Welcome back to another installment of the Monday Morning Critic. In this space each week, I’ll be looking at the week that was in addition to the week ahead in television. The format will shift each week, as the world of TV will dictate the form and content of each piece.
In this week’s installment, I look at the premiere of The USA Network’s upcoming comedy ‘Benched,’ plus take stock of the Fall season of TV thus far.
Three of the four hosts of 'SNL''s 40th anniversary season have either been alumni or revered performers past, and the November premiere will take from both columns. Following Jim Carrey and Iggy Azalea's October 25 installment, 'SNL' alum Chris Rock will return to the 'SNL' stage for the first time since 1996, bringing along none other than Prince.
This past weekend's 'SNL' with Bill Hader proved the best of the season so far (despite garnering an all-time low in ratings, ouch), but the laughs might get a little dumber toward the end of October. Jim Carrey has been confirmed to return to 'SNL' for a third hosting gig alongside musical guest Iggy Azalea, while this past weekend's show has spit out a new deleted sketch with Bill Hader.
The unfortunate and untimely death of the great Jan Hooks this past week sent the comedy world into mourning, with countless writers and comics stepping forward to pay tribute to the late 'SNL' star. It could have been easy for this week's new episode to gloss over the passing of one of their own (it is a comedy show, after all), but 'SNL' has always been a slightly class institution -- it remembers those who came before.
Although 'SNL' previously parodied all the movie adaptations of the most obscure young-adult novels, all past sketches have nothing on 'The Group Hopper.' It's one thing to dress the cast in 'Hunger Games' outfits and make fun of one of the biggest movie franchises in the world. It's another thing altogether to create a fake movie trailer for a fake new franchise and make it seem strangely plausible while eviscerating every movie of this kind out there.
When it was announced that the great Bill Hader would be returning to 'SNL' to host this week's episode, everyone crossed their fingers and hoped for one thing: the glorious return of Stefon. And lo and behold, the comedy gods answered and the greatest character in modern 'Saturday Night Live' graced 'Weekend Update' yet again.
After watching Bill Hader host ‘SNL,’ I think there’s a chance that we all undervalued him while he was actually on the show. And I write this knowing that Hader actually was highly valued, but maybe it wasn’t enough. Hader is this generation’s Phil Hartman. It really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that he makes the perfect host. And it’s evident that ‘SNL’ really hasn’t figured out quite how to replace Hader yet; he fits so effortlessly into this cast. Hader has a way of elevating everything, and that’s why last night we got one of the best ‘SNL’’s in recent memory.
We've got some sad news today as we've learned that Jan Hooks, former star of 'Saturday Night Live,' has passed away at the age of 57. Hooks, who was a member of the cast from 1986 to 1991, also starred on the hit sitcom 'Designing Women,' and more recently played Jenna's mom on episodes of '30 Rock.'
These days 'SNL' movies are a bit few and far between (come on, 'MacGruber 2'!), but at least some of their success lives on with legendary classics like 'Wayne's World or 'The Blues Brothers.' There have been 11 'SNL' movies total over the course of the last 40 years, but how well do you think you know the late-night sketch comedy legend's cinematic history? Test your knowledge with the latest installment of ‘You Think You Know Movies?‘
This past weekend's 'SNL' with comedian Sarah Silverman brought with it a few stumbles, but what better way to return to form than with a seasoned alum? Bill Hader will return to grace the 'SNL' stage with his presence this Saturday with musical guest Hozier, the first promos of which see the 'Skeleton Twins' star catching up with Kenan Thompson on all the changes.
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