Here are six takeaways from last night’s season 41 premiere of Saturday Night Live.
This Saturday Night Live premiere was never going to be a classic.
Season premieres of Saturday Night Live often struggle, mostly because the show doesn’t operate on the schedule that people might assume. The show’s staff had the same number of weeks to write and prepare this week’s sketches as they do any other week: one. Much of what appeared to be sloppiness and laziness can be attributed to the gears on the SNL machine slowly shaking off the rust that accumulated over the summer.
By some cruel convergence of fates, two of the Internet’s best sources for culture criticism closed their doors yesterday. First, Grantland’s Alex Pappademas bid farewell to his colleague longtime and friend Wesley Morris, who’s departing for the New York Times, on the series finale of their podcast Do You Like Prince Movies?. Just hours later, current HitFix TV critic Alan Sepinwall and now-former HitFix editor Daniel Fienberg dropped their 302nd (!) and last Firewall and Iceberg podcast.
Both episodes were fitting farewells, combining a last attempt at the show’s typical rhythms followed by a more introspective look back at how the podcasts came to be and what they meant to the people who created and listened to them. No one cried, though Morris came closest, or so it seemed. There were thank-yous, callbacks, jokes, running gags and moments of sentimentality.
Fall TV is upon us, and the broadcast networks still exist! I watched two Fox shows and two ABC shows that premiered this week. Here are some thoughts, from favorite to least favorite.
This post took ten minutes to write. I went down this list of Emmy nominations, thought for a moment and then picked the nominee I could most easily imagine winning the award on tonight’s Andy Samberg-hosted telecast, which airs at 8pm on Fox. I didn’t double back and reconsider my choices, and I don’t apologize for any outlandish or unlikely picks. If I had to do it all over again, I might make different predictions. But I don’t, so I won’t.
See you back here tomorrow when we find out how well I did.
As I wrote when The Late Show with Stephen Colbert premiered last Tuesday — was it really such a short time ago? — late-night shows are evolving creatures. To judge them on their first episode is the equivalent of evaluating a new employee on his first day of work. To judge them after two weeks still isn’t entirely fair, but the nine Late Show episodes that have aired so far give a slightly more accurate picture of what the appeals and setbacks of this show are, might be and could become.
The standard caveat with the analysis that follows: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert will almost certainly look very different in six months’ time. Many of the people involved with making the show likely already have a sense of its flaws, even if they haven’t come up with practical fixes yet. These opinions are subject to change without warning.
Bojack (left, voiced by Will Arnett) and Diane (right, voiced by Alison Brie) in Netflix’s “BoJack Horseman.” Photo courtesy of Netflix.
BoJack Horseman is about BoJack Horseman, the washed-up star of a popular 90s sitcom who lives in Los Angeles, spending his days grappling with the reality of his dwindling fame and chronically minimal self-esteem. He has a cavernous home, a loyal roommate, an enterprising agent, no friends, inconsistent job prospects and a streak of self-destructive behavior that keeps his closest acquaintances and confidants at a remove. He’s sad, lonely, bitter, sarcastic, self-serving, unfaithful and deeply, painfully, perpetually depressed.
If he were the subject of a live-action comedy or drama, you might find him deplorable, or at least unwatchable. But the key is, he’s not just a man. He’s also a horse. And the show around him is a horse of a different color.
On this M&M Report, Devin Mitchell and I discussed James Ponsoldt’s drama The End of the Tour, starring Jason Segel as the author David Foster Wallace and Jesse Eisenberg as Rolling Stone journalist David Lipsky. We both enjoyed the movie, even though we were uncomfortable with the idea of a mainstream movie about a man who likely would have abhorred the concept of a mainstream movie about himself!
Peruse the M&M Report category page for previous episodes of the podcast. Thanks for listening!