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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Saturday Night Live: SNL Weekend Update Thursday

Illustration for article titled iSaturday Night Live/i: SNL Weekend Update Thursday
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Tonight was my first time catching SNL's half-hour weeknight installment and although I'll always watch the full Saturday night version, I wouldn't mind if the show solely existed in this form (although it was funny that even in such a tiny increment, some bits still went on just a whisper too long for me, like the Jimmy Carter/Michael Steele exchange).

The episode got off to a strong start with a funny Joe Wison sketch, where the Republicans had all agreed on yelling "You lie!" in unison during Obama's speech, then abruptly changed their minds without telling Wilson after he went to the bathroom.  "You think people heard me yelling?" he asked, and after the other Republicans asked where he was from and he answered "South Carolina," they went "Yikes."   While Seth and Amy took Wilson more to task for his outburst during the update itself, I liked the ridiculous touch on this over-covered story. 

The update pretty much went the way usual Saturday night Weekend Updates go (it was nice having Amy Poehler back), except with a weird technical glitch with the wrong camera and graphic which I think took away a bit from a not-very-unique but still amusing Whitney Houston joke. 

I liked Bill Hader as James Carville and figure this is an impression we'll probably see a lot more of.  When asked about moderates at a conservative tea party, he answered that there are no moderates, there are just super-crazies.   "It's like when a midget stands next to a Smart Car. You ain't tall, midget! You just clever." 

Kristen Wiig did a pretty good impression of Madonna with the quasi-accent and expressionless face as she sent up Madge's (allegedly) self-centered tribute to Michael Jackson by also listing the similarities she shared with the recently-passed world's oldest woman. "Please don't interrupt me while I'm honoring this great great woman and also Gertrude Baines."

Kenan Thompson and Darrel Hammond did Michael Steele and Jimmy Carter discussing racist attitudes towards the President which was an OK exchange but neither real-life person is interesting enough to send up very well. Essentially Thompson made jokes about the non-blackness of Steele and Hammond did "I was an unpopular President" jokes.   

Then Seth and Amy gave us a new installment of REALLY!?!, rounding up all the Rude Guses of the week, including Kanye West, Serena Williams and of course Joe Wilson.  I liked the advice given to Kanye not to slap a "World's Best Grandma" mug out of the hand of an old lady if he thought he knew of a better grandma. I'm a sucker for cute jokes so I also enjoyed the way they told Wilson that he could use the word "boo" in a nice way, like "Great speech, boo!" 

As I write this I haven't yet watched The Office or Community but assuming that those go over well, this edition of Update will be a nice addition to the Thursday lineup.  It's possibly the highest percentage of amusement I've gotten out of an SNL episode in a while.

Grade: A-

Stray observations:

—I liked the in-joke in the lead-in sketch where someone asked if anyone can do an Obama impression and Fred Armison, in character as a Republican, volunteered.

—While I enjoyed James Carville saying "I look like a Skeletor!" I'll always have a little place in my heart for Mary Matalin, who came up with the best nickname for her husband ever: "Serpenthead."

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