SNL: S35E17... HOST: JUDE LAW... DATE: MARCH 13, 2010

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Zero For Two From Jude

 

Sometimes I worry about how often I start out the reviews by sharing my expectations going into each nights’ episode because I know that it can seem like a self-fulfilling prophecy when those expectations come true. At the same time, I like sharing how I feel going into a viewing because there’s no better show than when I show that I expect to be bored by ends up blowing me away, which actually happens more often than you might think. I mention this concern because tonight, my expectations are very low for Jude Law considering how little I enjoyed his last hosting appearance.

This is too bad because I really like many of Jude Law’s movies like Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil, A.I., and Gattaca. I really wanted to like his SNL debut, but the show really gave him the hot host treatment and used him as a prop more than an actor throughout the entire night. Between that and the fact that this has been such an inconsistent season, I’m a bit nervous about tonight’s viewing, but would really like for this to be one of those cases where my expectations get flipped on their head.

With that, let’s hit play and see how things play out as I share my real-time viewing experience. As usual, the opening political sketch had me zone out because I’m even extra fed up with anything political being that it’s midterm election day. Aside from that, I’ve grown even more bored with this era’s obsession with shock-based homosexual humor, all these straight guys acting gay takes me back to the Billy Crystal days when there was an all-white cast, but that didn’t stop them from continually creating race-based material that they claimed was pushing progress in race relations.

Again, to be clear, I enjoy Jude Law as an actor but his opening monolog where he performed Shakespeare in the style of an off-off-Broadway one-man show, did nothing to ease my concerns about this viewing. Not that it was a bad performance but, unless it’s a parody or something bizarre, I’m just not a fan of the one-man show format because it feels more like a poor attempt at stand-up comedy minus any real funny jokes.

I do like how they returned to having the fake ad right after the monolog because it just feels right to have a real quick piece of simple comedy to transition us into the first official host starring sketch of the night. Especially for a show like this where you might need a quick laugh following a less than exciting show opening. I also liked the game show parody that followed but more because I enjoy game show parodies in general and not that it was all that great, especially since the “celebrities” being parodies were so obscure that the references meant nothing because I’m not even sure if they were real and wasn’t interested enough to look it up.

The second fake ad was also somewhat funny but, to me at least, it also provides evidence that the show had no idea what to do with tonight’s host with them using as much prerecorded content as they can. I also see later on that there is a third fake ad in tonight’s episode that’s not even new content. The next sketch tapped into two of my pet peeves. Not only did Jude get the hot host treatment with the sketch mainly being about his looks but it also seemed that all of his comedic efforts were accent based. I guess it was sort of a funny idea, especially with all of the travel murders that seemed to be filling the headlines at that time.

I’m still enjoying the SNL Digital Shorts, but I haven’t been all that impressed with their last few attempts to make parody music video. This is probably because the first couple of parody songs were so strong that the new ones seem to be trying to recapture old successes in instead of holding back until they come up with something worth going viral. Speaking of music, I liked the slow Pearl Jam song, but I don’t have a real connection with this huge band from my youth. As I often point out, I was mainly into rap and punk and felt grunge was more for burnt out former butt-rockers. Since growing to be a burnout, however, I do appreciate this type of music much more.

As I said during the opening sketch, I’m suffering from media burnout from the midterm elections, so I kept zoning out during the news. I did check back in for Jerry Seinfeld’s segment of Really!?! with Seth, but that was more because I was surprised to see him as a special guest and was hoping that I’d like it more. I loved The Twilight Zone parody because I always loved the real show because I used to watch the twenty-four hour New Year’s Day marathon every year when I was a kid. The classic Twilight Zone episode with the man on the wing was a favorite of mine because the John Lithgow reboot scared the shit out of me as a little kid. Finally, it also almost killed me when Pearl Jam joined Bobby Moynihan as the old school Will Shatner version of the thing on the wing.

The next sketch was sort of funny, and it was fun to see a young Colin Jost sitting in the background as a writer/extra, but for the most part, this felt like it was more to promote Jude Law’s run playing Hamlet on Broadway during this time. As I warned above, the repeat ad for the under-underground festival, which just increased my belief that the show had no idea what to do with Jude Law as a comedic host. This is one of those rare nights where I was looking forward to the band's second song more than any of the remaining sketches.

Though I don’t mind Fred Armisen’s stenographer character, she’s not one of my favorites, so I prefer to only see her on much stronger nights. This installment was almost an exact repeat of the week that this character made her debut only with everyone giving a half-assed performance, it even seemed to cut off before the sketch felt like it was actually done. The last sketch was more accent-based comedy making fun of India’s which had a hilarious premise, but all of the stereotyping was pretty rough. This left me happy for the moment when Jude Law took to the stage to say his goodnights.

It sucks how often during these so-so seasons, a host like Zach Galifianakis will come in and blow me away with laughter, reviving any lost energy I have towards watching this show for hundreds of days in a row, only to have the following night be in the run for the worst show of the year. Thankfully for Jude, Ashton Kutcher has a solid grasp on that spot for this season but tonight’s episode came extremely close to being worse. Again, I hate to say it as a Jude Law fan but, I hope this will be enough to prove that he’s not meant to be a sketch comedy host.

With that, let’s now switch gears so that I can dig into the details, as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with a sketch called Massa Exit Interview that had Bobby Moynihan as Congressman Eric Massa who recalled gay “snorkeling” adventures while conducting his exit interview from Congress over making sexual advances toward male members of his staff. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”

  2. Jude Law then officially opened the show with a monolog about how he was excited to return for round two as a host and then outlined the excitement of portraying Hamlet on Broadway before throwing to the first sketch of the show.

  3. This was followed by a fake ad for a Ford Hybrid where they claimed that their brakes were as good as many other defective brands.

  4. Secret Word then returned for another installment of a ‘70s style game show with Kristen Wiig and Jude Law playing two celebrities from the time who are too self-involved and out of it to grasp this simple game, killing the chance of their civilian contestant counterpart to win the grand prize.

  5. We then got another fake ad, this one was for Broadview Security that gave us Nasim Pedrad as a homeowner who the pitchman claimed was protected no matter what, while a variety of male predators tried to break through her door.

  6. This was followed by a quick trip to Spain where Jude Law played a lusty Spaniard who openly wanted to wine, dine and kill Abby Elliot, and Nasim Pedrad as two American tourists because he wanted to give they an authentic travel experience since there were several high profile travel murders around this time.

  7. We then got another SNL Digital Short called Boombox that hand Andy Samberg and Julian Casablancas sing the titular song while they danced around in a parody music video with the two and the titular product.

  8. Pearl Jam then took to the stage to perform Just Breathe.

  9. Once again, Seth Meyers gave us the news. This week, Kenan Thompson dropped by as Whoopi Goldberg to comment on her recent endorsement of Poise pads which is a product helps older women deal with the issue of incontinence. The real Jerry Seinfeld also stopped by for a quick game of Really!?! with the featured topic being the Massa scandal that was referenced at the start of the show. (Clip 2) (Clip 3)

  10. This was followed by a parody of the classic The Twilight Zone where Jude Law played the airline passenger who swore that he saw a gremlin on the plane’s wing. In this telling, Bobby Moynihan played the gremlin who was up to all sorts of wackiness whenever he was seen.

  11. Hamlet Auditions took us to the fictional casing to see Jude Law’s competition for the Hamlet role that he referenced during his monolog.

  12. We then got a repeat of the Kickspit Underground Rock Festival commercial from earlier in the season where Jason Sudeikis and Nasim Pedrad played two Juggalo-types who pitched an upcoming under-underground music festival.

  13. Pearl Jam then returned to the stage to perform Unthought Known.

  14. Fred Armisen then returned as his Court Stenographer for almost an exact repeat of the character’s debut sketch where she’s exceptionally disruptive throughout a severe court case.

  15. Talk Show With Ravish had Nasim Pedrad as a prodigy child who was forced by his dad, Fred Armisen, to host a talk show in the family’s living room with Jude Law as his first guest. 

  16. Finally, Jude Law closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

I don’t think I have much more to say about this episode other than that these three sketches that contained my favorite moments of the night made this viewing at least somewhat bearable. First, I actually did love The Twilight Zone: Thing On The Wing parody because I love the reverence material, especially since they used to old thing on the wing from the television show and not the creepy monster from the movie. Next, I “really liked” this week’s SNL Digital Short: Boombox because it was at least shot well as with all of the SNL Digital Short material. Finally, I was a fan of the fake ad for Broadview Security because it was entertaining enough to round out this pathetic list of three.

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Matt Bunker

I started out with a goal of becoming a paid screenwriter. I had no interest in any other aspect of filmmaking. I received and scholarship to The Vancouver Film School's Writing for Film and Television program where I graduated in 2005. I fell in love with being on set during my first non-school produced short, . I loved being around all the creative people, seeing people having fun while working. The whole liking your job was a new world to me, so I decided to give it a shot. I volunteered for any project I could, doing what ever was needed. The set was my Film School this time. While working as a PA on a feature I was informed that the DP wanted the three tallest PAs to help out in the grip and electric department. That is when I found the department that felt like the best fit for me while I continued to write.