Posts Tagged ‘season finale’


(Season 38, Episode 21: Season Finale)
Bumper

 

 

WHAT THEY’RE PROMOTING:

BEN AFFLECK: “To the Wonder”

KANYE WEST: “Yeezus” (album)

COLD OPENING: Politics Nation (4:25)
Politics Nation

–      I’ve always kinda liked this sketch despite the jokes being the same type of thing every time. However, I like Kenan’s Al Sharpton impression and he does a pretty good job of carrying it.

–      Sudeikis made for yet another great straight man character.

–      Hader’s insane-looking Tea Party supporter was pretty funny. I like how despite him looking ridiculous, he still appeared to be the straight man to Sharpton’s lunacy.

–      Loved the clip of “Senator McConnell” on Jimmy Fallon’s show.

–      The bar graph bit was also pretty great especially how it compared white people in 20 years to black people yesterday.

RATING: *** ½

MONOLOGUE: Ben Affleck (4:11)
Monologue

–      Cute monologue. This wasn’t anything amazing but it was still pretty fun and Affleck, of course, had good chemistry with his wife, Mrs. Garner.

–      The best part of the monologue was Bobby Moynihan with the “5” shirt, telling Ben that all the celebrities were here for Timberlake’s show, and then asking Ben if he wants to hear the Five-Timers Club theme song before retracting because it doesn’t exist.

–      I always thought Garner made a good host. I hope she comes back to do it again some day.

RATING: *** ½

SHOW: HBO First Look – Bengo Fuck Yourself (3:23)
Bengo Fuck Yourself

–      Very clever way of doing an Argo-inspired sketch. At first I was surprised to see a simple address by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (Armisen) but it evolved into a very funny piece.

–      The parts I really liked was Hader’s “Ha ha ha! I am a Hollywood executive,” Armisen’s constant “park the car in Harvard Yard” line to get the correct accent, Affleck saying that he took the role as the sound man so that he could do a worse film than Gigli, and the Oscar speech at the end in which Fred thanks the elders of Zion.

–      They also kept this whole thing fairly short, which made it pretty tight and concise.

RATING: ****

COMMERCIAL: Xanax for Gay Summer Weddings (1:53)
Xanax for Gay Summer Weddings

–      Very funny commercial piece. Reminded me of that Homocil commercial from years back.

–      The best parts were Hader trying to participate in a choreographed dance, Bayer sneaking her present onto the table, and Hader’s grandma calling Obama the n-word “in her toast.”

–      The lesbian summer weddings bit at the end was amusing.

RATING: ****

SKETCH: The Great Depression (3:01)
The Great Depression

–      Hader’s old-timey voice was tremendous and Affleck did a pretty good job as well. I also loved Kate McKinnon’s look as her character and the twist involving her being a 40-year old prostitute was also great.

–      The ending with Kate trying to give Hader a BJ was also a pretty funny subtle ending.

RATING: *** ½

SKETCH: Straight Camp (4:06)
Straight Camp

–      Pretty funny little sketch with a fine performance by Affleck at its center. He really held the whole thing together and I really liked the moment with he and Taran coming VERY close to each other.

–      Speaking of Taran, he was fantastic here. I liked his musical performance in the middle of the sketch.

–      Jay Pharoah’s silent role was also quite funny.

RATING: *** ½

MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: “Black Skinhead” (3:25)
Kanye West1

–      I wasn’t a big fan of whatever Kanye was doing with his voice but the overall performance was hella intense and I really loved the backdrop with the barking dogs.

WEEKEND UPDATE with Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler (12:22)

Guests: Stefon (including: Anderson Cooper and Ben Affleck), the Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party, Arianna Huffington, Jean K. Jean, David Paterson, Ann Romney, Jacob, Drunk Uncle, and the Devil
update1 update2 update3 update4 update5 update6 update7 update8 update9 update10 update11 update12

–      Best Jokes: Biden/whoopie cushion; Disney redesigned; in Vitro meat; Bacon Bacon; Take-a-Wish Foundation; Beckham’s retirement; cicada sushi

–      Really!?! featuring Amy Poehler was a lot of fun as is any time they bring Amy back for a little cameo. She really needs to come back and host again. I liked the Entourage reference, Obama getting all his information from TV, and Amy’s “Weed 420” license plate.

–      Stefon’s commentary was pretty damn funny, especially Hader’s reaction to Amy Poehler (“… who’s this?”) and the weird descriptions he always goes into were terrific like usual.

–      What more can be said about Stefon’s wedding?! It was an awesome segment and it was terrific to see all the random one-off characters that Stefon describes that were in attendance for the wedding. Hader and Seth were perfect here and the flashbacks actually made me a bit emotional. Anderson’s Cooper cameo was also great! You could also tell that Seth and Bill were getting teary-eyed by the end of Update. Then just to top off the whole thing, the show busted out tons of recurring Update characters to send them off in a beautiful farewell.

RATING: *****

SKETCH: Greg’s Funeral (5:54)
Greg's Funeral

–      Another sketch where Affleck’s performance perfectly centered the whole thing and he held it all together very well. His Mexican accent was hilarious and I like how upset he got when some of the speakers talked about how much they disliked him.

–      At first I thought this was going to be another one of those speech interruption sketches but I quickly realized that this was going to be something else more original.

–      My favourite stories were Robinson’s bit about Affleck going around the neighbourhood taking down missing children posters, Cecily’s bit about Affleck stealing dog food (as well as Affleck’s defense of the situation), and Kate’s bit was the best part. I also gotta give props to Taran (THE MAN!) for his performance in this sketch.

RATING: ****

COMMERCIAL: Hermes Handbags (5:04)
Hermes Handbags

–      I still really like these characters from Vanessa and Cecily. They haven’t gotten old yet and I can’t put my finger on why they continue to be hilarious. It’s definitely mostly attributed to their performances.

–      Affleck has been my favourite of the three hosts to take part in these sketches. He had plenty of great material with his scene at the end and his delivery was excellent.

–      I loved Vanessa’s insult to Charo, the line about “spinning on a golden wiener,” “Christopher Cumbus,” and Cecily’s line about being banged through a glass ceiling and becoming a feminist.

RATING: **** ½

 

 

MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: “New Slaves” (2:40)
Kanye West2

–      I LOVED this performance! Kanye didn’t do that stupid voice thing this time and thus it made me like this one a lot more! Another gritty intense performance.

SKETCH: Cop Family (4:16)
Cop Family

–      Decent piece although it was basically the same joke over and over again. I enjoyed everyone’s cop performances though, especially Taran doing his funny crying/stammering thing. I also liked the fact that Sudeikis was in uniform.

–      Tim and Nasim were pretty good as the straight players in the sketch.

RATING: ***

MUSICAL SKETCH: It’s a Lovely Day (3:47)
It's a Lovely Day

–      Beautiful way to end the season and it also doubled as a fantastic send-off for Hader and especially Fred Armisen. It wasn’t played for laughs really at all but I can feel like I can still rate it.

–      Loved all the musical cameos too.

–      I am really going to miss Fred Armisen despite the harsh critics he gets these past couple seasons. Bill Hader, of course, will be GREATLY missed and I agree with most people regarding him being one of the best castmembers of all time.

–      “It’s been alright, I’ve had a lovely time with you!” What a great way to go out.

RATING: *****

Goodnights
goodnights

 

BEST PERFORMER(S) OF THE NIGHT:

–      Bill Hader/Ben Affleck/Fred Armisen

 

 

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Terrific episode and a great way to top off the season. Affleck was an awesome host as per usual while Kanye West was once again a great musical guest. As far as the farewells go, I don’t think they could’ve been any better here. Bill Hader received a wonderful exit as Stefon and Fred Armisen leaving with his Ian Rubbish character was a lovely way to leave as well. It’ll be interesting to see what the new cast looks like next season!

 

TONIGHT’S RATING: ****

 

I’ll be posting my year-end thoughts sometime over the summer as well.

But for now…

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by Brendan Wahl

(Season 3, Episode 20)

Here it is, the season finale. It’s been quite an awesome ride with this season with only one small misfire (Kahn/Mahal) and a huge number of very strong episodes and near-classics. Even ones that were not great like Chevy Chase/Billy Joel or Jill Clayburgh/Eddie Money were still fairly good. It’s pretty telling of a season’s quality when some of the worst episodes average at probably about *** 1/2.

Of course, we close out the season as we always did from seasons 2-5: with lovable reliable ol’ Buck Henry, a very easy host to work with for the Not Ready For Primetime Players and one who was willing to go places with the sketches that many other hosts would’ve shied away from doing.

 

The Show:

“The Boy in the Plastic Pants Suit” will not be seen tonight.

1. Cold Opening: Nixon’s Book (2:59)

Former President Richard Nixon (Aykroyd) urges people to buy his book and says that even if you don’t believe him and you don’t want to read it, you can just buy it and then kick it around. That’ll show him!

– Great use of Danny’s Nixon impression and it was also pretty funny to see after Aykroyd’s blatant attack on Tricky Dick during the goodnights last week.
– Aykroyd’s solution to buy the book just to kick it around was hilarious and I liked him attributing it to his famous quote, “You don’t have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore.” His comment that Pat was already on her fourth copy was also pretty amusing.
– Garrett Morris gets a role here that any extra could’ve played.
Rating: *** 1/2

2. Monologue (3:29)

Buck professes his love for hosting the show and being a part of this great experience all the while some scrolling text proclaims Buck’s career to be over and that he is clinging onto his last shred of fame.

– Hilarious monologue. I loved the text that scrolled by during Buck’s serious speech about the dignity he has, his loving family, and the fact that NBC being in third place can’t really afford to be sentimental by thrusting a sad-sack like Buck onto the stage as the host of the season finale. The whole thing was just timed perfectly too.
Rating: **** 1/2

3. Nerd Prom (7:50)

Todd DiLaMuca (Murray) gets ready to escort Lisa Loopner (Radner) to the prom along with Todd’s dad Marshall (Henry), who drives them there. They eventually convince Mrs. Loopner (Curtin) to join them as well.

– Nice callback to the previous Nerds sketch with Lisa playing the same piano tune at the beginning.
– Another terrific sketch featuring the Nerds. Buck Henry was a great addition as Marshall DiLaMuca (still DiLaBounta at the time), but of course everyone worked really hard in making this great sketch work well again.
– My favourite parts were Gilda saying she knows the facts of life (she DID get an A in health), Buck’s lame John Travolta joke, pretty much all the interaction between Billy and Gilda, and the quick moment with Buck picking his nose.
– I like how with every sketch, the death of “the late Mr. Loopner” gets more gruesome and mysterious.
Rating: *****

4. Samurai T.V. Repairman (3:27)

Mr. Dantley (Henry) visits the electronic repair shop to have Samurai Futaba (Belushi) take a look and repair his television.

– Of course, nothing will ever top the classic Samurai Delicatessen sketch but I’ve never really disliked any of these sketches.
– I particularly liked the inspector tag on the TV from Japan being revealed to be the Samurai’s mother’s ID number.
– The ending with Belushi striking it with the sword and fixing it and then using his swords for antennas was also brilliant.
Rating: ****

5. Sodom Chamber of Commerce (4:17)

The ancient ciity of Sodom holds a council in which its members (Henry, Aykroyd, Belushi, Morris, & Murray) attempt to come up with a positive spin on their city that will do away with the whole imagery of sodomy and human sacrifice.

– Very funny and creative sketch. They could never get away with something like this today for the subject matter alone. I mean, an entire sketch about anal sex? The censors would pass out.
– Great performance from Buck here as the sturdy straightman. His deadpan delivery on some ridiculous and dark lines made them even more effective. He even had some fairly cheesy lines here but because of Buck’s wonderful performance, he made them work too.
– Murray was hilarious too, especially his delivery while reading their slogan: “You have to be crazy to live in Sodom. Crazy about sodomy.”
– The ending with Jane, Laraine, and Gilda was great.
Rating: **** 1/2

6. UPDATE TEASER w/Jane Curtin (:06)

Donny Osmond consummates his marriage while his wife, Debbie, watches.

7. WEEKEND UPDATE w/Dan Aykroyd & Jane Curtin (9:32)
Guest: Laraine Newman and Bill Murray

Best Jokes: hamburgers; fanfare expression; Charlie Chaplin’s body; Italy/abortions






– Yet ANOTHER great sponsor bit.
– The fanfare bit really worked due to Aykroyd’s terrific delivery.
– The first piece is Laraine Newman reporting from the Son of Sam trial via an artist’s rendering because there were no cameras allowed in the courthouse. Pretty funny stuff here, actually, with the crappy drawing and the reporting giving us absolutely no real information on the case.
– Bill Murray comes by to review The Greek Tycoon based on a quick clip he is shown at the last second. His best bit was accusing one of the actors for saying “excuse me” and stealing Steve Martin’s line in the process. His attempt at calling Jackie Onassis (to inform her that the movie ripped off her life) was also hilarious, especially him saying John Belushi’s name after his own name doesn’t get him anywhere. Terrific segment.
– Aykroyd’s commentary on Betty Ford’s alcoholism was pretty funny devolving into a reference to other first ladies’ problems with the juice. It died with the audience though.
– The Point/Counterpoint segment deals with Dan and Jane arguing in a courteous way about which side they will take, but then they soon devolve into a sharp-tongued debate about the merits of jogging. I like the minor changes they made to this and it made for another classic point/counterpoint.
– Perfect edition of Update this week.
Rating: *****

8. The Olympia Cafe (5:05)

Life continues at the Chicago-based restaurant where a representative (Henry) from Rent-a-Doberman comes in to talk with Pete (Belushi) about getting a guard dog in the restaurant to protect it from burglary.

– Very funny edition of this recurring sketch. I really liked Belushi haggling the price of the doberman rental and his consrant firing and rehiring of Murray’s character was a hoot as well. It really says something for Bill’s acting when I actually felt really bad for him everytime he got mistreated in this sketch.
– Belushi grabbing an axe to take care of “that lamb in the basement” was a great little moment.
Rating: ****

9. Mr. Mike’s Least-Loved Music (2:56)

Mr. Mike sings a tune called “Baby Ghouls” while a vampire (Newman) provides backup and eventually bites his neck.

– An example of Mr. Mike’s strange warped sense of humour. This wasn’t so much laugh-out-loud funny as much as it was an insane, strange, and dark conceptual piece with some great stuff from a singing Mr. Mike and Laraine.
– I loved Laraine’s sign-language bit at the beginning.
Rating: *** 1/2

10. More Insects to Worry About (4:41)

Joan Face (Curtin) interviews Dr. Russell Bedanza (Henry) about other various forms of insects that are making their way to the United States.

– The first time they did this sketch, I thought it was okay but I don’t really see the merit in repeating it again in the same season. This was actually quite a bit better than the first edition though and Buck and Jane had great chemistry together.
– The part that made me laugh the most is Jane quickly mentioning that part of Buck’s research included living with the insects as one of their kind. My favourite insect that Buck mentions is the one that enters through any opening on the body and brings in everday items to the brain like car keys, a paperback novel, and other such ridiculous items.
Rating: ****

11. Stunt Puppy (4:54)

Middle-aged actor Howard (Henry) is directed to inflict abuse on a puppy during a film shoot, but the director (Murray) makes sure to bring in a stunt puppy for the scenes.

– This was essentially a carbon-copy of Stunt Baby, but it was still hilarious nonetheless. Murray turns in another great smarmy performance as the director and Buck’s scene of violence against the puppy was almost as good as the one he had with the baby in his previous episode.
Rating: ****

12. Bad Conceptual Art (2:58)

Leonard Pinth-Garnell (Aykroyd) presents a piece on bad conceptual art named “Pavlov Video Chicken I” featuring three performers (Morris, Newman, & Radner).

– Yet ANOTHER recurring sketch tonight. And yet, with all of the recurring pieces tonight, it’s still looking like another excellent episode is in the books tonight.
– This was an okay edition of the sketch but overall it was not quite as good as most of these pieces were. It felt like they were just being weird and thought it would translate into great material but it didn’t really work as well as it was planned.
Rating: **

13. The Franken and Davis Show (4:20)

Al and Tom prepare to do their “famous” sumo wrestling piece but Davis can no longer take the pressure of hiding his secret. After Al reveals his “wife” and “son,” Tom yells out that they are in fact gay lovers and have been living a lie. This causes Al’s family to walk out on him.

– This was excellent and one of my favourite Franken and Davis pieces that these guys ever did. The audience jeering when Tom asks if they have respect for Al now was the cherry on the cake.
– I especially liked Al’s son’s outburst about how much he hates him now.
– The ending was so dark with Franken committing suicide but the two of them waving after the title card made it even funnier with Tom declaring that Al “didn’t really shoot himself.”
Rating: *****

14. Sun Ra performs “Space is the Place” and “Space-Loneliness” (6:03)

– Hands-down, one of the strangest performances in the history of the show. There’s been some odd acts on the show like the I’m The Slime performance by Frank Zappa, David Bowie singing Boys Keep Swinging with a super-imposed puppet body, and Devo in general, but this was one of the most oddly compelling ones that also doubled as one of the more creative performances I’ve seen in some time.
– I also find it very interesting that this was pushed to the very end of the show. Perhaps Lorne knew they would lose a lot of people at this point and didn’t want to take that risk. Or maybe it was the network’s suggestion not to take it. Either way, it was probably a wise business move because I’m sure a lot of SNL‘s audience was pretty weirded out by this segment.
– They keep playing long after the bumper has shown up.

15. Goodnights

– Buck mentions “they’ll all be back in the fall… or not.”

 

OVERALL: A very, very strong season finale with only one lowpoint (Bad Conceptual Art) and many classic sketches to choose from. It’s always nice to have a reliable host like Buck Henry close out the season and the show always benefitted from having him as the host. There was A LOT of recurring material tonight (the only things that weren’t recurring was the cold open, monologue, and the sodomy sketch. It didn’t really bug me though because 90% of it was great to begin with and warranted some additional follow-ups to the sketches.

I’ve said all I can say about the season in general so let’s just say that it ended on a high note to what was an INCREDIBLE string of episodes with VERY minor blips on the radar.

APPEARANCES:

HOST: BUCK HENRY – 7 segments (Monologue; Nerd Prom; Samurai T.V. Repairman; Sodom Chamber of Commerce; The Olympia Cafe; More Insects to Worry About; Stunt Puppy)

DAN AYKROYD – 5 segments (Nixon’s Book; Sodom Chamber of Commerce; Weekend Update; The Olympia Cafe; Bad Conceptual Art)
JOHN BELUSHI – 3 segments (Samurai T.V. Repairman; Sodom Chamber of Commerce; The Olympia Cafe)
JANE CURTIN – 6 segments (Nerd Prom; Sodom Chamber of Commerce; Weekend Update; The Olympia Cafe; More Insects to Worry About; Stunt Puppy)
GARRETT MORRIS – 5 segments (Nixon’s Book; Sodom Chamber of Commerce; The Olympia Cafe; Stunt Puppy; Bad Conceptual Art)
BILL MURRAY – 5 segments (Nerd Prom; Sodom Chamber of Commerce; Weekend Update; The Olympia Cafe; Stunt Puppy)
LARAINE NEWMAN – 5 segments (Sodom Chamber of Commerce; Weekend Update; The Olympia Cafe; Mr. Mike’s Least-Loved Music; Bad Conceptual Art)
GILDA RADNER – 5 segments (Nerd Prom; Sodom Chamber of Commerce; The Olympia Cafe; Stunt Puppy; Bad Conceptual Art)

TOM DAVIS – 1 segment (The Franken and Davis Show)
AL FRANKEN – 1 segment (The Franken and Davis Show)

 

AND NOW…

MY END-OF-THE-SEASON AWARDS:

Best Shows:

1. Steve Martin/Blues Brothers (4/22/78)
2. Robert Klein/Bonnie Raitt (1/28/78)
3. Buck Henry/Sun Ra (5/20/78)

Worst Shows:

1. Madeline Kahn/Taj Mahal (10/8/77)
2. Chevy Chase/Billy Joel (2/18/78)
3. Jill Clayburgh/Eddie Money (3/18/78)

Best Hosts:

1. Steve Martin
2. Buck Henry
3. Michael Palin

Worst Hosts:

1. Hugh Hefner
2. Michael Sarrazin
3. Art Garfunkel

Best Musical Guests:

1. Elvis Costello
2. Ray Charles
3. The Blues Brothers

Worst Musical Guests:

1. Keith Jarrett
2. Libby Titus
3. Ashford & Simpson

This was a really tough list to make and a lot of the ‘worst’ categories are just the weakest by default.