'SNL': Kanye West, 'What Up With That?' highlights of Bryan Cranston episode

snl-bryan-cranston-undies-320.jpgBryan Cranston's Oct. 2nd appearance on "Saturday Night Live" comes as a disappointment.

This lackluster "SNL" is not any fault of Cranston's though. He gave as much as he could, but his comedic skills were woefully underutilized. For most of the skits he was relegated to being the straight man or just reacting to the lead, and the few times he starred in a sketch, once again he wasn't the one getting the laughs. It's such a waste of talent.

The saving grace for the episode is the nutty and upbeat "What Up With That?" sketch and Kanye West's two grand performances.

Let's break it down: Cranston starts out fine with a monologue that spoofs the "Citizen Kane" song tribute to Charles Kane. Sadly, that's probably the part of the show where he's used the most.



The best skit of the night is "What Up With That?" starring Kenan Thompson, whose "Back to School Edition" is just another excuse to break into song, much to the chagrin of Morgan Freeman and joy of Ernest Borgnine (93-year-old sex machine!), both special guests. Cranston does actually make an appearance in his underwear (the third time we see him in tighty whities), but it's brief (heh) and doesn't really add to anything.

Oh, but Thompson's in fine form, and sings the ridiculously awesome advice, "If you eat that school lunch, stay away from that rectangular pizza. You know why? Because it is nasty. Yeah." Wise words.



In his other skits, Cranston impersonates Billy Ray Cyrus, fawns over sexy-unsexy Shana, kisses Andy Samberg multiple times in the "Kid Smartz" skit, punches Abby Elliott (?) who plays his son and then sings a song about sparkling apple juice. The skits are so unfunny they don't really bear repeating in detail. Here's one in which he's upstaged by Thompson:



Say what you will about Kanye West, but at least he entertains. He only has two performances, but makes the most of them, especially visually. For "Power," he makes another grand entrance, wearing an all-red ensemble with gold chains and gold laurel crown. Women in plain white leotards writhe around him and clap accompaniment to the song.



Later, for "Runaway," the ladies have donned tutus and strike many poses whilst West raps and plays with the sample box on the pedestal. What's interesting about these performances is that despite their live nature, they deliver the visual feel of music videos.



Oh and there's one other sort of mindless highlight that gets a chuckle out of us, but maybe only because it's at the end of the show and thus our standards have dropped. The "I-Sleep Pro" product that features white noise AND black noise is genius. It has settings for "Muffled Tyler Perry Sitcoms," "Domestic Arguments" and the movie "Friday."



What's your take on this "SNL"?

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Photo credit: NBC