Saturday Night Live with Blake Lively and Rihanna: So far, fairly good
07.12.2009 - 07:36
07.12.2009 - 07:36
Saturday Night Live has been hit or miss for the past few years, so
the viewer will likely feel trepidation upon watching a new episode.
For the 8th episode of the 35th season, Blake Lively was the host with
musical guest Rihanna.
The cold open was amusing, centering on President Obama's West Point
Speech of several days ago. The White House party crashing couple
then entered the scene, taking pictures and generally interupting the
Fred Armisen's portrayal of Obama is great as always, and SNL cast
members Kristen Wiig and Bobby Moynihan showed their genuine talent
For Blake Lively's monologue, she comes across as someone who doesn't
take herself too seriously, and her delivery was very natural. Most
of the cast portrayed the Muppets here, eventually singing their
unique take of "Hark, The Herald Angels Sing" along with Blake. The
song was the best part of this sketch by far as
The "swine fever" commercial from several weeks ago was reran next.
SNL was off last week, so replaying this commercial gives the
impression that the writers are low on ideas.
Immediately after the above commercial, the skit revolved around an
ESPN female bowling tournament and its sponsor, vagisil. Once again,
Kristen Wiig and Jason Sudeikis were heavily featured.
There were laugh-out loud moments whenever Sudeikis and Will Forte,
both playing anchors, went into the Vagisil bits, and the studio
audience was clearly enjoying it. Be on the look-out for Blake's
signature jackhammer shuffle.
Tiger Woods' recent trouble was the subject of the next sketch. Jason
Sudeikis portrayed Wolf Blitzer here, thus appearing in every sketch
so far. Blitzer interviewed Tiger, portrayed by Kenan Thompson, the
only African American cast member, and Blake took on the role of
Tiger's revenge-filled wife.
Unfortunately, the sketch wasn't funny. Best described as labored,
the sketch tried to be relevant, and the actors did their best with
the material they were given.
A digital short quickly followed. Alongside the political humor of
last season, these shorts cowritten by Andy Samberg are largely
responsible for bringing SNL better ratings. Featuring Rihanna and
Andy in a classroom music video setting, this was one of the best
digital shorts of the season.
Andy played "Shy Ronnie," Rihanna's rap partner who mumbles way too
much. The moment Rihanna exits the classroom, look out for Shy
Ronnie's explosion. In short, an original short that delivered the
laughs in spades.
Not surprisingly, a send-up of Gossip Girl, the CW series starring
Lively, soon followed. Called "Gossip Girl: Staten Island," the
sketch was best suited to Gossip Girl fans, and it was only mildly
Immediately before Rihanna's first performance of the evening, a pre-
taped sketch with Sudeikis and newcomer Nasim Pedrad selling an
underground rock festival fell flat. Luckily, it didn't last long.
Stay tuned for the remainder of this review spotlighting Rihanna's
performances and Weekend Update.
Previously, the December 5th episode of Saturday Night Live was
reviewed up to Rihanna's first musical performance. Please click
here to read part one of the Blake Lively / Rihanna show.
Rihanna first performed her newest hit single entitled "Russian
Roulette" from her Rated R album. The performance was moody yet
defiant in tone, with no background dancers present.
Sitting in a white wicker chair during the song's first verse and
conclusion, Rihanna commanded the stage, dressed in striking red
Egyptian head/shoulders clothing with a black leather top. A strong
Weekend Update with Seth Meyers arrived next, always delivering the
goods during the last few years. Although Amy Poehler is sorely
missed, Meyers has handled the shift very well.
Two characters appeared during Weekend Update: Kenan Thompson as Bill
Cosby and Abby Elliott's debut portrayal of actress Brittany Murphy.
Both segments were fairly amusing without overstaying their welcome.
After Weekend Update, Kenan appeared as the strong-willed and
opinionated Mrs. Virginica, a recurring sketch. Kenan's impresson of
various females (think Whoopi Goldberg) on SNL is always a sight to
behold, yet the writing for this sketch didn't offer much in the way
of entertainment. However, Kenan and Blake to a lesser extent did
their best with the material.
As SNL neared its home stretch, Bill Hader did his popular Chris
Hansen "To Catch A Predator" characterization, although in a late
night talk show setting with Jason Sudeikis as actor Philip Seymour
Hoffman, Andy Samberg as actor Keanu Reeves, and Blake as Cher.
The impersonations largely drew yawns, but at least Bill showed how
talented he is at playing Chris Hansen once again. Unfortunately,
another pedestrian sketch by and large.
Rihanna's second musical spot of the evening was a performance of
"Hard," the second single from Rated R, featuring Young Jeezy. Not
nearly as memorable as her first performance of "Russian Roulette,"
Rihanna still likely pleased her many fans.
The final sketch of the evening was one of the weirdest in a long
time. That's being kind, because for half of the sketch, there was an
awkward silence from the studio audience.
Most likely dreamed up around 4:00 AM by SNL's writers, the sketch
dealt with a Southern gentleman going to NASA to become an astronaut.
While there, he eats a potato chip, and Will Forte and Blake basically
berate him for being a potato chip thief. Strange, strange.
Blake's performance in the NASA sketch was excellent, but Forte was
truly over-the-top, one of his trademarks. The gross-out when
Sudeikis spit the potato-chip into Forte's hand was unnecessary, and
that also applies to the many vagina jokes heard throughout the show.
All-in-all, an SNL episode that had its moments, but they were few and
far between. The best moments were the Muppets sing-a-long,
Rihanna's performance of "Russian Roulette," the digital short with
Shy Ronnie, Weekend Update, and portions of the ESPN bowling skit.
This is not entirely Blake Lively's fault, as she is talented,
enthusiastic, and a good actress. Perhaps a second appearance in the
future will enable the writers to develop sketches that are suited to
Truly, SNL's writers should be blamed for the quality of this
episode. SNL can be funny, as the episode demonstrated, yet the show
isn't able to sustain the laughter for its 90 minutes, and that
inconsistency was painfully obvious tonight.