SUNDAY MORNING LIVE: Joseph Gordon-Levitt Channels 'Magic Mike' and the Son of the Most Interesting Man in the World
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Welcome to the second edition of Sunday Morning Live, The Bill Kuchman Chronicle's look at the latest edition of Saturday Night Live.
How'd Joseph Gordon-Levitt do?
This is a tricky question. Every so often (more often than it should happen lately), SNL has a host who does great in whatever the show puts him in but winds up getting held back by poor-quality material or underuse. This happened to Jason Segel and Charlie Day last season. Unfortunately, Joseph Gordon-Levitt was a victim of this syndrome during his second SNL hosting stint. Gordon-Levitt was definitely an enthusiastic host, kicking the episode off with a Magic Mike striptease. While I know that many of Gordon-Levitt's fans loved this, you gotta wonder how this was relevant to anything. OK, sorry, I won't ruin the enjoyment people got from it. (Unfortunately, NBC hasn't released Gordon-Levitt's monologue online. This isn't my fault. I'm really sorry. I'm guessing that they don't have the rights clears to put the monologue — which features the song It's Raining Men — on the Internet.)
There were large stretches of the show where it seemed like Gordon-Levitt disappeared, showing up mainly when SNL resorted to pre-taped bits. In the post-Digital Shorts era, should we expect more pre-taped sequences now? As the episode ended with a weird early cut to commercial (while a sketch was still going on), it was clear that this wasn't going to be a standout episode in SNL's 38th season. Not Gordon-Levitt's fault though.
What were the best sketches of the night?
The episode started off strong with those pre-taped bits I mentioned, the best being a two-part spoof of the Dos Equis Most Interesting Man in the World commercials, featuring Gordon-Levitt playing the son of the Most Interesting Man in the World. (The first one is obviously the video in the last section.) These ones definitely had the feel of a Digital Short, which is what I'm assuming SNL is hoping to keep replicating. SNL clinched the joke when Jason Sudeikis appeared as the Most Interesting Man in the World only to berate his son. "He didn't even make the team! You pussy! You swam two laps, and then you puked like a dog. They had to drain the pool."
As SNL has scaled back Sudeikis and Fred Armisen, Taran Killam has been given the keys to the show's future. Killam was in full "Will Ferrell/nude model" mode as he played a man pretending to be hypnotized by Gordon-Levitt. If you wanted male nudity, dinosaur sounds and Keenan Thompson getting dry humped, well, this was the sketch for you.
Who stood out this weekend?
With Kristen Wiig gone, SNL needs one of its female cast members to step up, and it looks like Kate McKinnon is going to be the one to answer that call. McKinnon made several appearances during Saturday's episode, the greatest one being her Ann Romney impression during Weekend Update. Despite the fact that McKinnon's Ann Romney seems nothing like the real Ann Romney, she created an entertaining and ridiculous caricature that dominated Weekend Update. Bonus points for Bill Hader's Rick Perry popping up. NBC cut out McKinnon's Ann Romney singing a Beyonce song from the online version of the sketch, probably due to the same reasons as the Magic Mike monologue being missing.
After debuting his Barack Obama portrayal last weekend, Jay Pharoah was a big part of Season 38's second episode too. Pharoah and Nasim Pedrad took on Michael Strahan and Kelly Ripa during the cold open, and then Pharoah finally got to show the world his absurd Stephen A. Smith impression during Weekend Update. SNL released a rehearsal version of Pharoah's Smith online last season, but this was the first time he got to do it for real. After being ignored for several seasons, has Lorne Michaels finally decided to give Pharoah his chance?
SNL takes next weekend off, but returns on Oct. 6 with Daniel Craig hosting and Muse as the music guest.
Previous editions of Sunday Morning Live
Sept. 16, 2012: Seth MacFarlane