mother has accused her daughter’s husband (Hader) of cheating. After some surveillance footage proves it to be true, the plant (Faris) that seduced him comes out as well and discusses what he said to her.
– OHMYGOD! NOT FRED ARMISEN AND KRISTEN WIIG! A DOUBLE WHAMMY OF SUCK! Okay, I’m done with that now. Seriously though, this was probably the best one they’ve done so far just because there were a number of different elements and the pace was even faster than usual.
– The surveillance footage was hilarious, especially Bill, Anna, and Kenan noticing the camera and dancing.
– My favourite part was Paul Brittain as the censor with his crazy dancing.
– The ending with the fire drill was so random but everyone dancing their way out of the studio was still pretty funny despite it being a repeated joke.
Rating: *** 1/2
4. What’s Wrong With Tanya?! (4:04)
– The opening disclaimer was funny: “Television for women. White women.”
– Very clever way of parodying those crappy Lifetime movies with people like Meredith Baxter-Birney. The various ways in which the contestants responded to the introductions by Hader echoed a lot of the bad dialogue that is often found in these programs.
– Anna was terrific as the repressed housewife, especially her first line: “Perfect from the outside.”
– I like how Hader has played the same gameshow host (Vince Blight) in quite a few of these gameshow sketches. I really liked him threatening Faris by yelling “Who’s going to believe you?!” at her. Very Lifetime movie-esque.
– The best answer was towards Male Tanya when Anna gave that long-winded answer about what was wrong with him.
5. Digital Short: Drake Interview (2:33)
– This was a really silly short but it worked a lot better than Stomp and was even a bit better than last week’s short with Stiller. Drake was a willing victim in slow burn here.
– I think my favourites were the extreme closeup (especially Andy showing Drake’s album), the racist one (“Don’t do it” “Yeah, not worth it.”), and the badly dubbed interview.
– Kristen Wiig doing the sponsor thing was hilarious.
6. Yet Another GOP Debate (7:16)
From the Marriott Hotel emanates another GOP Debate featuring frontrunners Hermann Cain (Thompson) and Mitt Romney (Sudeikis), Rick Perry (Hader) being forced to stare at a wall, Michele Bachmann (Wiig) and Newt Gingrich (Moynihan) in a closet, Ron Paul (Brittain) in a parking garage, and Rick Santorum (Samberg) in a gay bar.
– I always like these debate sketches. This was a good follow-up to the one that opened the season premiere and I liked how it was a bit more creative by placing them in different and weird locations.
– There was lots of good stuff here again like Sudeikis talking about how bland he is and comparing himself to a salad that’s “just a bowl of lettuce.” I also loved Sudeikis using “Yes we can… live with that” as his slogan.
– The only segment that didn’t really work for me was Kenan talking about wanting a show on FOX.
– The best part in the whole sketch came from Paul Brittain as Ron Paul when he was taken into a van, gunshots are heard, and then Ron walks out and dusts himself off.
– Hader miming Romney being put in the electric chair was pretty dark but funny nonetheless.
– Vanessa was a good moderator/straight character.
Rating: *** 1/2
– This was a pretty decent performance and I will give him credit where credit is due. The set was pretty cool too with the lyrics popping up behind him and around the stage.
8. WEEKEND UPDATE with Seth Meyers (9:31)
Guests: Anthony Crispino and two teenagers dressed like werewolves
– Anthony Crispino is still enjoyable for me and I really like Bobby’s performance as this unreliable Italian goof. I love all of his sources’ names too like Meaty Diane and Pee Wee German. The best second-hand story was probably the “iPhone for your ass.” It’s really a simple one-joke bit but it’s always good.
– I’m gonna go against everyone else here and say that I actually didn’t really like the commentary from Jay Pharoah and Drake as the two teenagers who steal children’s candy. It had potential and it was cool to see Jay in a live appearance but the song didn’t really have any funny lyrics or anything. I will say that Drake was pretty loose here and was good. Sorry mass majority, I did not care for this at all.
Rating: *** 1/2
9. Tell Him (4:59)
One girl (Bayer) confides in her friends (Faris, Elliott, Pedrad, & Wiig) about a guy she likes and how she’s made all the wrong approaches towards him. In song, they explain to her exactly what to do in order to deal with a guy she likes.
– I. Loved. This. It was one of the best pieces in quite some time on the show and it reminded me of musical sketches they would do with Jane, Laraine, and Gilda back in the day. It really did a good job of showing off the female cast as well.
– I also really liked how this sketch was played for character development rather than the typical style of jokey humour we’ve come to expect from an SNL sketch.
– Hard to list out my favourite parts because I loved the hell out of this thing and I don’t think I CAN pick out specifics.
10. J-Pop America Fun Time Now! (5:09)
A couple of American kids (Bayer & Killam) host a show that acts as an “homage” to Japanese culture but ends up being a lot more offensive and despite the attempts to fix things by their sensei (Sudeikis), it remains an over-the-top borderline-racist program.
– This was another big highlight of the evening. This show has been FULL of almost all fresh material but I hope this thing becomes recurring.
– Taran was fantastic here like he usually is in any sketch he’s in but Vanessa was also good as the other co-host. Their constant giggling, look at the camera, and the “ohhhh!” reaction were all very funny. The constant breaking into song was ridiculous and funny too.
– Was it just me or did Sudeikis’ role seem like a role that a male host would’ve taken over? I don’t know why but I just got that sense from this sketch. Anyone else feel the same way? Either way, Jason was great here again with his usual hilarious deadpan performance.
– Anna was good here too and was clearly dressed as a reference to Sailor Moon. Her singing was also amusing.
– Okay, the quick shot of Armisen as the Japanese girlfriend was hilarious.
– I have a feeling a lot of audience members are there for Drake and Drake alone based on their response for him everytime he shows up.
– Not as good as his first song, but it was still good enough and Nicki Minaj elevated it a little bit.
12. Lord Wyndemere (3:48)
A young girl (Faris) brings home her new boyfriend, a foppish gentleman (Brittain) who offers up a number of silly activities. Meanwhile, the girl’s father (Sudeikis) is the only one really taken by the new boyfriend and orders his son (Samberg) to get stuff for him.
– Finally, another starring role for Paul Brittain! Besides Paul’s fun performance, we also got an amusing side performance from Bill Hader and yet another hilarious job by Jason Sudeikis as the father. I laughed out loud every time he yelled at Samberg to do something.
– Anna was especially adorable in this sketch.
– I loved the portrait.
Rating: *** 1/2
13. Ferrari Calendar (3:54)
Two biker chick types (Faris & Wiig) go in search of a Ferrari calendar with hot guys on it and a clerk (Hader) helps them find the correct section. What follows is the two girls describing the “hunks” on the calendar in the most disgusting ways possible.
– This was almost bottom-of-the-barrel like everyone is saying. The only laugh I really got out of this was Bill Hader as the very strange model at the end with spaghetti legs and pepperoni nipples.
– Okay I also laughed at Wiig constantly saying that their asses might explode.
Rating: * 1/2
OVERALL: Yet another really good show this season. In fact, I’d say it was better than the previous two episodes and those were both fairly strong as well. Anna was a very capable host and never faltered at any point but was unfortunately shoved out of the way for a good portion of the night’s sketches from the digital short until after Weekend Update. Still, she managed to appear in a good amount of sketches despite that absence and always seemed delighted to be there. The cast did a great job here as well and Jason Sudeikis in particular was a highlight once again this week.
HOST: ANNA FARIS – 7 segments (Monologue; The Manuel Ortiz Show; What’s Wrong With Tanya?!; Tell Him; J-Pop America Fun Time Now!; Lord Wyndemere; Ferrari Calendar)
MUSICAL GUEST: DRAKE – 2 segments (Drake Interview; Weekend Update)
FRED ARMISEN – 3 segments (A Message from Mayor Mikeloomberg; The Manuel Ortiz Show; J-Pop America Fun Time Now!)
ABBY ELLIOTT – 3 segments (Monologue; What’s Wrong With Tanya?!; Tell Him)
BILL HADER – 6 segments (Monologue; The Manuel Ortiz Show; What’s Wrong With Tanya?!; Yet Another GOP Debate; Lord Wyndemere; Ferrari Calendar)
SETH MEYERS – 1 segment (Weekend Update)
BOBBY MOYNIHAN – 3 segments (The Manuel Ortiz Show; Yet Another GOP Debate; Weekend Update)
NASIM PEDRAD – 2 segments (Monologue; Tell Him)
ANDY SAMBERG – 6 segments (Monologue; What’s Wrong With Tanya?!; Drake Interview; Yet Another GOP Debate; Tell Him; Lord Wyndemere)
JASON SUDEIKIS – 3 segments (Yet Another GOP Debate; J-Pop America Fun Time Now!; Lord Wyndemere)
KENAN THOMPSON – 2 segments (The Manuel Ortiz Show; Yet Another GOP Debate)
KRISTEN WIIG – 7 segments (The Manuel Ortiz Show; What’s Wrong With Tanya?!; Drake Interview; Yet Another GOP Debate; Tell Him; Ferrari Calendar)
VANESSA BAYER – 4 segments (The Manuel Ortiz Show; What’s Wrong With Tanya?!; Tell Him; J-Pop America Fun Time Now!)
PAUL BRITTAIN – 3 segments (The Manuel Ortiz Show; Yet Another GOP Debate; Lord Wyndemere)
TARAN KILLAM – 1 segment (J-Pop America Fun Time Now!)
JAY PHAROAH – 1 segment (Weekend Update)
EPISODE MVPs: Bill Hader/Jason Sudeikis