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Saturday Night Live: 38.02 – “Joseph Gordon-Levitt/Mumford & Sons”

Cold Open:
The cold open was a Live with Kelly & Michael skit, with Nasim Pedrad as Kelly Ripa and Jay Pharaoh as Michael Strahan. It felt a little weird to be a cold open though. It seemed like something that should’ve been between the monologue and Weekend Update. Usually this spot is saved for political material, but maybe they’re saving it all for the Thursday shows? This sketch did have some fun moments though. Nasim as Kelly: not blinking and the line where she was “at a gay rave with Anderson Cooper”. And Jay had fun as Michael Strahan, who was basically reveling in the fact that he was getting paid for basically doing nothing. My favorite line about Kelly’s cuteness: “I wanna put her between my teeth and carry her home”. Hader as Pattinson felt tacked on and really didn’t add anything.

Monologue:
Joseph Gordon-Levitt had a fun monologue. It was a little shorter, but he had fun with it. He did a routine from his favorite superhero movie of the summer: Magic Mike. Pharaoh, Killam & Moynihan joined him in the dance. My favorite part was when they ripped off their vests and Moynihan had another one under it. (I understand!) It wasn’t as memorable as his previous monologue where he did “Make ‘Em Laugh”.

Commercial: Undecided Voters:
This was a fun commercial. One of their better ones. It was making fun at the undecided voters, who are basically undecided because they are so stupid. They ask questions to the camera such as: “When is the election?” “Who is running and be specific?” There was an Asian guy featured in the commercial among the SNL cast members. Maybe one of the writers? A potential cast member that didn’t work out before the premiere?

Short Film: Son of the Most Interesting Man in the World:
There were two shorts films where Joseph Gordon-Levitt starred as the son of the ‘Most Interesting Man in the World’, the guy in those Dos Equis commercials. The son is basically a huge douchebag and just doesn’t wasteful things all day long. The first one had some fun physical comedy moments. The second one was much better. The second one delved a little further into his ridiculous behavior ‘Owns the first edition of every John Grisham novel’. And Jason Sudeikis makes an appearance towards the end as the actual Dos Equis guy. They have a typical father/son fight and it’s pretty great.

Sam Flint, Private Detective:
This one had some funny moments, but it was a little weird and would’ve worked better towards the end of the show. JGL (can I just refer to him by that from now on?) plays a man who suspects his wife is cheating and goes to Sam Flint (Bill Hader) to get evidence. He’s found that his wife is cheating, but Flint’s photos are just caricatures that he’s drawn of the moments. It’s a little random but I had a few nice chuckles.

Tommy Bergamont, Hypnotist:
My favorite sketch of the night. JGL plays a hypnotist who brings a man up on stage to be hypnotized. The man is Taran Killam. The hypnotist does his usual schtick, Killam isn’t under his trance but he pretends to anyways just to have fun. It’s a pretty cool sketch and Taran Killam gets a lot of great moments. There’s a twist towards the end that I actually didn’t see coming that made it even more memorable.

Commercial: G.O.B. Tampons:
They really packed a lot of commercials, pre-taped segments into the first part of the show. This one starred Vanessa Bayer as a woman endoring G.O.B. tampons. The tampons were designed by white Republican men, who know what’s right for a woman. It’s a take on the whole debate about Republicans’ views on women’s bodies and health issues. It was funny, but could’ve been drawn out a little more.

Mumford & Sons: “I Will Wait”:
I’m not a huge fan of the group, but I can see why they are so loved among music-philes. The song was catchy and had a nice build-up at the end. I just wasn’t crazy over their performance.

Weekend Update:
Here’s the usual political material. They really stacked up in the opening minutes of Update: taking on Mitt Romney’s weekly gaffes and a Weekend Update segment called “Obama, why are you saying anything?” It was a pretty biting take on Obama’s little gaffe this week. The first guests were Fred Armisen & Vanessa Bayer as Assad’s friends from growing up. They’ve done these characters on WU once or twice before and it wasn’t funny this time around. It felt a little old. Kate McKinnon was up next as Ann Romney. She had a pretty fantastic take on her. She played her as a much tougher/ballsy woman with an obsession with Beyonce. Bonus points for knowing the lyrics and choreograph from the music video to Beyonce’s “Countdown” (one of my all time favorites). Jay Pharaoh then made an appearance as Stephen A. Smith, an analyst from ESPN. I don’t watch ESPN at all but I have seen Smith on various shows and always found him a little strange as offputting. Pharaoh plays him as a guy who says that he knows every professional athlete and with a weird cadence where his excitement leads him to a falsetto voice. “My hairline isn’t receding, it’s trying to get away from my mouth.” Pharaoh made a bigger impression in this episode with his takes on Smith & Strahan than he did the entire last season.

Bachelor Party in London:
This is a sketch that they’ve done before. Four guys are sitting around a table and a popular song is playing in the background. When one of the guys reveals/confesses something weird, they get around discussing it further by singing along to the song’s chorus. This time it was The Beatles’ “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away”. The band playing the song was a Beatles cover band named Hey Dude! and they were played by Mumford & Sons. A smart way to work in the musical guest. The sketch wasn’t that memorable, but I loved the ending. They ended the sketch and they continued singing the song as they left the set and walked into the crowd.

The Finer Things:
This is a sketch that could’ve been really successful if it had been worked on a little longer. Kenan Thompson & Pharaoh played hip hop rappers who were hosting a fashion talk show. JGL played the designer of their label. It had some funny moments where they actually discussed Marc Jacobs’ fashion show and his fall collection like actual people that followed the fashion industry. It was fun but felt a little unfinished. It really could’ve been more memorable.

Mumford & Sons: “Below My Feet”:
I have to admit, I only watch the first 30/45 seconds and fast forwarded through the rest. The song didn’t hold my attention enough.

Evelyn:
This definitely felt like a sketch that belonged towards the end of the show. JGL played Evelyn, a girl around her early-20’s, who’s parents (Armisen & McKinnon) are fixing her up with a guy (Tim Robinson). The guy walks in and the parents introduce Evelyn with a song that continue to sing during the entire sketch. Evelyn is very grabby with the guy and he turns her down at the end. It was a funny, random end of the show sketch that worked. And it was funny to see JGL dressed as a young adult woman.

Powers Realty:
Robinson & Bayer played Burt & Blair Powers, who are realtors making a plea for people to stop drawing dirty images on their advertisements around the city. As Burt puts it, “Stop drawing butts and weiners on our photos. I don’t like seeing a floating shaft and balls near my wife’s face.” JGL makes an appearance towards the end as their son Carmine, who is probably the one doing all the images.

OVERALL:
It wasn’t as strong as the premiere and JGL didn’t get a whole lot to do, it was still a pretty good episode. Jay Pharaoh & Kate McKinnon really made a strong impression and made good cases for their place in the SNL pantheon. The show is a repeat next week, but it will be back on October 6th with Daniel Craig & Muse.

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