SNL: Scarlett Johansson – Season Highlight (Review)

 Saturday Night Live - Season 42

It is a clear sign of near perfection when one watches SNL in a crowded Starbucks, full of university students working their collective butts off, and tries unsuccessfully to keep the laughter down as tears of mirth stream helplessly out of both eyes. Scarlett Johansson, in her fifth stint as guest host of the show, killed it with a little help from some SNL friends.

Episode 16, which also featured Kiwi singer/songwriter Lorde, was a season highlight without one real misstep in any of the sketches on offer. (Although the Ivanka Trump advert was a tad…eclectic till the end…) Each skit was spot on and while the previous episode allowed Weekend Update to take a rest from its usual topical hilarity, it picked right up with McKinnon’s Sessions stint and Pete Davidson’s little rant.

The cold open, which opted for a “War of the Worlds” type scenario featuring Baldwin’s Trump, set the tone for the rest of the show. It was pithy, funny and perhaps a tie with the brilliant Jeff Session’s “Forrest Gump” cold open of episode 15.

The entire show was rib-tickling funny. “Zoo Pornographer'” and “Olive Garden” were flatly funny. The latter sketch relying upon broad comedy along with the brilliant reactions from the characters in the skit.

“Translator” was the perfect vehicle to make fun of the POTUS as Scarlett Johansson’s character’s dog revealed that he loved President Trump. He also tells the assorted members of the skit that his owner “masturbates out of boredom.”

The other political skit was the pre-recorded Trump perfume advert which shifts gears midway through to point an accusing finger at Ivanka as a “new” feminist who is anything but. The highlight of this skit is that Ivanka sees her husband in the mirror instead of her own reflection. A superb and somewhat spot on indication of how the world sees the woman who is definitely behind the man in the white house.

“Shud the Mermaid,” with McKinnon’s blob fish mermaid with her pal Conk, the angler fish mermaid, was funny and, like the other sketches with Johansson, proved that the four-time Golden Globe nominated actress is damned funny when given the chance. It is easy to see why Scarlett was been invited back to host SNL for a fifth time.

Musical guest Lorde, who managed to knock it out of the park with both her numbers, especially the second song “Liability” also got to make a cameo appearance in the “Woman’s Day” sketch later in the episode.

SNL has managed to make this episode stand almost head and shoulders above the rest of this season’s offerings. Clearly, the writers stepped up their game with Johansson’s talents setting the boundaries of what could be done with this incredibly talented woman.

This episode of SNL was a “win/win” as every single sketch elicited barely pent-up howls of laughter in a public place. The writers and the performances of all were spot on.

Kenan Thompson was allowed a huge nod, in the monologue, towards his being the senior cast member of the show. Leslie Jones managed to, once again, shine on brilliantly with Scarlett in the “Ninja” skit and perhaps the only downside in the entire episode were those dodgy English accents on offer (a recurring theme in SNL this year).

If you missed this latest SNL offering head over to Hulu and check it out or watch the YouTube highlights of the episode. This was a good one.

Superstore: Wellness Fair – Cat Out of the Bag (Recap/Review)

SUPERSTORE -- "Wellness Fair" 216 -- Pictured: (l-r) Nichole Bloom as Cheyenne, Ben Feldman as Jonah, Mark McKinney as Glenn, America Ferrera as Amy -- (Photo by: Evans Vestal Ward/NBC)

Superstore “Wellness Fair” lets the cat out of the bag on more than one secret being kept by Cloud 9 employees. At long last the truth of whom Jeff is really seeing comes out, as does Jeff, and Glenn goes cold turkey when he learns just how unhealthy fruit juice really is.

This episode saw Amy playing hooky from work to take her daughter to see the The LEGO Batman Movie. She calls in sick and Dina decides immediately that Amy is faking her illness.  The assistant manager makes it her mission to catch Amy out.

Throughout the entire episode she asks her coworkers whether Amy told them where she was the day before or what type of illness she had.  Meanwhile, the store is exploding with the news that Amy saw Jeff and Mateo outside the movie theatre kissing.

She believes that Jeff is cheating on Sandra and as Amy learns the truth, the rest of the store believe that Jeff got Sandra pregnant and then dumped her for Mateo. Later, they learn that she made the whole thing up for attention. (Although initially it was a misunderstanding.)

Cloud 9 are having a wellness fair where customers can have certain things like blood pressure and their vision tested. However, as Garrett tells  the store, they are not offering breast exams. “If we were it would not be done by a teenage  boy,” Garrett says.

Glenn decides that Jonah is being a real “know-it-all” and gets angry when it appears that the Cloud 9 employee is smarter than he is.  Between stressing out at Jonah’s knowledge base and trying to convince Sandra to not abort her, made-up, baby, Glenn’s blood sugar crashes and he gets dizzy.

After the entire store, including customers, watch Glenn and Jonah argue about abortion and feminism, Jeff has to turn up from corporate and talk to the staff about what not to discuss in front of paying customers.

Glenn, who is still suffering from that low blood sugar, confronts Jeff about getting Sandra pregnant and then dumping her. Jeff then reveals that he is gay, Mateo tells everyone that they have been dating for months and Sandra explains that she made the whole thing up.

Garrett and Dina also lift the veil on their sexual relationship. Amy is wildly amused at this turn of events and starts picking on Garrett. He responds by telling Dina that Amy faked being sick to see The LEGO Batman Movie.

Dina confronts Amy, demanding to know what that is…

This episode of Superstore was a brilliant breakdown of just how quickly gossip can spread through the workplace. In seconds the entire store and its staff learned of Sandra’s “pregnancy” and then that she had made the relationship up.

It also pointed out, yet again, just how inept Glenn feels when he is around Jonah.  The cutest part of the entire episode was when the two boyfriends “came out” and Mateo tells the first customer they encounter that they are a couple.

Glenn, as usual, could be the poster child for how not to behave when he accuses Jeff of being too bland to be gay. It was the highlight of the episode. Superstore airs Thursdays on NBC.

Cast:

Timeless: The Red Scare – Broken (Review)

 Timeless - Season 1

Timeless “The Red Scare” manages to deliver a triple whammy where Lucy diagnoses Flynn as being broken and it looks like he is not the only one is issues. By the end of the episode, Jiya has some sort of time travel glitch and Preston discovers that her mum was a Rittenhouse agent all along.

Flynn is also arrested by Agent Christopher. “But he is a terrorist,” she tells Lucy as the furious man so desperate to save his wife and child is led away by soldiers. Lucy is also upset as Flynn was on his way to the last ever mission in the mothership.

For the more political viewers, this episode, which featured the infamous “better dead than red” Senator Joe McCarthy, seemed to draw a perfectly clear parallel to the new POTUS. The line about the press seemed spot on, another power mad individual claiming that the press lie…

There was also the reminder that McCarthy was, underneath it all, a bully.

The main plot line had Lucy meeting her “in the closet” grandfather and recruiting him to the cause of defeating Rittenhouse. She asks him to become a double agent. His efforts, along with those of Connor Mason who reveals to Christopher that he has been playing the long game, allow the Rittenhouse organization to be gutted.

However…

As we learn in the closing moments of the episode, Rittenhouse may have been down but they are not out. They have gained control of the mothership, now being piloted by Emma who was hiding out in the old west earlier, and are on their way to change history.

It also becomes clear just what Rittenhouse and its members suffer from, as compared to Lucy, Wyatt, Rufus and Flynn, they have no empathy, passion or even the most basic of emotions. When Lucy tells her mother that she will be going back after Amy, her missing sister, the reaction she gets is telling.

“Mom” reveals that she is part of the Rittenhouse machine and that no one cares about a missing girl that only Lucy knows about. The shock on Preston’s face is clear, not just at the news that her mother is part of the problem but that she is so cold and unmoved about Amy’s plight.

While Flynn’s arrest is upsetting, as is Lucy’s learning that her mother was in on the whole thing all along, the interesting thing about this episode has to do with Jiya’s “vision.”

Was Jiya being the fourth in the machine result in her being able to time travel without a device? Or since the issues have to do with her eyes, can she see the past? (Her glance at the Golden Gate Bridge showed the thing under construction. While this could mean a sort of time travel glitch, one that Rufus was there for, it could also be a premonition of sorts. A glimpse into where the team will be heading next, if the network continues with the show…)

One possible plot hole was the scene where Emma heads into the mothership to fly that “final” Rittenhouse mission. Whitmore had hidden back in the old west because she learned what the organization was up to. At least this was what she told Flynn when he encountered her in episode 12.

However, Timeless has proven time and again that its history and the storyline of the series are fluid. The time line began fluctuating from that very first episode where the team’s actions doomed Lucy’s sister Amy to being blinked right out of existence.

The first story, that dealt with the Hindenburg, also revealed that some things cannot be changed and some people die regardless what our heroes do in their missions. (Later Wyatt finds out that his wife died despite his actions, a lesson that Flynn refuses to acknowledge as he tries again and again to save his wife and child.)

Timeless has been a good ride so far and hopefully NBC will bring the series back for a second outing. The show finished out its season with an average of 4.622 million viewers per episode and 1.10 of its target demographic.

What do you think should Timeless get another season?

Cast:

Rosewood: Benzodiazepine & the Benjamins – Team Work (Review)

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Something is happening on Rosewood and it is not helping the series out. At all. “Benzodiazepine & the Benjamins” may have ultimately been about team work, or “family” but, once again, the show tipped its hand right off the bat.

The villain of the piece, a woman, was clearly seen in the first scene. Despite the balaclava, aka “mask” being worn by the silent shooter, the murderer was obviously a woman. Later, when Erin turns out to be Marcellus Vega, there should be no surprise.

Since those curves were female until Erin was tricked into revealing her identity, the female FBI agent; Harrows, looked pretty good for a time.  She was unpleasant and had a long backstory that she eventually trotted out to explain some of that hostility towards the precinct and the criminal she was after.

Perhaps more surprising was the plot line where stolen black market maple syrup was being bought and sold down at the dockside warehouses. This exact same plot device was used on “Elementary“although to be fair, on the CBS show the stuff was being moved by the barrel and someone died to keep the crime a secret.

In Rosewood the product was being transported in gallon jugs and was merely a red herring, as the real crime being committed had to do with counterfeiting $100 bills, aka “Benjamins.”

Despite the villain being all too easy to spot, if one paid attention at the start of the episode, there were some nice touches throughout.

Ira seemingly killing Pete Harmon (an old classmate of Villa’s),  the fake Marcellus an this shyster lawyer being shot on the steps outside the police precinct and the animosity between Villa and Harrows were all well played, entertaining and each helped the episode lead up to the big payoff.

Just as satisfactory was the Dirty Harriet vibe that Harrows emitted. The agent sticking her thumb into the shady lawyer’s bullet wound, a’la Dirty Harry to get him to talk was spot on.

The move to have Rosie act the tough guy was yet another excuse for Morris Chestnut to flex his muscle and act like Villa’s enforcer.

Stepping away from the main storyline of Pete Harmon and his tragic high school years and tendency to be a wannabe bad guy, there was the continued worry about Rosewood’s health. After destroying his kidney’s during that Tawnya binge partying episode, the pathologist is in dire need of a new one.

All the team members, aka Annalise, Pippi, TMI, et al, have been tested, voluntarily, to see if they could be a donor. Rosie gets a call and learns that a match has been found.

Viewers who stuck around to see the previews of coming attractions already know that Captain Slade is the match and he will not be taking no for an answer.

The numbers for Rosewood have been consistently dropping. Whether this is down to the new yellow hued look of the show, or the current tendency to make the mysteries all too easy to solve is not clear. It could even be down to the move from Thursday to Friday.

With MacGyver being a solid hit for CBS and airing at the same time as Rosewood, it seems that FOX have doomed their own cop/pathologist show on purpose.

The series is still airing on Fridays and fans of the show should enjoy it while they can. This move by the network to put Rosewood up against a strong series may have doomed Chestnut and co to a quick death.

 

 

Cast:

Guest starring Dawn Olivieri as Agent Harrows, Felisha Terrell as Erin Given, Aaron Himelstein as Pete Harmon, Thom Rivera as Mayer Monteverde, Jean Paul San Pedro as Jude Manifort and Andy Milder as Howard Godfrey. 

MacGyver: Hook – Dog the Bounty Hunter With Pie (Review)

Lucas Till as MacGyverMacGyver  “Hook” takes the Matty and Jack storyline out of backstory status and moves ahead with a reconciliation of sorts. It also gives the team a chance to come up against a familial set of bounty hunters a’la Dog the Bounty Hunter but with buttermilk pie.

The long running problem of new boss Matty and her history with Jack consumes much of the episode. Mac and his shadow Jack are sent to collect an agent who was seen in the custody of a bounty hunter.

They head off to catch the man but find that the agent has been secreted in a bus while the bounty hunter plays pool in a bar. Jack and Mac follow the bounty hunter as he runs with his prisoner. They catch up to him in a cafe run by his mother, Mama Colton.

The family run business, both the cafe and the bounty hunter business, is headed up by Mama who is one part Ma Barker, one part Jesse James’ mum (the Colton’s even have a Frank and Jesse in their midst) but the rest of this pie baking mother is all “Dog.”

Riley and Boze are sent out into the field as a sign of Matty’s disgust at the failure of her two top men to bring the wanted agent in. Jack and Mac end up on the bottom end every time they deal with Mama and her family.

The two newer agents of Phoenix also have a run in with Mama Colton and her brood of bounty hunters but manage to get out pretty much unscathed despite Boze going “off script.” (He calls Riley by a number of pet names that get worse as the conversation continues with the Colton’s.)

Eventually, amidst eating enough buttermilk pie to founder an elephant, Mac and his team retrieve the wanted agent and thwart the Armenian bad buys who want the man, and the Colton’s dead. It does cost Phoenix $4 million but in the end the mission results in Jack and Matty burying the hatchet.

This episode focused on the team and how the friction between two members of the organization threatened their effectiveness. Something similar was taking place in the Colton family business, with Mama’s anger at Billy taking on a job without clearing it with her.

The schism between Billy and Mama allowed Mac and his team an “in” and it allows them to win. MacGyver points out to his friend and teammate that the issues between Matty Webber and Jack leaves them vulnerable. He tells Dalton to sort things out between them and he does.

Later Matty joins her team members in another game of “Truth or Dare” and as she knows all of Jack’s secrets he suggests getting out a bottle of hot sauce as he will be doing dare’s all evening.

“Hook” moved back from shoving the new boss of Phoenix down the audience’s throat and moved to a more comedic line with the bounty hunting family. It had shades of Midnight Run along with that clear homage to “Dog” and it was funny.

The Colton’s were a brilliant addition to the episode and it would be surprising if some sharp-eyed writer or network exec, or even show creator Peter M. Lenkov, do not jump on a spin-off show here.

“Mama the Bounty Hunter,” anyone?

Macgyver airs Fridays on CBS.  The new boss, Matty Webber, is fitting in nicely. Head on over and check this ’80’s homage out and see what you think. Is it catching up to the original?

Cast:

Guest starring Lance Gross as Billy Colton, Sheryl Lee Ralph as Mama Colton, Javicia Leslie as Jessie Colton and Jermaine Rivers as Frank Colton