One month and four days. SNL writers had one month and four days between new episodes to work on material, and what they ended up with was...Top Dog Chef. Last night's Jennifer Lawrence-hosted episode was, through no fault of her own (she was funny, charming, and game for anything), pretty awful, with a messy, packed first half making way for a stagnant second. It was maddeningly all over the place; not a single sketch felt fully formed.
Plus, WE JUST FOUND OUT A SUPER FAMOUS ATHLETE "KILLED" HIS FAKE GIRLFRIEND AND HAS BEEN LYING ABOUT IT FOR WEEKS, which, well, read that sentence again. It's perfect fodder for SNL...and it was reduced to a brief Weekend Update joke and one-third of a Piers Morgan cold open. But I'm sure the next time a celebrity is involved in an elaborate Internet hoax with a woman who never existed, SNL will get it right.
One more thing: JENNIFER LAWRENCE BOOBS NUDE BUTT NAKED JENNIFER LAWRENCE. Oh, hey, Google.
The episode shot its load early by cramming three giant news stories — Lance Armstrong, Manti Te'o, and Jodie Foster's insanity — into its unfunny cold open. That's a shame, too, because the only way they could have said something new about the Te'o scandal would have been to stretch it out into a full-length sketch. But instead, they went with overused one-liners for all three, and really the only decent part was Kate McKinnon's Foster impression.
Hey, no one sang! Amusing, but Lawrence was clearly nervous, and didn't pace the jokes properly. That's a small complaint, though; I'm always up for J-Law trashing nine year old girls.
Cecily Strong and Aidy Bryant, who really deserves more screentime, are quickly becoming two of my favorites, and Jennifer Lawrence was a nice addition as a mall punk who's totally been to New York, but in retrospect, "Girlfriend Talk Show" getting the post-Monologue timeslot, "Starbucks Verismo" notwithstanding, was a warning of what was to come. It had its moments (like Bryant's guinea pig pin), but it felt half-finished, like the writers got everything but the punchline, said "fuck it," and went to Hot Topic and Orange Julius, instead.
Oh boy, that moment when the video froze. Who knew SNL uses Quicktime to project their preproduced material? Anyway, as for the sketch itself, meh. Some of the movies landed (Gandalf Tries To Remember a Name, the one where the dwarves sing "The Longest Time"), but most flopped. In other words:
Maybe my favorite sketch of the night, though that's not saying much. Lawrence does "cruel" really well, and I'm all about characters telling other characters that they're sacks of hot garbage, but even this one had a weird non-ending, with whipped cream being unloaded onto Vanessa Bayer and Bobby Moynihan's heads. Ha?
Crispino must hang out with the "Da Bears" guys when he's not gathering up information about the Depp Ceiling.
You guys have no idea how much I wanted to love Top Dog Chef. It combined four of my favorite things into one sketch: dogs, food, Jennifer Lawrence, and awful puns. But HOLY CRAP was it awful. Pretty sure you could see the performers' dignity slowly evaporate while it kept going on and on and on. This is the kind of sketch that Old Man Moyihan is going to watch in 40 years, and after throwing his drink and glass into a fireplace, he'll scream, "The f*ck was I thinking?" to no one before dying. Because, really, the f*ck were they thinking?
Heh, "Busty Rhymes." J-Law got decent flow, yo, even if the premise was basically ripped from Jean-Ralphio. Not bothering with "Danielle" and "Civil War Lovers," because to phrase it like Busty: SNL had a month off/This should have been better/Why you gotta treat an Oscar winner/Like a DID YOU SEE TOP DOG CHEF?
This song needs to be in more commercials.
All hail the Hader.