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And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats - Matthew 25:32

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May 18, 2003


Saturday Night Live's tired season finale
Live broadcast on May 17, 2003 Guest host, Dan Akroyd - Musical guest, Beyonce

The show has been fairly weak much of this season, and they pretty much limped off with some mildly amusing material. Mostly the writing just hasn't been there.

Dan Akroyd was a waste. He was purely going through the motions, with no creative spark whatsoever. Most particularly, he didn't even do a monologue, but merely invoked the names of John Belushi and the Blues Brothers, then brought out Jim to sing some or other blues song. They couldn't even be bothered to put on the outfits and make some schtick. Lame, lamer, lamest. In best Comic Book Shop guy voice, "worst monlogue ever."

I want to give somewhat higher marks to Beyonce. I've never paid much attention, but she certainly makes a striking performer. For starters, she's obviously an extraordinary physical specimen. In fairness, she actually can carry a tune. Introducing her, Akroyd referred to her "soul fire". She certainly had a passion and commitment to her material. The steps she was doing and the dancers behind her were outstanding. Damn this girl would be dangerous if she had an even vaguely decent underlying song to work with.

The opening "Hardball" sketch was pretty good, mostly for the Santorum satire. Even Tracy Morgan's last dibs on Al Sharpton fell fairly flat. The TV Funhouse cartoon was at least somewhat amusing. The only other sketch I can even remember a few hours later was a dog restaraunt, where a lot of good creative effort went into spinning the grotesqueness of the menus of stuff dogs like to eat.

The most interesting parts were the swansongs for departing cast members Chris Kattan and Tracy Morgan. Kattan had a pretty limber bit re-creating most of his major characters in one standing maybe two minute bit at the end of the Weekend Update.

Other than Sharpton, Morgan had one major bit, his Sammy-Davis-in-outer-space routine, with Maya Rudolph as the hot space girl. Then Tracy starts with some business about getting into the booty, and Maya stops the scene, telling "Tracy" to cut it out. This set up his last line on the show, something like "Come on Maya, you know I've been wanting to get you pregnant." I for one appreciate the spirit of that finale.

More interesting though was watching him over the closing credits. He made a little sign reading "What a ride!" to display for the cameras, and a very odd controlled look. He wasn't laughing or smiling whatsoever. He had a look of someone struggling hard to control some kind of strong emotions.

That was sure more emotion than anything else coming from this cast at this point.


posted by Al at 5/18/2003 11:31:00 PM

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