Monday, December 14, 2009

Taylor Lautner pads onto Saturday Night Live

     As with any show that has been on a long time, NBC's Saturday Night Live has its ups and downs.  I can think of no other show like it that has been on for thirty-five years, and its ups are good enough to keep watching through its downs.  Unfortunately, after last year's very big up, this year has been mostly down.  The one exception that leaps to mind is the Taylor Swift-hosted fantastic episode more than a month ago, and possibly some of Joseph Gordon-Levitt's.  Another Taylor, Lautner, (Jacob in the Twilight series) stepped up this week, and sadly did not do as well.

     The opening monologue was amusing enough, with Taylor reliving the Kanye VMA moment, and somehow keeping it from being stale, though the event itself is by this point.  It will only fuel more rumors on if the two Taylors are in fact dating (Swift dropped a more obvious hint in her opening).  The best skit he was in by far was the Team Jacob vs. Team Edward skit, where he was the girl defending the Edward side, of course.  It was a play off of the commercials.  He also performed admirably in the football interview skit, and was the only (slight) redeeming part of the middle school choir piece.  His love connection segment was terrible, one of the worst in recent memory, but was unable to salvage "Surprise!"  As much as Kristen Wiig is the star of the show now, if she never revives Aunt Sue, many will give thanks.

     The rest of the show without Lautner fumbled, mostly.  Seth Meyers is trying, and sometimes succeeding, hosting Weekend Update alone, but Amy Poehler is certainly missed in that spot.  Nasid Pedrad delivered a very funny take as Mistress #15 during Update, and Jason Sudeikis tried very hard to make the Tiger Woods scandal shine during his PGA announcements, with mixed results.  The rest of the episode, as has too often been the case this season, was forgettable.  Even musical guest Bon Jovi was dull, his tunes more mellow than in years past.

     Can SNL revive itself again?  Surely so.  Andy Samberg has given us many a gut-splitting Digital Short.  Wiig, Sudeikis, Will Forte, Kenan Thompson, and Meyers are far from past their prime, and the new additions of Pedrad, Bobby Moynihan, and Abby Elliott were very helpful.  And the rest of the cast isn't half bad.  Hopefully the writer's will find another dash of genius soon.  They have one more chance in 2009.  Come on guys!  Sarah Palin is back in the headlines.  Take a cue!

     Saturday Night Live will present a two hour primetime Christmas special this Thursday (unfortunately hosted by Wiig's most uber-annoying character, Gilly), and will conclude their fall batch of episodes this Saturday with host James Franco and musical guest Muse.

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