I haven’t watched Saturday Night Live for at least a decade. But when Andrea told me that last week’s episode with Carls Barkley (Season 35, Episode 11) was very funny, I figured that I would waste an hour watching it.
- I thought the opening about Yemen was a bit racist, but still very funny.
- The insurance company commercial was fun.
- Reel Quotes was very funny, but I thought it could have been smarter (which would have made it less funny).
- MacGruber I was delicious—a simple idea well executed.
- The bimbo skit? What was with that? I get it, and I assume that the character is recurring; but it just doesn’t work very well. But then, the joke with such characters is that they are people we laugh at—people we are better than. It rarely works; the only exception I can think of is Julia Sweeney’s Pat, which transcended this limitation because the more we saw her, the smarter he got.
- MacGruber II was pushing it, but pulled it out in the end.
- The NBA game broadcast with the kid? I don’t know: sort of funny, I guess.
- MacGruber III was good. They took a clever idea and pushed it much too far. The fact that they ended up with silly instead of annoying is an indication of their talent.
- Weekend Update was weak, I thought. The James Carvell bit was good; the Nicholas Cage bit seemed more like Keanu Reeves and was pretty stupid; the David Paterson bit was kind of funny and the guy does him well, but it struck me as kind of cruel.
- The Haney Project was fun, mostly just because Barkley was so good natured about his reputation.
- The Alicia Keys bit really didn’t work for me. It is a funny idea, but I’m not sure how it could be made to work. It did one thing that few SNL skits ever do: it had a good ending. I tend to think that the problem is not with the writing; it is either the acting or me.
- The Scared Straight skit was amusing. I guess the actors were a bit punchy by that time, because most of them lost it at one time or another. It bugs me a little bit that both the guys were black; if Will Ferrell were in the cast, I’m sure he would have been part of it–it’s his style; and that would have made it a little less offensive.
- Barkley’s Bank was very weak. Again, it is nice that Barkley is okay with his rep, but the skit didn’t do much; and given the potential, that’s a shame. They will usually throw weak stuff to the end on the assumption that fewer people will be watching and that they may not have time for it anyway. I had hoped for a MacGruber IV, but I was disappointed.
Overall, the show was much better than I would have thought. But I will probably go another decade before I tune in again.