Saturday, January 3, 2015

SNL 40.9 Review - Martin Freeman, Charli XCX

Original Airdate - 12/13/14

Martin Freeman might be the most successful actor no one really knows.  He's like the ultimate, "You know, that one guy from..." and insert successful project here: The Hobbit, Fargo, Sherlock, British The Office... Yeah, that guy.  He has been the consummate straight man, but can he handle comedy?  Well, those that remember him in Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World's End know that he has the potential to be an all-time great host.  Although this episode wasn't the revelation I was hoping for, it was good enough to hopefully earn a second go-around at some point.

Cold Opening

The Cold Opens have definitely been getting better recently.  This is no exception as Charlie Rose looks into the military's third party torture think tank.  It sounds like quite the downer of a sketch until you see which direction they take it.  Apparently, this torture organization, fronted by Bobby Moynihan and Kyle Mooney, has thought up every type of time-wasting torturous activity we deal with on a daily basis.  This successfully took a downer of a topic and made it a winner of a sketch.


I'll admit, the monologue was slightly lacking.  After discussing the fact that nobody knows who he is, we discover that apparently all Brits are the same and know each other.  On the positive side, we get to see Taran Killam's Alan Rickman impersonation and see Kate McKinnon be an old fashioned Brit.  For as good as this episode, and Martin Freeman, could be, this monologue was pretty bland.

Weekend Update

One of the reasons I was excited to see Colin Jost and Michael Che running Weekend Update this season was it freed up Cecily Strong to bring back Update characters, like "The Girl You Wish You Hadn't Started a Conversation With at a Party," and create new ones, like this week's "One-Dimensional Female Character From a Male-Driven Comedy."  Outside of having terrible names, these characters are so much fun.  They are her best bits she does on the show.  Second came Sasheer Zamata's first outing as herself as she discusses Apple's racism.  It sounds random until you realize iphone's hundreds of emojis do not have any of black people.  It's an interesting revelation that Sasheer vents on wonderfully.  Last, we have everyone's favorite Bar Mitzvah boy, Jacob.  That character never gets old.

Best Sketch

The standout sketch from this episode combined two of Martin Freeman's most iconic projects.  What did Bilbo do after he went on his adventure?  Well, he went to work in the British version of The Office.  Now, I have never seen that series, but I have seen the American version which gives me enough context to know that this sketch is genius.

Worst Sketch

This episode's worst sketch looked like it had a strong start.  The two talk show hosts were entertainingly annoying, and the concept of teasing the next segment a little too long and frequent is a great concept for the sketch.  The problem is it just went on too long, too far, and too stupid.

Dark Horse Sketch

Really none of the post-midnight sketches were strong enough to be worth mentioning so I went with one from earlier in the show that I really enjoyed.  One of the main cultural events of the holidays is people who usually don't go to church show up.  Some people call them "Chreasters" (Christmas/Easter) since that is when they come to church.  This sketch is a commercial for going home for the holidays and back to church with all its quirks.  You can tell this must have happened to a few of the writers as so many of the stereotypes they jump on are right on the mark.  Anyone who has experienced any sort of church stereotypes before will appreciate this sketch.

Although no sketch was truly great in this episode (perhaps with the exception of "The Hobbit Office"), no sketch truly failed miserably.  It was a fairly consistent episode from start to finish, led by its host.  Martin Freeman showed that he has the perfect skill set for a show like this.  I hope he stays relevant in pop culture, not only so more people will start to recognize him, but also so he can come back and host the show again.


View the full episode here:

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