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'Saturday Night Live' recap: Edward Norton is here to scare -- VIDEO

Edward Norton may seem like a host out of left field, considering his lack of anything to promote at the moment, but the Fight Club actor gave a solid performance with his first-time SNL hosting gig. His aw-shucks manner carried several sketches without seeming too awkward or over-the-top. And no, Norton isn’t known for his comedic chops, so the decision to amp up his boyish mannerisms helped spotlight his strong suits, from his physical comedy to his impressions, including a take on Woody Allen in the opening monologue that was top-notch.

And speaking of the opening monologue, Alec Baldwin and Miley Cyrus stopped by (came in like a wrecking ball, if you will?) to give the first-time host some tips. While Baldwin’s more understandable — the guy’s hosted 15 times, has a talk show to promote, can play off Norton — Cyrus’ appearance is just a head-scratcher. Sure, she’s there to announce her 2014 tour, but her interjection and tongue joke fell flat in an otherwise well-done lead-in to the show.

Overall, this latest SNL had more hits (e.g., actual screen time for Nasim Pedrad) than misses (e.g., the “Drug Deal” sketch). That said, it felt like the show had more sketches than usual — following a two-week break, and a Halloween/autumnal theme to play off of, the writers clearly ended up with a lot of material. It even led to a shortened Weekend Update. And with a dependable actor like Norton, the show seemed to have an easier time integrating him into sketches without worrying about the characters he’ll have to tackle or the implications of his appearance on the show. His range certainly came in handy for two wildly different sketches of the night:
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'NCIS' recap: 'No one will say her name'

We’re now on the third Ziva-less episode of the season here on NCIS, but for Tony, the wound of his partner’s departure is as fresh as if it had happened hours ago. And tonight’s episode gave us a glimpse into exactly how he’s been dealing with the loss. Hint: Not well.

But of course, this is Tony DiNozzo and he’s not just going to come right out and say that. Instead, we carried on with a case that illuminated the real issue at hand and also reunited Tony with a person from his Baltimore days, named Anton.

Anton’s story was a complicated one but it boils down to: He was once an informant for Tony but when he feared his life was in danger, he killed the man who he thought was going to tell others that he’d been working with the police. Years after being in the wind, he resurfaced on the day an officer named Wells, who had a high-level security clearance, turned up dead. Of course, this made him suspect No. 1. READ FULL STORY

'New Girl' recap: Your Keaton Heart

Trick or treat, Newbies? As it turned out, a little bit of both. I’ll admit a good portion of this week’s episode felt like an apple bobbing around on the surface, but when that last scene came… let’s just say there are ripples in store. Sure, there’s not a lot of physical distance separating Schmidt from the loftmates as we move forward, but it’s clear he’s establishing plenty of emotional distance. How much? Enough for Coach to jump right back in there and create a big ol’ ruckus. All told, tonight wasn’t actually another filler episode — it set up the trajectory that will take us all the way to New Girl‘s midseason finale… and maybe beyond. Color me intrigued. READ FULL STORY

'Supernatural' recap: Searching for Clarence

Castiel learned a lot about what it means to be human on tonight’s Supernatural. He got annoyed with having to constantly pee, he had to learn how to ration his food, he started noticing boobs, he had sex, he died. You know, normal stuff. But the hardest human lesson of all probably came at the end of the episode, when he learned what it’s like to have your friends turn their backs on you.

But why’d the Winchesters give Cas the heave-ho? I’ll explain, but first, let’s go back.
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'How I Met Your Mother' recap: 'I love our story'

Things got a little aca-awkward for Ted on tonight’s How I Met Your Mother thanks to guest star Anna Camp. READ FULL STORY

'NCIS' recap: Standing up to bullies

Gibbs secured his spot atop every list of TV’s Greatest Badasses on Tuesday night’s NCIS by confronting an angry mob of men with nothing more than his fists.

But what made his bravery even more exceptional was that there was much more to it, and that he saw it not as bravery but penance. READ FULL STORY

'Supernatural' recap: Hide and Zeke

Does anyone give an inspirational speech better than Dean freaking Winchester? Because if Tuesday night’s episode of Supernatural is any indication, the eldest Winchester has been studying the Coach Taylor Guide to Heart-Stirring Rhetoric, and I like it. A lot.

But speaking more generally, “The Devil May Care” as a whole was a pretty solid hour that saw the return of stepford demon Abaddon, the introduction of a few new faces (only one of which lived to see the end of the hour), and more of angel Ezekiel in a very interesting way.

That’s your teaser. Let’s jump into the details: READ FULL STORY

'New Girl': Nick in a Box

Money changes people, y’all. Or perhaps love changes people? And yet… Nick got a heapin’ helpin’ of both this week and let’s be honest: Nick is who he is. Getting an $8,000 inheritance from his dearly departed Pop-Pop didn’t change him any more than an inadvertent turn as a Good Samaritan fundamentally shifted Schmidt’s moral fiber. Their actions, catharses, and struggles this week were just a blip — just like this episode.  READ FULL STORY

'How I Met Your Mother' recap: Choosing sides

It’s 48 hours before the wedding and Barney and Robin are still going at it. No, not in the fun way. I mean in a bad way.

This week’s issue? Barney felt that Robin was making him choose between her and his family. To be fair, she was. But it was more complicated than that. READ FULL STORY

'SNL' recap: Bruce Willis is back and he's here to party

It doesn’t seem possible that Bruce Willis has only hosted Saturday Night Live one time in his lengthy career (back in 1989). There have been about 16 Die Hard movies to promote since then, though Willis doesn’t seem the type of guy who needs to break his neck promoting things. He’s Bruce Willis, that tends to be enough. Maybe that’s why no one really knew what to expect out of this show. While Willis is definitely a funny guy, he is a consummate straight man. I was not expecting such a high level of comedic commitment and I certainly wasn’t expecting a Michael Kors impression.

Last night’s SNL had a miss or two, but it was pleasantly original, showcasing a few new featured players and giving the more seasoned cast leaders a chance to settle into their veteran roles without the pressure of millions waiting to see if Miley rips up a picture of Sinead O’Connor. Willis himself is a litte short on celebrity beef right now. In fact, he didn’t even have anything to promote. He was just there to [boy dance] party!

Best Sketch

Willis played an excellent parody of himself in this wannabe-Bond meets Zero Dark Thirty sketch. Though he was assigned to sit and wait in the van during an upcoming mission, Willis envisioned his call to duty with a little more pizazz. It involved a lot of kicking in doors and hidden knives in boots. The sketch also served as a good opportunity for Beck Bennett to give the role of “guy who perches on desk in front of other guys” left empty by Jason Sudeikis, a try. Success!

Honorable Mention

An unintentional Eddie Murphy impersonation from Jay Pharoah, a quirky character for Willis, and the extra on the far left whose face literally did not move for three minutes made for a pretty funny sketch. Willis’ Terry just can’t quite get the hang of “shop talk.” Funnier than his non sequiturs though, was Terry’s confidence that his conversation contributions were just as interesting as “chocolate nipples.” “You know who’s pretty in a real small way? Helen Hunt.”

Worst Sketch

Listen, I like Taran Killam’s arms as much as the next girl and vividly remember laughing at him screaming “GLICE?!” at a cherubic Justin Bieber, but the domestic violence themes in the Overprotective Brother sketch were a little too much. It was also Willis’ weakest sketch of the night, as he tends to get kind of whispery when he tries to play…not himself (see also: Michael Kors impression). Killam yelling out “Thank you, I need boundaries!” though, was the rare case of SNL ending a sketch better than it started.

On the Pulse of the Nation Sketch

SNL Writer’s Room: “Alright, we’ve only got the rental on these space suits for 48 more hours, let’s get in as many Gravity references as possible this week. And how do we non-depressingly talk about the government shutdown? I know! A cold open with Kenan Thompson as the only essential custodian left at NASA, taking phone messages from two astronauts about to float off into the galaxy. Let’s get Kate McKinnon with a Ukrainian accent in there too, just for kicks.”

Best Musical Moment

Katy Perry isn’t always known for vocals when belting her power anthems live, but belt she did on “Roar” in her first performance of the night. That song is just so damn catchy. Filling the stage with furries and a jungle backdrop was a good way to make the number seem like more of a production on SNL’s petite stage, as well. It was surprising that Perry didn’t make an appearance in any sketches, but perhaps she was as scarred by the Elmo shirt she wore the last time she hosted as I was.

I Don’t Know What’s Happening But I Think I Like It Sketch

Something about these end-of-the-night Good Neighbor-esque shorts that Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett are doing is working. Last week’s sketch where Kyle couldn’t quite close the deal with Miley was odd but pretty funny, but this week’s emotionally engaged beer pong bit really clicked. Roller coaster design, pen pals, choose a lizard, and custom baseball card are the kinds of high stakes drinking I can get down with. “Bounce and blow” rules are for chumps.

Cast MVP, Old & New

It’s got to be the host. Taran Killam, Bobby Monynihan, and Vanessa Bayer did a good job of leading most of the sketches and moving things along, but Willis played a surprisingly varied number of characters and seemed to be game for anything, including “shaking that sack” in the guaranteed-to-go-viral-in-an-hour “Boy Dance Party.”
What happens when ladies leave men alone to watch football? They dance! Silly but catchy.

Brooks Whelan hasn’t established his own voice in the last three weeks quite as much as other new players, but he got a good bit tonight playing himself explaining his regrettable tattoos on “Weekend Update”. “Oh yeah, 17-year-old Brooks, you’ll love the Red Hot Chili Peppers forever. Those lyrics will never grow tiresome!” Cecily Strong also did her best yet next to Seth Meyers, tossing Kardashian jokes back and forth and crossing the line with NBC pages.

Best Line of the Night
Really anything from the Beer Pong sketch got me, but Bennett and Mooney’s deadpan delivery on the roller coaster rule was killer.
“Alright, just a few more rules. If you guys bounce it and we swat it back and it lands inside one of your cups, you have to design your ideal roller coaster.”
“Grab some markers and some colored pencils and just start drawing. Disregard the laws of physics and create the coaster from your wildest dreams.”
“If we like it enough, we’ll put it up on the wall.”

Extras:
- Bobby Moynihan was hilariously enthralled by Willis’ mission predictions in the Navy Seals sketch: “Uh oh, wait – is the bodyguard big?!”

- “I’m going to say that Janet from Space called, and I’m going to say that this is very important. OK, all set, y’all have a good day now!” Always what you want to hear from the custodian you need to guide you back from space.

- “24-hour Energy For Dating Actresses” is a pretty niche market, but watching Michael O’Brien chug a pony keg of energy drink while “actors” scream “Anything Goes” in his face was entertainment for the masses.

- Bruce Willis continues to keep his harmonica playing skills under tight wrap in the super-short monologue. Are shorter monologues for non-comedian hosts a new rule of thumb now?

- That Lady Gaga talk show can be a one-time thing but it did get us a solid Aidy Bryant line: “What the hell?! I’m a high school principal, I cannot look like this!

- “In the olden days, the ladies stayed at home and boys went to work. Now it’s time for the ladies to get out so the boys can stay home and TWERK.” This episode was a definite boys club but watching Bruce Willis booty pop with the younger guys of SNL was worth it.

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