Sunday, September 28, 2008

Welcome back, SNL!

Adding to my 2008-09 fall season premiere blog (2 or 3 posts below), time to give Saturday Night Live some attention, having just watched last night's show. A definite sign of my age: watching "Saturday Night Live" on Sunday morning!

I won't say Tina Fey single-handedly saved Saturday Night Live, but she may be the person most responsible for resurrecting the NBC institution. Her dead-on (and hilarious) impersonation of vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin drew me, and perhaps hundreds of thousands of other formerly-devoted SNL viewers, to the season premiere two weeks ago. After taking a week off, Fey drew me back again last night and what I experienced was perhaps the best SNL show in a decade. I can't really make that judgement accurately because I have only tuned in sporadically over the past 10 years. The show just didn't seem that funny anymore. The season premiere 2 weeks ago was good, but host Michael Phelps really didn't add much. In fact, I think he detracted.

Last night, all the stars lined up. The writing was superb, the performances were great, and the show's rhythm was nearly perfect. Anna Faris did a fantastic job as host, and musical guest Duffy was a delight (I'm already a big fan of hers). The writing was crisp, funny and sharp. None of the skits seemed to run too long. Even on SNL's best shows, in its best years, there were always those one or two skits that kind of bombed. Last night even the worst skit wasn't bad at all. And Weekend Update was a gem. Get that DVR rewind button ready - Kristen Wiigs' Judy Grimes character must be watched repeatedly. I'm not sure if Wiig deserves an Emmy, or an Olympic gold medal because her "just kidding" routine is as much vocally athletic as it is comic. Here's a clip:

If last night's show is any indication of what kind of season we're in for, I think SNL could be heading to a new golden age. I'm going to stay with it through the midpoint of the season (unless it turns unwatchable several weeks in a row). The cast seems smaller right now than in past seasons, and that will help those of us who've been away for a while get to know these comedians more quickly. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.


Jane said...

Excellent post Scott! Based on your comments, I will probably start watching SNL again for the first time in 15 years. Of course, it will also be a Sun morning viewing event for me as well. Thank God for DVR.

Dean Treadway said...

Seems like they're on a roll. I credit Amy, Tina and all the other women on the show for making it possible. Every time they appear, each one of them, I sit forward in my seat. May I say also that Keiran Thompson is starting to come into flower these days. Smaller cast is better. Give us the fuckin' good stuff, already. Let's keep watching and see what happens. I could be in total agreement with you, Scott. Nothing would make me happier, I should say, than once again saying that SNL is unmissable.