Monday, May 17, 2010

SNL's 35th Season: That's a Wrap!

Saturday Night Live celebrated it's 35th season this year, a milestone for the sketch comedy mainstay. And though the show isn't as fresh, or most of the time even as culturally relevant, as it used to be, its still one of my favorite shows on television. It's uneven, but capable of brilliance (and stupidity), and since its live, you never really know what's going to happen. This season has been uneven but fine, and so, without any further ado, the best and worst of this year.
BEST HOST
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (11/21/2009)
Runners-up: Betty White (5/8/2010), Gabourey Sidibe (4/24/2010), Jon Hamm (1/30/2010)
Without a doubt, Gordon-Levitt was the most energetic and excited host of the season, and he threw himself into every sketch with the kind of joy that elevated each one to a comic delight. His impersonation of Jason Mraz in the "Mellow Show" sketch was winning, as was his David Bowie-esque singer in "What's Up With That?" As for the other three, they were all fantastic, especially Hamm, whom I believe could end up being the next George Clooney (starts out starring on a hit TV drama, devilishly handsome, has a terrific funnybone; just pair him up with the right director like Clooney did with Soderberg or the Coens, and wait for Hamm's Oscars to start rolling in).
WORST HOST
It's a tie! Charles Barkley (1/9/2010) and January Jones (11/14/2009) both managed to be cringe-worthy.
Runners-up: Megan Fox (9/26/2009), Taylor Lautner (12/12/2009), Jennifer Lopez (2/27/2010)
I honestly couldn't choose one over the other. The former is an obvious choice: he's an athlete, not an actor, so his was somewhat forgivable. However, don't assume he's redeemed, since it was still an atrocious program that none of the regular cast members could salvage. The latter, who is a gifted actress, proved that she has no sense of comedic timing whatsoever. January, please, stick to dramas like Mad Men, where you're in your element. As for the others, Megan Fox is just a body, Taylor Lautner gets points for trying, and Jennifer Lopez is in need of a serious reinvention.
BEST RECURRING SKETCH
It's goofy, over-the-top ridiculous, and stupid. But's its also insanely fun, mostly thanks to just how random it can be and the full dedication of Kenan Thompson. I look forward to how crazy it can truly get sometimes.
WORST RECURRING SKETCH
Garth and Kat on "Weekend Update"
I'm glad to see Fred Armisen and Kristen Wiig tickled with how ridiculous they can be together, but its really gotten old fast. Can we ditch these two characters?
Though please, as far as "Weekend Update" goes (by the way, "Weekend Update" is always the highlight of the show for me), keep Bobby Moynihan's Snooki around. That may never get old.
On a semi-related note, I hope the writers use the summer to figure out a way to hilariously make fun of the Obama Administration. I am an Obama supporter, and I understand that he doesn't make it as easy to do as the Bush Administration did, but seriously, this year's cold opens were awful. Armisen does his best, but please, better writing. The man's not infallible.
CAST MVP
Tough call. Every single one of them is capable of brilliance and stupidity but, this season, Kenan Thompson has kept me laughing the most consistently.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Nasim Pedrad has the most potential to be SNL's next female wunderkind. She's been off to a great start this year, and her possibly-returning character Bedilia has so far been funny without being annoying. Here's hoping she'll really shine next year.
BEST DIGITAL SHORT
Tie! "Great Day" (Alec Baldwin hosts, 5/15/2010) and "The Tizzle Wizzle Show" (James Franco hosts, 12/19/2009)
This year featured some pure hits of genius ("Two Worlds Collide," "Laser Cats 5," "Cherry Battle," "The Curse") and some really bizarre, "eh" shorts that we could have done without ("The Other Man," "Get Out," "Like A Boss" wannabe "On the Ground"). But nothing topped the joyous anarchy of "Great Day," which feels like the opening number from the first-ever crackhead musical, and "The Tizzle Wizzle Show," which is like The Mickey Mouse Club meets Battle Royale. Check them out for yourself:

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