Monday, September 29, 2014

Satire Is What Plays On Saturday Night

Saturday Night Live had its 40th season premiere over the weekend.  What started as a revolution has long since become an institution.  The particular episode, hosted by star of the moment Chris Pratt, was fairly weak.  There were a few laughs, but most of the bits weren't great in concept or execution.

It's become a strange tradition--the weak premiere.  I can't remember the last one I thought was top-notch. You'd think having all summer to come up with funny ideas, the first show would feature the best of the best, but for some reason it always seems like everyone comes back rusty and needs a while to get back into it. (Not that the average episode of SNL is that great, but they usually manage to put it together at least a few times per season.)

In The Hollywood Reporter, reviewer Ken Tucker had something odd to add:

In general, SNL continues to suffer from a wobbly point of view when it addresses political issues — its foolish insistence on trying to be evenhanded in hitting Democratic and Republican targets looks cowardly in the Stewart-Colbert era...

SNL is a rare political humor show that isn't anti-Republican all the time, and that apparently rankles Tucker.  They have the nerve to occasionally puncture Democrats, so they're "wobbly." Actually, as of late, SNL has mostly been a branch of the Obama administration, but they did make mild sport of the President in one bit, so I guess Tucker burst a blood vessel. His idea of good satire is to have his prejudices catered to and his definition of  "cowardly" comedy is that which challenges his beliefs.


Anonymous Denver Guy said...

This was the worst premiere I can recall - I laughed maybe 3 times.

Also, since when does a brand new cast member get to start on the fake-news chair out of the gate? There were several times I thought "that line would have been funny delivered by Seth Meyers." Nothing against the new guy (and Yost is only passable himself), but I don't know if his delivery is meant to be sarcastic, swarmy, naive or whatever. The jokes weren't funny enough top be simply read off the teleprompter.

As for Tucker's concern - I only watch SNL for comic news because they puncture all sides (though clearly lean left). If Tucker wants to see SNL become the MSNBC of comedy, then he can also watch it's ratings fall through the floor, even in the midnight Sat. timeslot.

8:21 AM, September 29, 2014  
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