TV Review: Saturday Night Live 2006-2007

SNLSaturday Night Live 2006-2007
NBC Saturday 11:30E/10:30C
1 3/4 stars1 3/4 stars

The 2006-2007 season of Saturday Night Live was one of change. Weekend Update anchor Tina Fey (along with Rachel Dratch) left the show to focus on 30 Rock while Horatio Sanz, Chris Parnell, and Finesse Mitchell were let go due to massive budget cuts.

This left a lean and mean cast of eleven, with Seth Meyers taking over the coveted Weekend Update co-anchor position. But the big question remained: could this small cast overcome these changes and succeed after a number of uneven seasons?

Before that’s answered, let’s take a quick look at each individual along with some other key aspects of SNL.

The Cast

Fred Armisen – Armisen wasn’t featured as much this season even though he’s considered to be one of the veteran cast members. He did contribute to a few solid sketches and shined during Weekend Update as Steve Jobs and as Larry Seidlin, the whimpering judge. One note: the Noony and Nuni Schoener sketches aren’t funny. Please stop them now.

Will Forte – Will started the season as the man picked to imitate George W. Bush…but that only lasted a few episodes (Jason Sudeikis took over the role). Forte whipped up laughs with his MacGruber bits and Tim Calhoun but fell flat with The Falconer.

Bill Hader – Hader had a solid season (especially when he played Vinnie Vedecci and one of the “Same Sex Couple in New Jersey”) but some of that goodwill is lost when you take into consideration his part in the “Four Guys singing to jukebox bit.” Awful.

Darrell Hammond – He’s the go-to guy in terms of imitations. Yes, sometimes he stumbles (Arnold Schwarzenegger isn’t great), but his Regis, Cheney, and Trump are all on the mark. Truth be told, he should be the one doing the presidential parodies.

Seth Meyers – Seth was featured almost completely in the Weekend Update segment…with varying results. Clearly, he was uncomfortable in the early episodes. But over time, he grew into his role as co-anchor. A solid but unremarkable year.

Amy Poehler – in previous seasons, Amy seemed to be one of the most fearless and stand-out cast members. This year she was slightly more subdued. Still, she was quite good as Kim Jong II and Kaitlin (who finally reappeared at the end of the season).

Maya Rudolph – She was great every time she pulled out the Whitney Houston impression. But her standout performance might have been the sketch in which she tried to seduce Shia LaBeouf …mostly because their first names rhymed.

Andy Samberg – He’s the quirkier, uglier James Fallon. Still, he often was the centerpiece of the odd, more daring sketches. And don’t forget about the digital shorts. Two years into the show, he’s a valuable cast member…but it still seems like he hasn’t quite found his voice.

Jason Sudeikis – Sudeikis is likable and seems to be the ultimate utility player with a few standout characters. Still, his Bush imitation is weak…and that’s not a good thing for a show known for its spot-on political commentary. His Simon Cowell imitation did improve over the season, however.

Kenan Thompson – NO MORE DEEP HOUSE DISH! NO MORE DEEP HOUSE DISH! NO MORE DEEP HOUSE DISH! And just a little more Al Sharpton.

Kristen Wiig – The standout player of the season. Her Target employee character is funny (but sometimes uneven), her part in “The Two A-Holes” is solid, and her latest character invention, Penelope (the queen of one-upsmanship) hits all the right notes. Don’t miss her Nancy Pelosi bit in reruns.

The Hosts

As always, some celebrities excel on SNL, some flop. This season had its fair share of both. Alec Baldwin was brilliant in his 13th hosting gig and Justin Timberlake did a great job at his second attempt of leading the show. Sports superstar Peyton Manning was surprisingly good as was up-and-comer Shia LaBeouf. Not so solid hosts included Dane Cook and The Office’s Rainn Wilson. Ban Dane Cook forever.


Saturday Night Live, as it has been for 32 years, is an uneven affair. Not all sketches can be winners, and this season was no exception.That being said, SNL is only as good or as bad as its sharp, biting political commentary.

This year the show failed in that respect.

The blame has to start (and end) with the presidential sketches. Both Will Forte and Jason Sudeikis couldn’t quite capture the essence of President Bush, making every presidential appearance painful and boring. This lead to many weak and overly-long openings, setting a negative tone for the remaining sketches. Lorne Michaels has to recapture the political mojo before the elections really start to heat up later this year. Otherwise, the 2007-2008 season could be a massive disappointment.

In the end, the 2006-2007 season of Saturday Night Live wasn’t particularly stellar and it wasn’t a complete disaster. It was average. And that’s the same score it will get from The Scope.

Category: Reviews, TV  |  Time: 9:28 am (CST)  |  

One Comment on “TV Review: Saturday Night Live 2006-2007”
  1. G Love said:
    May 24th, 2007 10:36 AM

    I would agree with “No more Deep House Dish”. But what else have they done with Kenan besides as token black character. The digital shorts definitely improved this season. Looking back at the entire season 1, and comparing it with this season, I think this season is actually more consistently smile worthy. Season 1 just had the big tv taboos the cast were breaking(It had a TON of clunker skits). And I think the nooneys are somewhat humorous. And some of my favorites have been the guys singing in the bar and reminiscing. Just so out there.
    I agree with the political commentary, but as Chevy showed us, you don’t have to have a spot on impression to have good political humor. I think they haven’t relied on the Bush critiques as much, because what else are you going to say? However I loved the animated commentary they did on the candidates in the season finale. Really funny stuff.