Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Weak Opening for 'Saturday Night Live'

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Weak Opening for 'Saturday Night Live'

Article excerpt

Mostly unfunny, boring and hard to get through, last Saturday's weak season premiere of NBC's Saturday Night Live indicates that the show's 25th season also may prove to be the longest.

Of last week's nine sketches, plus the Weekend Update news segment and a lone filmed commercial, only one could be considered solid. The rest were either slow-moving, laughless or only mildly amusing.

The sole winner: a skit in which guest host Jerry Seinfeld visited HBO's raw series Oz.

The comic, who in his sitcom's finale was sentenced to a year in jail for not helping a carjacked motorist, was said to have been transferred to the maximum-security prison for making "sarcastic quips" to prison officials.

The rest proved that SNL is just a shell of its former self -- whether the original 1975 "Not Ready for Prime Time Players" or even the tight cast from the late 1980s, which included Dana Carvey, Nora Dunn, Phil Hartman and Jan Hooks.

After all, when you're still doing Monica Lewinsky jokes -- and there were two on Saturday's telecast -- you're venturing far into hack comedy territory.

Weekend Update, which has always been good for a few laughs, managed just that: a few. The winner of that segment was Seinfeld and Jimmy Fallon doing a "Point/Counterpoint" that was supposed to be about campaign donation practices but quickly disintegrated into a Seinfeldesque bit on the Gap. The hook was Fallon, a funny member of the cast, doing a dead-on impression of Seinfeld, complete with Jerry's patented high-pitched whines.

There were other decent bits, including Molly Shannon's clumsy Catholic schoolgirl Mary Katherine Gallagher pining away for Seinfeld as a Jewish basketball player.

But it was only the Seinfeld in Oz bit -- filmed on the set of the series and featuring several actual cast members -- that was inspired. …

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