Jim Parsons Hosts Literally the Worst 'Saturday Night Live' Episode in a Decade
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Jim Parsons Hosts Literally the Worst 'Saturday Night Live' Episode in a Decade

By Dustin Rowles | TV Reviews | March 2, 2014 | Comments ()

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Saying that it was the worst episode in a decade may actually be kind. I’ve been watching Saturday Night Live regularly since the Church Lady, and religiously for the last decade, and I honestly cannot remember an episode as bad as this. It’s as though they were trying to appeal to Big Bang Theory fans instead of SNL fans, and ended up appealing only to Nickelodeon kids. It was an amazingly lame episode, and I don’t know if it’s just because of host Jim Parsons, or because the show doesn’t work anymore without Seth Meyers in the writers’ room, or if Lorne Michaels took the week off. It honestly felt like an entirely different show. Even the worst episodes of SNL typically have something of value, but this one? Nothing. Nada. Terrible from top to bottom.

Cold Open — This Ellen Degeneres sketch actually feels like an SNL sketch in the world of Big Bang Theory’s hugely broad comedy: It’s painfully obvious and terribly, terribly unfunny. Jim Parsons plays Johnny Weir basically as Sheldon Cooper in a wig, and the joke is that HE’S WEARING A WIG. GET IT? GET IT? (Score: 2/10)

The Monologue — Jim Parsons sings a song about how he’s not actually anything like his Sheldon Cooper character in Big Bang Theory, and while his words say he is not, his cadence and mannerism suggests otherwise. Good lord, this is painful. #bazinga (Score: 2/10)

Peter Pan — Here’s the premise: It’s Peter Pan, except Tinker Bell couldn’t make it, so her raunchy, sarcastic half-sister Tonker Bell (Aidy Bryant) will help them get to Neverland. Uh, you just got tonked. (Score: 2/10)

The Bird Bible — A commercial about a Bible in which all the Biblical characters are depicted by birds. That’s it. That’s the joke. THE WHOLE JOKE. What is going on here? (Score: 3/10)

Investigation Discovery — A sketch about a Dance Floor Killer. It’s funny because he’s a weird guy who doesn’t get caught, despite the fact that he’s the only one who isn’t dancing in various dance parties and looks exactly like you’d picture a serial killer to look. Sigh. (Score: 2/10)

Oscar Profiles: 12 Years a Slave — A sketch about nice, white guys auditioning for 12 Years a Slave who feel very uncomfortable about playing angry slave owners in the presence of black crew members. The insinuation in the sketch is that only genuinely racist people could play a convincing slave owner. (Note: Taran Killam was in 12 Years a Slave). (Score: 3/10)

Weekend Update — Now with Colin Jost, who begins with a bizarrely earnest thank for the opportunity message. It’s a rough first outing for Jost, too. He’s, uh, not great. And you can hear both Jost and Cecily Strong laughing at each other’s jokes in a way that suggests they’re trying really hard to support one another through a very bad experience. They only have a few headline jokes, and it all feels like dress rehearsal. I’m going to give Jost the benefit of the doubt, and assume it was just a bad first outing. (Score: 4/10)

Barkley and Shaq Discuss First Openly Gay NBA Player — Don’t. Just don’t. (Score: 2/10)

Jebediah Atkinson — Oh thank God. Finally, a reliably funny ske .. actually, nope. Not that great, and Cecily’s background laughter actually works to the sketches’ detriment. It’s almost as though she’s trying to will the studio audience into laughter. (4/10)

Murder Mystery Sketch — So, it’s a Murder Mystery, but the hook is that Sheldon Cooper has a problem with the character he’s been given, and complains about it during the entire investigation. This is just … it’s terrible. (Score: 2/10)

Spotlight Salutes the Oscars — WHAT IS THIS? (Score: 1/10)

Elevator — A man has an embarrassing elevator incident at work. It’s funny because he sh*t his pants! (Score: 1/10)

Dwayne’s Birthday — No kidding, this whole show feels like it was written by Chuck Lorre. I’d assume there was a laugh track, too, if the laughter from the studio audience wasn’t so mild, scattered, and uncomfortable.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • pacNW1967

    I thought the bird bible bit was really funny....but that was the highlight of the show. I cannot STAND weekend update with those two. The writing seems to be geared towards 16-year-old boys level of humor and maturity.

  • Wow. I've not seen it - yet - but now I must. I sat through Malcolm McDowell and Steven Seagal hosting. How bad can this be? :-)

  • Don't worry, it'll be better next week when Lena Dunham hostshahahahahahahahahahaha

  • MB

    I didn't think it was awful, but it wasn't great. Tonkerbell really got to me, for some reason.

    Definitely a rough start for Jost though. I wish they'd give Beck Bennett the co-anchor position!

  • Random_Disqus_Guy

    Dude, worst in a decade? Come the fuck on. Bird Bible was decent (check the fine print at the end), and the Dance Floor Killer had its moments.

    Do you remember the Paris Hilton episode? That shit was atrocious. I seem to remember watching episodes in the last ten years where I didnt even crack a smile.

  • Jiffylush

    I thought the movie critic from 1860 was funny, and I generally like Cecily. I think the writing was more of a problem than the new guy, bad jokes are bad jokes.

  • Gunnut2600

    Really? The Worst episode? I mean that is like someone saying a US politician is the worse since Hitler or some stupid shit like that.

    There are some absolutely terrible episodes over the years, especially the lost year in which no one from SNL or NBC are allowed to acknowledge ever occurred.

    This was a pretty lame one, but considering that it didn't have Chris Kattan in it, places the episode at least better than 10% of the shows library.

  • John G.

    Has SNL done a True Detective sketch yet? They could have some real fun with that (a la the Twin Peaks parody they did in the 90s), but I'm not sure who would play Woody and who would be McConaughey

  • Sean

    Or just wait til one of them actually hosts the show. I am sure they are trying to get McConaughey.

  • Brotman92

    I could see Killam doing Woody and maybe Wheelan or Mooney for McConaughey.

  • Kenny G.

    Thank You! I watched this last night and I thought I'd check Dustin's take on the whole mess...and he hit it on the mark! I couldn't believe how bad this episode was. I laughed a couple of times...and then said to myself, "that was fucking stupid...what am I laughing at?"

    Thank God, they put GET SMART on right after this and I laughed & laughed...and realized that there still is humor in our world.

  • The episode seemed to run away from the cast's strength, which is sketches with a musical bent. Not a good sign, hopefully they will do comedy more in their wheelhouse.

  • Art Log

    That show really sucked... I debated removing snl from my dvr list after that... Wow... I have more talent in my pinky than this entire cast... suck it

  • CaliCheeseSucks

    That was painful to just read about.

  • Sean

    Actually, that is pretty close to worst show ever. Weekend update was the highlight. And that was the worst Weekend Update since the Collin Quinn years. The bland new guy was terrible. I will give him slack, for a few weeks. It is also time for Aidy Bryant to go away.

  • MrFactor

    Are you kidding. I love Aidy Bryant!

  • L.O.V.E.

    You can't put this shitshow on Parsons or BBT. SNL had 2 weeks to come up with material. oh, and Jost sucks.

  • alacrify

    Then it wasn't just me. How could they write an entire show and not have ONE moment where Jim Parsons comes off as a competent person? And I don't understand why Cecily Strong needs a co-anchor for the news - Seth did it solo for a long time just fine, and I thought Jost was...unnecessary. Yeah, let's go with unnecessary.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    If you want a word other than unnecessary, there are several. Pointless. Smug. Soulless-looking. Sociopathic. Like if I didn't laugh he might eat my face.

    The headlines themselves were fine, though. It's always been more of a delivery issue than anything.

  • alacrify

    I was being as nice as I could. I found his stage presence disturbing as well. The complete lack of chemistry between them didn't help. Dry wit is the key, and I think he currently doesn't have either.
    Cecily and Seth together, her own amused reaction seemed charming to a point. With Jost, she seemed like she was forced into a bad blind date and it was "covering" laughter.

  • John W

    Worst ep of SNL? What again?

  • LL

    This might be the new dark age for SNL. Something's shaky in the structure, and it's got to do with the writers and too many cast members.

    Jost's cue card holder was standing too far to the side because he was never looking at the camera. And his deliveries were terrible. Fey had only been a writer a couple years before they put her on air, and Meyers had been a cast member in his early run. Jost has been in the writers cave for almost a decade not doing comedy.

  • Bad Superman

    Can somebody please finally fire Lorne Michaels? He's too old and stuck in his ways to see that the show needs to evolve. It's 20 years past due.

  • manting

    Who the fuck is going to fire Lorne Michaels? Do you know how many hundreds of millions he's generated for NBC? It would take a U.N. security council resolution just to bring up the possibility of replacing him. I would say the past ten years+ was pretty horrible with the exception of Tina Fey. Her Colonel Angus sketch still makes me laugh incredibly hard.

  • fartygirl

    it's really not that bad of an episode. Although Jost reminds me of a frat guy who laughs at all his own jokes, which are never funny.

  • Going to chalk Jost's terrible SNL debut to a rookie getting his sea legs under him, but he was a strange choice for the job to begin with. If he doesn't pan out, there's going to be a lot of finger-pointing directed Lorne Michaels' way.

  • I only caught Weekend Update,and while some of the movie reviews were pretty funny and I find Shaq hilarious, the honking laughter from Jost and Strong going on throughout was just plain irritating. Come on. Get your shit together.

  • Nunchucko

    I dunno, the grades seem a touch harsh? Maybe its my two year old daughter with an ear infection or my stomach flu talking, but I laughed at most of the sketches. A lack of sleep may be just the trick to make all these enjoyable.

  • Steve Ward

    Sweet Jebus, this was on television?!

  • TacoBellRey

    The only thing I enjoyed was Jim Parson's incredible resemblance to Jeffrey Dahmer.

  • Catfish

    I didn't think Jost was horrible, but I did feel like he was staring into my soul after each joke. Also, you were too generous with the 2/10 for the Shaq/Barkley bit.

  • With the line up of Beck and Parsons I decided to give this one a pass. It looked like it would be painful to sit through.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I...actually found Bird Bible surreally hilarious. But it might have been my state of mind last night. But I think it was more about how awkward and intentionally unconvincing the two parents were. I can see how it would be too weird for some though.

  • Sean

    I liked it as well. That was about it for me for the night.

  • cruzzercruz

    It seemed to me like the joke was a little more layered than it's been given credit for. I saw it as a skewering of those Christian/conservative children's books that are produced, shoehorning values into something palatable for kids. Kate McKinnon's aloof desperation as the mom really sold it to me.

  • janeite1900

    Agreed. Dad's comment "Let's just take it for what it is" is nice, too.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    The take to the camera with the forced smile/lip twitch made me think she'd been kidnapped and had to make this commercial to be set free. I rewatched, and yeah, stil makes me laugh.

  • cruzzercruz

    When she stares off into the distance, like her life has no meaning, as her husband explains the religious value of this book of birds. That struck me as hilarious.

  • I did too, though I had taken a strong dose of cough medicine before the show.

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