Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Saturday Night Live - Chicago Tribune's favorite moments of the 2008-2009 season

'Saturday Night Live': Our favorite moments of the season

Chris Borrelli, Tribune Newspapers

Tina Fey returned to "SNL" Saturday for Faux Palin redux, this time goofing on her interview with Katie Couric. (NBC photo by Dana Edelson / September 27, 2008)

Can you blame them for a blatant victory lap? Yes, Saturday night's season finale to "Saturday Night Live" was more nostalgia-tinged ( Will Ferrell as Alex Trebek, Harry Caray, President George Bush; Amy Poehler on "Weekend Update"; Norm Macdonald as Burt Reynolds!) and guest-stuffed ( Anne Hathaway, Tom Hanks, Paul Rudd, etc.) than the entire previous season put together.

But consider how much they have to celebrate:

During the 34th season of "SNL," a show that never fails to solicit a "Saturday Night Dead" headline once a year, had its most memorable skits in ages; affected the 2008 political election; lost one of its best cast members in Poehler; cemented itself (and Andy Samberg) as one of the funniest sources of digital shorts; became popular enough again to spin off a well-regarded Thursday night edition of "Weekend Update"; and, in Justin Timberlake, found its best unofficial cast member since the days of Steve Martin.

With all that in mind, consider these -- our 2008-09 season "SNL" superlatives:

Best host: A tough call -- Jon Hamm and Timberlake nailed it -- but we liked Hathaway, whose Mary Poppins impression ("Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is a disease of the liver!") and showbiz chops were a pleasant shock.

Best post-election Obama skit: The Rock Obama.

Best cast member: Kristin Wiig. In more skits than anyone else and responsible for more laughs.

Best skit for the time capsule: Tina Fey and Poehler's parody of Sarah Palin and Katie Couric's famously uneasy interview.

Most underrated: Filmmaker Noah Baumbach's "Clearing the Air" short film. Terrific take on the passive aggressive.

Best cast debut: Understated Michaela Watkins.

Best skit: Andy Samberg's bizarre (but spot-on) " Mark Wahlberg Talks to Animals."



I disagree about the cast debut. While I liked Michaela Watkins' blog reporter character, it's Abby Elliott's Angelina Jolie impression that was more memorable (she needs to do an Angelina Jolie Show skit). And Bobby Moynihan doing Of Mice & Men, Vinnie's Son, the leotard dancer, Snagglepuss, and the "Pepper" skit made him the funniest new cast member since Andy, Bill, Jason, and Kristen came on back in 2005.

Also, Andy Samberg didn't get enough credit. He was mentioned briefly for his digital shorts, but Andy Samberg (and TLI) had an amazing season of Digital Shorts! They had Space Olympics, Ras Trent, J*** in My Pants, Extreme Challenge, I'm on a Boat, Like a Boss, and Mother Lover. They knocked this season out of the park!!!


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