Sunday, September 14, 2008

SNL: Girls who wear Tina Fey glasses

So, as expected/hoped-for, Lorne Michaels was able to talk Tina Fey into popping into the "Saturday Night Live" season premiere for the part she was born to play: Sarah Palin. If you missed the sketch last night, you can see it on Hulu and at NBC.com.

We all knew that Fey and Palin were dead ringers physically, but she also nailed Palin's Marge Gunderson accent, then left it to Amy Poehler's Hillary Clinton to rip into the notion that her supporters should now vote for McCain because he put a woman on the ticket. ("Please, ask this one about dinosaurs!") It was one of the better recent "SNL" political sketches.

I haven't watched the rest of the episode yet and may not get a chance for a while, but I imagine that the opening sketch is the one thing people will want to talk about. So, what did everybody else think?

61 comments:

Anonymous said...

yeah, great. we was all about it too over at FAQ.
Sarah Palin Pales in Experience to Executive Tina Fey...
http://faqnews.wordpress.com/2008/09/14/sarah-palin-pales-in-experience-to-executive-tina-fey-snl-video/

M.Chavez said...

Are they always so rusty during the season premieres? The camera work was all over the place during the quiz show segment, and you could hear stuff falling off-camera once or twice. Phelps is not a natural at all in front of the camera, and they unfortunately highlight it by redoing the skit Peyton Manning did a while back, the Halftime Pep Talk - Phelps can't dance either. Except for the the intro sketch, Kristen Wiig, and Shatner's cameo, it was pretty bad. The new guy, Moynihan, jury's still out on him.

Mrglass said...

This sketch was hilarious. Let's hope Tina Fey will have time for more until November.

Chavez, keep in mind Obama was supposed to host but he canceled at the last minute, so M. Phelps was a good sport all things considered.

Grunt said...

Saturday Night Live is always very uneven. A good guest host is often the key and anyone who had seen Michael Phelphs interviewed could have told you he was going to be pretty lousy.

But Tina Fey was spot on. And I though the news segment was funny.

David J. Loehr said...

Chavez, keep in mind Obama was supposed to host but he canceled at the last minute, so M. Phelps was a good sport all things considered.

No, Phelps was announced as the host weeks ago. Obama was only going to make an appearance.

The opening sketch was worth the wait. The rest, not so much.

Over at my tv blog, I praised the opening sketch but wondered why NBC didn't bother to take advantage of the opportunity to promote 30 Rock. Way to use the synergy, NBC.

Grunt said...

mrglass,

Obama was supposed to make a cameo. Phelps was supposed to host for the past month.

Mads said...
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Mads said...

Tina Fey was great, but I agree the rest was not so good. Athletes as hosts are always a gamble. They either work out great (Peyton Manning, for example) or they don't.

J said...

I was disappointed they didn't take some sharper stabs at Palin, and more political stuff overall. But then SNL's politico writer is a well-documented conservative. The quick Weekend Update Matt Cassell/Palin dig was the best.

And I would argue that Sarah Palin was born to be mocked by Tina Fey, not the other way around.

Other than that, nothing. There was some okay stuff at the end. The T-Mobile sketch should have ended on Phelps' punchline, the Pizzaria Uno character was sort of amusing but will be forced down our throats as a recurring character (both "We have more than FOUR kinds of soda!" and "I left my kid on the bus" are catchy phrasey).

Nicole said...

The opening sketch was great but I was bored while watching up until the news update and then gave up altogether. I suspected Phelps would be pretty bad as a host because he was charisma free in his interviews post medal wins.

The Palin sketch also captured the frustration that those of us outside of the US are feeling with her nomination, especially in that she is supposed to be the answer to Hillary Clinton, but seems more like a reality show contestant.

Chus said...
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bonitobroth said...

I like how Poehler's Hilary was like Chief Inspector Dreyfus at the end with all the indignant cackling, clearly being driven mad by this idiot's success.

Anonymous said...

Palin looks more like Peggy Hill than like Tina Fey, except that Peggy Hill is for all of her faults a decent human being.

Stef said...

I thought the opening sketch was hilarious, with Tina Fey's portrayal dead-on and the opportunity for Amy Poehler to say many things we all just imagine Hillary is thinking, both about policies and the media. Strong politics as well as good comedy.

This was a great showcase for Fey, but I for one am hoping she gets to retire it after the first week of November.

BGF said...

That sketch was by far the strongest of the night, but I question the assertion that Jim Downey pulled his punches because he's a Republican. I've never felt like the political sketches were biased in that way. I have no doubt he would attack Palin as much as he goes after Bush.

I'm not as positive as others seem to be that sports figures make good hosts. Even so Michael Phelps doesn't have nearly the camera experience as a player with years of commercial endorsements under his belt.

I thought Moynihan had a strong start. He's very expressive. He made a much quicker impression than Casey Wilson, who still has yet to make me laugh. Even Kristen Wiig took a season or so to stop acting like she was on MadTV.

a121Arthur said...

I want to second the point made that it's Palin to Peggy Hill that's convincing, not Tina Fey. I think it would have been much more interesting if SNL had looked to the other history it has, of satirical cartoons like TV FUNHOUSE of late, and offered a cartoon for taking on the Peggy Hill / Palin (who let's face it, IS a cartoon). It would have been the level Palin deserves.

Think about it - Palin shouldn't even get the likes of Tina Fey working on her character, as Fey can't even appear that often contractually...

Christy said...

I loved the opening skit even though I'm a McCain supporter. Phelps opening monologue was fine, but it went downhill from there. The locker room bit was so bad I turned over to an unmemorable CSI.

Jaynee said...

Alan - be happy you didn't waste your time with the rest of the episode. The Palin skit was the peak and the ONLY part worth watching (man, I love Amy-as-Hillary - she's AWESOME).

David said...

Am I the only one who thought the rest of the premiere was the most solid in several episodes? Maybe even the funniest since the Rainn Wilson episode two years ago.

I especially loved the digital short. Sure, some of the sketches were rusty, but they did limit the involvement of the host. I really haven't found an SNL this funny in a while. Maybe I'm just primed because it hasn't been on in a while, or maybe I just want to say its good, like every Woody Allen movie that's come out in the last eight years.

I also thought the quiz show was pretty good. The parts that I didn't dig were the things we've seen before. The pep talk, Fred Armison's "political comedian" character and stuff like that really fell flat. I'm also not sure about the new guy. He didn't crack me up, but he didn't crack himself up either, so there is potential.

SNL Apologist: OUT!

jim treacher said...

And what is it she's supposed to say about dinosaurs?

jim treacher said...

"The Palin sketch also captured the frustration that those of us outside of the US are feeling with her nomination, especially in that she is supposed to be the answer to Hillary Clinton, but seems more like a reality show contestant."

Oh, you mean the frustration of people who don't know what they're talking about. Yes, I'm certain it did.

jim treacher said...

Sorry for the threepeat, but here's the blog joke where the "Sarah Palin thinks dinosaurs were created 4,000 years ago" canard came from:

http://unbearablebobness.typepad.com/my_weblog/2008/08/governor-sarah-palin-quotes.html

These, I say, these are the jokes.

Just because Matt Damon and the SNL staff fell for it doesn't mean we have to, folks.

Special Report said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Undercover Black Man said...

Tina Fey rocked it. What really tickled me was the Palin lip-pursing move that Tina nailed.

Phelps I mostly felt compassion for. It's like pulling in a random guy off the street and asking him to perform comedy. But the food sketch worked well.

And Samberg's Olympics-in-Space bit was funny. That guy has a truly unique sense of humor.

jim treacher said...

Was he worse than Gretzky?

Anonymous said...

Did I count 0 Obama jokes?

Wow, I had to pick my mouth from the floor at SNL's biases. I know Seth Meyers give the maximum amount to Obama, but didn't Lorne Michaels host a McCain fundraiser. How about equal skewering?

Robert Paulson said...

A lot of retreads for the opener. ugly kids, lockeroom dance to "fancy pants!"

I think once the media libs get over the Heart-Ache of Obama maybe blowing a lead pipe cinch, they will warm up to 4 years of mercilessly mocking Palin.

Regardless, Fey nailed even the pageant wave of Palin.

J said...

I think once the media libs get over the Heart-Ache of Obama maybe blowing a lead pipe cinch, they will warm up to 4 years of mercilessly mocking Palin.

I remember a Star-Ledger column from 2000 - either Alan's or MSZ' - saying that if we were to vote for president based on SNL impersonations, Will Ferrell's Bush should win over Darrell Hammond's annoying Gore. And look how that turned out.

Though Armisen's Obama is a toothless waste of space, let's not vote to keep Fey on SNL after November, mkay?

Nicole said...

I would think Fey is busy enough with 30 Rock that her time is limited and they may want to go with a Peggy Hill version if need be. Knowing that she was on the show was really the only reason I bothered tuning in because the skits have been pretty tired even with talented people like Kristin Wiig and Amy Poehler in the cast.

I would be curious to know about how they intended to use Obama before he cancelled.

jim treacher said...

I would be curious to know about how they intended to use Obama before he cancelled.

He was going to do some "You might be a crippled war vet if..." jokes.

Nicole said...

I was curious because Obama hasn't really demonstrated a sense of humour in non scripted events, whereas McCain has proven himself game on shows like the Daily Show.

Pale Writer said...

Obama was really funny on David Letterman.

But you're right, McCain's ape-rape joke was hilarious.

PamelaJaye said...

I watched Tina and fast forwarded thru the rest.

The thing that annoyed me was they never got to the answer of "what was the last international war fought on American soil?" Pearl Harbor was neither "fought" nor... well.. it wasn't a state. Does that leave the Spanish American War?

I'll bet there's a whole bunch of home schoolers up in arms somewhere... (then again, my brother is griping about schools teaching abstinence and I'm coming back with - when did parents abandon teaching sex education anyway?)
(it's not off topic - the joke was that they didn't know what a fallopian tube was.)

I remember when Donny Osmond came out *against* (Tipper Gore's pet)record labeling.

I think the first thing you teach your kids is that not everything they are going to taught or told is true or right. My mother did this with commercials, when I was very little. So, when I got to evolution in school, I just wrote the answers in the test the way they were taught and went on believing in creation. (just not 6000 years ago)

and now that i'm way off topic... I actually prefer MadTV to SNL. I'm sure we must have noticed this season someone from MadTV on Mad Men? I loved when they did the House/Grey's crossover parody, and "House" called her "baby voice"

Jim said...

Palin looks more like Peggy Hill than like Tina Fey, except that Peggy Hill is for all of her faults a decent human being.

Also, Cotton Hill was Peggy's archnemesis, and Palin has agreed to be his running mate in a presidential election.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if McCain gets a question he can't answer at a debate (Something other than "What's it like to be an aweseome war hero?"), he'll squint and scream: "I killed fitty men!"

Mac said...

It would depend upon your definition, Pamelajaye, but I think the answer would be the War of 1812.

Mac said...

Oh, and getting back to the subject of the show, I thought "The Charles Barkley Show" had potential, though Barkley himself is funnier than Kenan Thompson, and Phelps simply dynamited the sketch through his anti-charisma. He blew several lines in the show. You don't expect the athletes to be smooth performers, but normally they read their cue cards without a problem.

Pamela Jaye said...

oh. apparently the spanish american war was not fought in the us. oops.

thanks mac.

I always pictured TR charging up a hill in Texas somewhere.

lungfish said...

Loved it when Tina Fey pantomimed posing with an rifle.

Agreed that the rest of the episode was pretty awful, aside from the T-mobile bit.

Samberg even whiffed on the digital short I felt.

Anonymous said...

Palin has done more in her life than Obama has. And shes the 2nd person on the ticket. Obama is a joke and SNL would be better served if they started making satire of his Messiah like proclamations. Maybe it would actually get better ratings.

Pale Writer said...

Well, she went to more schools, that's for sure.


Point conceded.

jim treacher said...

Where did Abe Lincoln go to college?

Grunt said...

Jim Downey and Lorne Michaels are Republicans, so I really don't see SNL as biased. It's just they've had a year to make Obama jokes and they haven't had the opportunity to make any Palin jokes.

And regardless of whether you like Obama or not, you must admit that there is a lot to make fun of Palin about.

dez said...

Loved it when Tina Fey pantomimed posing with an rifle.

That and her beauty queen poses totally cracked me. Also loved Poehler's Hillary getting so annoyed with Palin that she started ripping up the podium.

Rest of the show kinda sucked, although I did like the Quiz Show sketch, Will Forte's loony dance, and Andy Samberg's off-beat video ("Cancelled!"). Phelps is likeable, but not a good host for a live show. Plus he never appeared wearing all his medals--why even have him on with that? :-D

dez said...

Er, that would be "cracked me up" and "without that." My typing skills are going the way of McCain's, eep.

Dave T said...

Though Armisen's Obama is a toothless waste of space, let's not vote to keep Fey on SNL after November, mkay?

No. Not "mkay" at all.

Ed said...

And what is it she's supposed to say about dinosaurs?

That she calls them Jesus horses?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Okay, time out.

I recognize that it's difficult to discuss a satire of Sarah Palin without discussing Palin herself, Obama, media bias, etc., etc., etc., but for the most part we try to stay away from strict political debate, beating up on the other guy, etc. And we're getting real close to that territory right now, if we haven't entered it already.

So unless someone on either side of the political spectrum has something to add about the sketch, let's move on.

StickUpKid said...

I have really enojyed most of the last couple season of SNL but this was a definite step back.

Wiig, Hader, Forte are all extraordinary. Its my opinion that they underuse FOrte and Hader was MIA on this episode. But overall this was a terrible episode.

I loved the halftime sketch with Peyton Manning but Phelps was brutal. I don't blame him, he was as good as you would expect. THe writers were just plain flat in this episode. Rehashing the ugly home schooled kids sketch was a misstep too. Seth Rogen was ok in that sketch last go round but still not a great sketch, certainly not one that needed brought back.

THe Palin sketch was great, I've always got a kick out of the poltical commentary from Fred Armisen's character on weekend update and the update always supplies a few laughs but I hope things start moving up next week or I'm going to have a hard time watching every Saturday night.

Ed said...

The term Jesus Horse originated on a SNL Weekend Update thing four years ago. So I thought it was relevant.

jesus horses

According to Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update team (Jimmy Fallon and Tiny Fay), "jesus horses" are defined in the following excerpt: "A Supreme Court in Geaorgia ruled that high school biology teachers were permitted to continue using the term 'evolution' when teaching their classes. However as a compromise, they must now refer to dinosaurs as 'jesus horses'."
My son Timmy loves to learn about jesus horses. His favorite jesus horse is the T-Rex.

by duckhunter24 Aug 16, 2004 email it 0 comments

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=jesus+horses

cdg said...

Both my husband and I had to pause for a second to make sure it was Tina and not actually Sarah. The opener was great, but the rest pretty much sucked with occasional breaks for a laugh. I swear I will immediately change the channel if that Uno bit ever comes up again (if I watch). It was skin-crawlingly horrible. Ironically, they buried the better sketches at the end: the T-Mobile and the Michael Phelps diet.

Anonymous said...

Some people try to write off shows very simplistically---oh, it's not funny anymore, or hasn't been funny since "x". But let's face it. SNL has one or two good shows a year, and the rest are mediocre. I love Kristen Wiig and the others have their moments but it's pretty bleak most weeks. Other than the sketch that started all this discussion, it was a rough hour and a half. Again.

Nicole said...

SNL is the kind of show that really shouldn't be watched live so that you can skip all the boring parts. It was smart to use the Palin sketch in the open because it was the best part and fooled people into thinking the rest of the episode would be good as well.

Jenn. said...

Tina Fey's acting skills have improved so much. Despite the physical resemblence, I just can't imagine her nailing that impersonation before her time on 30 Rock.

jim treacher said...

The term Jesus Horse originated on a SNL Weekend Update thing four years ago. So I thought it was relevant.

Well, everybody makes mistakes. Hey, if they can't get Fey to come back (she's busy with 30 Rock), maybe Julia Louis-Dreyfus could come back to do it?

dez said...

^Isn't Julia still busy with "New Adventures of Old Christine" (I hope)?

Christian said...

The sketch would have been funny other than the embarassing dinosaur line again. It's beyond insane that the entire media seems to accept that as fact even though it came from the palin quote satire site.

Butch said...

I understand that the Palin-Dinosaur thing came from a joke site, but hold on -- has anyone asked her if she believes in evolution? Or thinks the story of Noah's Ark is literally true?

The skit didn't say "This one believes dinosaurs were created 4,000 years ago," but rather, "Ask this one about dinosaurs". And I think we should, because I'm curious about the answer.

On another subject: Would you consider the territory of Alaska part of American soil during WWII? Because the Japanese occupied a couple Aleutian Islands.

That First Andrew said...

The last war fought on US soil was the Civil War, ladies and gentlemen. The Civil War. But that's OK, becuase we still have a lot of game left to play.

Did anyone else think of the Studio 60 sketch "Science Schmience" for that homeschooling sketch? They had a lot in common, from the premise to the fact that neither was especially funny.

As for political bias on the show, I don't think they have been ripping on Bush for the last 8-9 years because the writers are liberal. I think they ripped on him because they are lazy and he is an easy target.

The truth is, SNL is not much on political satire any more. Ever since they got a ton of publicity for their Bush/Gore impressions affecting how those campaigns presented themselves, they have gone for the simplest, most basic impressions with no real content. Last night was a rare exception because the sketch actually had content, but be prepared for the Republicans to be portrayed as old/militant and inexperienced/crazy.

Nicole said...

The entire point of satire is to exaggerate reality and both women were portrayed in less than flattering ways. That's why it was funny. I don't know why the actual campaigns and the media are so obsessed with one SNL skit when there are actual issues out there, like whatever is going on with Wall Street.

jim treacher said...

I understand that the Palin-Dinosaur thing came from a joke site, but hold on -- has anyone asked her if she believes in evolution? Or thinks the story of Noah's Ark is literally true?

Why bother? Everybody who thinks they know the answer already thinks they know the answer. It doesn't even have to be true. In fact, that seems to be the last thing on anybody's mind.

Anonymous said...

The opening skit was hilarious. Phelps was awful. He might be a nice guy, but he has absolutely no personality. Good thing he's making his money now, because he's got no future in front of a camera in any capacity. You want a champion swimmer with personality, poise, and looks? Natalie Coughlin.