SNL 4/9/11---Helen Mirren Hosting

Yes, I know that it is passe and overplayed to tell the world how totally devoid of humor Saturday Night Live has become, or how it is now only a dreadful self-parody, or how the current cast is the worst ensemble ever, simply mugging for the camera while half-heartedly smirking at their own so-called jokes, etc, etc, etc…

But that said, last night may have been the least engaging single episode I have ever watched, and it is hard for me to understand how SNL manages to stay culturally relevant anymore, as it really seems that everyone involved has given up even trying anymore.

Let me be clear, last night WAS NOT truly awful, or cringeworthy, as so many individual sketches have been in the past; instead it had an incredibly “flat” feel to it, like everyone involved had taken a fistful of Xanax and was content to just float freely until the 90 minutes of airtime had elapsed, or that it had only been written in the last hours before broadcast, with no one really on board with the various bits, but not really caring enough to say anything about it. It was a little bit surreal, as I can’t recall a live broadcast that struck me as so evenly, uniformly sedate and uninspired.

The audience was the quietest, seemingly most disenfranchised-sounding group that I can ever recall—With a few small laughs once in a great while and polite but very subdued applause at the end of each skit, it was abundantly clear that the material was not connecting with either the live audience in NYC or the handful of home viewers who hadn’t yet changed the channel.

Weekend Update was actually a little hard to watch, as it didn’t have one genuinely funny joke in it’s entirety, and Seth Meyers clearly knew that he was bombing, yet of course had to finish plodding thru the D-List material while pretending he had confidence in what he was saying. I have to say it wouldn’t surprise me if he decides to take his leave of the show at the end of the season.

I primarily watched to see how Helen Mirren would do, (she has no discernible comic instinct, at least from what last night showed, although it could have been in large part due to the anemic script she was saddled with) but even after it was clear that her acting talent did not translate on the show, I couldn’t turn off the TV, curious to see if it would either have some sort of eventual comic payoff or finally turn into a full-blown trainwreck.

In the end it did neither—The show was 90 minutes of tedium; jokes that were obviously written as afterthoughts, punchlines you could see coming from Newark, and actors going thru the motions, seemingly self-aware enough to look visibly uncomfortable with being onstage, yet unwilling to fully throw themselves into their material.

If Lorne Michaels still cares about Saturday Night Live, you couldn’t prove it by me, and now it looks like no one else on his staff cares either…

Zut alors.

Why was Helen Mirren’s opening monologue cut from the Hulu rebroadcast? I don’t have a TV, so I didn’t see it. Did it contain a song that they couldn’t license for online rebroadcast. I think this happened previously when Zach Galifianakis’ Orphan Annie bit was cut from Hulu.

They did a send-up of “There Is Nothin’ Like A Dame” (South Pacific) so I guess that could be a copyright issue.

It may have actually been one of the brightest bits of an incredibly lackluster overall show, and it sure wasn’t anything to write home about…

They really use same-sex kissing as a comic crutch. It seems like at least once in every episode they trot it out, sometimes in multiple sketches during the same show. Last night it was Helen Mirren’s turn.

I guess it was edgy once upon a time. Now it just seems really hacky.

I have to agree when it came to Seth’s desk jokes, but I thought Hader as Carville and Wiig as the Southwest flight attendant were both riots and easily the highlight of the night.

I wonder what The Daily Show’s budget is compared to SNL’s. The reason I wonder is that they come up with incomparably better material 4 nights per week 40 weeks per year than SNL does for one night per week 23 weeks per year and they’re based in the same city.

Oh, you dour guys just need to put your hands and faces in the awesome splendor that is Dame Helen’s breasts.

I was really looking forward to see her last night, but I must have blinked.

If what you are trying to say is that she wasn’t in as many sketches as the average guest host usually seems to be, I noticed that too.

There were also more pre-recorded bits than usual, but they were all as off-kilter and forced as the “live” stuff was.

Such a lackluster, low energy, amateur effort. I could see by the body language of the cast when the credits were rolling at the end of the night that they were all perfectly aware of just how flat the show had been.

While I concur that last week’s show was a particularly lackluster effort, I can’t agree with those who say that the current cast is the worst ever, or that it should be put out of its misery, etc.

You say you tuned in to see Helen Mirren, so presumably you missed the previous two weeks with Elton John and Zach Galifianakis, both of which were solid and funny episodes, IMO. I too was hoping for much better from Helen Mirren’s turn, but one flat show isn’t the death knell for a series that has a long history of ups and downs.

I am, however, in complete agreement that Seth Myers has run his course as the Weekend Update anchor. WU is badly in need of some new blood. Maybe they should give one of the new kids a crack at it (Jay Pharoah?).

It was an extra poor show and I mentioned Sunday to my brother that Seth Myers really needs to go. I don’t like Wiig and find her painfully unfunny but the Flight Attendant bit was actually worthy of a few laughs. The Carville thing went on too long and they have done it too many times now. This was a bad show but I think many member of this cast have the potential to be funny and they need to drop Seth & Wiig.

I agree. The Daily Show might be at an advantage, due to the immediacy of being, well, daily. And they have a massive library of recordings of all the news channels, so they’re able to catch people in hypocrisy. But even without those bits, they still manage to do a better job of the political material. (And I also watch The Soup on E! and that does a better job of skewering the chat shows and the reality shows, but mostly just by showing clips of them.)

Just for the record, in my OP, I was not trying to say that I personally feel that this cast is worst ever, only that that has been something critics of Saturday Night Live, some right here on SDMB, have been saying for years. It’s a common dig, and has been for decades, probably starting back in the early 80’s.

In fact, I would say that Bill Hader is the most talented impressionist I can ever remember on SNL, right on par with Phil Hartman. Hader has several crazy good impersonations, James Carville, Vincent Price and my personal favorite, Keith Morrison (the creepy, freak-show correspondent from NBC’s Dateline)

I also think that the two newish women are pretty good, and for some reason, they seem to be getting more physically attractive to me each show…:wink:

Foo Fighters ROCKED, though!

This was the first episode we’ve watched in about four years. They sure have a lot more cast members than they did back in the day.
So, you’re telling me it was a lame episode, and it is not just that we have aged out of the target audience? Because the wife and I found almost nothing funny except for the flight attendant and the James Carville impersonation.
I was hoping for more from Helen Mirren’s breasts.

If you noticed, the live audience hardly laughed at all. Considering they’ve waited in line to attend the show and many of them have already had something to drink that night, it’s not just you who found it non-funny. (And for the cast members, it’s got to be difficult to play to an audience that’s just not laughing at your performance.)

The exotic dancer skit was the only skit that didn’t work at all for me. The rest were as good or better than I’ve been seeing. Only the last one didn’t really get any laughs from me (nor the audience).

Every sketch had its good parts. For example, I didn’t like the boobies sketch’s premise, but the clips were okay. Most of Weekend update fell flat, but both impressions were great (Kenan’s Jean Jean doesn’t count). Even the aforementioned hooker thing got a light laugh out of me when Carter showed up and played it so lackluster. It could fit both the character, and the fact she was disappointed in being in such a lousy sketch.

I’m not saying this wasn’t a lackluster show, just that I’ve seen worse fairly recently–at least this year.

I was hoping for a return of the 80’s punk bad that they did with Grohl last year. I’d also like to see Grohl host the show sometime. I admit that I have a bit of a man crush on him.

The sketches were OK, but there was nothing outstanding. I’m going to back up what everyone else is saying when I point out that Seth Meyers is less than adequate in the WU chair, SNL doesn’t seem edgy anymore, and all the sketches seem tired.