Devin walks me through a therapy session as we unpack the current state of Saturday Night Live.
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- Political satire (0:00 – 19:30)
- Alec Baldwin (19:30 – 27:00)
- Weekend Update (27:00 – 38:00)
- Pete Davidson (38:00 – 46:00)
- Mark’s theory on hosts (46:00 – 50:00)
- Why we keep watching (50:00 – End)
Some sketches we discussed:
Devin and I just finished watching the 2017 Oscars. Here are our instant reactions to the highs and lows. (Holy &!S(!(*&G&&!()!))!**!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
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Much of the criticism of Jimmy Fallon’s lackluster hosting performance at the Golden Globe Awards last night has centered around his apparent refusal or inability to lampoon or comment on the political climate in a meaningful, substantive, even moderately original way. “Ernst & Young & Putin” is not exactly cutting political commentary, and saying that the Golden Globes is one of the few things in America that honors the popular vote doesn’t make much sense, given that the Globes are notoriously a sham voted on by 93 foreign journalists easily swayed by celebrities and favors from studio executives. (Skip to 2:32 in the video below for the live monologue.)
Fallon also notably opted not to address what many liberals consider the elephant in the room: his “interview” with Donald Trump just a couple months before the election, which the host ended by tussling the now-president-elect’s hair and giggling maniacally. Aside from a subtle dig during an unpleasant appearance on SNL‘s Weekend Update and a drunken interview with TMZ, Fallon hasn’t addressed the criticisms of his performance during that interview, nor has he made any attempt at self-deprecation, or even self-awareness. Nothing changed last night.
Assigning a value judgment like “good” or “great” or “best ever” or “worst in five years” to a season of Saturday Night Live is inevitably a fool’s errand. Each season is best understood through the lens of key sketches, breakout moments and overall trends. Below, I’ve listed a few of each from this post-anniversary season of America’s most astonishingly resilient TV show.
And while you’re in an SNL mood, check out my Indiewire investigation into the show’s record of diversity in its hosting choices.
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.
The fourth season of Veep clattered to a halt Sunday night, ending indecisively as the election contest between sitting president Selina Meyer and challenger Bill O’Brien culminated in a rare electoral college tie. The finale, which I discussed with Devin Mitchell and Kevin Werner on the M&M Report, had much of the outstanding previous episode’s balletic rhythm but fewer punchlines, instead pivoting into rare dramatic territory for this typically farcical series.
Sony Pictures Entertainment announced on Wednesday that they would not be releasing The Interview, the film depicting a fictional assassination of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. The move came in response to threats of terrorism against theaters showing the movie from the group known as Guardians of the Peace. The group stole and released huge amounts of Sony’s internal communications and is believed to be working with the North Korean government in some capacity.
My friend Devin Mitchell invited me to discuss this issue with him. Below, a transcript of our online conversation.
(Photo courtesy of manybits)
I’m missing out on a moment today.
When House of Card debuted to considerable fanfare last February, I did not have access to a Netflix account or the money necessary to acquire such access. I observed from the sidelines as the binge-watchers tore through each episode, finishing the series within one weekend. I observed as the show faded from the pop culture conversation as people moved on to other things (binge-watching Arrested Development). I observed as binge-watch skeptics (I would count myself among them, to an extent) finished the series at their own leisurely pace. I observed as the show became the first streaming-only, television-scale scripted series to merit serious consideration at the Emmys and the Golden Globes.
And then I was granted access to a Netflix account. But I didn’t start with House of Cards. I started with Orange is the New Black, by far the most warmly reviewed series of Netflix’s modern foray into “television.” Then I worked my way through the dense fourth season of Arrested Development, marveling at the massively complex puzzle structure while sometimes wondering why it had been seventeen minutes since I’d laughed.
And finally, I got to House of Cards.
I watched four episodes. I might have watched more, but the end of winter break and the beginning of my spring semester loomed. Tough decisions had to be made. And I decided I’d seen enough of House of Cards to know that I wasn’t clamoring to finish it.