Saturday Night Live Fantasy League: Episode 39x01: Tina Fey & Arcade Fire

September 29, 2013




And we’re off to the races in this strange little experiment that we call Saturday Night Live FANTASY LEAGUE! I look forward to the continued evolution of this project as we go episode-to-episode. It was a hell of a fun episode, with a few things to think about. 

Here are your Ps & Qs (problematic and/or quality moments). Was this a Tina Fey hosted show or an Aaron Paul hosted show? Not that the Reclusive Peninsula would find anything wrong with that. Nasim Pedrad is still a cast member, right? I swear she had reoccurring characters once upon a time, then again if Mulany DOES get picked up maybe switching her out with a Featured Player isn’t a bad idea. They REALLY treated those new kids right this week. Now they just have to keep it up. Actually, now to get to the scores because I KNOW the SNL GM’s aren’t reading ANY of this first paragraph anyway.


REPERTORY CAST

Jay Pharoah, 40 points
  • 15 points (cold open)
  • 5 points (Obama)
  • 20 points (LIVE FROM NEW YORK)

The reason he was such a polarizing draft choice was crystallized by the fact that Pharoah was in ONE sketch, right at the top of the show playing the only reason he’s still on the show in the cold open, and saying “LIVE FROM NEW YORK” on top of that.  If not for that slice of fried gold, Pharoah could have very possibly been absent from the show. Not for nothing, but I suspect that he’ll be able to polish some of his other impressions off when Miley Cyrus hosts. And he needs it.

Vanessa Bayer, 17 points
  • 10 points (Girls pre-taped sketch)
  • 2 points (Porn Stars sketch, post-second song)
  • 5 points (porn stars)

Someone else that will no doubt have more to do next week, Bayer still made the most of what little she did this week being a part of what will no doubt be the meme of the episode with the pre-taped Girls spoof that opened the show post-monolouge before coming back with the final sketch of the night, the only one that played after the second song. Not for nothing but the airline boarding sketch played more like a late show segment then The Porn Stars who have been banged-dumb but still look to cash-in on high-end products.

Aidy Bryant, 25 points
  • 15 points (cold open)
  • 5 points (airline sketch)
  • 5 points (Cinema Classics sketch)

Nothing happened that was particularly surprising, involving Bryant, during the premiere. She was funny, yes, but otherwise she proved herself a strong utility player more then a star. A latter-day Rachel Dratch, if you will. She’s got a niche in the "sweet to the point of unsettling" wheelhouse.

Kenan Thompson, 64 points
  • 5 points (PROMO)
  • 15 points (cold open)
  • 5 points (sing/dance)
  • 5 points (airline sketch)
  • 5 points (gameshow sketch)
  • 4 points (ass x2)
  • 10 points (Lorne talks!)
  • 10 points (eMeth)
  • 5 points (Cinema Classics sketch)

Speaking of utility players, Kenan Thompson took the extra step in the premiere and filed in on Bill Hader’s absence by being the host for every single segment necessitating one. No surprise there. Still, this left him time as well to do utitlity bits in other segments (like the boarding segment, eMeth, and the cold opening), while also getting the chance to chat with Tina Fey and Lorne Michaels on air. You really aren’t JUST “the black one”, Kenan, I swear (though yes I did ding him for saying ‘ass’ twice)! It’s no surprise, with this anticipated production, that the longest standing cast member was such a high draft choice overall.

Taran Killam, 50 points
  • 15 points (cold open)
  • 10 points (Girls pre-taped sketch)
  • 5 points (airline sketch)
  • 10 points (eMeth)
  • 5 points (Cinema Classics sketch)
  • 5 points (kiss)

Speaking of high draft choices, the OTHER 50 point getter of the night in the Repertory Cast. A strong showing as the leading man of the cast allowed him to not only sneak in as a politician with potential to return, but also gave him roles in the two pre-taped segments of the night and a chance to kiss the host (his star-crossed lover, after all). I suspect nothing less from Mr. Robyn Sparkles.

Kate McKinnon, 40 points
  • 15 points (cold open)
  • 10 points (Girls sketch)
  • 5 points (airline sketch)
  • 10 points (eMeth)

She got to play it straight in the airline segment, which is just as well to show off the fact that sure she’s good at that too. What she is though, really? A better Kristen Wiig then Wiig. The kind of chain-smoking doctor, bored with orgy-having Jessa, crazy eMeth office worker that brings any material given to her, ANY OF IT, to the next level. She could very easily be the MVP of Season 39 even if she chugs along quietly as a points getter.

Bobby Moynihan, 40 points
  • 15 points (cold open)
  • 5 points (airline sketch)
  • 10 points (Update appearance)
  • 5 points (Drunk Uncle)
  • 5 points (singing)

On the subject of MVPs though, if we’re looking for someone who consistently makes a segment better simply by being in it then we shall look no further then Bobby Moynihan. He doesn’t even have to say a word, but when he does it’s the most quotable and artfully stupid thing possible.

Nasim Pedrad, 7 points
  • 5 points (airline sketch)
  • 2 points (gameshow sketch NPC)

The less said about this the better? … No, that is not also a commentary on her performance in the season premiere!

Cecily Strong, 84 points
  • 50 points (WEEKEND UPDATE HOST BONUS)
  • 15 points (cold open)
  • 2 points (gameshow sketch NPC)
  • 10 points (Weekend Update)
  • 2 points (Porn Stars sketch)
  • 5 points (porn stars)

Our NEW Weekend Update co-anchor! That one bonus puts her at the top of the point-gainers for this first show and puts her teams out in front out of the gate (more on that later), and her first Update? Not too bad, after all. The OJ joke was a winner and banter was heart felt. Seth Myer’s still holds the reigns at the desk, but the Tina Fey bit was exceptional. Also, the additional work of being on Update not withstanding, it was great to see she still gets a chance to play with her stable of reoccurring characters. First and (not quite) foremost (R.I.P. Drunk Girl), the Porn Stars!


FEATURED CAST
More then any other new-comers, the six featured players this season were given a chance to shine or at the very least entertain in the season’s premiere episode, with a shiney golden short song and dance number, along side a vetran of that sort of thing (Tina Fey), followed by further fun with our host in the form of an especially clever visual gag that outed the new cast members as the sort of uber-hipsters that could easily be mistaken for the Arcade Fire. So with THOSE moments in mind, here’s what set all the new white folks apart in episode one.

Mike O'Brien, 25 points
  • 10 points (host monologue)
  • 5 points (sing/dance)
  • 5 points (gameshow sketch)
  • 5 points (Model Ts sketch)

A later show sketch, just under the wire on the right side of the second song of the night, was the “world’s first used car commercial” that did more to cement Tina Fey’s wonderfully odd talent of playing haunted women from old photographs (Bletra, I’m looking at you too), but also proved a subtle nod that being a vetrean of the writers room gives Mike O’Brien the edge to star in a good handful of segments that he no doubt has a hand, especially during the show’s “fourth quarter minutes”.

John Milhiser, 20 points
  • 10 points (host monologue)
  • 5 points (sing/dance)
  • 5 points (airline sketch)

Though probably the quietest of the six new comers, playing Brooks Wheelan’s much smaller further, as well as being interchanged for Sarah Neufeld in the Arcade Fire or New Castmember Gameshow, does a nice and subtle job of highlighting the strength in Milhiser’s diminutive stature.

Noel Wells, 30 points
  • 10 points (host monologue)
  • 5 points (sing/dance)
  • 10 points (Girls sketch)
  • 5 points (gameshow sketch)

A "major league pixie", as Tina Fey put it, Noel Wells made HUGE steps in the first segment post-monologue and shiny-gold short pants, but absolutely nailing her Lena Dunham impersonation. It’s a big step, when the first thing people see of you is as the lead of a potential reoccurring sketch with staying power.

Kyle Mooney, 30 points
  • 10 points (host monologue)
  • 5 points (sing/dance)
  • 5 points (gameshow sketch)
  • 10 points (Update appearance)

There’s a strange depth to Mooney’s comedy isn’t there? A desperate tragedy sprinkled into his desperate characters? Even the purposefully unfunny stand-up on Weekend Update had a moment of bleak desperation that really helped separate him from the ol’ reoccurring stand-up gag that Fred Armeson brought to the update desk (among others).

Beck Bennett, 35 points
  • 15 points (cold open)
  • 10 points (host monologue)
  • 5 points (sing/dance)
  • 5 points (airline sketch)

Not being involved in the gameshow segment directly, Bennett was still given the opportunity to show him valid potential as the biggest danger to Taren Killam’s reign as go-to leading man/straight man, playing an able straight man in his limited time along-side Kate McKinnon in the airline sketch. Not to mention being the only Featured Cast brought out during the cold open.

Brooks Wheelan, 50 points
  • 10 points (host monologue)
  • 5 points (sing/dance)
  • 5 points (airline sketch)
  • 10 points (eMeth)
  • 20 points (full frontal meth-fueled nudity)

And then there’s THIS GUY. Where did THIS GUY come from? Honestly, he seemed like a pretty non-controversial fill-in for Tim Robinson as of last week. Then he had to go and get naked in the eMeth commercial, tearing through Kenan Thompson’s house and blurkling his way to a 50 point debut in the process!


With no Host Points to divvy up, there is the simple matter of MUSICAL GUEST songs. Following the usual rule of thumb, all participants went with Arcade Fire’s current single “Reflektor” as their choice for the first song. When it came to the second song of the night however, no one was wise to the, as yet unheard of material, enough to pull “Afterlife” out of there butts. Still, the after party was a hell of a way to start the season.

After the first episode, here’s how total points pan out, by group!


EBERSOL GROUP
THE IGNORANT SLUTS - Matt
Kate McKinnon - 40
Cecily Strong - 84
Beck Bennett - 35
John Mihiser - 20
MUSICAL GUEST - Arcade Fire - SONGS: 1) Reflektor & 2) You Already Know
5 points for first song
EPISODE ONE TOTAL - 184

RECLUSIVE PENINSULA - Rob
Taran Killam - 50
Aidy Bryant - 25
Mike O' Brien - 25
Beck Bennet - 35
MUSICAL GUEST - Arcade Fire - SONGS: 1) Reflektor & 2) Ready to Start
5 points for first song
2 points for Aaron Paul appearance – Cold Opening
2 points for Aaron Paul appearance - eMeth
2 points for Aaron Paul appearance – Weekend Update
EPISODE ONE TOTAL - 146

EXTREME CLOSE-UP! - Jack
Jay Pharoah - 40
Brooks Wheelan - 50
Noel Wells - 30
John Mihiser - 20
MUSICAL GUEST - Arcade Fire - SONGS: No guesses.
EPISODE ONE TOTAL - 140

DAN AYKROYD RAGE - Mark
Vanessa Bayer - 17
Bobby Moynihan - 40
Kyle Mooney - 30
Noel Wells - 30
MUSICAL GUEST - Arcade Fire - SONGS: 1) Reflektor & 2) Normal Person
5 points for first song
EPISODE ONE TOTAL - 122

FIVE TIMERS CLUB - Leah
Kenan Thompson - 64
Nasim Pedrad - 7
Mike O'Brien - 25
Kyle Mooney -30
MUSICAL GUEST - Arcade Fire - SONGS: 1) Reflektor & 2) You Already Know
5 points for first song
EPISODE ONE TOTAL - 131


DOUMANIAN GROUP
THE TEAM YOU WISH YOU HADN'T STARTED A CONVERSATION WITH AT A PARTY - Brian
Kate McKinnon - 40
Cecily Strong - 84
Mike O' Brien - 25
Noel Wells - 30
MUSICAL GUEST - Arcade Fire - SONGS: 1) Reflektor & 2) We Used to Wait
5 points for first song
EPISODE ONE TOTAL - 184

SUCK IT TREBEK - Sarah
Kenan Thompson - 64
Brooks Wheelan - 50
Noel Wells - 30
Kyle Mooney - 30
MUSICAL GUEST - Arcade Fire - SONGS: 1) Reflektor & 2) Here Comes the Night Time
5 points for first song
EPISODE ONE TOTAL - 179

MILLION DOLLAR BILL MURRAYS - Russel
Bobby Moynihan - 40
Jay Pharoah - 40
Kyle Mooney - 30
Beck Bennett - 35
MUSICAL GUEST - Arcade Fire - SONGS: 1) Reflektor & 2) Games Without Frontiers
5 points for first song
EPISODE ONE TOTAL - 150

BILL BRASKY - Saad
Taran Killam - 50
Aidy Bryant - 25
Mike O'Brien - 25
John Mihiser - 20
MUSICAL GUEST - Arcade Fire - SONGS: 1) No guesses.
EPISODE ONE TOTAL - 120

YOU KNOW, IT'S THE TEAM THE HIGH-WASITED MIDGETS THAT HAVE, LIKE, THE RED PANTS AND THE BIG ASS - Kevin
Nasim Pedrad - 7
Vanessa Bayer - 17
Beck Bennett - 35
John Mihiser - 20
MUSICAL GUEST - Arcade Fire - SONGS: 1) Reflektor & 2) Flashbulb Eyes
5 points for first song
EPISODE ONE TOTAL - 84

And as an added wrinkle, I’ve decided to introduce head-to-head games to our Saturday Night Live Fantasy League! Yes, the League Championship will ultimately go to the overall points winner, but I’m curious to see who wins the VERSUS side of things as well with the luck of the schedule on there side, not to mention the strength of their cast. I’ve mapped out a sixteen episode regular season, where-in groups will be kept more or less separate except for a single inter-group game a week as well as an inter-group episode later in the season, before we jump into the play-offs. The schedule will be unveiled in a separate post where the standings will otherwise be kept track of, and otherwise be kept at an arms length away from our straight up full points funnery!

Yes, this just went deeper into television mathematician madness!

HEAD-TO-HEAD EPISODE ONE
EXTREME CLOSE-UP (140 - WINNER) vs  FIVE TIMERS CLUB (131)
RECLUSIVE PENINSULA (146 - WINNER) vs DAN AKROYD RAGE (122)
THE IGNORANT SLUTS (184) vs THE TEAM YOU WISH YOU HADN'T (184) TIE
SUCK IT TREBEK (179 - WINNER) vs BILL BRASKY (120)
YOU KNOW... KEVIN! (84) vs MILLION DOLLAR BILL MURRAYS (150 - WINNER)

Congratulations to our current points leaders, THE IGNORANT SLUTS and THE TEAM YOU WISH YOU HADN’T STARTED A CONVERSATION WITH AT THE PARTY! At least you’re close enough friends to be equally unhappy with the first week tie in head-to-head, I swear it wasn’t me it was the schedule (which had been built from the draft order). So with our first week of points on electronic paper, I’ll see you next week, everyone!


Suffice to say, it'll be different from the last time.

Mind your Ps and Qs everyone, cause next week on SNL those kids’ll be twerkin’ 9 to 5!

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