All Along The Watchtower

films . videos . television

Saturday, April 08, 2006

SNL recap / review

This week's "Saturday Night Live," with Antonio Banderas as guest host, was somehow more than the sum of its parts. Several skits were lame, but Banderas was an eager and funny guest host and redeemed the episode overall, at least in my opinion. The show is always better when the host is willing to laugh at himself.

The cold open was "Anderson Cooper 360," with Banderas showing up early as Mexican president Vincente Fox and Jason Sudeikis (I think) as Rep. Ton Tancredo. Kenan was funny as a crazed-looking Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. I have to say, Seth Myers does a nice Anderson Cooper.

The opening monologue was wonderfully brief and hilarious, with Banderas ripping off his clothes to reveal a shimmering dress and an ample bosom as he announced that he is, in fact, a woman.

"Basic Instinct 2" is a pretty easy target for a fake ad, but at least they hit it.

The "Deal or No Deal" parody didn't do much for me.

The skit with Rache Dratch as a woman who works as the voice of one of those infuriating interactive telephone systems was a funny idea, but the execution seemed a little bit lame. It got better as it went along, but never really redeemed itself. At least it wasn't a "Debbie Downer" skit, which is what I first thought when I saw Dratch at a party.

"Besos y Lagrimas" -- they had done this skit, a parody of telenovelas, once before, and it only made sense to try it again with Banderas. The little visual gag of having the baby's shirt blow open, indicating it was Banderas' illegitimate child, was a hoot.

I had to laugh at the idea of "Kotex Light Days Stadium" as the setting for the Women's Basketball Coaches' Fashion Awards. (Yes, it reminded me of Larry The Cable Guy's prediction that feminine hygiene products would start sponsoring NASCAR events.)

Weekend Update: I thought it would have been a funny idea to have had Katie Couric (or, failing that, Meredith Viera) sitting at the anchor desk, but no dice. Darrell Hammond did show up as Dan Rather to comment on Couric's hiring. It's one of Hammond's best impressions. Will Forte also did an impression of a narcissistic Chad Michael Murray from "One Tree Hill," poking fun at the fact that he's been engaged to two of his co-stars at different points in time.

I had been hoping that maybe Chris Kattan would turn up for an episode of "The Antonio Banderas, How You say? Ah Yes, Show." I sort of got my wish; Kattan popped up during Update to castigate Amy and Tina for not having invited him onto that week's show, claiming that Banderas was his most popular character. This gave him an excuse to do just a sentence or two as Banderas. It would have been even funnier if he'd gotten a chance to do the full skit and interact somehow with the real Banderas, but it was still a nice moment. I'm also disappointed that Prince backed out of a similar situation a few weeks ago, leaving Fred Armisen to do "The Prince Show" by himself even though everyone knew that Prince, as that week's musical guest, was somewhere in the building.

You did, of course, get to see Banderas and Kattan standing together in the goodbyes.

Filming of Zorro: based on the idea that Banderas might refuse to kiss Catherine Zeta-Jones because of fear of bird flu, and that Horatio Sanz might therefore be hired as his stand-in. 'Nuff said.

The karaoke sketch was sort of pointless, but it was at least short.

Backstage skit: "I am tired of these Mexicans coming into our country and doing our jobs ... If NBC had its way, this whole cast would be border-jumping Mexicans." This turns into a pseudo-PSA with Armisen, Sanz and Banderas. "Many of us are criminals, and we intend to cut you with knives." Pretty funny.

The wine snob sketch was quite funny; they should have had it on earlier.

I know the episode doesn't sound very good, but somehow I liked it anyway.

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