Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Little Love for Marjorie Pettibone

Okay, so the January Jones-hosted SNL wasn’t so hot. So Jones ended up playing window dressing for a lot of shoddily written sketches. And so one of the only sketches she was given a prominent role in had her playing an uncharacteristically flatulent Grace Kelly on the set of Rear Window, leaving everyone watching feel bad for Jones and worse for Kelly. We can’t really blame Jones. Previous fresh-faced actresses have fared better, their nonexistent or still-forming comedic chops hidden with good writing. In the end, bad sketches will drown even a talented actor.

However, in all the scathing reviews the episode got — see Gawker, see the A.V. Club, see James Wolcott — there was a bright spot: “A Lady’s Guide to Throwing a Party — With Marjorie Pettibone.” Though it had Jones donning 60s drag and essentially doing a less self-aware version of Mad Men’s Betty Draper, the bit really worked for me, even upon viewing it again in the light of day.

Give it a shot yourself, and concede that Jones’s SNL appearance wasn’t a total wash-out.

Two highlights, for me:
  • “Address cats by their full name, but dogs as ‘Mr.,’ and then their dog name. Because cats are girls and dogs are boys.”
  • “After a few drinks, it is time to wake the children. Put them in hats and parade them around the living room in a single loop, and the children will be put back to bed until the next party.”
Also, since I haven’t done a SNL-post in a while, I’m going to mention that this week’s episode kept up the tradition of ending with a quirky sketch, more weird than funny but still more watchable than the recycled stuff that appeared before it. Why can’t they be more creative with the rest of the show?

Finally, a minus that I’m not sure anyone else mentioned: Jenny Slate playing Hoda Kotb in the Today sketch kind of irked me, since Michaela Watkins did such a good job with the character last season. Not that I have anything against Slate and not that a bygone castmember should maintain dibs on an impersonation of a real-life person, but it still seemed odd to see Slate appearing in the role in a premise completely unaltered from the days Watkins played it.


  1. I'm glad I wasn't the only one irked by someone else playing Hofa Kotb. Part of the reason the sketch always worked so well was because of the chemistry between the two of them. But Jenny Slate? Eh.

  2. Both of those sketches were indeed pretty good. Nice work January.

    I believe that we've discussed this before, but I'm especially baffled by the shittiness of SNL given the quality of the cast right now. All of the major players have demonstrated that they can be really funny, both on the show and in other roles (save for one of course -- the head writer). Should we start a petition? I've got the headline all picked out: "Feyer Seth Meyers!"