Sunday, December 20, 2009

Fixing Saturday Night Live

I would say that this season of SNL has been uneven, but only because one or two episodes were pretty good.  Otherwise, it has reeked, and not in a good way.  I was so frustrated while watching last night that I came up with a few rules or suggestions.
  1. Music is not funny unless it is.  That is, the past several episodes seem to rely very heavily on musical sketches, and these are almost always not funny (Taylor Swift was the surprising exception).  The cold open with Lawrence Welk was just awful (more below).  The sketch with the guy who sings too much so his guests are bumped is also lame and too long.  The only positive last night was the possibility that Mike Tyson might deck the guy--his menace made the sketch interesting.  Otherwise, not good.  Just because "More Cowbell" is among the most popular sketches does not mean that music works.
    1. Key exception--the digital shorts can be musical and funny, mostly by combining Samberg and Timberlake.  Last night's was actually ok because it was not about the music, but about an increasingly bizarre kids program.
  2. Stop repeatedly using a lame character.  The dancer with the small hands in the first sketch.  Kind of funny once, maybe.  But not a second time and not for the opening.  The kissing family works only because the guys take such gusto in kissing each other.  But wouldn't it be great if they could have a sketch that has more than one joke that they beat into the ground?
  3. Shorter sketches.  I guess  the problem is that they have so few good ideas that they want to use whatever ones they have for as long as they can.  Um.  No.  
  4. Newer material. Lawrence Welk?  Really?  REALLY?  Reeeeaallly? That show barely overlapped with SNL's beginnings, so how much of the SNL audience gets or cares about that reference?  I am old enough to remember but young enough to know that it ain't funny.  Surely, something has happened in the past decade or so that might have been a better reference.  Indeed, they could have done something with the end of the decade .....
The good news is that hope is on the horizon. Charles Barkley is the first host of the new year.  There are heaps of things you can do with him, for instance:
  • Charles Barkley, Crisis Therapist.  He can provide advice to "Tiger Woods" and whoever else they can imitate, based on his experiences.
  • Uncle Chuck.  Inappropriate gifts or advice given by Charles to his brother's kids. 
  • Charles as Broadcaster of a non-sport event or of a sport that he does not know--like figure skating.
  • Charles as investment adviser, based on his years as an unsuccessful gambler.
Whatever they do, I hope they don't make him sing or dance or have others sing or dance around him


Steve Greene said...

Ummm, dude, I think you are the only person over 40 who still watches this show. If there's actually anything good, it will go viral and you'll see it on-line.

Steve Saideman said...

Lil Dude,
I live in Canada, and most of the viral stuff these days ends up on Hulu--which I cannot get in Canada. Indeed, I am hoping that I can hop on someone's wireless near my mother-in-law's house so that I can catch up on hulu and other stuff that is otherwise inaccessibe or too much work to get.
And hey, if this keeps me in touch with the youths (pronounced yutes a la Joe Pesci), then it is all good.