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January Jones: A Not-So-Disastrous Host on SNL

Or so they say. Last week, Taylor Swift's episode of SNL was hailed as the best of the season. Critics and bloggers praised her performance, declaring it a triumph. While it was undoubtedly one of...

Or so they say.

Last week, Taylor Swift's episode of SNL was hailed as the best of the season. Critics and bloggers praised her performance, declaring it a triumph. While it was undoubtedly one of the stronger episodes, I wouldn't necessarily crown it the ultimate winner. In my opinion, that title would go to Gerard Butler's outing. However, all this debate seems irrelevant when we consider the recent episode featuring January Jones. According to the blogosphere, it was the worst episode in SNL history, with Jones being the most ill-prepared host in 35 years. But let's not get carried away. To claim it was the absolute worst gives too much credit to other lackluster performances this season and in seasons past. SNL has its ups and downs, and no single episode should define its legacy. So, by all means, critique the episode for being lazy, sloppy, and unfunny, but remember, there is always room for improvement.

Time Management and Lackluster Material

It seems the creative staff may have exhausted themselves with the Taylor Swift episode. After a two-week break, they returned with last week's episode, which had its merits. However, this week's lack of energy translated into poor results. While the show was mostly unremarkable, the decision to give the Black Eyed Peas three performances was puzzling. Typically, such a privilege is reserved for superstars like U2. Perhaps they compensated for the lack of quality material by extending the musical performances. Additionally, the placement of the Digital Short between commercial breaks suggests the need to stretch the limited content further. Overall, it felt like the show was scraping the bottom of the barrel.

January Jones: A Polarizing Performance

I must admit, I was secretly pleased with January Jones' subpar performance. I've never been a fan of her character on Mad Men and find her portrayal wooden and monotonous. Seeing her struggle on SNL was somewhat satisfying. However, I don't believe she was a complete disaster. Her occasional breaks in character showed a glimpse of humor, a departure from her Mad Men persona. Will she be asked back as a host? Highly unlikely. Did she handle hosting duties as well as her co-star Jon Hamm? Certainly not. Will this episode ruin her career? Probably not. It does, however, raise an interesting question: Does a good host elicit good material, or does good material elicit a good host? The answer likely lies somewhere in between, but it's worth pondering.

The Missing Mad Men Parody

Surprisingly, this episode did not include a Mad Men parody, unlike last season's sketch with Jon Hamm. They only made a reference to the show in the monologue, more as a joke for its fans. Instead, they presented "A Ladies Guide to Party Planning," a 60s-style instructional film narrated by a character similar to Betty Draper. It was a missed opportunity to further explore the show's comedic potential.

Jenny Slate and "The Today Show"

Replacing Michaela Watkins as Hoda Kotb in the fourth hour spoof was a bit jarring, as noted by Alan Sepinwall. However, recasting characters is not uncommon on SNL. The show has done it before with various roles. What stood out to me was the contrast between Slate and Wiig. Slate seemed somewhat outmatched against Wiig, possibly intentionally portraying Hoda as less competent than Kathie Lee. Watkins, on the other hand, could hold her ground against Wiig. Nonetheless, the decision to invest in young talent like Slate, Pedrad, and Eliot is logical, considering Wiig's inevitable departure. Watkins and Slate both have their own strengths, and comparing them is unfair until we have a larger sample size.

Jason Sudeikis, the Consistent Source of Laughter

Once again, Jason Sudeikis stole the show with his comedic brilliance. In the sketch "Cloud Gazing," where Jones' character lacks imagination, Sudeikis managed to make the thin premise work, delivering the only laugh-out-loud moments of the night.

Next week, Joseph Gordon-Levitt takes the stage, and we eagerly anticipate what he will bring. Whether it's promoting an indie film or the DVD releases of GI Joe and 500 Days of Summer, we can only hope for a memorable episode. Perhaps even a 3rd Rock from the Sun parody with Bill Hader as John Lithgow would be hilarious. Let's see what surprises await us!