While there were too many weak recurring sketches and characters (“Secret Word”, Fred Armisen’s incompetent stenographer, Kenan Thompson as Whoopi Goldberg) to keep last night’s episode from being a total success, there were enough new sketches, some of them even laugh-worthy, to place it above the average for the season.
Chief among the decent new ones included the Ford commercial, which I admit got me (“Oh, low-hanging comedy fruit,” I thought when I saw the Prius stuff.) I also enjoyed the knockoff of the Brinks security commercial, probably because those commercials do scare me, so in case a guy does come in to murder me, I’ll think of the grandpa from the commercial and laugh.
It was very weird sketch placement to have two back-to-back bits about women being murdered, and if that hadn’t happened I would have laughed more at “Come to Spain, have an adventure,” wherein two women are swept off their feet by a charming Spanish Jude Law who promises to take them away and murder them. I kept wondering if there were more murder sketches coming our way or if this was just a weird coincidence.
I think my favorite was the Twilight Zone parody, because Bobby Moynihan looked adorable in that gremlin suit, because of the cake-moving, because it was one of the cuter uses of the musical guest in a sketch, and the sweet, odd ending. It was an extremely silly sketch, but there’s nothing wrong with a sketch just being fun and lighthearted and “evergreen” as they say. Not everything has to be super-timely or edgy.
Speaking of edgy, old people having sex, huh? I’m glad I found out about this video because otherwise I would have thought I was the only one who thought a lot of the Digital Shorts look very similar.
In addition to a familiar-feeling Digital Short, the episode reran the Under-Underground commercial, which was strange to me since it seems like the kind of bit that can be easily rehashed with pretty good results.
Not all the new bits were slam dunks. I wish the cold opener could have found a better focus with the Eric J. Massa exit interview: I liked where the sketch was going with his flashback to the tickle party but it seemed like it lost its focus after that. I also didn’t love “Talk Show with Ravish” although I did like the “Jay Leno Walking” bit where his father quizzes him on the street and he gets all the answers right, and the pretense that Jude Law came on the show in order to get a discount on a rug.
I thought Jude Law himself did a pretty good job—I’ve always liked him, despite his personal peccadilloes, despite that bit of overexposure a few years ago, despite his mysteriously reappearing hair. His monologue wasn’t really much but in the episode in general he put himself out there—for some reason I thought part of what made the Twilight Zone sketch funny was his horrified face through the airplane window. And he was game in some of the dumber scenes, like when he had to play a Russian ballerino with what looked to be a 16-inch softball stuffed down his pants. And musical guest Pearl Jam sounded fine to me, although I confess that I never majorly connected with them as a fan, despite coming of age during the grunge era and despite being from Eddie Vedder’s home town.
—Yes, Seinfeld appeared on the “Really?!?!” segment and actually that type of bit was right up his alley but he’s persona non grata to me with The Marriage Ref.
—I was waiting for an actual Ashlee Simpson joke, like Law clumsily lipsynching his monologue, but there wasn’t one, which was classy of him I suppose except that in his monologue he reminded us of her appearance last time he hosted. [Edit: apparently he DID do this and did such a good job I couldn't tell.]
— I’ll always remember that butts are indeed for pooping. Yes, Jason Sudekis’ weird Sam Elliott was the only good part of the audition sketch