A Filler Night Doomed To Fail From The Start
There are many reasons that I was certain that this viewing experience would be a good one. First off, today is the day that I had to put my dog down a month after learning that she had doggy cancer. Even with this in mind, I might have been fine if my hatred of country music had me utterly disinterested in tonight’s host, Tim McGraw. That’s not to say that I’m closed off to a country based host because I love whenever Garth Brooks is on, but add to the fact that McGraw was a last minute replacement for Justin Timberlake and the math doesn’t add up to anything good.
Unfortunately, I was correct with this prediction this time, but I don’t blame Tim McGraw at all. In fact, I was sort of impress and would like to see him get a second chance where his visit was actually well planned. As this reviews subtitle suggests, my biggest issue was how much this all felt like filler material with only fourteen segments with multiple parodies of news shows that seemed to run extra-long with jokes so dry that it felt like I was watching the real news shows.
I also saw in the notes from the website where I steal my sketch list for the night from that many of these sketches were written to be performed on other nights. This included one rejected sketch from two years early back when Ludacris was the host. Aside from the Blizzard Man sketch, which always feels like filler the second half of the show was much better than the first. It was these sketches that highlighted Tim McGraw’s silly side enough to where I can see why he actually was a good option to host, but maybe not as a last-minute fill-in.
Alright, this has been a rough weekend, so I’m going to cut this one short. With that, I will now shift gears, as I give you…
The Wicker Breakdown:
This week's show started with parody C-SPAN coverage of The Big Three Automakers where Fred Armisen played Barney Frank to hear out the proposed bailout request from Will Forte as Rick Wagoner along with two other representatives from the big three automakers. This sketch mainly made fun of the fact that each of these execs who were begging for bailout money all flew in on private planes and other ways that these a-holes were horrible at spending money. Of course with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
Tim McGraw then officially opened the show with a monolog about how country music is not really all that far removed from rap, after pointing out Ludacris and T-Pain were the musical guests booked back when Justin Timberlake was initially supposed to host this episode. He then went on to perform Good Man in order to prove this point.
This was followed by a fake ad for Clear Rite where Kristen Wiig played the pitchwoman for an invisible adult retainer that she invented with her own hands. Though she claimed that her retainers were completely unnoticeable, they were as big and bulky as a boxer’s mouthpiece which made Wiig have to keep adjusting the device with her tongue. By the end of the sketch, we learned that this wasn’t actually a commercial but just Wiig’s attempt to practice pitching a product that she thought would be a massive hit in her head.
Live Another Death was a parody of James Bond that had Bill Hader as the secret agent who was in the middle of a Texas Hold ‘Em with Fred Armisen as a Bond Villain. Meanwhile, Tim McGraw watched on as a redneck who had also managed to make it to the end of this tournament and kept talking loud while the other two tried to play it cool, and had his mind blown when he met Wiig who was playing Pussy Galore.
Ludacris then took to the stage with T-Pain to perform Thr33 Rings.
Once again, Seth Meyers gave us the news with Amy Poehler still out on pregnancy leave. This week, Darrell Hammond dropped by as Bill Clinton to share that how he was looking forward to being married to the Secretary Of State. Michaela Watkins made her show debut as Arianna Huffington in order to discuss George W. Bush’s promise to help Obama where ever he could, during his White House transition. She also likened the war in Iraq to pornography, in that our troop refused to pull-out. Will Forte was the last to stop by as Zell Miller who shared that he supported a member of the opposite political party simply for not having a “normal” name. (Clip 2)
A Holiday Message From Jeff Montgomery had Will Forte as the crazed titular character who invites himself to a Thanksgiving dinner amongst a collection of friends who had no idea who he was. This character was the same one who shared that he was a sex offender while trick-or-treating during the Halloween episode. This time he claimed to have escaped from a mental health institution but it was unclear if these two instances were actually connected and he’s just a compulsive liar or if the character is actually supposed to be that big of a mess.
This was followed by a fake ad for a comedy CD called, Dale Britches' Down-Home Phony Phone Calls where Tim McGraw played the CD’s star/morning radio host who pitched a “hilarious collection” of his polite-natured on-air prank phone calls.
Ludacris then returned to the stage with T-Pain to perform Chopped And Skrewed.
Bobby Moynihan then returned as his bartender character named Mark Payne who is too obsessed with how sticky the bar’s countertop is to fully focus on the patrons in the bar.
Finally, Tim McGraw closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.
Though this may be my least favorite episode so far this year, at least the second have was good enough to feature these three sketches that contained my favorite moments of the night. First, I loved the Turkey Chase sketch because I will always laugh at people in crazy mascot costumer running in place in front of a projection on the screen. Next, I really liked the Live Another Death James Bond parody, because it cracked me up how Tim McGraw reminded me of myself at any event that requires a shirt and tie, especially when he couldn’t hold back his reaction when meeting Pussy Galore. Finally, I was a fan of the fake ad for Dale Britches' Down-Home Phony Phone Calls because I love morning talk radio so this take on the prank call was funny to me.