Perhaps in a Christmas/rerun/rehash state of mind after working around that “Very Gilly Christmas” special on Thursday, perhaps exhausted after a rare three-week December run, perhaps just laziness as usual, Saturday Night Live brought out the recurring characters in full force on this week’s show. Not counting Update or the Digital Short, eight sketches made to air; six of these were reprisals, many representing third or fourth go-rounds, mostly with a Christmas slant.
When you’re doing six recurring sketches in a single night, you’re bound to be using at least a few that don’t work, but you’re also likely to hit upon at least a few good ones, assuming the existence of the latter (and I do: as much as I complain about them, plenty of recurring characters on SNL have worked just fine). This batch half-dozen had just about every combination, save, thankfully, the Sketch That Should’ve Never Made It to Air in the First Place Nevermind Several Times. Here’s the breakdown:
Considering Hannukah is just about over, Jewish TiFaux readers (hi Mom!) may, sadly, be excluded from winning this giveaway in time for the holidays. However, that leaves plenty of opportunity for all you goyish couch potatoes to win this generous prize pack from A&E.
The gang over there has put together a hefty prize package meant to cater to some (very specific) categories on your gift list. The prize package includes the following:
I meant to put this up a few days ago, but the week got away from me. So now I’m coming down off my Avatar high (OMIGOD IT’S GREAT) and trying to fritter away two more hours before I can head to Penn Station and try to get to northern Virginia ahead of this blizzard making its miserable way to New York. Fucking winter.
Anyway, my favorite late show host, Craig Ferguson, celebrated his 1,000th show earlier this week, and to mark the occasion, he let his beloved gator puppet, Wavy Rancheros, host the entire show. And for the cold open, Wavy sang Trace Adkins’ jovial ’00s update of “Baby Got Back,” “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk,” accompanied by some bootylicious ladies and one of the guys from that time the show opened with a bunch of dudes singing “In the Navy.” YES.
I giggled so hard the other night I almost ruptured something. Seriously, a network TV host let A PUPPET host his entire show. That takes stones.
So I’m hoping I’ll get home within the next few hours and embark on many days of cooking, drinking, talking about other people’s weddings, and awkward family interactions. (There will be a Friday Night Lights post in the next few days, I SWEAR.) Meantime, happy holidays, everyone. I wish you a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year filled with TV hosts who do things like let puppets host their shows, because it’s FANTASTIC.
I know Jesse is usually our typical SNL guy, but tonight’s Gilly SNL Christmas special has inspired my most current obsession: the little “I Wish It Was Christmas Today” song. I couldn’t remember how many times they’d done it, or for how many holidays, or what amazing costumes they wore. It was bothering me. So, armed with the invaluable archive over at SNL transcripts, I think I’ve tracked down all of the times they’ve performed it. Really, I’m surprised at how much they’ve managed to use the song on different holidays, but I’m sure glad they did.
First Occurrence: December 9, 2000 (Val Kilmer hosting)
They wear red sweaters, they giggle, and it’s the amazing moment we all love and remember.
Second Occurrence: December 16, 2000 (Lucy Liu hosting)
For some reason, they manage to do it over the very next week!
Third Occurrence: May 19, 2001 (Christopher Walken hosting–Weezer musical guest!)
They perform it again, only dressed in Hawaiian shirts for Memorial Day. This episode is also memorable to me because I missed it when it first aired, so Jesse sent me a VHS tape of it, and I watched it over and over all summer. If sending someone the Walken/Weezer SNL VHS isn’t love, I don’t know what is.
Fourth Occurrence: December 1, 2001 (Derek Jeter hosting)
Like the first, only with ugly/amazing snowmen on their sweaters.
Fifth Occurrence: December 14, 2002 (Al Gore hosting)
This time, in costume! Jimmy Fallon is Harry Potter, Horatio is a teddy bear, Chris Kattan is a soldier, and Tracey Morgan is in a hilarious Chicken Elmo costume.
Sixth Occurrence: April 10, 2004 (Janet Jackson hosting)
The boys wear pastel to sing about how Christmas is better than Easter, which it totally is.
Seventh Occurrence: December 18, 2004 (Robert De Niro hosting)
This is the one I wish I had the video of, since, with all the cast members off the show except Horatio, he gets the Muppets to fill in for Jimmy, Chris, and Tracey. The Muppets!
It would be cruel to end this post without showing you a video, so here goes:
If you saw Sunday’s season finale of Dexter, chances are you haven’t quite been able to get it out of your head yet.
Do I need to say spoiler alert? I don’t think so.
The image of Rita’s lifeless body in the bathtub — the final victim of the now-deceased Trinity Killer — was jarring to say the least. Even for me (as someone who had been mildly spoiled via Facebook), I was pretty shocked that they would brutally and abruptly axe a character that they had cultivated for the show’s entire four seasons.
While Rita never earned the title of “beloved fan favorite,” what made her valuable to the viewer was her constant presence. In fact, her presence (if not her actual character) was critical in anchoring Dexter in society. Dexter may be a slightly withdrawn, mumbling, blood tech specialist, but at least he had a cute blonde girlfriend/wife. If he’s with her, he couldn’t be that bad, right?
Now that Rita’s out of the picture, Dexter’s left untethered from respectable society. I mean, I don’t know how they’re going to deal with kid/stepkids situation, but after all the social progress he’s made over the course of the show he’s dangling on the edge of a dark abyss. It appears that next season is going to be incredibly intense, as Dexter’s personal responsibilities will take a backseat to his bloodlust.
As disturbing as that final scene was, I really like Rita’s murder as a way to energize the series. Consider previous season finales. The first two finales essentially wrapped up the preceding season with a nice bow. Last season, the show ended with Dexter’s wedding (if you recall, I thought the whole finale was a bit of a snooze). Considering they had already offed the season’s main villain (Jimmy Smits), the season finale essentially served to tie up a few loose ends (of which there were plenty — it was an off season due to all of its wandering storylines) and marry Dexter off.
At the end of the third season, I really didn’t care what was in store for the fourth season. I wasn’t excited about the idea of seeing Dexter juggle married life with his extracurricular activities (I had visions of some sort of macabre, screwball version of a family sitcom). However, perhaps I owe that season finale a debt. Because the show has invested so much in his relationship with Rita (and exploring Dexter’s confusion over whether his family was a “cover” or if it was for real), Rita’s death means that much more.
What this all boils down to is this: “Well done, writers. Now you’ve got a hell of a task ahead of you.” Everyone’s talking about the finale (which scored record-high ratings for Showtime), so the fifth season premiere will present a variety of dark options for our hero. Rita’s ghost will loom large (as if Dexter needs another one of those following him around).
Saturday Night Live is supposed to pretty much function regardless of the host, but it’s been difficult not to notice how ill-timed its guests have been for much of this season. Megan Fox and Drew Barrymore appeared after the movies they were promoting had already bombed; Joseph Gordon-Levitt would’ve made a natural early-fall host to capitalize on his summer heat but instead came on in late November; and now Taylor Lautner shows up to host nearly a month after Twilight fever reached its peak.
Superficial/promotional considerations aside, I had other reasons to be apprehensive about Lautner’s gig, namely Lautner himself; he seems like a nice kid, but nothing in New Moon hinted at a talent for (intentional) comedy. But much like his special lady giant Taylor Swift, Lautner proved a surprisingly adept host, although his work fell more on the “didn’t screw things up” side of things than T-Swift’s “actually pretty funny on her own” triumph-relative-to-expectations. And for whatever reason, Lautner actually had better material than Swift, so his episode was a nice surprise.
Wow. A&E is all about the synergy. (SYNERGY! SHAZAM! BUZZ WORD!)
Before, they were giving away copies of The Prisoner on Blu-Ray to cross-promote their new version (by the way, congrats to Celia from Illinois!). Now, they’re promoting their new DVD collection of classic Sherlock Holmes episodes right as the new movie version is coming out. The one with Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law and what appears to be ample homoerotic tension. And explosions.
So we’re giving away the new DVD collection, which has all five episodes from the 1960s series starring Peter Cushing (better known as the guy from Star Wars who yells at Darth Vader to stop space-choking that officer at the beginning of the first movie).
If you’re curious, the stories are The Hound of the Baskervilles, A Study in Scarlet, The Boscombe Valley Mystery, The Sign of Four and The Blue Carbuncle. Here’s a link to order it.
To win, e-mail tifaux -at- gmail -dot- com with the subject line “Synergy is bigger than all of us.”
Thank the Lord for small mercies, Friday Night Lights fans. This week’s episode was mostly lighter than last week’s, which is good, because I don’t think I could handle that kind of emotional upheaval two weeks in a row. To recap: Matt buried his father, who was killed in Iraq. Julie struggled to support Matt in the face of enormous and staggering pain and cope with facing mortality for the first time in her life. Becky hit on Tim Riggins and was rejected, which drove her into Luke’s slightly less muscular arms. And Vince went in two directions at the same time, earning player of the week honors and learning to hotwire cars. So, now for something a little bit lighter? Please, Jason Katims, don’t make me cry again.
This cannot be ignored: during a typically hit-or-miss Saturday Night Live episode hosted by Blake Lively, they aired a sketch that made me cry laughing and nearly fall out off my couch in the process. I’m pretty sure that the “Under-Underground Rock Festival” ad, as seen above, is really freaking funny on its own, but it held a special place in my heart for its semi-obscure inspiration. It’s actually a hilariously close parody of a web ad for a yearly (and quite popular) music festival curated by shock-mook-rap act Insane Clown Posse, which I wrote about over on my personal blog a little while ago. The real ad is funny enough on its own, by the fact that SNL writers saw fit to parody this at all really tickled me, and they did a bang-up job with the target, however broad, with such zeal it almost came off as a sort of deranged affection (but maybe that was just my deranged projection).
It was a delirious high in an episode that had several, including a wonderfully strange last sketch of the night featuring Will Forte and Jason Sudeikis as Southern dandies/hillbillies (dandbillies) grappling over a stolen potato chip at a NASA job interview. I love pretty much any SNL sketch that reminds me of the Kids in the Hall. It’s also possible that I particularly love this sketch because there’s almost no chance for a repeat engagement; Forte and Sudeikis last made a bid for too-strange-to-reprise with their ESPN Classic characters, forever announcing female sports sponsored by feminine care products, and while I enjoyed the fact that the second go-round somehow scored a leadoff spot, it makes me wonder if there’s anything this cast wouldn’t be game to do over (hopeful answer: a sketch about potato-chip stealing at a hilariously crummy version of a NASA office).