Posts Tagged ‘arcade fire’


by Brendan Wahl

(Season 37, Episode 22)

The Show:

1. Cold Opening: The Lawrence Welk Show (5:01)

It’s time once again for Lawrence Welk (Armisen) to introduce another musical number from the sisters hailing from the Fingerlakes (Elliott, Pedrad, & Bayer) and their deformed sibling Dooneese (Wiig) as they attempt to seduce an Italian lothario (Jon Hamm!).

– A good choice for a cold open on Kristen Wiig’s final SNL. Everything worked here from Fred’s dependable Lawrence Welk, Jon Hamm’s surprise cameo and hilarious Italian accent, Kate McKinnon’s quick role, and of course Kristen as the gross deformed sister.
– I really liked Fred’s fingering joke at the beginning.
– The ending was perfect with Wiig finally finding her true love in Hamm’s character. I laughed a whole lot at Hamm sucking on her strange, disgusting hands. I think it almost made Kristen crack up as well.
Rating: *** 1/2

2. Monologue (3:10)

Mick answers some questions that he frequently receives from people every day.

– Jagger proved right away that he would be a fun host with his laid-back demeanour and funny delivery. His charisma really helped carry this otherwise-alright monologue.
– My favourite question that he answered was regarding the “I can’t hear you!” line that rock singers typically yell out at concerts.
Rating: ***

3. Secret Word (4:57)

Another round of the popular 60’s gameshow sees returning player Mindy Gracin (Wiig) and her teammate (Bayer) go up against “macho” film star Chaz Bragman (Jagger) and his teammate (Killam).

– Pretty strong Secret Word sketch for Kristen to finish off her amazing tenure on the show. Kristen had lots of great moments here (I particularly loved the canal/anal mix-up) but I thought Mick Jagger’s performance was very strong as well. Loved the voice he chose for the character.
– Hader’s birth control line was hilarious.
–  The “soft” secret word part was predictable but hilarious because of Jagger’s performance and Killam’s reactions.
Rating: *** 1/2

4. Karaoke Night (5:00)

A number of bar patrons (Jagger, Armisen, Moynihan, Wiig, Bayer, & Killam) witness each other attempt their best Jagger impressions while performing some of his hits, while one of them (Jagger) doesn’t feel that the over-the-top characterizations are that accurate.

– Funny sketch with another very fun performance from Jagger and a really, really good Mick Jagger impression from Fred Armisen in particular. This was a very good example of a simple premise executed really well
– The patrons thinking that Bobby Moynihan sleeping on the microphone was part of the impression was hilarious.
– Moynihan actually singing “Sympathy for the Devil” as part of the lyrics was great as well.
– I liked the ending with Mick’s soft singing.
Rating: *** 1/2

5. Digital Short: Lazy Sunday 2 (2:06)

Andy Samberg and Chris Parnell are back, this time rapping about the new Sister Act: The Musical on Broadway.

– Much like last week, I was blown away by the digital short. It was so fucking awesome that they did a sequel to the original hit as a way to say goodbye to one of the most beloved features of SNL for the last seven years.
– The best part about this sequel is that they didn’t repeat the first one but rather brought a new spin to this thing and the bit with Andy and Chris doing the new rap segment was terrific.
– “On these New York streets, I honed my fake rap penmanship; that’s how it began and that’s how I’m-a finish it!” was an absolutely perfect way for the digital shorts to come to an end. Absolutely brilliant.
Rating: *****

6. Politics Nation (4:16)

Al Sharpton (Thompson) brings on J.P. Morgan representative Colin McKechnie (Jagger), New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg (Armisen), and Peter Panache (Sudeikis) to discuss a huge financial loss for J.P. Morgan and job availability in the US.

– I was in the minority of really enjoying the first one of these sketches back on the Katy Perry episode and I enjoyed this one as well just as much as the first one. It was one of the highlights of the night actually.
– Mick looked like he was on the verge of cracking up at the end of his segment.
– Armisen announcing the available jobs for New Yorkers was a funny bit.
– The “salmon canary” mix-up was hilarious.
Rating: ****

7. Mick Jagger & Arcade Fire perform “The Last Time” (4:09)

– This was an awesome performance. Simply fantastic. Mick and Arcade Fire were a really unexpectedly great combination.

8. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers (8:43)
Guest: Stefon

Best Jokes: Obama: first gay president; Bloomberg commencement speech; anti-Obama Super-PAC; man candles; unsafe fish treatment; text message study

– Not much to say about the fantastic segment of Update this week. Stefon was the only guest and he was great like usual. Of course, he cracked up at one point and recovered somewhat and then continued on with his insane commentary. The highlights this time were the D-Bag Chopra, build-a-bear, roaming draggers, and human R2D2 comments.
Rating: **** 1/2

9. So You Think You Can Dance at an Outdoor Music Festival (4:01)

Dave Matthews (Hader) hosts a series in which people attempt to dance to songs at an outdoor music festival while guest judges Carlos Santana (Armisen), Jewel (Elliott), and Steven Tyler (Jagger) look on.

– Funny sketch. I love the music and the dancing was fairly accurate but Moynihan was easily the highlight. Then again, Killam’s segment was quite funny as well.
– I love Hader’s Dave Matthews impression. I also really enjoyed the appearances by Abby as Jewel, Fred as Santana, and Mick as Steven Tyler.
– The crowd seemed to REALLY like this sketch.
Rating: ***

10. Mick Jagger and the Foo Fighters perform “19th Nervous Breakdown” & “It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll” (5:56)

– Another fantastic musical performance, this time of a medley involving two great Stones songs.
– Jagger is clearly the best musical guest of the season and there has been a lot of good ones this year.

11. The Californians (5:49)

More melodrama, convoluted driving directions, and strange character twists from this stereotypical batch of Californian residents.

– Much like Politics Nation, I was happy to see this come back and I know barely anyone else felt the same way.
– My favourite moments in this sketch came from Mick’s strange and slow-paced Californian accent, Kristen nearly coming to laughs when questioning Fred having a father, and the great appearance by Steve Martin as an amnesiac.
– Steve Martin’s cameo was hilarious and totally unexpected. He got a great reaction upon his entrance as well.
Rating: ***

12. Mick Jagger and Jeff Beck perform “Tea Party” (3:07)

– A wicked original song written about the 2012 election. Something tells me that if Jagger could vote, he probably wouldn’t cast one for Mitt Romney.
– Jagger dropped an S-bomb.

13. She’s a Rainbow (4:20)

Mick introduces Kristen Wiig as a “graduating” castmember while “She’s a Rainbow” and “Ruby Tuesday” play to honour her legacy on the show. All the castmembers dance with Kristen as well as she waves to everyone in the audience and the goodnights immediately follow.

– This was one of the classiest send-offs that any castmember has ever received on the show and a hell of a way to end the season. Say what you want about Kristen but she left a legacy that will be hard to follow and she was one of the best female castmembers of all time.
– The Lorne Michaels dance almost made me cry. That was an extremely nice gesture on Lorne’s part and it was a sweet moment.
– Hader, Moynihan, and Sudeikis looked particularly upset at the departure of Kristen Wiig.
– It was awesome to have Martin, Parnell and Hamm come back and that Chris Kattan, Rachel Dratch, Amy Poehler, and Will Forte came back to send off Kristen.
Rating: *****

 

OVERALL: What a season finale. Mick Jagger was a terrific host & musical guest and Arcade Fire and the Foo Fighters were excellent accompaniment as well. To say that I will miss Kristen Wiig is putting it lightly and I can’t state enough how much of a wonderful contribution she has made to the program over the last seven years. Excellent season-closer. I will have my year-end statistics posted tomorrow.

 

BREAKDOWN:

HOST: MICK JAGGER – 7 segments (Monologue; Secret Word; Karaoke Night; Politics Nation; So You Think You Can Dance at an Outdoor Music Festival; The Californians; She’s a Rainbow)

CAMEOS: RACHEL DRATCH – 1 segment (She’s a Rainbow)
WILL FORTE – 1 segment (She’s a Rainbow)
JON HAMM – 2 segments (The Lawrence Welk Show; She’s a Rainbow)
CHRIS KATTAN – 1 segment (She’s a Rainbow)
STEVE MARTIN – 2 segments (The Californians; She’s a Rainbow)
CHRIS PARNELL – 2 segments (Lazy Sunday 2; She’s a Rainbow)
AMY POEHLER – 1 segment (She’s a Rainbow)

FRED ARMISEN – 6 segments (The Lawrence Welk Show; Karaoke Night; Politics Nation; So You Think You Can Dance at an Outdoor Music Festival; The Californians; She’s a Rainbow)
ABBY ELLIOTT – 4 segments (The Lawrence Welk Show; So You Think You Can Dance at an Outdoor Music Festival; The Californians; She’s a Rainbow)
BILL HADER – 5 segments (Secret Word; Weekend Update; So You Think You Can Dance at an Outdoor Music Festival; The Californians; She’s a Rainbow)
SETH MEYERS – 2 segments (Weekend Update; She’s a Rainbow)
BOBBY MOYNIHAN – 3 segments (Karaoke Night; So You Think You Can Dance at an Outdoor Music Festival; She’s a Rainbow)
NASIM PEDRAD – 2 segments (The Lawrence Welk Show; She’s a Rainbow)
ANDY SAMBERG – 3 segments (Lazy Sunday 2; The Californians; She’s a Rainbow)
JASON SUDEIKIS – 2 segments (Politics Nation; She’s a Rainbow)
KENAN THOMPSON – 3 segments (Politics Nation; The Californians; She’s a Rainbow)
KRISTEN WIIG – 6 segments (The Lawrence Welk Show; Secret Word; Karaoke Night; So You Think You Can Dance at an Outdoor Music Festival; The Californians; She’s a Rainbow)

VANESSA BAYER – 5 segments (The Lawrence Welk Show; Secret Word; Karaoke Night; The Californians; She’s a Rainbow)
TARAN KILLAM – 4 segments (Secret Word; Karaoke Night; So You Think You Can Dance at an Outdoor Music Festival; She’s a Rainbow)
KATE MCKINNON – 2 segments (The Lawrence Welk Show; She’s a Rainbow)
JAY PHAROAH – 1 segments (She’s a Rainbow)

EPISODE MVPs: Mick Jagger/Kristen Wiig/Andy Samberg

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by Brendan Wahl

(Season 36, Episode 6)

This season has been about half-and-half of returning hosts and SNL virgins. While the season’s hosts have been steadfast and, at some points, excellent (Jon Hamm & Emma Stone), this is the first time I was a little weary of a returning host. Now, let’s get this out of the way first. Scarlett Johansson is a fantastic young actress, she’s super-hot, and she’s clearly close to Woody Allen, which means she has made a bundle of quality films. When she hosted for the first time in 2006, she was jittery, awkward and just came off as unprepared for the experience that was SNL. Her second time hosting was a similar affair. So when I heard the announcement that she’d be hosting the show for a third go-around, I wasn’t really highly anticipating the event.

Arcade Fire, on the other hand, I was totally anticipating. The band appeared about three years ago in a terrific episode with host Rainn Wilson and the idea of them coming back was a wonderful notion. The band is also quite unique in their style; I love the big-band style they bring to the table and the fact that they all have various jobs throughout that they seemingly rotate with throughout the band.

In the words of Brian Fellow, let’s get goin’!

The Show:

1. Chinese Press Conference (6:26)

In what is essentially a rehash of the cold open from Joseph Gordon-Levitt/Dave Matthews Band from last season, President Obama (Armisen) meets with Hu Jintao (Hader), while his interpreter (Pedrad) humourously translates for him. Although it is pretty much the same sketch, there are some differences in the subject matter and Jintao goes even more over-the-top this time. After the meeting between the two heads of state, Jintao constantly brings up the fact that the US still owes China tons of money and makes a few sexual allusions. B+

2. Monologue (3:50)

Scar-Jo remarks at the celebrities who are bombarded by the paparazzi and how they can avoid this before she is joined by Dina Lohan (Wiig) and Ke$ha (Elliott) to perform a number about how women aren’t classy anymore. It’s nice to see Abby get some solid screentime, but this thing felt thrown together. At least Scarlett looked very reserved and calm on the stage. Might have something to do with her recent Tony nomination. C+

3. Maternity Television (1:24)

MTV has transformed into a network full of shows containing pregnant people including My Super Sweet 16 and Pregnant with one rich pregnant girl (Johansson), Pregnant Dance Crew, Wild’n Out with insults directed towards a baby by Nick Cannon (Pharaoh), and my favourite was Cribs. Snooki (Moynihan) makes another appearance too! Very accurate parody. B

4. Millionaire Matchmaker (3:19)

In a parody of the Bravo programme, the host (Johansson) of the vapid reality show tries to help mousy lawyer Candice (Bayer) find her true love. Only problem is that the host of the show is an uncaring, rude, and a generally horrible human being. I’ve never seen the source material, but the sketch is still pretty funny and moves along at a very quick pace. Also, Taran Killam shines in a brief role as one of the eligible bachelors. B+

5. the Manuel Ortiz Show (4:30)

I’ve never been a fan of this dancing talk show but this time they tweaked the sketch and it succeeds because the direction is changed somewhat. Scarlett is game here as a guest who isn’t quite sure who her baby’s daddy is and thus must figure out if it’s her husband’s (Samberg) or lover’s (Hader). Bill Hader’s facial expressions are definitely the highlight of this sketch, but Manuel Ortiz (Armisen) is a fun character and just like the last sketch, it moves along at a rapid-fire pace. A-

6. Unstoppable (2:08)

The trailer for the new Denzel Washington (Pharaoh)/Chris Pine (Killam) vehicle sees them making ridiculous youngster and old age jokes at each other’s expense as they bond. Piling up on those great moments though is the constant commentary by the dispatcher (Johansson) comparing everything to the Chrysler Building. It’s a great mish-mash of impressions, satire, and another fun performance by Johansson. A

7. Hollywood Dish (4:24)

Brady (Hader) and Anastacia (Wiig) are back, this time interviewing Scarlett Johansson and providing the usual distractions on their end, which of course derails the interview. The same antics take place but much like Manuel Ortiz, they throw enough changes in there to tweak the sketch and make for some hilarious moments. Bill semi-cracks up, but it only adds to this great installment of the recurring gossip show. A-

8. Arcade Fire performs “We Used to Wait” (4:25)

With a unique set design behind them, Arcade Fire belt out an enjoyable tune with some terrific instrumental accompaniment as per their usual modus operandi. B+

9. Weekend Update (8:37)

Seth’s jokes are good as per usual this week with some talk of the Cindy & John McCain arguments over “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” but my favourite had to be the Pamela Anderson bit about fur hats no matter how crude it may have been. Blaming A Prairie Home Companion for all those car accidents was well-deserved and a nice bit as well. George W. (Sudeikis) and Kanye West (yet ANOTHER great impression by Pharaoh) show up to reconcile their differences and speak of their newfound friendship in a hilarious segment, while two survivors from the carnival cruise ship Splendor, Frank (Armisen) and Gladys Madden (Bayer) show up to speak about their not-so-horrifying ordeal. It’s not as good of a segment, but it’s still pretty amusing. It’s a pretty solid edition of Update this week. B+

10. St. Kat’s Middle (4:49)

Shown on the Disney Channel, St. Kat’s Middle features a group of inspirational students (Johansson, Samberg, Wiig, Brittain, & Wiig) try to coach their wheelchair-bound friend, Marvin (Thompson), out of his chair and on his feet. Kenan’s indignation while laying face-down on the floor is amusing, but it grows thin and the sketch wears out its welcome after a short amount of time. C

11. Film: Model UN (2:30)

This week’s digital short features a presentation by the Model UN and its speaker (Samberg), presenting their opinion on world history. Essentially the song boils down to a rant against everything followed by a variation of “what was THAT all about?!” It sounds one-note and it kind of is, but Samberg really sells it and then once Arcade Fire comes out, it really goes over-the-top and hits the right notes. B+

12. A Treat from Paula Deen’s Kitchen (2:41)

Cooking expert Paula Deen (Wiig) introduces a big 8-ply roll of paper towel so they can soak up all the excessive amounts of butter and oil she makes with her dishes. I give credit to Wiig for really trying here but this sketch felt pretty flat and didn’t really go anywhere. C-

13. Arcade Fire performs “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)” (5:01)

The second number has the chick in the band on lead vocals (don’t know her name!) and she has a nice set of pipes. Aside from that, she’s also kind of cute in a weird Bjork way. Plus, streamers! Everyone loves streamers! All in all, it’s a better song than the first one and brings them home in a big way. A-

14. Stars of Tomorrow (4:57)

A new series on TLC features a talent scout (Moynihan) telling the tale of Laura Parsons (Bayer), a little girl who does auditions for plays based on films that are way too adult for kids to perform. She gets huge until she is challenged by Amanda Starr (Johansson), who also does some similar auditions. The sketch is high on laughs and pretty conceptual, which makes this the best sketch of the night and the most well-written one also. A

15. Mike’s Busteria (2:12)

Ah yes, I knew they were going to bring this back! This time, Mike (Armisen) and his daughter Lexi (Johansson) sing the praises of ceramic busts. While this sketch usually works for me, this time it just felt a little off. I don’t know if they were nervous because the show was running long, but Fred seems a little off-kilter and Johansson tries to hold her own. C

Scarlett thanks Arcade Fire, cast, and crew before waving goodnight to one and all.

Scarlett Johansson was so much more relaxed in this episode! Colour me surprised. Where her last two stints had her giving off a nervous and jittery vibe, Scarlett managed to keep it together for the entire span of the episode and her comic timing also seems to have improved. I hereby take back any reservations I have for Johansson hosting the show. I’d actually like to see her come back again and even become a five-timer.

Arcade Fire was as great as I expected them to be. Where their first number was strictly by-the-books, their second one was bouncy fun with a lot of terrific instrumental work. And streamers! The band was cool enough to make a hilarious appearance in the digital short as well (much like the last time they were the musical guest) and were clearly very glad and willing to be a part of the broadcast.

There was a good effort by everyone involved tonight; however, we have ourselves a good, but not great, episode. The first half (sans the monologue) was pretty strong, but the second portion of the show faltered a bit due to three sketches that fell as flat as Kenan did in the Disney Channel sketch. Those notwithstanding, it was still an enjoyable show and Scarlett was a delight this time out.

Notes:

I prefer Forte, but Bill Hader more than held his own in the cold open as Hu Jintao. Pedrad is also fun in the interpreter role (“I like to have the lights on when SOMEONE IS DOING SEX TO ME!”)

“Use a mirror. They’re like cameras… that forget.”

“Girls today wouldn’t know class if it tried to kiss them and puked in their mouth.”

“Whoa, our moms are here!”

Bill and Kristen almost cracking up in the Hollywood Dish sketch was too funny.

Oops! Kenan got up a bit too quickly.

Host Rating: B+

Musical Guest Rating: A-

Show Rating: B