Kristen Wiig!

Cold Opening – Fox Report
After buttering us up for months with all this talk about Mitt Romney’s “human sons,” they finally get their day on screen!  In this season’s batch of cookie-cutter Mitt Romney cold opens, the references to his sons have consistently been one of the best moments, so they all shined brightly, whereas Mitt didn’t have much else to talk about otherwise.  There was some sort of joke waiting to happen with Kid Rock, but it never did.  I must have been too generous to those other Romney cold opens, because this one was better, and I’m giving it about the same grade. B-

Lindsay Lohan’s Monologue
It was quite alarming (pun not initially intended, but accepted) when Lindsay stepped off the stage, and the sirens went off.  I really did not know what that was at first.  I thought it might have been a fire or a security alarm.  Anyway, the references to Lindsay’s past were expected, but the ways in which they went down were surprising and witty.  Jimmy’s cameo was expected, Jon Hamm’s was not – thanks for the surprises, and for making them meaningful. A-

The Real Housewives of Disney
Now here is a powerhouse performance from Kristen Wiig.  For all of you who complain that she just mugs for the camera and makes funny noises, this time she played an actual character.  And everyone else was represented cleverly as well.  Who knew Snow White was from Joisey?  B+

2012 Psychic Awards
With that incessant barker from the one Romney cold open and now the psychic dog, it has been a banner year for canines on SNL.  There was a plainly logical sort of cleverness to this concept, and it was well executed. B

Scared Straight
Lindsay’s tabloid days were not referenced that much in this episode, but when they were, as in Scared Straight, they were integrated perfectly: “I’m Lorenzo McIntosh.” “And I’m Lindsay Lohan.”  So then, we knew they were going to reference Lindsay’s movies.  I was a little disappointed that they didn’t touch on I Know Who Killed Me; it would have been a perfect transition from The Parent Trap.  Having said all that praise, it was a little jarring that Lindsay kept reading the cue cards (looking over her shoulder to do so, no less!).  Considering that she was playing herself, that could have been some sort of meta joke in which her criminal days led her to forget the plots of her movies.  SNL occasionally will have a joke that complicated, and while I don’t think Lindsay would have come up with it, I think she would have been happy to go along with it.  But it didn’t really seem like it was supposed to be a joke. B-

Jack White performs “Love Interuption”
As expected, Jack White gets his sound to be perfect on the SNL stage.  Dear SNL sound mixers: this really shouldn’t be an unusual thing.  So he played this pretty much perfectly, and it’s a decent song, not spectacular. B+

Weekend Update
-The Jokes: Ah, the Juggalo vote.  If only there had been an Underunderground Records sketch. C+
-The Segments: -James Carville: Hader’s Carville is now likely only tangentially related to the actual Carville. B+
-Snooki: It took me a second, but then I realized why Snooki was telling us that The Lorax was now out in theatres. B

Delinquent Girl Teen Gang
I’ve got to admire Fred for so often going in drag and committing himself so deeply to playing a woman in a time when so many people speak out to say that cross-dressing for comedy is offensive.  I’ve also got to admire him for committing to a sketch with a painfully obvious, absurdly repetitive gag.  His commitment alone raised the quality of this sketch from “complete failure” to “watchable.” C+

Digital Short: Afro
The twist ending was intriguing: I would have liked to have seen it lead to something else. C+

B108 FM
I liked Bobby and Taran’s energy, Lindsay’s character seemed to have some thought put into it, and Vanessa plays the straight woman well.  But, wow, what was the point of this sketch? C+

I remember the days when commercial paroides were regularly recycled on SNL.  I think I heard some SNL person mention in an interview that with the Internet, people can just choose to rewatch everything on their own whenever they want.  I still like the practice of reusing them on the show, though.  Oh well.  Either way, Chantix didn’t really deserve that much to be reused. Original Grade: C+

House Sitting
I can understand why people who dislike Kristen at her muggiest would dislike this sketch, but I contend that it featured her mugging being put to good use.  This strange behavior was meant to be off-putting and confusing for the person in her company, and it was also – and this was key – not the normal disposition for Kristen’s character.  The explanation grounded the sketch well, but it wasn’t terribly thrilling. B

Hmm, another commercial parody repeat.  At least this time it was the best one of the season. Original Grade: A

Jack White performs “Sixteen Saltines”
That sounds like some early, pure garage rock White Stripes right there. B+

Rude Buddha!
Throwaway.  But on the better end of such comedy that deserves that descriptor.

70’s Album (I)
What a sweet portrayal of insanity! B+

70’s Album (II)
Oh, and he got burnt, too. C-

This was one of the strangest episodes of SNL I have ever seen, and that didn’t really have anything to do with Lindsay Lohan one way or the other.  Well, the buildup to her hosting – with all her history and the fact that she had nothing to promote – also had its strange flavor.  But almost every sketch could have been on any non-Lindsay Lohan-hosted episode, and the few bits that did have to do with Lindsay were the least strange.  A Minnesota early morning radio show, a digital short about an absurdly large afro, an exploitation film in which Fred Armisen in drag keeps getting hit by cars – why would anyone suggest these ideas for sketches, ever?  It’s not that they were bad ideas – with better execution I think they could have been great sketches – it’s just that I can’t fathom where the inspiration for these concepts could have come from.