Saved By Crisis Of Conformity
Once again, I’m writing this intro after the viewing of this episode since Ashton Kutcher was on recently enough that I don’t have anything new to say about him, other than I hoped that this episode wouldn’t disappoint me as much as his last hosting appearance. Though I didn’t fully hate his previous visit, the whole thing did feel like a dressed rehearsal because Ashton seemed to be having so much fun as himself while acting in every scene. It wasn’t until this season’s episode, hosted by January Jones, that I able to put a finger on this rehearsal feeling that I’m talking about.
Unfortunately, however, this episode was even worse. As usual, a lot of my disinterest had to do with all the current event jokes that have aged well over time as the historical impact grows to be less urgent that might have been more fun at the time. The bigger problem was, the show had a terrible first half where I didn’t like a single segment. Then, for the second half, I had to force myself into enjoying a couple sketches in an effort to find at least something good to say about this episode and start to justify which sketches to consider my favorites of the night.
If it wasn’t for the final segment with Fred Armisen leading Dave Grohl, Bill Hader, and Ashton Kutcher for a reunion of a punk rock band called Crisis Of Conformity. This group of goofball put on such a good performance of a legitimately good punk rock song while trashing the set, it got me to wake up just before Ashton returned to the stage to say is good nights. I’m so thankful for this sketch because there’s nothing I hate more than writing a review for an episode that I just do not like, especially when I don’t mind the host.
With that, it’s now time to jump back in time to share my real-time viewing experience. It seems that I’m back to consistently hating the opening sketch because they’re back to focusing on current events that are no longer significant, like Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, which no longer seems to be an issue at all, now that the policy has been gone for so long. The tone of the FOX News parody, despite the jokes, still almost made it feel like I was watching the real news. Ashton Kutcher’s monolog had several funny moments, but his acting was good enough that it didn’t seem like he was reading but bad enough that it felt a tad bit unnatural and over-rehearsed.
I don’t like how they’ve gotten rid of the first fake commercial opting instead to jump right into a sketch. It would be one thing if the show did away with the fake ads altogether but being that I see one later in the night, I don’t see why they don’t stick to the schedule that we know and love. Skipping the first ad is especially annoying since the first full official, non-opening sketch, tend to not be all that good, just like tonight’s pool boy sketch where the joke was Ashton was having oral sex with an extremely old woman, in hopes to get her inheritance, only to end up with nothing but an STD. That said, I probably would have found this sketch to be funny back when I was still into shock-value comedic content, at least from these people now who preach to opposite since there’s still plenty of shocking things that I still find funny online.
As usual, I hated the parody of The View because I never cared much for the real show, plus all the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell jokes felt extremely old. I also wasn’t a fan of the fake Cialis ad because it felt lazy, they didn’t even change the name of the pill to make it a more suitable pharmaceutical that actually implied it’s for threeways in the title, plus it seemed obvious and simple considering tonight’s host. Finally, I might have liked it better following the monolog, where it’s supposed to be, and not this late in an episode where I have yet to not be bored.
Speaking of bored, watching these episodes for so many days in a row, I’m over straight men acting gay for a cheap laugh, even though I openly admit that I did find this much more humorous just a handful of years ago. Them Crooked Vultures where fun because it was nice to finally see music with a harder edge again but I’ve been so bored from the first half of the show, I still managed to zone out because I wasn’t familiar with the song. The news failed to win me back because there were so many guests that made it seem like it went on forever. It didn’t help that I had to watch some of it twice since I was zoning out so hard.
As I’ve said many times before, I am very easy to please when it comes to game show sketches, so I was back onboard for the game show sketch that made fun of Burn Notice, which is a show that I know by title only. Though I could use my lack of awareness of the show being referenced as the central joke as a reason to hate it, the fake the said joke was how it’s a super popular show that nobody knows a thing about it, made this sketch extremely relatable to me because the contestant’s guesses were as good as mine.
Good thing the last sketch got my attention back because the Hollywood Access sketch sent me inside my head again, and that’s where I stayed for the Rahm Emanuel sketch that followed, but at least this sketch had a lot of bleeped cursing and anger that did catch my attention a little. This then brought back the band, but I was over this viewing by this time. If I weren’t a completist, I would have just shut the show off at this point, but I’m not a quitter and was still a little interested to see the final sketch about the old guys reuniting their punk band to wrap up the night.
The sketch about the punk band turned out to be the best sketch of the night because not only was it fun to watch the cast wreck the wedding sing but the song was legitimately really good, especially for a fan of this brand of old punk rock music. In fact, I don’t know if I want to consider it my favorite sketch or my favorite song for the night. Hell, I might go ahead and make it both!!!
There couldn’t have been better timing for Ashton to take to the stage to say his good nights. I’m not even joking about the timing of what just happened, I was really ready and willing to write this entire episode off when I wrote the sentence about being tempted to stop the show, only to be blown away by the final segment. That alone will make this a memorable episode for something sharing instead of merely remembering it for being so bad.
This is too bad because, really, I still don’t mind Ashton Kutcher, so I’m not hating just to hate. With all that said, it’s time to dig deeper into some details, as I give you…
The Wicker Breakdown:
This week's show started with a parody of On The Record With Greta Van Susteren that had Kristen Wiig as Greta Van Susteren to host a segment of her show. The topic of the night was the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy with Bobby Moynihan as Karl Rove, Will Forte as Oliver North, Bill Hader as Robert Gibbs, and Abby Elliot as a random hot blonde anchor who was there to distract them all, the way FOX News loves to do. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
Ashton Kutcher then officially opened the show with a monolog about how the Super Bowl was the next day, which was followed by a quick plug. He then shared how he was turning thirty-two at the stroke of midnight and how now he’s super mature, but his newfound maturity only to quickly regress thanks to random awesomeness like a dog on a surfboard, dancing old ladies, and various other immature temptations that got him back to acting dumb and young.
Gertrude's Will took us to a law office where Bill Hader played a lawyer who read a hundred-ten-year-old lady’s will following her death. Ashton Kutcher played her pool boy who expected a significant inheritance only to end up with pool privileges and a case of chlamydia.
Them Crooked Vultures then took to the stage to perform Mind Eraser, No Chaser.
Once again, Seth Meyers gave us the news. This week, Andy Samberg dropped by as a new character named Liam, the teenager who just woke up, and is too insufficiently rested to perform his political commentary about the federal budget. Bill Hader also stopped by as Eliot Spitzer to read a few Valentine’s Day cards for couples who’ve gone from “scandals and such.” Kenan returned as his French Def Jam comedian character to joke about the European financial crisis before Fred Armisen and Kristen Wiig returned to improvise a new Valentine’s Day song “on the spot.” (Clip 2) (Clip 3) (Clip 4) (Clip 5)
We then got a parody of Access Hollywood where Ashton Kutcher played Billy Bush, and Nasim Pedrad played Maria Menounos cover the Oscar announcements for Best Picture that not only included every film from the year, but also included things like sports stars, stores, and more.
Them Crooked Vultures then returned to the stage to perform New Fang.
Crisis Of Conformity had Ashton Kutcher, Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, and part of the musical guest, Dave Grohl as an old punk rock band who reunited to perform a set at the wedding of Fred Armisen’s character’s daughter.
Finally, Ashton Kutcher closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.
This was the first show in quite a while where I was dreading this section of the review the entire time, but thankfully the show ended strong enough for me to find these three sketches that were good enough to be my favorite of the night. First, I love Crisis Of Conformity because not only did I love to see the cast destroy the set, I genuinely liked the song, which actually amped me up enough to be excited enough to finish writing this review. Next, I really liked What Is Burn Notice? because like the contestants on this game show parody, I have no idea what Burn Notice is so I could relate to everyone involved. Finally, I was a fan of An Even-Tempered Apology From White House Chief Of Staff, Rahm Emanuel because at least the bleeped out ranting and raving was enough to return my attention to the show.