SNL: S36E13... HOST: JESSE EISENBERG... DATE: JANUARY 29, 2011

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It’s Better Than Bad. . . It’s Good

 

Though I am a fan of several Jesse Eisenberg films like The Squid And The Whale, 30 Minutes Or Less, Adventureland, and Zombieland, I don’t know if I’d say that I was a huge fan of Eisenberg himself. Not that I dislike the guy, but he always seemed like an unfunny Michael Cera, minus just a hint of the same charm that makes Cera an actor who I actively seek out. I do feel that Jesse Eisenberg is talented enough that I’m not all that worried about if he can handle the hosting role, it’s more of a familiarity thing that has me questioning just how much I like tonight’s host.

With that, I’m just going to jump right in and share how the real-time viewing experience plays out so I can get on with the non-blogging portion of my day. As usual, I wasn’t a fan of the opening political sketch because, as usual, anymore, it was mainly Kristen Wiig as a talking head, speaking in such a dry tone about outdated issues which may have been fine at the time but now leaves me feeling bored.

Jesse Eisenberg’s monolog was fine, his neurotic energy was fun, but he still seems more like an indie actor who can be weird, and not really a comedic actor, and that still not saying that he can’t be funny, or this episode can’t be good. In fact, he also seemed comfortable enough acting neurotic that I’m willing to bet that his acting abilities will lead this show to be a success over any of his comedic skills.

It was interesting to see the fake ad for the estrogen pill for transgender men because it kind of felt like transgender issues went from being a rarity to omnipresent overnight. So far it at least seems that, though extra rough on to topic in the past, SNL seems to be pretty gentle in how their handling this case of growing acceptance.

I loved the Mr. Wizard parody that followed because I used to love the real Mr. Wizard show. I was also a fan of the game show sketch that was next because I’m a fan of the game show genre. That said, I have to admit, though I’ve been thoroughly entertained by tonight’s show, I’m a bit distracted because I’m feeling a bit rushed to get this one done to hang out with the family for my nephew’s birthday. I think it’s this rushed feeling that has me struggling to feel all that inspired to write because as little as I have to say about it, this really has been a pretty good episode.

It was great to see Bill Hader return as the grumpy old reporter because like with Mr. Wizard, I’ve always liked the real guy who the character is based on. For the first time in a while, I wasn’t a huge fan of The Creep song from this week’s SNL Digital Short because it felt like it was a desperate attempt to create a viral dance that just wasn’t all that funny, even though it seemed to have several pieces that should have led to some laughs.

As with most musical guest from this time period, I’m aware of Nicki Minaj but wasn’t aware of or all that interested in her first song. The news was the news, and the guests weren’t that great, so my distracted head zoned out through most of the segment. My attention was recaptured with the Blackenstein sketch, which I thought was a great use of Nicki Minaj. I’m also just a pretty big Frankenstein fan, so I get a kick out of parodies of this classic horror film.

Though I remember the show Skins and the fact that it was controversial, I never saw a single episode with might be why I didn’t get any of the references from the Skins parody that got the audience laughing out loud. The idea of the blatant product placement was sort of funny, but this was another case where everyone’s delivery of their lines was so close to sounding like legitimate in show marketing that it almost didn’t feel like a joke. The spa talk sketch had a bit of the same issue in that Kristen Wiig’s impersonation of a new age spa owner was so intentionally dull to make fun of the character type that I found myself getting a tad bit bored during the entire performance.

I liked that Nicki Minaj kept The Bride Of Blackenstein wig on for her second performance, but the actual song didn’t do all that much for me. The sketch at the end for the penis shrinking pills was pretty funny, and it was nice to see the show end on an actual laugh and not just some throwaway content, which seems to be the current trend. By the time Jesse Eisenberg returned to the stage to say his goodnights, I was happy for the show to be over.

Hopefully, tomorrow, I’ll be back on top of my game because it’s kind of unfortunate that tonight’s episode didn’t get the treatment that it deserved because the show was way better than I was able to express with my jumbled words. Right now, my head is just in a bit of a fog, and it doesn’t help that I feel rushed to get this thing done so that I can spend the rest of the day with my family.

We’ll see how things go, but until then, it’s now time to shift gears and dig deeper into the details of each sketch, as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with parody coverage of a CNN Special Event where Kristen Wiig played Michelle Bachmann to make a half-hearted second attempt to respond to Barack Obama’s State Of The Union Address after her first effort went so terribly wrong. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”

  2. Jesse Eisenberg then officially opened the show with a monolog about what it was like to play Mark Zuckerberg in the movie social network. He was then joined by Andy Samberg and the two traded tips about how to impersonate the Facebook founder being that he’s one of Samberg’s go to characters. The two were having fun until the real Mark Zuckerberg joined the two on the stage and ruined all of their fun.

  3. This was followed by a fake ad for Once Daily Estro-Maxx which was a once a day estrogen pill that gives all the sex-change hormones transgendered men need to become the woman they want to be.

  4. We then got a parody of Mr. Wizard's World where Bill Hader played Mr. Wizard to experiment with balloons and static electricity, only the experiment gets strange when Jesse Eisenberg and Nasim Pedrad used the technique for some self-imposed eroticism as the two teen assistants discovered their bodies for the first time.

  5. Don't Forget The Lyrics was a game show sketch where Jesse Eisenberg played an overexcited contestant who kept frustrating Jason Sudeikis as the show’s host, Mark McGrath by continually blurting out inappropriate lyrics.  

  6. WXPD News New York brought back Bill Hader’s old guy reporter character for another out of it interview, this time with Jesse Eisenberg, while also bickering with Jason Sudeikis who played the reporter back in the studio.

  7. We then got another SNL Digital Short/music video called The Creep which was pretty much an attempt to come up with a new viral dance.

  8. Nicki Minaj then took to the stage to perform I Ain't Thru.

  9. Once again, Seth Meyers gave us the news. This week, Fred Armisen dropped by as the president of Egypt to comment on his countries recent string of issues. Kenan Thompson also stopped by as Tyler Perry to share his plans to make a Madea-style version of the movie Social Network. (Clip 2) (Clip 3)

  10. TCM: The Essentials had Jason Sudeikis as a movie show host to introduce the 1970s blaxploitation classic The Bride Of Blackenstein which featured tonight’s musical guest, Nicki Minaj in the titular role while Jay Pharoah played the Doctor and Kenan Thompson played the cuckolded monster.

  11. We then got a parody of the show Skins where to keep advertisers onboard with this controversial teen drama the promiscuous teenagers were heavy-handed in the product placement marketing efforts during an ultra-sexy party.

  12. Spa Talk was a talk show sketch that took place in a spa in the middle of the guests’ spa treatments.

  13. Nicki Minaj then returned to the stage to perform Moment 4 Life.

  14. El Shrinko had Jesse Eisenberg and Andy Samberg as two authors who promoted a pill that helped to shrink their large penises to a more manageable size that the ladies prefer.

  15. Finally, Jesse Eisenberg closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

Though the review up above might not properly share it, tonight’s show was really fun thanks to sketches like these that contained my three favorite moments of the night. First, I loved The Bride Of Blackenstein sketch because I’m a fan of Frankenstein parodies plus, I thought this sketch used both the host and the musical guest perfectly. Next, I really liked the Mr. Wizard's World parody because I used always watch the real show, so it was funny to see it parodied after so many years. Finally, I was a fan of WXPD News New York because I love that they brought back Bill Hader’s grumpy old reporter character since like with the other two favorites, I’m a fan of the real guy that the character is based on as well.

 
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