'Saturday Night Live': Melissa McCarthy goes for broke
If "Saturday Night Live" were an athletic contest, the color commentator for this week's show would have said host Melissa McCarthy left it all on the stage. The "Mike & Molly" Emmy winner and "Bridesmaids" star threw herself completely into every sketch she did.
Hosts who are game for anything often make for very funny episodes, but this one didn't sustain itself. McCarthy was clearly having a ball, and that counts for something, but more than one sketch fell kind of flat. Thoughts on the second "SNL" of the season (video to come Sunday morning):
Cold open: We're suckers for the "Lawrence Welk Show" sketches, because we like watching Kristen Wiig act like a complete weirdo. McCarthy joined her in crazy this time (the clip is at the top of the post), chopping through logs with her teeth and playing Kick the Crow. The fact that Fred Armisen's Welk is now onto the antics of these female singers from the Finger Lakes was a nice touch.
Monologue: The non-dance dancing McCarthy did with Wiig was loose and goofy and pretty charming, including the silhouette bit where they let two actual dancers take over for a minute.
Li'l Poundcake: A really fine commercial parody about a doll whose hair really grows, has her own phone and injects girls under 10 with HPV vaccine. Topical and smartly detailed -- loved the way the side effects were incorporated into the happy Li'l Poundcake song:
Office romance: McCarthy's go-for-broke approach was on full display here as she channeled her "Bridesmaids" character a little into an office worker who has it bad -- really, really bad -- for the guy at the next desk. Balloons were licked, ties were used inappropriately. Objectively it wasn't even all that funny, but we were laughing in spite of ourselves as McCarthy kept ratcheting things up. See for yourself:
Terrible lovers: The last sketch of the night took the simple setup of a guy trying to pick up a woman in a bar and ran with the lame line, "I've never had any complaints" -- in fact, Don and his super-dinky wiener have had lots of of complaints, and McCarthy's female character is no A student either. Coming at the end of an otherwise high-pitched episode, it was a nice (and funny) change of pace.
The guest segments -- Gaddafi's best friends and Tyler Perry -- weren't great, but Seth Meyers otherwise had a pretty good night behind the desk. Our favorite lines:
- "On this week's 'Dancing With the Stars,' Nancy Grace exposed her nipple at the end of her number. She had to expose ti, because she believes it has something it's not telling her about the Natalee Holloway case."
- "A study shows women who drink four cups of coffee a day are 20 percent less likely to suffer from depression -- unless drinking coffee was something the two of you used to do together."
- On a study showing unprotected sex among teenagers in France has gone up 111 percent: "Of course in France, 'unprotected sex' just means 'no deodorant.'
Musical guest Lady Antebellum
The country stars performed two of their hits, "Own the Night" and "Just a Kiss," and they sounded fine, but they also sounded like pretty much every other time we've seen them perform on television.
"The Comments Section": It was like a four-minute version of "H8R," minus the demi-celebrities. We don't like Internet trolls either, but a sketch about mean-spirited Internet commenters should probably feel like something more than, well, a mean-spirited Internet comment.
Digital short - "Stomp": A somewhat promising setup ("Stomp" is just far enough outside the zeitgeist to be absurdly funny) gets wasted when Andy Samberg and Bill Hader decide to shoot the Blue Man Group a thousand times.
"Rock's Way": Jay Pharaoh is a gifted impressionist, but we found ourselves mostly thinking about how underused Chris Rock was during his time on "SNL" in the early '90s.
Hidden Valley Ranch focus group and TCM/Lulu Diamond: Again, McCarthy was game for anything, but the one note in each sketch got played a couple times too many. Although Jason Sudeikis' closing line in the TCM sketch -- "[Lulu] died as she lived -- on all fours with three closeted gay actors staring at her butt" -- was pretty funny. Here's the TCM sketch:
What did you think of "SNL" this week? Did you enjoy Melissa McCarthy's up-for-anything attitude?