Recap, Review and sketch ratings for the Saturday Night Live (SNL) episode, the season finale, on May 17, 2014 featuring host Andy Samberg and musical guest St. Vincent.
A Message From Solange and Jay-Z
I feel like if this whole sketch had been centered around the obviously doctored elevator footage, just making it crazier and crazier, it would have been more unique and memorable. B-
Andy Samberg’s Monologue (BEST OF THE NIGHT)
Apparently the impression rivalry that began with the impression-off on Andy and Bill Hader’s first show still exists to this day. There were a lot of great transitions in the order of the impressions that operated according to surreal logic (Ryan Reynolds~Jim Carrey, the Dream Team members). A-
Aidy and Kate’s propensity for playing little kids paired well with Andy’s propensity for playing dorky cool teenagers. Kyle as the 6-year-old pronouncing his r’s as w’s was nice attention to detail. B
Digital Short: When Will the Bass Drop?
All the absurd moments that held up the bass drop were amusing, but I couldn’t help feeling that, knowing the bass drop was coming, it would be anticlimactic when it actually happened. But I was proved wrong as the violent excitement of it all made it work. B+
Typical character work from Andy Samberg, with cheesy double entendres (“My spine’s not the only thing that’s curved”) delivered with a conviction that nobody else can match. B
St. Vincent performs “Digital Witness”
The synchronized head turn was aesthetically pleasing. As was the stage design – very much in keeping with St. Vincent’s clean and sleek current look. I think there may have been too much (purposeful) artifice to this performance, but I still have got to respect what she is doing. B+
-The Jokes: Describing Karl Rove as pudding-like goo was fair enough. I would have preferred it if the culprit behind Jupiter’s red spot shrinking was Frank Stallone. B-
-The Segments: -Bruce Chandling: What separates Bruce Chandling from so many other anti-comedy bits is what a fascinatingly nuanced character he is. I am not just talking about the depression that suddenly kicks in at the end of his routines. It is the way he delivers lines like “What do I look like? A fish?” with such uncanny conviction. Like, what is going on in this guy’s brain? B+
-Get in the Cage with Paul Rudd: I feel like Andy had already completed his exploration of Nic Cage, though labeling the segment as “Peabody Award-winning” and christening Indian Jones as his father did fill the margins in nicely. B
The Michael Sam bit felt like fertile territory, but then they played it way wrong by having Taran get upset at the Vogelhecks for not being open-minded when they are obviously not homophobic considering they were fine with their son’s boyfriend, and the objection that they expressed was over the presentation of romantic vs. familial love. That bizarre conflict would have been interesting. The goofy shock value of the Vogelcheck’s sloppy kisses has already worn off. C+
Waking Up With Kimye
Nasim and Jay have really settled into their impressions here, and I have accordingly warmed up to this sketch. B
Digital Short: Hugs
This was a decent Lonely Island song, with a few choice rhymes (especially “more hugs than Atlas had shrugs”), but there weren’t enough strong visuals to fully justify this one’s existence as a digital short. Someone must have really wanted Tatiana Maslany to cameo but only had a 5-second window to fit her in. B-
Legolas From The Hobbit Tries to Order at Taco Bell
I appreciate the commitment to this considering it wasfiller, but I also get the sense that it was super short by design and thus can’t really be called filler. B-
There’s not much to add to the Blizzard Man mythos at this point. Well, except for the explanation of why Kenan’s producer never recognizes Blizz Nasty (or an explanation that he is playing different producers each time who just happen to look exactly alike). But, still, Andy’s flow knows no bounds. 2 Chainz couldn’t match the enthusiasm of Ludacris, but he still put in an admirable effort. B+
St. Vincent performs “Birth in Reverse”
I’m not sure why there was a bit of hesitation to say “masturbate” in the opening line, as there did not appear to be any attempt to censor it. This song had the same thick level of artifice as the first performance, but that was blazed through thanks to Birth in Reverse’s outro, which is the most awesome outro I’ve heard in a while, and it was taken to insane levels here. B+
I feel like I could just copy my review of the Blizzard Man sketch and put it here. Basically all the same principles apply. Just replace “Andy’s flow” with “Vanessa and Cecily’s slurring” and “2 Chainz” with “Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dong.” B
This Saturday Night Live season finale episode started out with some interesting original material, which is always encouraging, especially on an episode with an alumnus host, when you expect the opposite to happen. But from Update onwards, it was almost all recurring bits, both from the Samberg and post-Samberg eras. Add to that the THIRTEEN cameos, and there was no way this episode, even though it was more decent than not, was going to be anything other than exhausting.
Jeff Malone is a voracious entertainment consumer and entertainment creator. He currently resides in New York City, where he is working on a Master’s in Media Studies at The New School. In addition to his pieces on TMRzoo.com, you can check out his blog (jmunney.wordpress.com), where he provides regular coverage of Community and Saturday Night Live, as well as other television, film, music, and the rest of pop culture.