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S40.E18: Taraji P. Henson / Mumford & Sons

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You really should.  It's beyond addictive and crazy in the best possible way.  Now, I'm a full on Taraji worshipper.  She's beyond.

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Taraji had me in Hustle & Flow. Her reaction when she heard her voice on the demo for the first time made me cry happy tears for her.

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She does look fun. Taran was cracking me up with the multiple takes. "Did I ruin this take too?? I'm so sorry, I'm a MONSTER!"

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They haven't had Drunk Uncle on in a while, so maybe we'll see the return of Peter Drunklage, too?

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A sexologist (Henson) leading a self-help seminar seems unable to offer any strategies for keeping relationships alive other than anal sex.

 

Wait.  That isn't valid advice?

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I'd like a dollar on Saturday every time I hear the word cookie.

 

I was planning on making a drinking game out of it, but this sounds like a better use of resources.

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I was planning on making a drinking game out of it, but this sounds like a better use of resources.

It pays for the drinks.

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A sexologist (Henson) leading a self-help seminar seems unable to offer any strategies for keeping relationships alive other than anal sex.

 

Wait.  That isn't valid advice?

 

 

My whole life has been a lie.

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Taraji was amazing in Person of Interest and I am STILL mad that they killed off her character in that show. But she and Peter Dinklage would have to be tapdancing to Gershwin in order to get me to watch SNL again.

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Cold Open: Kate as Hillary Clinton! With Jan Hooks, Ana Gasteyer and Amy Poheler's great takes on her before Kate's, she's got some big shoes to fill. Of course she went the "full-on crazy" route. And loved Darrell Hammond back as Bill Clinton! I'd vote for Hillary if it means getting these two in the show for the next 4 years. Darrell as Bill brings so much energy to these sketches.

 

Monologue: I'm not familiar with Taraji P Henson, but I'm happy to see her here. But then we had another singing monologue. At least she can sing.

 

Depend Legends: Adult Diapers with icons of Old Hollywood and contemporary syndication on the bottoms. It was funny, but it was no "Oops I Crapped My Pants."

 

Hot For Teacher: The contrast over the serious Taraji, Kate as crazed Pete's Mom, and everyone else treating this case as no big deal was just a weird, silly sketch. The long list of names Pete was being called was pretty impressive to pull off even if they were all on cue cards.

 

Home 2: One half comment on stunt casting in animated movies and one half "let's trot out a bunch of impressions at once" sketch. I'm getting old, I think some of those people were made up. Although Taraji as Nicki Minaj was awesome, Nicki herself is a pretty good voice actor (see: Steven Universe). But it's totally like Dreamworks to just bring her in for a dumb role.

 

QVC: "Just let Kate be a weird character, the sketch will run itself." This is not meant to be a knock. This is a formula that works. But I had no really no idea what was supposed to be happening.

 

Game of Thrones - South Centros: I'd watch this. I'm actually excited that SNL finally has enough African-American cast members to be able to pull off this sketch.

 

WU: Hillary 2016: Winter is Coming. "Cops hate pictures, it's their least favorite thing to shoot." That sounded like an ad lib, but Michael Che got a good line in.

 

The sculptor of the of the creepy Lucy statue is the same person who butchered that weird Jesus painting. It makes so much sense.

 

"White people rioted the only way they know how: Without consequences!"

 

Jacob was recently bar mitzvahed 4 weekend update anchors ago. But the reveal that his dad was Billy Crystal was brilliant. It all makes sense now. And Billy pulls off that bit so much better.

 

Hollywood Game Night: This "let's trot out celebrity impressions" sketch was better. Taran as Vin Diesel, Kate as Jane Lynch, Jay as Common and Beck as Nick Offerman all in the same sketch? Gold. Nick Offerman's mustache growing each time we saw him was a great bit.

 

"I'm going with Vin Diesel because it sounds like he's breathing really hard and he needs to get up and move around."

 

Janelle: Taraji makes a great embarrassing mom. Lots of weird laughter from the audience for this one.

 

Cookie on Sesame Street: Well, this was awesome. The actual Muppets (and set) being used really, really made this work. If only Jim Henson could've seen this sketch, he'd be proud. The sole reason he had Muppets sketches on SNL was to break the typecasting that Muppets were only for kids.
 

I'd like a dollar on Saturday every time I hear the word cookie.

You made a lot of money tonight.

 

Their Own League: "A League of Their Own" parody? At least that aspect was lampshaded. Kinda meh, but I liked this one.

 

Connectatron: Sticking the weird Voltron/Gatchaman/Mazinger Z mashup sketch at the end, I see. Sadly, nothing really happened here. Lots of shows (ie: cartoon) covered mech plots like this so much better. Hell, Teen Titans Go's turn at it even focused on someone piloting one of the legs, too. Then again, I'm surprised SNL did a sketch like this at all. I wonder if we'll see this set again.

 

I thought this was a pretty good one! Taraji brought a lot of energy tonight, which was definitely a plus.

 

The show returns May 2nd with Scarlett Johannson.

Edited by Galileo908
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Forty years of watching SNL, and this may have been the worst episode ever. Take one unfunny sketch after another, add a host with no facility for humor, and top it off with the fact that at least 50% of Henson's lines were completely unintelligible---I honestly have no clue what she was saying in that last mess---and, well, I was embarrassed for everyone.

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I liked the episode.  I don't think it was as good as the previous two weeks, but both of those hosts were known quantities within in the show.  I thought Taraji had great energy and gave it her all.  I  can't ask for for more than that.  They stuck her with supporting parts for the most part. That's fine  I guess, but she took the ball and ran a couple of times too.  I loved Cookie on Sesame Street.  And her Wanda Sykes was decent.  I think I was most impressed when she toned it down though and really anchored the courtroom sketch.  She was a fine straight woman. 

 

 

QVC: "Just let Kate be a weird character, the sketch will run itself."

Was that actually a Liza Minnelli impression with a different name?  she sure sounded and acted like Liza IMHO which was confusing me.

 

Last week Colin was in the Scientology spoof.  This week Che made in the Game of Thrones sketch.

 

Once again, I had no  problem with the singing monologue.  No, it wasn't the best thing ever, but I've seen far worse.  I just don't think it's a big deal honestly.

 

Oh I loved Jane Lynch saying she was thrilled to be done with Glee.  You know it's true.

Edited by vb68
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Cold Open: I'm 99% sure I'll be voting for Hillary next year (what other Democrat has a chance of getting the nomination, and when they dig up a Republican candidate that isn't racist/sexist/homophobic I'll check them out) but if I wasn't I might be persuaded to just so that we could get at least four more years of this. Yes to Kate. Yes to Darrell. Yes to all of it.

 

Monologue: Huhhhh, singing monologue. Not too bad though. Since Taraji can actually sing and I thought they actually went somewhere funny with it ("I shouldn't even be on TV right now because there's a very good chance someone will recognize me and turn men in."). The woman's got personality and charisma out the wazoo, though, I would have liked to see what she'd do just doing a regular monologue.

 

Depends Legends: The "Female ADAs from Law & Order" collection. If I was an incontinent octogenarian I'd be all over those Alex Cabot and Casey Novak ones.

 

HLN: Eh, I really didn't want to laugh at this because teachers sleeping with students is so fucking icky but tbh if a 16-year-old boy had a teacher that looked like Cecily and slept with her I don't have a hard time believing that all the other kids would think he was a legend.

 

Home 2: Ahh, Taraji's Nicki impression was priceless!

 

QVC: Kate getting the callers' names wrong was wonderful. So was Aidy as the model. I lolled when they cut to her with the poncho pulled up over her head.

 

Game of Thrones: Don't watch GoT so didn't really care, but I got enough of it. Something about the editing was weird. That happens sometimes on these pre-taped bits, I can't put my finger on what the problem is.

 

Weekend Update: Did Tina, Amy, and Jane take these guys aside after the anniversary special and give them a talking to that started with something like, "Listen up, jag wagons"? Even though it probably didn't happen I'm going to pretend it did, because these guys have really been improving. Although I feel like I need to stay on the record as hating Michael's guts. Also, if they fucking start the segment with "what's up" one more time I will not be held responsible for my actions. Ugh, it irks! Kate back as the Italian painter was awesome. "Her serial killer eyes." "Her hair is like Paulie Walnuts." And then all the pictures, and calling Colin out on his stupid fratboy hair that no man his age should be sporting. Sick and tired of Jacob, though Billy Crystal was a nice touch, even if he did look like he'd gotten to the studio ten seconds before  they sent him on.

 

Hollywood Game Night: "These are real games, created by real adults who got paid." Loved all the impressions. Nick Offerman's mustache growing. Cecily is stellar as accents. She doesn't look a thing like Marion Cotillard but she can do just about any voice. "I'm gonna pick Vin Diesel because he's breathing really loudly and I think he needs to move around."

 

How 2 Dance With Janelle: I appreciated Taraji's dancing. "Go rake the trash!"

 

Sesame Street: The Elmo coat was one of the darkest things this show has done in awhile. Thank you.

 

Cinema Classics: Idk why they couldn't just have done this as an alternate ending to A League of Their Own like they did with Casablanca. Still, it made a very good point about early women's rights movements not including black women because getting rights for white women was "hard enough."

 

Connectatron: Eh, probably the weakest bit. Is it bad that I enjoyed the footage of the shark and robot fighting?

 

Honestly? This was probably the best show of the season for me. I laughed the whole way through. Taraji was awesome. Does she have a background in theater? She looked extremely comfortable up there. I forgot by the end of the night that she wasn't a cast member. I'd love for her to come back again.

 

I forgot to count exactly how many times they said "Cookie," but I think GaryE and I have enough dollars to get a couple drinks.

 

As usual Kate is a gem, a national treasure, the hero we need but not the hero we deserve, she's beauty she's grace she's Miss United States...honestly this woman just crushes it every week. If she's not a massive star after this show I will be a very unhappy camper.

Edited by helenamonster
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Oh I loved Jane Lynch saying she was thrilled to be done with Glee.  You know it's true.

I was thinking the opposite. Wasn't that the best thing that ever happened for her?

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I was thinking the opposite. Wasn't that the best thing that ever happened for her?

 

It might have been, but I wouldn't be surprised if she was grateful for what it did to her career while also realizing what a steaming pile of horseshit it became over the years.

 

No, I don't have unresolved Glee issues. Why do you ask?

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I was thinking the opposite. Wasn't that the best thing that ever happened for her?

 

 

Her character was played out after the first season, and they zigzagged her back and forth between being the Devil and being nice so often it's a wonder she's not in a permanent  neck brace.    And Glee was so incredibly bad the last three seasons that I totally believe all the actors are relieved to be done.  But especially with Jane, there's no question she can get more work.  I loved that they went there.  I bet anything she says that in private.

 

And yes, the show knows they have GOLD with both Clintons.  Darrell must have pre-recorded the opening.

Edited by vb68
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Her character was played out after the first season, and they zigzagged her back and forth between being the Devil and being nice so often it's a wonder she's not in a permanent neck brace. And Glee was so incredibly bad the last three seasons that I totally all the actors are relieved. But especially with Jane, there's no question she can get more work. I loved that they went there.

I've never seen an episode of Glee. In terms of tonight, I was simply referring to the fact that without it, someone else is probably being parodied as the Hollywood Game Night host. Edited by GaryE

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Was that actually a Liza Minnelli impression with a different name?  she sure sounded and acted like Liza IMHO which was confusing me.

I was reminded of that one Molly Shannon character who acted the same way. The one that kept lifting her leg and shouting "I love it, I love it, I love it."

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In terms of tonight, I was simply referring to the fact that without it, someone else is probably being parodied as the Hollywood Game Night host.

 

 

Fair enough , but I definitely think the joke was about the quality of Glee.

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I have to say that no matter how the good or bad the sketches were, they all moved very quickly which is something I really appreciate. Nothing felt like it dragged. Admittedly, with some sketches, it felt like it left the punchline hanging or just didn't wrap up well enough but I do appreciate that nothing felt too draggy, which was a hallmark of the Fred Armisen years (love it or hate it, you have to at least admit that sketches really seemed to drag sometimes in that era). 

 

Cold Open: It was nice to see Darrell Hammond and his Clinton impression. I liked this. Granted, McKinnon's Hillary is not my favorite (There's been several great Hillary Clintons but my favorite is Jan Hooks), she still does a pretty good job with her. This just felt like a standard cold open. Serviceable and got a few chuckles, but nothing worth writing home about. 

 

Monologue: For the second week in a row, they made me like a singing monologue. Goddammit, SNL! Stop with the singing monologues especially with the frequency you do them. This one was good because Taraji can sing and the subject matter was pretty good too. However, if we're gonna have people singing, let's mix it up and have it be like in the Cold Open (as I've said time and time again, my favorite Cold Open of all time is "I'm Not Gonna Phone It In Tonight" with the Steve Martin episode in I believe 1991 or 1992) even though this one was good and last week's was good too, let's not push our luck. 

 

Depends Legends: Shit, I'd buy these even though I'm not an old person and I don't have problems with incontinence. Also, I bet you dollars to donuts the idea sprouted from someone saying the tagline in the commercial "Making history in your pants!" or something like that. Also I kind of like the idea that he was going all over the place for no reason whatsoever. 

 

HLN: I have no idea what to really think of this. I think the idea was interesting and I feel like they were going to try to make a social commentary of sorts about how people are way too willy nilly about women teachers sleeping with their students while the opposite is always thought of as much worse but I feel like they missed the mark here and it made it more seem like "LOL THE OUTRAGE IS TOTES WRONG BECAUSE HE TOTALLY WANTED IT, SEE?!" rather than "The way they treat this is outrageous". Like they couldn't figure out how to get the point across. Granted, some of the nicknames that Pete's character listed off were pretty amusing. I don't know, I just feel like this sketch could've been handled better. 

 

Home 2: Dreamworks would do this, wouldn't they. I like to call it the Ice Age route because Ice Age did the same thing. I liked seeing the Nicki Minaj impression. And I looked up Die Antwoord and the look of them is pretty accurate. They were really reaching there, weren't they? 

 

QVC: I agree with whoever said Kate's character was like the "I love it I love it I love it" Molly Shannon character. It even sounded like her. It's kind of crazy. I loved Taraji as the overenthusiastic QVC host. I've popped in on a QVC program once and this is exactly how those hosts sound. This was over before it got too awful thankfully. 

 

Game of Thrones: I liked this. I liked how it was more insular problems for the most part. Also who was that on the horse? Was that someone from Game of Thrones? I'm thinking so but I can't figure out who. One of the Lannisters?

 

Weekend Update: Another good Weekend Update. I'm not a huge fan of Kate's painter character but it's serviceable. I loved the whole joke about the Grilled Cheese means more sex thing and the fake magazine cover "What?" because honestly, WHY would they even do a study like this?! And how did they come to this conclusion? Anyways, I have to say that I was a little annoyed that they were trotting out Jacob again but then came Billy Crystal and the bit was saved. He was great and I loved the tease of his Fernando character "You look mahhhginally larger than you were before" and as a Red Sox fan, I loved the little mention of that 19 inning game from Friday night...that game was nuts. It didn't end till like 2am. It was over 7 hours, if you count the power outage delay. Anyways, good Update.

 

Hollywood Game Night: I'm thrilled there's no Kristen Wiig ruining everything in this reiteration. And it was basically an excuse for Kate to break out her Jane Lynch impression (loved the line about Glee) and Beck break out his Nick Offerman impression (a great one and loved the ever growing mustache) but overall this could've been better. It just felt like Celebrity Jeopardy but instead of an incredulous and pleading Alex Trebek, we get a salty and snarky Jane Lynch. Liked the line about Vin Diesel needing to move around.

 

How 2 Dance: Jay was the best character in this easily as the embarrassed older brother who really doesn't want his friends to be ogling his sister and mom. Also "Rake the Trash" was amusing. Kyle's best friend character was great too. And I love how clueless Janelle is about his infatuation. It amuses me. 

 

Sesame Street: This was lovely. And the Elmo Coat was fantastic. Poor Snuffy though :( I love Snuffy. He and Barkley were always my favorites. 

 

Cinema Classics: Good ol' Reese DeWhat. This was such an almost sketch to me. It almost worked. I wish it did and I kind of wish they asked for Leslie's character and not Taraji's and make it more about her character rather than race. Maybe the joke would be a little ruined but I kind of like that idea.

 

Connectatron: One thing this sketch had going for it -- It was quick. That's all. I guess they used up all their 10-to-1 ideas last week and went with this one instead so that people didn't get too weirded out. Kind of disappointing. I love 10-to-1 Land.

 

Overall, the episode was good. Not great, but good. Taraji made a great host and if the material was just tweaked a little bit more, this could've been an excellent episode. Maybe not up to the Keaton and Freeman standards of this season, but pretty damn good regardless. Next new episode is Scarlett Johansson. Not surprised since Age of Ultron is coming up soon. I guess they'll do 3 in a row in May up to the season finale. Man I can't believe the season is almost done with. 

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I was reminded of that one Molly Shannon character who acted the same way. The one that kept lifting her leg and shouting "I love it, I love it, I love it."

 

I thought for a second she was channeling Helen the Joyologist, too.

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This episode just cemented the fact that SNL's Hollywood Game Night, just like Family Feud, are bloated and less funny versions of Celebrity Jeopardy.

 

Was the courtroom sketch trying to make the point that when a male teacher sleeps with a female student it's creepy, but when a female teacher sleeps with a male student it's an accomplishment?  If they were, the point was muddled and overall I found the sketch more creepy than funny.

 

I figured Connectatron was a Power Rangers spoof.  The shark reminded me of the land shark costume though, which was fun.

 

Also, another awkwardly long musical break before the goodbyes.  Is the show having timing issues?

Edited by futurechemist

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I was okay on the episode but the Depends faux ad got me remembering a similar ad from ages ago and either my Google fu is weak, and YouTube hates me, or there's little to nothing to back me up.  Anyone remember this:  I'm thinking late 80s/early 90s, Bruce Willis is the host.  He does a Depends "ad" song to the tune of some wine cooler jingle (Bartles & James, maybe?) with the line "Depends adult undergarments, they're wet and they're dry, my, my, my."  I could be just going insane.  ;)

 

And yeah, I miss Hooks & Hartman as the Clintons.  If Hil gets the nomination, I'm going to be down a well of sad nostalgia when watching political SNL skits.

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I wasn't sure if that was Darrell Hammond or Beck Bennett.

 

Bill Clinton has evolved to not actually looking like Hammond anymore (he's old and very skinny now. I'm talking about Clinton.)

 

Also, it took me a few seconds to realize that was Billy Crystal.

Edited by nowandlater
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Also who was that on the horse? Was that someone from Game of Thrones? I'm thinking so but I can't figure out who. One of the Lannisters?

 

That was Jamie Lannister himself.

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+ a million for Darrell Hammond coming back as Bill Clinton. This marathon election season will be so much more enjoyable if he makes some recurring appearances with Kate's Hillary.

 

I thought this was a fairly weak one overall, but don't lay that on Taraji P. Henson's feet--she seemed game and brought a ton of energy. Random thoughts:

  • Weekend Update continues to improve, in terms of Jost & Che's performances. Colin's "Hi!" after the ON POINT white riot line was superb, and Michael totally killed the Maya Angelou/Della Reese/Toni Morrison bit. I yelled right away that it was Morrison and then wanted to die in my seat when he said it was Reese, because I thought maybe I had it wrong and was another white person who thought all black people looked like. Well played.
  • In terms of sheer performance, I thought Pete's kid was the best individual performance of the night. I struggled with bit overall, though...a teacher I used to work with went to jail for similar things (except she was with a group of my 8th grade male students, all at once). I understand the humor, but it's a little too close for home.
  • Game of Thrones: South Centros was such a good premise and I wanted to love it so much. The execution fell a bit flat, but I am glad the diversity of the cast is making more and more things like this possible.
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Blech. There wasn't much about this that I liked. Yes, Taraji had a lot of energy, but oftentimes I couldn't understand what she was saying, and I just didn't find her that funny. I liked her Nicki Minaj and Wanda Sykes impressions.

 

I still don't really like Kate's Hillary impression. I do like her Cecilia Gimenez character, except that the woman is Spanish and not Italian. But I cracked up when Colin started saying that the Scary Lucy statue was made by her.

 

I really liked Aidy as the model of the 3-way poncho, esp when Kate pulled the poncho down from over her face, and she was still smiling vacuously. Like everyone else, apparently, I was puzzled by Kate's character. She was dressed like Liza Minnelli but obviously wasn't her. I'm not familiar with Molly Shannon's "I like it I like it" character.

 

I thought Beck's Nick Offerman impression was really good. I was happy to see Aidy as Wynonna again -- Well, I say 'again' because she looked like her in that magic boot music video they did -- but I actually didn't think it was all that good. *shrug* I was disappointed.

 

As a not-big fan of Jay, he is the only thing I like about that Dancing with Janelle bit. 

 

Although Pete was very good in the courtyard sketch and had some funny lines, I didn't like this. It's a double-standard. If it were a 16-yr-old girl and a male teacher it would not be funny at all. If the sketch was trying to make a point about that, they failed.

 

Big time disappointing ep.

Edited by peeayebee
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I always loved Hooks's Hillary Clinton.   Once I overcome my love of nostalgia and put that bias aside, I have to admit that McKinnon's is on a whole other level.  It sort of ruins the past impersonations for me as they come across as such lacking works in comparison.  This is simply an amazing job.  Hopefully 4 more years of this.

 

Game of Thrones sketch did not work as well as it should have.

 

McKinnon's Weekend Update characters are always good - though her folk singer with Sarah Silverman was dead on and yet probably too obscure feeling for many viewers.  However her Cecilia Gimenez may be my favorite. 

Edited by dohe

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She was dressed like Liza Minnelli but obviously wasn't her.

 

She had the voice and mannerisms too.  That's why I found it so confusing.

 

 

Someone on a different board is saying that the old man from the Depends commercial is the same actor from "Oops I Crapped My Pants" years ago.  I'm not sure.  That guy was old back then.

Edited by vb68
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I also thought Kate's QVC character was reminiscent of that Molly Shannon one.

 

They had four pre-taped bits in this ep: Depends, Home 2, GoT, and Sesame Street. That's kind of excessive. I could understand if they had a host who really wasn't up to the live stuff, but Taraji seemed totally comfortable. I'll chalk it up to a timing issue. Perhaps the other live skits at dress were too long to replace one of the pre-taped ones. Also, a lot of the sketches had television show premises/frames: HLN, QVC, GoT, Hollywood Game Night, Sesame Street, Cinema Classics, and Connectatron. Third week in a row malaise got them running out of ideas?

 

It kind of depresses me that Mumford & Sons are turning into a generic indie rock band, at least based on their performances last night. I love indie rock, but it seems like such a waste for them to lose that folky edge they had in their first two albums.

 

Definitely looking forward to ScarJo in a few weeks.

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Taraji was amazing in Person of Interest and I am STILL mad that they killed off her character in that show.

I was disappointed they didn't make any reference to POI.  It wasn't an awful episode, but nothing seemed to quite hit the way it should, except the Sesame Street bit.  I also wish they'd given Taraji another musical bit to do, since she can really sing - the opening song was OK but not terribly funny. I love Taraji and honestly I was expecting more from this episode.  I understand the focus on her role as Cookie, sort of- but the woman is a fucking Oscar nominee and has been in tons of other things that could have been referenced.  I felt the same way about the J K Simmons episode - a lot of wasted potential there.

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The Sesame Street skit pissed me off, actually. They shouldn't have used the actual street set. Maybe just have Cookie Monster meet Taraji backstage. "Oh. You play someone NAMED Cookie. Sorry. Me confused." I agree about how her previous acting roles being ignored was a damn shame. The writers are just...*shakes head*

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I was thinking the opposite. Wasn't that the best thing that ever happened for her?

I thought Wreck it Ralph was the best thing to happen to her..

 

I laughed at the cold open, the muppet sketch and the times Leslie showed up..I really enjoyed the Game of Thrones sketch only because I remember Boyz in the Hood and the part Ice Cube held up his belt buckle to display his gun...that little touch was awesome!

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There was a joke about selfie sticks in WU. I didn't get it. Seemed like the audience didn't either.

 

The joke was that a potential presidential candidate (I think Republican? I can't remember who it was) said that if they were elected they would ban/outlaw selfie sticks. The punchline was something like "Apparently, they have no idea what the President does." Basically that the POTUS wouldn't waste their time on something so dumb as banning selfie sticks (which I wish I could say were the most ridiculous things ever invented but I bet they can really come in handy sometimes).

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