Jeff’s Wacky SNL Review: Issa Rae/Justin Bieber

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SNL: Justin Bieber, Issa Rae (CREDIT: YouTube Screenshot)

SNL Season 46 Log. Episode 3. No major emergencies. Time for some funnies!

Insecure creator-star Issa Rae is making her hosting debut, and I think that’s a commendable booking decision. She has the chops to be goofy, which she doesn’t always have the opportunity to show off in Insecure. But on SNL, there’s plenty of room for her to kick back and be silly. In fact, it’s encouraged.

As for the tunes, Justin Bieber is the musical guest for the fourth time in his career and the second time in this calendar year. To which I say, “Huh.” I’m open to the possibility of liking his songs more now and in the future than I have in the past, but I wouldn’t have pegged him to be such a Studio 8H fixture at this point.

I woke up early Sunday morning. Before 7:00 AM, even! But I stayed in bed a little past 7:00 because I like to rise with the sun. Then I watched this episode and took some notes while I watched.

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Jeff’s Wacky SNL Review: Bill Burr/Jack White

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SNL: Bill Burr (CREDIT: YouTube Screenshot)

Bill Burr is a comedian who’s been around for a few decades, but this episode is his first time ever appearing on Saturday Night Live. So what finally got him on the radar of Lorne & Co. enough to land that hosting gig? Is it because he starred in a movie this summer with Pete Davidson? That certainly could’ve helped. Is it because his name is almost the same as current American Attorney General William Barr? Possibly, although no reference was made to that during the episode.

The musical guest was originally supposed to be country singer Morgan Wallen, but he was recently behaving in a way that’s not recommended during a pandemic, so SNL vet Jack White stepped in as a replacement. I’d never heard of Morgan before he was booked; hopefully he does something more commendable at some point in the future so that his reputation isn’t forever based on a lapse in judgment.

I got up early Sunday morning and started watching with my typical bowl of cereal. I also made time to write down the dream I had the night before, which featured Drs. Doug and Carol from County General Hospital (even though I’ve never seen an episode of ER!).

Now let’s get on to the review! And for as long as the pandemic is ongoing, I will continue to space out my thoughts on each sketch.

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Jeff’s Wacky Back-in-Studio SNL Review: Chris Rock/Megan Thee Stallion

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SNL: Megan Thee Stallion, Chris Rock (CREDIT: YouTube Screenshot)

If we’re responsible during a pandemic, we can return to some of our pre-pandemic routines before the pandemic has fully run its course. And Saturday Night Live sure looks like it’s being responsible, which is presumably how we can explain its return to Studio 8H (with a real-live host, musical guest, and studio audience to boot!) after a trio of resourcefully assembled remote episodes back in the spring.

Pretty much every sketch in this Season 46 opener has something to do with the pandemic in one way or another, which is perfectly reasonable, considering that every part of daily life currently has something to do with the pandemic in one way or another. But host Chris Rock and MG Megan Thee Stallion aren’t here because of pandemic reasons; they’re here because, as is usually the case with SNL guests, they’ve got something to promote (Fargo Season 4 and new music, respectively).

As for me and my SNL viewing routine, as per yoozh, I woke up early on Sunday morning and fired up my DVR. I was feeling a little congested, so I popped some phenylephrine and it seemed to hit the spot. Then I ran 10 miles after Update, and it was off to the races!

In deference to pandemic precautions, I have decided to give each sketch its own line in my review so as to visually represent 6 feet apart. Let’s get to it!

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Entertainment To-Do List: Week of 10/2/20

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Hubie Halloween (CREDIT: Scott Yamano/Netflix)

Every week, I list all the upcoming (or recently released) movies, TV shows, albums, podcasts, etc. that I believe are worth checking out.

Movies
Possessor (Select Theaters) – Body horror from Brandon Cronenberg.
Hubie Halloween (October 7 on Netflix) – Adam Sandler in a Halloween movie. Now give him some candy!

TV
Saturday Night Live Season 46 Premiere (October 3 on NBC) – They’re back in Studio 8H!
black-ish Election Special (October 4 on ABC)
The Good Lord Bird Series Premiere (October 4 on Showtime) – Ethan Hawke as John Brown and Daveed Diggs as Frederick Douglass.
Soulmates Series Premiere (October 5 on AMC)
Doctor Who: The Faceless Ones Premiere (October 7 on BBC America)

Music
-William Shatner, The Blues

Podcasts
With Gourley and Rust (October 2 on Patreon, October 9 on all other platforms) – Matt Gourley and Paul Rust talking horror movies.

Jmunney’s 2020 Emmy Wish List, Part 4: Variety and Reality

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CREDIT: ABC; IFC

The 2020 Emmy nominations will be announced on July 28. As per annual tradition, I have assembled a Wish List for as many categories as I have something to say about. There is no minimum or maximum number per category, nor is there any strict adherence to official Emmy rules. And of course, there is the necessary caveat that I have not seen everything. Even with much of the country shut down for the past few months, that’s impossible.

Now that I have made my way through the avalanche of award-worth Dramas, Comedies, and Limited Series, it’s time to get a little silly with the Variety shows. And this year, I decided to also talk about Reality, as there are enough competition shows that I plainly love to be able to fill out a ballot.

Conan is my top choice among the talkies, as Mr. O’Brien and company adapted quite naturally to the new reality of at-home production and Zoom interviews. The Soul Train/American Bandstand homage that is Sherman’s Showcase is the easy choice in Sketch Series; seriously folks, you gotta check this show out. And while I don’t always include SNL in the field, it earned a spot this year thanks to the resiliency demonstrated in its at-home episodes.

Moving on to Reality, where my Competition Program picks are dominated by game shows, naturally enough. At the top of the heap is the mini-golf showcase Holey Moley, one of the most purely fun and positive shows on the air right now. And Joe Tessitore and Rob Riggle are the perfect silly/serious M.C. pair to present the whole shebang.

KEY:
Bold=My winner

CREDIT: YouTube Screenshot

Variety Talk Series
CONAN
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

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Jmunney’s 2020 Emmy Wish List, Part 2: Comedy

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CREDIT: YouTube Screenshots

The 2020 Emmy nominations will be announced on July 28. As per annual tradition, I have assembled a Wish List for as many categories as I have something to say about. There is no minimum or maximum number per category, nor is there any strict adherence to official Emmy rules. And of course, there is the necessary caveat that I have not seen everything. Even with much of the country shut down for the past few months, that’s impossible.

Yesterday I kicked off my Emmy Wish List coverage with plenty of Drama. Today it’s time to laugh along with the Comedies, and boy, what a year for laughter it was! At the top of my list are those wacky vampires (Vacky vampires? Wacky wampires? Vacky wampires?) of What We Do in the Shadows, which in its second season staked itself permanently in my heart. It’s my winner for Comedy Series and all but one of the acting categories. Too bad it doesn’t have a Supporting Actress, otherwise it would’ve been a clean sweep.

Matt Berry is at the top of the Lead Actor heap thanks almost entirely to the Jackie Dayton episode (which ought to also earn Mark Hamill a Guest Actor trophy). Meanwhile, Mark Proksch slays the Supporting Actor Field thanks to Colin Robinson taking full advantage of his promotion. And Natasia Demetriou is the #1 Lead Actress because Nadja is awesome in every episode.

As for the Supporting ladies, I’ve got a little bit of everything, and ultimately it just felt right to go with the representative of the oldest show on my ballot as the winner.

Some other notables: Never Have I Ever and mixed-ish make the strongest showings of freshman series, Sex Education switches its category placement from Drama to Comedy (and remains worthy of praise), and I’m currently only on Season 2 of Schitt’s Creek, but I’m sure it’s just as good in its final season.

KEY:
Bold=My winner
!( )!=I haven’t caught up to the current season of this show, but I still wanted to recognize it.

Comedy Series
Atypical
Baskets
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Mixed-ish
Never Have I Ever
Sex Education
!(Schitt’s Creek)!
What We Do in the Shadows

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The Best of SNL Season 45

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CREDIT: Mary Ellen Matthews/NBC

At the end of Season 45, we’ve got some seasoned veterans in this here SNL cast. Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong, and Aidy Bryant have all just completed their eighth full seasons, while Beck Bennett and Kyle Mooney aren’t too far behind at seven each. Those are some healthy runs, and under normal circumstances, I would be encouraging them to look towards a future beyond Studio 8H. (Kenan Thompson, meanwhile, continues to defy all SNL tenure logic as he creeps ever closer to a previously-unheard of 20 seasons.)

But these aren’t normal circumstances, of course, as the last three episodes of this season weren’t exactly live. So if those veterans want to return for at least part of Season 46 for a proper send-off, they’d be justified in doing so. As for what they and their castmates accomplished in the past year, I would like to celebrate that, as I usually do. So here’s what happened on SNL between September 2019 and May 2020 that made me go, “Good, good.” (My thoughts on the best sketches of the season can be found here.)

Most Valuable Cast Member
The veterans delivered veteran-quality work. Cecily stands out on the very top for her consistently capable canine corralling.
Cecily Strong
Runners-Up:
Kenan Thompson
Kate McKinnon

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Best Sketches of SNL Season 45

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CREDIT: NBC/YouTube Screenshots

If you are a human being who watched every minute of Saturday Night Live Season 45 and didn’t laugh at least 15 times, I would be surprised. HERE ARE MY RANKINGS OF THE BEST SKETCHES OF THE SEASON! (All sketches from the 2019-20 season were eligible, whether they were from regular episodes, or from stay-at-home episodes, or posted online after being cut for time. New cut-for-time sketches have continued to steadily trickle in since the season finale; with that in mind, this list will be regularly updated accordingly if necessary.)

15. Food Dudes: Ingenuity can take people far if they’re sufficiently motivated.

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Jeff’s Wacky SNL at Home Review: Kristen Wiig/Boyz II Men

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CREDIT: NBC/YouTube Screenshot

Whoa-whoa-whoa, Saturday Night Live Season 45 wrapped things up before the dates in May even hit double digits. Well, actually, while the finale began airing on May 9, most of it aired on May 10, as this late night sketch show typically airs most of its episodes in the early morning hours (which of course feel more like night).

But no matter what particular minutes this 18th episode of Season 45 aired, it was indeed the season finale. Kristen Wiig wasn’t officially announced as the host during the opening montage, but she certainly performed more hostly duties than any of the other stay-at-home guests, so we’ll call her the host. And as for the music, we’ll take it II Motownphilly with some Boyz II Men (featuring Babyface).

As for my state of mind while watching, I cooked up some scrambled eggs that I started chowing into right as I summoned up the cold opening. I considered just having a quick bowl of cereal, but since it’s Mother’s Day, I decided I must get eggy with it. I added some milk to make it fluffy. It spilled a little out of my teaspoon, but not enough so that the dish up didn’t end up sufficiently fluffy.

Note: in honor of the holiday, all of my grades for this episode will be mom-based.

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Entertainment To-Do List: Week of 5/8/20

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CREDIT: Netflix

Every week, I list all the upcoming (or recently released) movies, TV shows, albums, podcasts, etc. that I believe are worth checking out.

Movies
Valley Girl (Streaming May 8)

TV
Solar Opposites Season 1 (May 8 on Hulu) – New animated series about a family of aliens from Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland.
SNL at Home Season Finale (May 9 on NBC)
SNL Mother’s Day Special (May 10 on NBC) – A compilation episode the day after the season finale?! Count me in!
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. the Reverend (May 12 on Netflix) – Kimmy does choose-your-own-adventure!
The Happy Days of Garry Marshall (May 12 on ABC) – Please, call him Garry!

Music
-Hayley Williams, Petals for Armor

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