• SNL fails, even with well-loved Anna Faris as host

    If you combined all the great sketches from the first four episodes of Saturday Night Live this season you would have yourself one damn funny episode of Saturday Night Live. Unfortunately, the gems have been spread over four weeks. And that, my friends, makes for a mostly-painful viewing experience each Saturday. Coming off last week’s mediocre-to-slightly-bad episode, SNL found itself in a great position for a comeback this week– especially with host Anna Faris, a comedy figure who has been drowned in critical praise over the years.

    Unfortunately, there was no comeback– just a lot of bad sketches and terrible acting, peppered — as always — with some good laughs. The way I see it, SNL‘s Win-Loss record this season is 1-2-1. Here’s how last night played out.

    Despite two subtle flubs, Fred Armisen did excellent work as New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg in this week’s cold opening. Addressing the Occupy Wall Street protests, Bloomberg uses the wide display of social unrest as just another reason for tourists to visit the Big Apple. Plus, the weather’s been really nice there. Let’s take a look:

    A wee disjointed and a tad pointless, SNL went with the old Q&A vehicle for Anna Faris’ monologue. It all wraps up with Abby Elliott dressed exactly the same as Anna standing next to Anna— for some reason.

    You know how on Spanish television, talk show hosts wear ugly suits and the show’s guests are scantily clad – oftentimes in sequins – and there seems to be an inordinate amount of dancing? Yeah, well…. oh, who cares?

    In this next sketch, SNL imagines Lifetime’s first original competition series, What’s Wrong With Tanya?! In just a few minutes, the writers were able to cover seemingly every Lifetime movie’s cliché and wrap it into a creepy game show hosted by well-groomed, well-mannered Bill Hader. Spoiler alert: He’s got a mean streak. You know the type, ladies. I mean, you do, if you watch Lifetime.

    This week’s Digital Short boasted a series of joke television interview premises, featuring Andy Samberg as host and musical guest Drake as the guest. All in all, it was good for some quick laughs.

    Ah, yes. Last night we got SNL’s second take of their season on the GOP presidential debates. And although Vanessa Bayer – who plays the moderator – tripped over her words a few too many times, the seven-minute bit did a masterful job of exposing these debates for what they really are— a complete waste of time. I don’t know why, but Kenan Thompson’s Herman Cain cracks me the fuck up. And Jason Sudiekis’ Mitt Romney, as always, was solid—but the writing for Romney is what really makes that character sing. Well done.

    And now here’s some Weekend Update highlights.

    Second-hand news correspondent Anthony Crispino (Bobby Moynihan) joined Seth Meyers at the Weekend Update desk this week to cover a great many things—Occupy Wall Street, Ashton Kutcher, the NBA and more. Anyone else think Crispino sounds exactly like Artie Lange?

    Meyers was also joined by musical guest Drake and Jay Pharoah, who played “two teenagers dressed as werewolves.” I’m not sure why they needed to be dressed as werewolves as they were basically there to rap a terrible song about the concept of “bag jacking,” on Halloween which, of course, sounds funnier than the reality of it. What a waste.

    This was five minutes of pure torture. Enjoy!

    Here’s an idea. Next time Anna Faris hosts SNL, just rubber cement the script to her hands. That would be less distracting than watching her stare at the teleprompter for minutes at a time in each sketch. In fact, how about we just get rid of the celebrity guest host each week, since most of them aren’t up for the challenge, and work on making the sketches consistently better using the regular cast. I like Anna Faris as much as the next person, but watching her barely make it through each sketch isn’t winning her over any fans. Oh, and this sketch is terrible.

    Seriously, what the fuck? Between the premise, the writing and the acting in this next sketch, I can hardly believe this actually aired on network television. Maybe that was the joke and I’m missing it? “Hey, it would be hilarious if we actually made people watch this sketch.” You got us, SNL.

    So there you have it, folks. A clear loss. Faris was barely used and when she was, she was hard to watch. By all means, if you disagree (or agree), tell me in the comments section.

    Dylan P. Gadino

    Dylan is the founder and editor emeritus of Laughspin.

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