All week, we’d been hearing about a secret taped appearance that Justin Timberlake was set to make for “SNL.” By the time Weekend Update rolled around last night, it was the only thing keeping me awake for an otherwise unspectacular Alec Baldwin-hosted season finale. It’s certainly possible that I nodded off and missed it, but I don’t think JT ever showed up. It’s a shame because “SNL” really could’ve used his energy last night.
The cold open was oil related (and not terribly funny), while Baldwin’s monologue featured a wasted appearance via satellite from Steve Martin, with whom Baldwin had tied for most times hosting the show. That was followed by a predictable graduation speech about a celebrity with a public divorce with a troubled blonde wife (I predicted Charlie Sheen as the punchline fairly early). Then came one of two lackluster highlights of the show, Andy Samberg’s Digital Short about a coked-up businessman singing and dancing about his failed life, which featured not even a small cameo from JT.
I had a bad feeling about the rest of the show knowing they’d burned the Digital Short before the first commercial break. Later on, however, Abby Elliott did have an amusing drug commercial parodying Sally Field.
Alec Baldwin was good, considering what he had to work with, which was not a lot of anything. The “SNL” writers must have burned off all their good material for Betty White. This week, it seemed like they were coasting toward the finale. Baldwin’s best skit was about a military sniper trainer who couldn’t articulate himself well.
Why does anyone find Nasim Pedrad’s Bedelia character funny? She’s the 13-year-old girl who’d rather hang out with her awesome parents than her friends. I have no idea why they’d revisit that character again (she first appeared on the Tina Fey-hosted “SNL”).
There were so many lame special correspondents on Weekend Update last night that I think Seth Meyers only managed to get in three or four headline jokes. There was nothing really to highlight there (I fucking hate Sooki), and the only other skit even worth mentioning from last night was the absurdest Timecrowave.
There wasn’t a skit in between Tom Petty’s last musical appearance and the sign-off, which mean that the closing got a full two or three minutes, where we got to watch the cast hug and say their farewells. I wish there were a Hulu video of that, because Alec Baldwin looked strangely crusty, as though he knew that it was not a well-received episode and was pissed off at the cast for blowing all their good material on Betty White. It’s funny, too: For a guy who has hosted 15 times, Baldwin has very few signature skits, aside from Schweaty Balls.
Alas, that’s it for the season. I don’t expect a lot of turnover between this season and next, though I suspect Kristen Wiig will leave the show, since she’s got quite a few movie projects lined up. Maybe next year, they’ll make Betty White a cast regular and Sarah Palin will make a big enough splash in the mid-term elections to bring back Fey a time or two.
I’m still crossing my fingers that they’ll ask Conan O’Brien to host next year.