Worst Saturday Night Live in Years; Jan 17 09. Thank Goodness for the Australian Open

This is not an easy thing for me to say. Why? Because for years I’ve had to deal with people saying “Saturday Night Live hasn’t been funny in years.” And that’s just not true. Not true at all. It IS easy to look back on some horrible periods-and they have been numerous-but by and large the show has been coasting along at a much better performance level than most people realize.


I’m not an SNL specialist (there are fans who have whole websites and blogs dedicated to the show and TONS of people who go to these sites and know MINUTE BY MINUTE analysis of the show. For real!). But I have seen every single episode, and mostly I’ve seen the shows in real time; meaning I sat up in front of my TV and watched. Even in an era of digital video recordings, I like to watch the show “live,” as I have since the show started. That’s right! I’ve been watching since the first show. And yes, there were a few late high school and college years where I wasn’t as faithful; but prior to my club years and CERTAINLY after I got sick of the clubs it was back to live viewing.

So last night’s show was awful. Not because of Rosario Dawson, she was literally the best thing abou the show, but the writing. It was the worst written show I think I’ve ever seen. The performers are pretty much rock solid, even the newer cast members or “ok,” meaning nobody sticks out as terrible or great. But the writing was so bad. Take a look out there on the web and download a copy because I’m not about to recount every sketch. But mainly the problem was as if somebody came in and said “yeah this is funny” and then everybody else said, “but nobody’s laughing.” And this new imaginary boss said “trust me.”

In other news the Australian Open snuck up on me and its here. (Don’t tell anybody the date of this post and when I actually wrote it aren’t really the same). So I think “today” Sunday was the first day, but of course I only really care about Venus and Serena Williams aka the William Sisters. So, they didn’t play until Monday. They played doubles on Tuesday, but I got caught up watchin’ all the Obama stuff and then forgot to watch the game.

Anyway Monday’s games for the Williams were both notable-not for the tennis-but for weird occurrences. Venus played a woman from China named Yuan, and it was hot. Not sexy hot, but actually hot, hot. The courtside temperature was clocked at 141 degrees. Like futuristic Earth, living in underground, hot. So the ladies played slow, slow, slow. Hey, I’m surprised they let the game go at all.


Venus on the other hand had a match against a German woman named Kerber, and the game was being televised but then they switched to the game between HcHale and Moore. Those 2 were both very young players who had gotten in the tournament as “wildcards.” But McHale, as one of the only 5 Americans of the 128 women playing, seemed to have a suffered from either a pressure or physical attack. She had a cramp in her calf and the commentators got deep into this issue, so that became the drama of the day. They didn’t got BACK to the Venus game until Kerber had an injury too, so then THAT became the drama. Then the game was over.


Pushing Daisies, Christian Slater, MadTV Cancelled. Kath & Kim Still on the Air!

So last night the countdown started for Slater’s new show My Own Worst Enemy. It’s only going to get one season. Now a few weeks ago I wrote about how much I liked the show and conversely did NOT like another NBC show, Kath and Kim. I predicted K & K would not be back year, but so far that show has not been cancelled. In fact, that show as actually racked up all kinds of guest stars. They’re lining up to do the show! I also found out it’s an Australian import/remake, and that explains a LOT about why it makes no sense to me. I mean I loved Mad Max but I’m not the biggest fan of Yahoo Serious. But; ready to have your mind blown? NBC has ordered more episodes of the show despite the fact that this American version HAS been cancelled in Austria. Go f–king figure.

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Last year around this time I also wrote about how I thought it was probably about time MadTV got killed, and so the news of that has also come to pass. It’s nearing the end of its run, but I think they’ve had about 14 years and that’s a big deal-but that seems to be the FOX does business; if they don’t kill off a show that’s great way too early it’ll stay on forever. But I don’t know? I’m taking a kind of perverse pleasure in the news about MadTV. I had a reaction like “ha! It got cancelled!” And an ironic twist I also got left by another woman, no not the one who left me that I mentioned repeated around this blog, AND not the one from out of town who left me-and we hadn’t even met face to face! No this was an entirely new women that didn’t want my company-and I get the feeling she was sitting around saying “ha! He got cancelled!”

But MadTV has made, I think, a significant contribution to the world of sketch comedy. Many, many memorable characters and lots of laughs. Not to mention the number of people who’ve gone through their doors to bigger and better things. A great job. Speaking of comedy, Amy Poehlor is supposed to be getting her own show. She’s the lady from Upright Citizens Brigade, who got on Saturday Night Live and become the Weekend Update person. Now she’s got a show that includes Quincy Jones daughter (She’s was “Jim’s” girlfriend for a minute on the Office. More trivia? Quincy also produced MadTV. More? OK, Amy is married to the guy that played JOB on the great cancelled FOX show Arrested Development).


But let’s get back to the bad news. Pushing up Daisies has been cancelled. I know! It’s one of the few good shows and they’re killing it. People are not happy, so why are they doing it? It makes no sense right? Brian Fuller, who gave us the great Dead Like Me, is the creator of the show and he was on the first season of Heroes, so he’ll be going back to that show. And that’s good news. But the bad news is they just fired great comic book writer Jeph Loeb. By why are they killing good hour long shows. It’s the money. Hour long shows are expensive to make and if they only generate the audience and income of a half hour show they get killed. I’ve had to take a sort of philosophical approach to loosing good TV. In England they run shows for a much shorter period of time and a lot of the shows I love from there are only one or two seasons, so I learned to just accept this. The good news is that with digital format we can relive shows we liked a lot easier.

Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down on MadTV?

Tonight was the 300th episode of MADtv. So is that a milestone, or a prelude to the end? I gotta tell you MADtv has gotten strange. I once heard a an expression that goes, “a bulb burns brightest before it burns out.” Or maybe it was about stars (celestial not Hollywood). At any rate as somebody who has actually watched the show from the beginning all the way through tonight I have to say I think I’m done.


The show has always been compared to Saturday Night Live, but that’s only because it airs on Saturday nights. In no other way does it compare. It is a very different kind of humor, and as far as I can tell the shows creation comes from an entirely different place; we all know the history of SNL. Lorne was the driving force of SNL, and Quincy Jones was the producer of MADtv-and at this point Quincy is probably more proud of the fact that his daughter is on the Office.

To me, MADtv came out of very strange moment in history. For a while FOX was a new and struggling network, and in those days they realized that appealing to minority groups (meaning Black) viewers were a more realistic demographic than trying to go after the 3 major network’s viewers. Why try to poach Seinfeld or Friends fans? Just go after the underserved Black viewers. And they were VERY successful with that. In Living Color, and Living Single made FOX a lot of money. Enough money to eventually dump the color format. And MADtv is from that era of programming.


Originally this year I thought Mad wasn’t coming back. Their season got off to a very late start. And the first thing you notice is the format change. They’ve moved the show to some sort of club and essentially become a “clips show.” They go to clips after a humorous presentation, which they did in the past also, but now it feels less like it’s live. At least before you had the illusion that it was live. But Mr. Show is Mr. Show and this ain’t Mr. Show. Bob and Dave had that format and it worked for them. There is also a group in LA called the Ministry of Unknown Science that does a pretty good live version, but I’m not feeling it from Mad.

They’ve added a couple of new “ethnic” cast members. Where in the past they would go Black for color (except for Bobby Lee, of course), this year they went to the Spanish speaking community. And as usual, I feel the performers are actually stronger than the writing. But my feeling is the show won’t be back next year, despite the changes. In fact, it almost looks like the changes were a last ditch effort. Your thoughts?