by Brendan Wahl
(Season 37, Episode 7)
1. Cold Opening: A Message from the Committee to Elect Mitt Romney (4:05)
Mitt Romney (Sudeikis) makes one last ditch effort to appeal to the masses by attempting to display a more intense and renegade version of himself with at least “15-17% more edginess.” During this attempt, he tries to make himself seem like a sexual dynamo, a primadonna, and even undoes one button on his suit.
– Sudeikis is fantastic in this role and it reminds me a lot of how great he was at taking a nothing role like Joe Biden and making it hilarious.
– My favourite parts were Sudeikis referring to Wiig as a sharp dresser, him buttoning his jacket back up because it was making him uncomfortable, Taran’s head-shake as he walks away, and the letter Jason reads from his wife.
– Jason looked so uncomfortable in that leather jacket and it only added to the comic appeal of this opening.
2. Monologue (6:01)
Jason goes over to the piano and is quickly joined by the Muppets, who koin him in song and come to the false conclusion that they are ALL hosting SNL. After explaining to them that he is the sole host, the Muppets start acting sarcastic and a bit insulting. All is well eventually, though.
– It was very predictable that the muppets would show up but they were very well-utilized here and gave the monologue a warm, fuzzy feeling that most fans would probably agree doesn’t fit with the show unless the muppets were around.
– The muppets being annoyed and sarcastic = comedy. I also loved Kermit wondering why in the hell his Ray Romano impression wasn’t used for this episode.
– I liked that they referenced the disgusting muppets from the first year of the show.
– Statler & Waldorf at the end? That was AWESOME.
– Based on this monologue, I have full faith that The Muppets will be a very entertaining film.
Rating: **** 1/2
– Repeat from Alec Baldwin/Radiohead (9/24/11).
4. Regis & Kelly Auditions (6:05)
Because of Regis Philbin retiring, Kelly Ripa (Pedrad) and Michael Gelman (Brittain) hold some auditions for his replacement. Ricky Gervais (Sudeikis), Denzel Washington (Pharoah), Ashton Kutcher (Killam), Zooey Deschanel (Elliott), George Lopez (Armisen), Rosie O’Donnell (Moynihan), Antonio Banderas (Segel), Garrison Keilor (Hader), and Charles Barkley (Thompson) all try their luck but Kelly soon discovers that what they need is for Kathie Lee (Wiig) to come back.
– I love these multi-impression sketches. Let’s just list out the good, the bad, and the average.
– The Good: Sudeikis/Ricky Gervais; Pharoah/Denzel; Killam/Ashton; Elliott/Zooey; Segel/Banderas; Hader/Keilor; Thompson/Barkley
– The Average: Pedrad/Kelly Ripa; Armisen/George Lopez
– The Bad: Moynihan/Rosie O’Donnell
– Yep, the only bad one was Bobby channeling Horatio Sanz as Rosie O’Donnell. I like Bobby in general but this part did nothing for me.
– Kristen’s bit at the end as Kathie Lee was hilarious. Not long enough for me to classify the impression, but it was still a good way to end the sketch.
– I’m assuming the only reason Paul played Gelman is because Taran did an impression here.
5. Kemper-Pedic Me Time Mattress (1:43)
Finally, it’s the mattress that allows the husband (Segel) to do things like pounding pizza dough and other similar acts that could be euphenisms for masturbation while the wife (Bayer) is completely out of the loop.
– This could’ve been stupid but thanks to the performances and chemistry between Jason and Vanessa, this worked well. I really liked the pizza dough scene and Jason doing the worm in particular.
6. Affectionate Family (5:19)
Jacob Vogelcheck (Segel) brings home his girlfriend (Bayer) to meet the whole Vogelcheck family (Armisen, Hader, Wiig) and she immediately becomes uncomfortable with their overly-affectionate ways. The ante gets raised even more when they sponsor a homeless man (Samberg) and get an unexpected visit from Jacob’s brother, Austin (Paul Rudd!).
– Okay, so yes they’ve done this sketch before. Yes, it’s essentially the same joke (the family kisses a lot). Yes, it goes through a lot of the same beats. However, this time the addition of Andy as a homeless man being fed in VERY disgusting ways, Jay Pharoah as a second homeless man who decides to leave at the last minute, and the appearance of Paul Rudd at the end made for a funny sketch.
– I loved Bayer’s line about the family giving to the homeless and realizing that it’s probably not as nice as it sounds.
– The closeup of Andy drenched in gravy made me laugh really hard.
– For those of you who waited for the kiss in I Love You, Man, you sure got it here.
Rating: *** 1/2
– This was much different from her first appearance but unlike some reviews, I did not find that to be a detriment. Florence Welch still proves herself to be a good singer and along with the cool harp section, makes for a good performance.
8. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers (9:36)
Guests: Jon Huntsman and Kermit the Frog
– I was surprised to see the real Jon Huntsman show up and I actually expected Taran to come out after Seth’s introduction. However, he did a good job here and it reminded me of Mike Huckabee’s appearance several years ago. He wasn’t as funny as Mike but it was still a pretty laid-back performance from Huntsman and I like how he had no problem poking fun at himself.
– The return of the Really!?! segment was terrific and I did NOT expect Kermit to join him. I loved his enthusiasm and there were some good lines from both man and muppet here. The sausage casing line was the highlight. Seth seemed to be really amused to have Kermit there with him, which was endearing.
9. Retirement Party (5:37)
Long-time employee Mitch Gurst (Armisen) is given his sendoff with a depressing retirement party complete with a secretary (Wiig) who has nothing to say and a man (Segel) who keeps hinting at a big secret he wants to give away about Mitch himself.
– I didn’t really know what to think of this sketch at first but I liked it for two main reasons: Kristen Wiig and Jason Segel. Some may have found Kristen’s character borderline-annoying here, but I cracked up pretty much anytime she told them she had nothing to say. I also liked her random outbursts that people are looking at her body.
– Jason’s “big reveal” at the end was a bit of a cop-out but that made for a very silly ending that I actually liked. The closeups of everyone reminded me of that All My Children spoof they did back on the season premiere.
– Vanessa’s facial expressions as the rather reserved DJ were quite funny.
Rating: *** 1/2
10. A New Jack Thanksgiving (4:42)
Medium Richard (Moynihan) presents a number of performances on A New Jack Thanksgiving album including Triangle Sally (Wiig), Cross Chris (Samberg), Men in Vests (Segel), Flow Diggity Flow Doubt (Florence Welch!), and more.
– Yeah, so this was a follow-up to that sketch from the Jim Carrey episode but it was not nearly as entertaining. Most of the songs were really stupid and just changing the singers’ names backwards does not make for great comedy. This was awful.
– The only performance I only kinda liked was Flo’s song but the rest were mostly a waste.
– I liked the graphic of Toni Tone Tony Shalhoub.
Rating: * 1/2
11. Digital Short: Seducing Women Through Chess (2:01)
During an instructional video, a chess guru (Samberg) tries to teach the art of seducing women but is constantly defeated by his female opponent. He tries checkers and eventually glass-eating, but he is soon stabbed by a prostitute (Segel), who takes his money and runs.
– This was hilarious and very silly with the various times that the women would easily defeat Andy in chess. It also didn’t hurt that the entire thing was filmed with an 80s grainy look.
– Jason was hilarious as the prostitute with his really deep voice and his little checkmate moment at the end was great too.
– Most random cameo ever was from Olivia Wilde, but she definitely looked good here.
Rating: **** 1/2
12. Andre the Giant Chooses an Ice Cream Flavour (1:14)
– There’s not much to say about this quick blackout bit other than it was hilarious to see them actually use Jason’s Andre the Giant impression from I Love You, Man. Jason was quite funny here and this was short enough to work very well.
Rating: *** 1/2
– Once again, Flo + The Machine delivers another quality song. The eerie sounds that the harp provided here were very cool indeed and contributed to the great performance.
14. The Blue Jean Committee (3:35)
At the Empty Glass, a Massachussetts tavern, the Blue Jean Committee (Segel, Armisen, Sudeikis, Thompson) perform some easy-listening music for all the patrons to enjoy, including Paul Rudd, Florence Welch, and Gonzo & Rowlf.
– This was a nice way for the show to end. Not a hilarious sketch or anything, but it was definitely funny in its portrayal of the laid-back Massachussetts crowd and had good singing performances from Fred et al.
– I really liked Paul Rudd coming back for another cameo and the muppets showing up again was great! I knew Rudd was there a lot earlier than I should have though because he walked behind Fred and in full camera view accidentally. His reactions were great while listening to the song.
OVERALL: A very entertaining show from top to bottom. Jason Segel was as great a host as you would expect and was responsible for some of the night’s biggest laughs. The Muppets were also awesome to have around and I was very surprised and delighted that their appearance was not limited to the monologue. As far as I can see, this show only had one bad sketch and several ****+ sketches which automatically gets a huge thumbs up from me. I really hope Segel comes back to host next year and onward.
HOST: JASON SEGEL – 9 segments (Monologue; Regis & Kelly Auditions; Kemper-Pedic Me Time Mattress; Affectionate Family; Retirement Party; A New Jack Thanksgiving; Seducing Women Through Chess; Andre the Giant Chooses an Ice Cream Flavour; The Blue Jean Committee)
MUSICAL GUEST: FLORENCE + THE MACHINE – 2 segments (A New Jack Thanksgiving [Florence Welch]; The Blue Jean Committee [Florence Welch])
CAMEOS: JON HUNTSMAN – 1 segment (Weekend Update)
JIM HENSON’S MUPPETS – 3 segments (Monologue; Weekend Update [Kermit the Frog]; The Blue Jean Committee [Gonzo & Rowlf])
PAUL RUDD – 2 segments (Affectionate Family; The Blue Jean Committee)
FILMED CAMEO: OLIVIA WILDE – 1 segment (Seducing Women Through Chess)
FRED ARMISEN – 4 segments (Regis & Kelly Auditions; Affectionate Family; Retirement Party; The Blue Jean Committee)
ABBY ELLIOTT – 4 segments (Regis & Kelly Auditions; A New Jack Thanksgiving; Seducing Women Through Chess; The Blue Jean Committee)
BILL HADER – 3 segments (Regis & Kelly Auditions; Affectionate Family; The Blue Jean Committee)
SETH MEYERS – 1 segment (Weekend Update)
BOBBY MOYNIHAN – 4 segments (Regis & Kelly Auditions; Retirement Party; A New Jack Thanksgiving; The Blue Jean Committee)
NASIM PEDRAD – 4 segments (Regis & Kelly Auditions; Retirement Party; A New Jack Thanksgiving; Seducing Women Through Chess)
ANDY SAMBERG – 5 segments (Red Flag; Affectionate Family; A New Jack Thanksgiving; Seducing Women Through Chess; The Blue Jean Committee)
JASON SUDEIKIS – 4 segments (A Message from the Committee to Elect Mitt Romney; Red Flag; Regis & Kelly Auditions; The Blue Jean Committee)
KENAN THOMPSON – 4 segments (Regis & Kelly Auditions; Retirement Party; A New Jack Thanksgiving; The Blue Jean Committee)
KRISTEN WIIG – 8 segments (A Message from the Committee to Elect Mitt Romney; Red Flag; Regis & Kelly Auditions; Affectionate Family; Retirement Party; A New Jack Thanksgiving; Seducing Women Through Chess; The Blue Jean Committee)
VANESSA BAYER – 5 segments (Kemper-Pedic Me Time Mattress; Affectionate Family; Retirement Party; A New Jack Thanksgiving; The Blue Jean Committee)
PAUL BRITTAIN – 2 segments (Regis & Kelly Auditions; Retirement Party)
TARAN KILLAM – 5 segments (A Message from the Committee to Elect Mitt Romney; Red Flag; Regis & Kelly Auditions; Retirement Party; The Blue Jean Committee)
JAY PHAROAH – 5 segments (A Message from the Committee to Elect Mitt Romney; Regis & Kelly Auditions; Affectionate Family; Retirement Party; A New Jack Thanksgiving)
EPISODE MVPs: Jason Segel/KristenWiig