• Melissa McCarthy commits but SNL misuses the “Bridesmaids” actress

    The second episode of Saturday Night Live’s 37th season went down last night, with actress Melissa McCarthy as the host. Her duties came on the heels of the most high-profile week in her career. She won an Emmy for her work on CBS’ Mike and Molly, was on the cover of the Hollywood Reporter and was able to enjoy the DVD and Blu-ray release of Bridesmaids, in which she co-starred. But, how did she do on SNL? Overall, pretty well. But I can’t help but think McCarthy is more versatile than the following sketches allowed her to be. And as a result, this week’s show paled in comparison to the season opener last week.

    The cold open last night saw the return of one of Kristen’s Wiig’s most celebrated characters; this time, however, she was joined by this week’s host— Melissa McCarthy, but with extra huge guns and buck teeth. Innovative or interesting? Neither. But if you like the whole ugly sister-act on the Lawrence Welk Show thing, I guess you’ll like this.

    For her monologue, McCarthy was joined onstage by her Bridesmaids co-star Wiig for a send-up of those classic jazzy dance numbers. Well done.

    I consider this sketch a lost opportunity. When the setting of this sketch was introduced – a focus group for Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing – I had high hopes. Because I, for one, am always irked by those horrible commercials for the real-life product, always touting its flavor and versatility and its ability to make children consume vegetables—if only they slather their crunchy greens with one of the most unhealthy substances known to man. But, in the end, the joke lands squarely on Middle America stereotypes. Tired and lazy (the joke; not the people). The sketch goes on too long and is saved – if you can call it saved — only by McCarthy’s willingness to sacrifice herself.

    Hey, you know how Chris Rock starred in a Broadway play The Motherfucker with the Hat? And it was widely acclaimed? And Rock, himself, was reviewed as having done a solid job onstage—especially for his first big-time theatrical run? Right. Me, too. Well, SNL decided none of that mattered. They were going to send Rock up anyway. You see, in this sketch, they insert Rock into classic Broadway shows, to sort of point out how silly it was to cast Rock in a Broadway show in the first place. I’m sure the writers of the sketch will argue that they’re not poking fun at Rock and instead they’re actually celebrating his iconic work. But, it doesn’t come through that way. It just looks like they wanted Jay Pharoah to do his Rock impression, which is pretty good. Nothing more.

    Jason Sudeikis plays the perfect host of a talk show, wherein moronic Internet commenters are the guests. SNL hits all the right subtleties of the typical anonymous video or blog post commenter. And in the end, sweet justice prevails.

    I love quality absurdist humor. You know who’s really good at it? Not SNL. The proof is in this terribly pointless Digital Short.

    Playing a character not drastically different than her salad dressing focus group soccer mom, McCarthy becomes Arlene in the below workplace sketch. She wants to bone Jason Sudeikis and she’s really overbearing and its funny because she’s not skinny and because Sudeikis is handsome. Get it? As was the case for the entire episode last night, the physicality McCarthy displays is what makes this bit slightly funny. It’s surely not the premise or the writing.

    It’s always funny to think about amazingly horrible political figures like Moammar Gadhafi as actual human beings. So, the idea of Gadhafi’s oldest childhood friends offering some insight on the man seems promising in the context of a Weekend Update bit. This one starts out somewhat strong but gets tired quick and ultimately devolves into an inside-showbiz joke that 99.34 pecrent of the people watching don’t give a shit about.

    I was happy to see “Tyler Perry” make an appearance on Weekend Update this week. I finally got some closure concerning who and why he is.

    And here’s some other Weekend Update highlights:

    I know what I’m getting my niece for her birthday next week: Lil Poundcake. She’s only seven but it’s never too late to learn about adult problems.

    “How dumb do we think American television viewers are? So dumb that they’ll think watching a woman fall on steps a bunch of times will pass for comedy.” – SNL writers, I assume.

    In this sketch, set at a bar, SNL turns the phrase “Well, I’ve never got any complaints” on its ear—and to mostly positive effect. Although, the degree at which the actors didn’t even try to hide the fact they were reading off cue cards was a bit distracting. My only other complaint comes when McCarthy whips out a tazer. It’s as if the writers thought their writing wasn’t strong enough – but the writing was good, here – and just needed to add something cheap and quick.

    Oh, and here’s a Web extra, in case you haven’t gotten enough of Netflix commentary.

    So, what did you think? Am I being too hard on SNL? Did you enjoy this episode? Sound off in the comments section.

    Dylan P. Gadino

    Dylan is the founder and editor emeritus of Laughspin.

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