Welcome To The Fifteen-Timers Club,
Though I am still a fan of Alec Baldwin and his connection to Saturday Night Live, I have to admit that I’m starting to feel a bit of Baldwin burnout. Then again, I’m also feeling a little SNL burnout, challenge burnout, and burnt out by life in general thanks to the fact that I didn’t factor in any breaks in this schedule. Sure this was fine for the first year and a half when I could almost remember every episode word for word from not only watching the show live but also watching multiple reruns a day on comedy central. This allowed me to connect to each episode in numerous ways that just aren’t there for these more current years when I watch the show more alone through streaming services.
This is why I had to watch the episode first to see if it would inspire me to come up with something to write to make up the intro for this review. Unfortunately, this season closer turned out to be as so-so as the rest of the year as a whole, only unlike the rest of the show’s that made up the season, there wasn’t a single sketch that I was super excited about. This season has been so weird in that, as I point out later in this review, so many shows landed toward the bottom of my list of all-time favorites, while at the same time, it’s was also a season that contained some of my favorite sketches within said unfavorable episodes.
The fact that I felt tonight’s visit from Baldwin was better than his last few leads me to believe that I’m dealing more with challenge burnout and am just taking it out on the show and the host. More evidence of this is the fact, that I’ve been getting extremely frustrated with my overworked mind struggling to figure out what to say and how to word it, considering the fact that I have two other consecutive daily writing challenges going on. This often makes me feel like an ass when I'm complaining about so-so content while at the same time feeling like I’m putting out so-so content of my own. Then I have to remind myself that I’m an amateur writer with no staff, no support, and no paycheck, doing this all on my own, and sometimes, just need to do what needs to be done to move on to my next review.
I can’t wait to get to the current episode, but that’s still close to a half a year away, which is another reason for this present case of challenge burnout. I made the mistake of looking forward at what was left, only to find that this thing isn’t even close to being over with. I’m sure I’ll be fine tomorrow because I almost always get excited about the first few shows of the season as I seek out the cast changes and/or any signs that they’ve figured out any issues that I had with the prior year.
With that, please excuse my rambling as I go back in time to share my real-time viewing experience. First off, as always, I was happy to see the first sketch wasn’t political, but then again, with the topic being the vast BP spill in the Gulf Of Mexico from that time, I was just as, if not more, bummed out by this comedic attempt to shame the companies involved considering they’re still fucking up this planet. Once again, this sketch just provides more evidence that satire is not the world-changing tool that I was promised it was before I had so many hang-ups on how I feel about comedy in general.
Alec Baldwin’s monolog was fine, but considering this was his fifteenth time hosting, having also just hosted last year, I wasn’t as interested in his personal update and just wanted to get on with the episode. The SNL Digital Short that followed may not have had the most catchiest of tunes that we usually get from the SNL Digital Shorts, but the segment itself was funny enough to where I didn’t mind not being able to sing along.
I really enjoyed the next sketch that took place on a movie set because, as someone who’s worked on movies, it was fun to see the set based humor because it brought back fun memories of dealing with so many interesting/quirky people who work in the industry. It also cracked me up how this sketch highlighted how much effort does actually go into shooting a two-line scene. I have mixed feeling about the swim award sketch that followed that bash the youth of today for getting participation awards. Though the sketch was funny, I get the outrage over rewarding people for merely showing up, but at the same time, I don’t know why people blame the children for this development when it’s the parents who created this easily achievable award strategy. The same parents who bash these kids who just want to play a sport.
I also have mixed feeling about the sketch where Nasim Pedrad played her character who is more comfortable hanging out with her parents than with her peers. I like the sketch because I like the personality of this character and think that she’s fun, but at the same time, this character also seems too normal for the jokes that are made at her expense to land any huge laughs. It just reminds me of how I was as a super shy child who always felt more comfortable talking to the adults at an event, even if they didn’t really get me.
I probably wouldn’t have minded the fake ad for Preniva if it came right after the monolog, as expected, because it wasn’t that good. It felt even worse since we’re now about a third of the way through the show, and I’m still on the fence as to whether or not this season finale is actually good. Having the ad air at this time of night just makes it feel like it wasn’t good enough to air earlier making me wonder why they even decided to run with it at all.
Thankfully, Kenan Thompson followed this fake ad up with a fake ad of his own as his Grady Wilson character who shares his sex tips to the elderly because I love this series enough that it brought my attention back to the show enough to get through Tom Petty’s first performance and the news. I don’t mind Tom Petty, but at the same time, I’m was never a huge fan, so I did need this boost of energy to better enjoy the unfamiliar song they performed. As for the news, the stories and guest were fun, but I still haven’t been won over by Bobby Moynihan as Snooki since I never got into Jersey Shores for novelty reasons or for real and don’t really care about Jersey-based jokes.
Though I don’t care about Jersey jokes, I do love time-travel based humor to I really enjoyed the sketch about the fake Timecrowave ad, for the Butterfly Effect jokes and that also provided more evidence that microwaves are evil. The sketch was Alec Baldwin, and Jenny Slate and a John and a hooker felt it should have been saved to be one of those end of the night sentimental sketches to be followed by Alec’s good nights. Though this sketch did get into a questionable area where they build Jenny’s hooker character up to be seen as a full human being only to do nothing but sexualize her by the end of the scene, I loved how the camera caught a quick moment where, out of their characters, Alec and Jenny had a quick but genuine seeming friendly moment as Alec headed off to get ready for his next scene.
Where having the previous sketch as the final sketch of the night would have ended the season on a bit of a sentimental note, having the show end with the sniper sketch kind of made this episode feel even more like the end to another typical so-so show from this year. It didn’t help that the show also ended on the second Tom Petty performance because, no matter how much I like the band, I can’t stand when they get the final segment of the night unless they are playing under the credits after the host says their goodnights.
All-in-all, this was a so-so end to a so-so season, but just like the rest of the year, the so-so-ness was extremely frustrating since the good was so good, but everything else tended to be just average or worse. This season has probably had more episode toward the bottom of my list that contained some of my all-time favorite moments than any other season so far, making this year more frustrating than the rest since the inconsistency in content quality made it hard to review each episode.
I had a similar issue with last season, but overall, I liked this season more, making me hope that next season with work toward fixing any issues I had even more. Until then, it’s now time for me to wrap this one up by digging deeper into the details of the night, as I give you…
The Wicker Breakdown:
This week's show started with parody coverage of an Oil Spill Press Conference that focused on the British Petroleum disaster that was taking place in the Gulf Of Mexico at the time. In the sketch, Bill Hader, Fred Armisen, and Jason Sudeikis all played representatives of the corporation to blame for this terrible mess, who all shared their hairbrained ideas on how to clean up the mess that resulted from their company’s massive oil spill. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
Alec Baldwin then officially opened the show with a monolog about finally tying Steve Martin’s record of hosting the show fifteen times. Steve Martin then gave his rebuttal via satellite through a television set that was wheeled out onto the stage, only Baldwin kept turning the TV off whenever Steven Martin would steer away from giving out host his due praise. He then went on to share how he recently delivered a commencement while accepting an honorary Ph.D. The led him to give a commencement speech to celebrate the end of this thirty-fifth season of SNL.
We then got another SNL Digital Short called Great Day where Andy Samberg played a coked-up paranoid guy who sang just how great his day was while sitting between Alec Baldwin and tonight’s musical guest Tom Petty.
Arizona Evenings took us to a set where Alec Baldwin and Andy Samberg attempted to get through their scene only to be continually interrupted by Kristen Wiig as the crew’s new, big-toothed, script supervisor who kept ruining everything with her nitpicky script notes.
Swim Team Awards had Alec Baldwin as an infuriated swim coach who struggled to hide his annoyance while handing out awards to all the swim team members who he despised having to reward for merely showing up.
Bedelia's Birthday Cookout brought back Nasim Pedrad as the titular birthday girl who this time refused to leave her cool father, Alec Baldwin’s side because she’s too socially awkward to actually interact with her peers.
We then got a fake ad for a pharmaceutical called Preniva where Abby Elliot played Sally Field to promote this product as a bone loss health solution for middle-aged women who are irrationally scared of their doctors.
Grady Wilson's Intimate And International brought back Kenan Thompson sex-tip giving character who was pitching a new instructional video with the help of Alec Baldwin who played a horny old Greek guy, which of course led to some homoerotic fun.
Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers then took to the stage to perform I Should Have Known It.
Once again, Seth Meyers gave us the news. This week, Bobby Moynihan returned as Snooki to promote the second season of Jersey Shore while at the same time flirting with Seth Meyers. Hill Hader also returned as Stefon to share more trendy NYC establishment for tourist to visit. Kristen Wiig and Fred Armisen were another set of news guest to return for another round of the two goofballs trying to make up more songs on the spot. (Clip 2) (Clip 3)
Timecrowave had Alec Baldwin and Kristen Wiig as two infomercial pitchpeople who attempt to sell a new brand of time-saving technology where you would use this device to get food that’s been made in the future. The only issue was that this time traveling attempt to be lazy created all kind of problems due to the Butterfly Effect it creates.
Whistle If You Can was a parody of a Turner Classic movie from the ‘50s where Alec Baldwin played a businessman who gets a kick out of pressuring Jenny Slate as a hooker to open up and share her past. At first, it seemed like Alec’s intervention was going to work to set Jenny back on a more respectable path, only to ask for a handjob the second she worked out her issues.
Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers then returned to the stage to perform Jefferson Jericho Blues.
Finally, Alec Baldwin closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.
Though I do feel like I am suffering from season thirty-five burnout and am happy the year is over, tonight’s finale was still mostly fun thanks to sketches like these that contained my three favorite sketches of the night. First, I loved this week’s SNL Digital Short: Great Day even though the song wasn’t all that catchy but that didn’t stop the prerecorded content from being great. Next, I really liked the return of Grady Wilson's Intimate And International DVD because I’m a huge fan of Kenan and this silly series. Finally, I was a fan of the fake ad for the Timecrowave because I always appreciate time-travel-based humor.