OK, let's get it out of the way: someone dropped the fuck-bomb on SNL last night--and, poor lamb, it was a new cast member on her very first episode. Jenny Slate either ruined or solidified her spot on the show, slipping and saying "fucking" instead of "frickin" in a "frickin"-laden sketch in the second half of the show. I wouldn't be positive it happened if Slate didn't puff out her cheeks with obvious abashment. This is what Lorne Michaels gets for letting a featured player carry a sketch so early on her SNL tenure rather than letting her toil in obscurity for several years first.
As for Megan Fox, she did a better job hosting than I expected. She came off somewhat wooden to me during her talk show appearances last week but I can buy that she is able to poke fun at herself more than she lets on. I assumed she'd be Paris-Hilton bad but she was entirely not-terrible.
The cold opener, with Fred Armisen as Muammar Khadafi at the U.N. was amusing--I think it went on a bit long but it had its moments, like "When it is lunchtime here, I want dinner. This is no way to live," and the throwaway line "Fish flu is coming and you cannot stop it." I had to hand it to Armisen, who was still funny despite speaking gibberish and being talked over by a translator.
Megan Fox's monologue was one of those where you don't actually have to be talented in order to carry it (no standup, singing or dancing) but it was amusing nonetheless, as she showed badly-photoshopped pictures nude photos of her (and of U2). She came off as endearing though and even though I admit that I was a Megan Fox hater in the past I have come around--not to love, per se, but not-hate.
After the cold opener we had a commercial for "Bladdivan," a drug for men with shy pee-pee's: "I just peed and I do not care." Eh: SNL jokes about pooping and peeing yourself are never my favorites (so I will be mad if those Jamie Lee Curtis yogurt ads come back.)
The airplane sketch would have been a total bust but it had a tiny measure of silliness that made me not fill up with rage that it was going on for so long--I also warmed to the opening line of Andy Samberg on an airplane complaining about having to go back to Hawaii now that his vacation's over. Basically, two flight attendants alerted the passengers of increasingly-dire information in a bored Southern accent, interspersing it with "You're not going to like this but we are all out of Tera Blue chips, so..." It wasn't a good sketch by any stretch of the imagination but it was just weird enough to be amusing, like the ladies' fight over how much one of them loves the show Monk.
I can't believe that I laughed at all at the next sketch when I think about the setup: a man is shopping for a Russian bride. One is Megan Fox, the other is Fred Armisen in a wig, and he is $10 cheaper. Armisen looks like "she's from the drain," cannot wink, only blink and her guilty pleasure is "heroin." But, as opposed to costing $60K, she costs $59,990, which makes it a very difficult decision for the would-be groom. So stupid. But it made me laugh.
Same with the digital short--stupid-silly but funny. Megan Fox is on a romantic date with Will Forte who speaks in a voice that I can only describe as sounding, well, mentally challenged. He's SWAT team commander, naturally, who also raises lambs. "I love my lambs," he says. "I love them so much." Then she asks him to marry her and he says "No fucking way." That's it. The more I think about it, the more I think I need to see it again.
It wasn't a great episode by any stretch of the imagination at this point but I was entertained, although I quit laughing at "Grady Wilson's Burning up the Bedsheets"--just Kenan Thompson in drawers, a yellowed t-shirt and black socks demonstrating sex moves (joined by Megan Fox--and no, she never played anyone but a hot girl).
U2 performed. I have a hard time judging U2--they don't bring me the pleasure they once did but the one time I tried to criticize U2 in print I got death threats. I didn't know the first song they performed but if you were wondering whether Bono spun around with his arms out while looking at an overhead camera, he did.
Weekend Update featured two recurring characters that I could live without: Jean K Jean, the French comedian (although I didn't mind "99 problems but a bitch ain't un") and Judy Grimes, Kristen Wiig's character that says a bunch of stuff and then says "just kidding" as she gets weirder and weirder. I like Kristen Wiig--just tend to hate most of her recurring characters. I did like the Update joke though about most people assuming the G2 summit had something to do with Gatorade.
Post-Update we had a commercial for a singles line that seemed like the kind of sketch you would find in any season of SNL--yet still enjoy. Those who would enjoy the line are "people who like fun," "people who want to be murdered," "murderers" and "David Duchovny." I'm also a sucker for Bill Hader making a weird face. It helped that it was a tight sketch that didn't go on too long.
U2 performed again, and just when I was thinking that this "Moment of Surrender" song was nice, Bono started talk-singing. U2 is U2-ey.
So, yes, then we got to "Biker Fucking Chick Chat," a sketch that's hard to judge objectively due to the exciting bad word and the fact that the cameramen seemed to get flustered afterward or something because the blocking suddenly got weird--we could see audience members' heads and some of the actors were half-in the frame. It seemed like the kind of sketch that was funnier on the page but didn't translate that well to live action, as the chicks alternately fought and respected each other. But at least we'll remember it now.
Comedy-wise I thought everything continued to go downhill from here on out. In another SNL Digital Short Megan Fox came home with a date and introduced him to her roommate Optimus, a pudgy guy in a robe wearing a Transformers mask. Other than him going "bart-bart-bart" as he dropped his pants and a Brian Austin Green reveal, the bit didn't need to last longer than ten seconds.
We closed with "Your Mom Talks to Megan Fox While You Finish Getting Ready" which featured Kristen Wiig as "your mom," trying to impress Megan Fox with her own not-very-wild stories. It might have been funnier if Megan wasn't put into such a dull straight man role or we knew more about Megan Fox so that Wiig's character would have more to riff on.
In an unusual move, instead of seeing the cast mingle (and see what Jenny Slate got up to) as the credits rolled, U2 played us out. As an Achtung Baby fan I was happy to hear "Ultraviolet (Light My Way)" start up but then Bono started swinging on the mic like a monkey. I apologize in advance for not finding that incredibly awesome. Maybe it works better in concert than when Bono's doing it to the camera. My ambivalence was short-lived however as the performance was unceremoniously cut short (apparently NBC will not extend an SNL ep even for U2).
I think some people probably thought this episode was worse than I did but I compare each episode to some of the worst than I've seen, so if it doesn't make me want to turn off the TV in disgust, if it doesn't make me think "Sleep is better than this," then that's still something.
--I hate Megan Fox's Marilyn Monroe tattoo. Somebody has been misinforming today's young Hollywood youth that Marilyn Monroe was someone to emulate.
--I got confused during a few parts of the episode as occasionally Jenny Slate, when she wears a blond wig, bears a resemblance to Amy Poehler.