Friday, June 13, 2014

SNL 39.20 Review - Charlize Theron, The Black Keys

Original Airdate - 5/10/14

I find it interesting when hosts take 10 years or so to make it back to Saturday Night Live to host again.  What takes them so long?  Are they too busy?  Are they not as popular as before?  Were they not a good host but are too popular and famous to not give another shot eventually?  I don't know.  This has happened a few times during this season.  Bruce Willis hosted for the first time in 24 years this season, and John Goodman took 12 years to get in his 13th hosting gig.  This brought another former host out of the archives.  Charlize Theron had not hosted since her debut in 2000.  I don't know how that first time went, but I really don't think of comedy when I think of the woman who won an Oscar for Monster.  However, recently there have been some signs of comedy in her career with Young Adult and this year's A Million Ways to Die in the West.  If you want to improve your standing in comedies, Seth MacFarlane isn't a bad way to accomplish that.  Anyways, this episode seemed justified, however she also shows that comedy does not necessarily come naturally to her.

Cold Opening

One of the reasons everyone was excited for Sasheer Zamata to join the Saturday Night Live cast is they could now have a Michelle Obama impersonator in house without having to wait for a black woman (like Kerry Washington) to host or Maya Rudolph to visit.  This was finally the time to debut her impression, along with the debut of Vanessa Bayer's Hilary Clinton, who apparently won the audition that took place live earlier in the season.  This sketch was fairly funny as the awkwardness between these two strong women was apparent.  You could tell there is a lot more exploring that needs to be done with these characters that, it appears, they will have a chance to do over the next few seasons leading up to the end of Obama's presidency and a possible Hilary Clinton presidential campaign.  Either way, it was a successful debut for both of them.

Monologue

This was one of my least favorite monologues of the year.  It was just kind of painful.  You know when you have to start out your premise by saying, "Remember back 14 years ago when I was here last..." it's not a strong bit.  On top of that, the premise is looking at the fact that she thought she could sing, but she can't.  So they sing a song about it.  It was fairly stupid and not a strong start for Charlize.

Weekend Update

Just because the episode started off slow doesn't mean it didn't have some high points.  On Weekend Update, history was made.  Since the first season of SNL, a favorite target for the show has been Barbara Walters.  From Gilda Radner's "Baba Wawa" to Cheri Oteri's hilarious caricature, Walters has been as much of a fixture on the show as she has been in American culture over the last 40 years.  Her recent announcement that she would soon be retiring led to Barbara Walters's first actual appearance on the show.  Her sketch wasn't extremely funny as you started to see why it is time for her to walk away from public life, but the historical significance of the appearance was not lost on me and made it one of the greatest moments of this season.

Coming down the home stretch of the season, it is important to see the favorites make one last appearance before the summer.  Enter Drunk Uncle in his first appearance with Colin instead of Seth.  Donning a graduation cap, Drunk Uncle rants on the problems with schools, as well as his usual babble.  What can I say?  It's funny every time.

Best Sketch

This was one of the funniest sketches of the season that wasn't a retread or a digital short.  Airing the night before Mother's Day, we have a Mother's Day game show featuring a mom asking her kids questions like, "Who's that guy I like?"  Each question is great, with each answer greater.  Everyone plays their parts perfect as everyone knows a mom that would say that, or the dad that avoids feelings, or the troubled neighbor that is always hanging around.  I thoroughly enjoyed this.

Worst Sketch

There were some fun sketches, but there were definitely our fair share of clunkers too.  Like I said, there were moments when you realized Charlize Theron wasn't in her natural element.  One of those moments was combined with one of my least favorite characters of the season inexplicably getting a second chance.  Heshy is a Middle Eastern ineffective motivational speaker that gives low budget productions that are supposed to be funny with the help of her son and an assistant.  Once again, the funniest part of the sketch is the guest assistant (last time it was Kerry Washington).  The problem is Heshy just isn't funny.  More times than not Nasim Pedrad creates characters that just don't work, and this is the perfect example.

Dark Horse Sketch

There were some weird sketches in this episode that really worked in a lot of ways.  Two of them are sharing this title.  First, we have a very bizarre sketch about two women helping get some kitties adopted.  The characters in this sketch are what make it awkwardly hilarious as Kate McKinnon and Charlize Theron have fun with this one.

The second Dark Horse Sketch is the latest Kyle Mooney creation.  He has such a bizarre and original brand of comedy that comes out in these closing time sketches.  This time Kyle, along with some friends, hit the streets disguised as foreigners asking random people on the street for help.  Every time he has been able to take advantage of unsuspecting bystanders, it has led to some great sketches.  This is no different.  The highlight is Charlize Theron in a fat suit asking for someone to take a picture.

Grade
This was a very interesting episode with great peaks and valleys.  When it was good, it was some of the best the season had to offer.  When it was bad, it was some of the worst of the season.  Like I have said, there were some moments Charlize Theron really seemed to be out of her element, but her overall acting talent is still able to shine through at times and show she could really do anything (except Heshy ... no one can make Heshy work...).

***B-***

View the full episode here:

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