Justin Timberlake
October 11, 2003

By Joey MacQueen

Boy, I never thought I would ever have to write about Justin Timberlake in an SNL review. It's almost a nightmare! But, I must say, I prefer writing a review for Justin Timberlake as host and musical guest, than Britney Spears, who will just serve as a musical guest next week, with host Halle Berry.

OVERVIEW

I will not watch him as a musical guest, but since Lorne Michaels must be hard up for someone to host, I am forced to watch Justin Timberlake try to act funny.Sure, the female reviewers will love him, but I'll try and stay unbiased, and not instantly give the show an F.

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(COLD OPENING) He who throws the hardball farthest...

Finally, something to look forward to! I was scared SNL was going with another political opening (sadly, another Arnold skit will later be seen). But luckily, Darrell Hammond's supposed last year won't be crap all 20 shows. If we can get Hardball two more times, I'll be happy. Just the way Darrell delivers those lines is really the highlight of a highlight skit. Whoever writes these needs to write the entire show, because doesn't it seem this sketch is written by someone who only writes for this very skit? It's always a great, hilarious sketch. This time around, we're treated to Jeff Richards and Amy Poehler, and two more funny roles. Jeff is obviously getting sharpened up to replace Darrell. And here I thought Parnell was doing that. Nope, Parnell is just becoming "that guy on SNL" who will be in small bit roles in upcoming comedies. Oh well... tough love. The best part was Kenan Thompson, who is turning out to be a black Darrell Hammond, covering some great impersonations. This time, it's Gary Coleman, and this almost makes me want to check out his years on "All That"... almost. Overall, a fun way to open SNL. GRADE: A-

(MONOLOGUE/SONG) What does it mean to rock one's body?

This is rather odd. Okay, who was that guy? Is he a writer, an aspiring featured player, or neither? If you know, e-mail me. Anyway, how am I supposed to grade this? We got some funny back-and-forth material from Justin and this unknown guy. We got a nice, deserved jab at Britney. And, there wasn't any cast members making last ditch efforts to suck up to the host in the monologue. However, it featured a presumably shortened version of "Rock Your Body". I'm sorry, I shouldn't even know the name of the song, but I do. It's a bad song to me, but appeals to the masses, so cheers to Lorne Michaels, but jeers to Justin. Jeers, indeed. So, I'll include the song as part of the monologue (he gets to sing THREE times now, excluding skits). GRADE: D+

(SKETCH) You just got punk'd! MTV-Style, yo!

Now this shocked me. I laughed a lot at this "Punk'd" spoof, because it depicted Ashton Kutcher 100%! He's a fucking celebrity, with one big head. Look, he had some luck with "Just Married" on the big screen, and yes he's the star of a FOX teen comedy and an MTV hidden camera series. And he acts like he is THE star of Hollywood. Oh my god, I can't believe, he knows people like Jessica Biel, and Mandy Moore, and Kelly Osbourne. Oh, all TEEN stars! I get it. He's the star among TEEN actors and entertainers. Well, he's not even that. I want to see him ridicule Demi Moore's ex, Bruce Willis, and live to tell about it. Anyway, Justin did an "awesome" job as Ashton, and surprisingly made me laugh. If he was a comedic actor/entertainer and not a singer, maybe I'd like him more. But his NSYNC and solo work have done him in. What I really liked was Justin "punking" Ashton on his own, by saying (remember, this is AS Ashton Kutcher) "I love Justin Timberlake" then running off. Poor Ashton... too bad that May-December romance with Demi Moore didn't even last that long. GRADE: B+

(SKETCH) He'll be back... again and again... and things of that nature!

See, I can use that kind of jokes, and sound unfunny, too! Why have two straight Schwarzenegger skits in as many weeks? How odd. Anyway, the laughs went WAY down for this one, and I was left wishing for a Terminator spoof, or something of that nature. I would've settled for a duet with Timberlake, and all of that! But in the end, I'm left with one boring skit. GRADE: D

(SKETCH) Drop the kids off at the p... OH! Now that is just wrong!

Yes, finally, a parody of "Newlyweds", parodying the awful Jessica Simpson, and the bland Nick Lachey (blandness judged by "Punk'd" appearance). Now, again, I laugh at Justin Timberlake, for a great impersonation of Jessica Simpson. And Jimmy Fallon was good, too. It was a good parody, of them trying to plead their case, but it's obvious... Jessica is a dumbass. Good laughs here, but some repetitions of stuff that happened on the show (like the buffalo wings bit). Either way, a good skit for both Justin and Jimmy. GRADE: B

(SKETCH) When the competition gets tough, go where the money is!

I don't really see the point in this, other than Justin imitating already bad songs (like the Britney song "Slave for You"). And, Justin, you can't sing! Just a word of advice. If you were singing like Gilbert Gottfried, pre-teen girls would still love you, but I would just laugh more. Chris Parnell was okay, but he did was his character did... tried to be cool, but was rather lame. Oh well, can't blame him for trying. Plus, any restaurants devoted to breakfast food deserves to be made fun of. And fast! Few laughs, and poor concept. GRADE: C

(SKETCH) What, is there something between my HUGE teeth?

Just more of an example that Jeff Richards is taking over for poor Darrell Hammond. I hope we never see Drunk Girl again, and its impersonations like this that will help us forget that. Gary Busey is funny, without this impersonation, even if he's trying to be serious. I don't know why, but I always thought Gary Busey looked like Nick Nolte. It isn't the case, but whatever. A nice little skit, parodying DIRECtv, with Richards doing a good job as Busey. Laughs aplenty. GRADE: B

(SKETCH) So, they're from Bahsten?

Yes, Sully and Denise are back. These aren't my favorite recurrers, but they're not bad choices for recurring skits, either. They provide filler, for me. Surprisingly enough, I laughed again at Justin Timberlake, as Denise's pyro brother. Decent sketch. Nothing to really rave about. It's kind of like "Wake Up, Wakefield!" I enjoy it when I see it, but if they stopped writing them, I wouldn't miss it. Some good jokes, but I forget the end joke, that they usually end the skit with. GRADE: C+

(NEWS) Weekend Upd...

Wasn't this short? No clue why. Oddly enough, it was funny, start to finish, but too bad Fallon couldn't hold it together after Fey's mini-rant. Nothing else really stood out as "outstanding" work for SNL. I think Tina and Jimmy should step down, Jimmy should go do movies, and Tina should appear in more skits. GRADE: B

(SKETCH) YAY! The f***ing Sharon Osbourne Show!

Fuck that skit! Okay, weird wild stuff. My new want list for Christmas contains this being made in a recurring bit. It was funny, and while I haven't seen The Sharon Osbourne Show (I'll take my Osbournes in small, ten episode MTV season does, thank you!), Amy does a great job, imitating Sharon. What I was really surprised with was Armisen's impersonation of Quentin Tarantino! That was a great one, if only Armisen looked at least a little like Tarantino. My brother saw the movie, Kill Bill, and said it's great, while I was too cheap, and read part of the full 222-page script. Seems good, so why not see it? I could have did without Justin Timberlake as Michael Bolton. An annoying, no talent singer imitating just that! I'll laugh at Bolton, when mocked by Conan O'Brien only! Overall, some hearty laughs. GRADE: B-

(SKETCH) Can Will apologize to me for making his first offical appearance... on the second show?!

I was getting worried that Will Forte was secretly gone, but lo and behold, and shows up! And luckily, it was my favorite skit of the night! Justin reminisces with Kermit the Frog (the puppeteer is Will), and Justin keeps stepping on Will's hands. Then, Justin tips over the barrier, revealing Will. Hilarity ensues. Sure, Justin sang, but it was with Will as Kermit, so I let him off the hook for this one. I could've did without the tie-dyed shirt on Will, but this was still great! Good line from Justin, about growing up with cast members like Chris Kattan and Molly Shannon. GRADE: A-

(PROMO) Vote... that black guy... for governor!

So, Carl Weathers was the white guy in Lethal Weapon! I gotcha! This was really meaningless, not even standing out in anyway, and I'm sorry to have to give this a rating at all. On the spooky side, that reverse picture of Danny Glover scared the shit out of me. GRADE: D-

(SKETCH) HAHAHAHA!!! How unfunny!

I mean really, what was this? Amy dressed as a leprechaun. She apparently doesn't like Justin, but secretly does, so they think it's funny. Well it wasn't. It was just gratingly unfunny! Really pointless! GRADE: D-

(SKETCH) They'll try to stay alive!

Oh my god, I don't think I've laughed that hard at a last skit of the night in a long long time! Jimmy Fallon really proved how funny he can be, given the right material. The weird vocal noises showed off his comedy, and I hope this turns into a recurring bit. Justin Timberlake's role was obviously okay, but did he need to sing in almost every sketch? Anyway, surprising last sketch! GRADE: B+

Player of the Night: Jeff Richards
Sketch of the Night (tie) Hardball & Justin duets with Kermit
Worst Sketch: (tie) Carl Weathers & Amy likes Justin
Shock Factor: Justin actually was funny whenever he didn't sing.
Suck Factor: Justin singing in almost all of his sketches. Did we need that?

OVERALL: C (loses a plus, since Justin sang most of the show)

Wow, I really thought this show would suck a lot more, but I was wrong! Justin was good when not singing (proving it's all he can do, even if he can't sing). Jeff Richards continues proving he's the next Darrell Hammond, and Will Forte, despite being my current favorite cast member, did not deserve the push up to cast member status so soon, even if he was the highlight of the show, doing so little.

EPISODIC RANKINGS
1. Jack Black C+
2. Justin Timberlake C

Next week, will Halle Berry do something to breath life into the critical conditioned SNL? Probably not, but I'll rely on Will Forte, Jeff Richards, Kenan Thompson and Darrell Hammond to cheer me up. Until then, I'm Joey MacQueen and I am outta here!