I have not watched a full episode of SNL in years because it has been painfully unfunny. It has not been funny since the 90's and I am not the only one to think so. I have heard that the past few seasons of SNL have been getting better, particularly with the Andy Sandberg and Justin Timerblake skits. I have caught and been impressed by the recent political sketches they have done since the last US election, especially the spoofing of Sarah Palin by Tina Fey. I decided to watch and give the show another chance with last Saturday's SNL season premier.
The season premier of SNL was hosted by Adam Baldwin, and Radiohead was the musical act. Adam Baldwin has been one of the strongest and funniest hosts of SNL and Radiohead is one of my favorite bands, so automatically there were two reasons for me to watch. Another reason to watch is that the majority of SNL sketches posted on the internet (especially Youtube) are quickly taken down because NBC has a strict rule against their shows being re-broadcasted over the net. This rule is so strict that I can't find the full episodes even on the NBC website itself, forcing myself to watch the episode on TV.
The season premier began strong with a spoof of the recent republican presidential candidate Q&A that was incredibly funny. The jokes and impersonations were spot on. However, the premier quickly lost steam following this. Each subsequent sketch became less funny as though they had realized that most people won't stick around for the end anyways. The commercials seemed to become more frequent as though they were scrambling to fill their time block. This made it all the more difficult to watch the entire episode as the sketches became less funny and each individual sketch had a chunk of commercials that immediately followed it. Radiohead, however, was brilliant, but again sandwiched between long commercial breaks.
In the end, the commercial breaks became longer than the sketches themselves. In all, I doubt that the SNL premier actually ran for more than a half hour and had over an hour worth of commercials. It is the commercials that really killed the show and are the prime reason why I will not watch SNL again this year unless they have another all political spoof episode as I feel this is all they can legitimately do anymore. Even though each subsequent sketch was worse than the last, I would be inclined to still watch (on the hope of finding a gem later in the episode) if I did not have to wait through 3 to 4 minutes of commercials between each skit. The flow of the show is broken up too much by these commercials and when the sketches become increasingly weak I don't feel a strong enough draw to wait out the commercials. As the sketches are so hit & miss, this makes SNL the perfect show to be presented on-line as people can watch particular sketches and not have to wade through horrendous amounts of commercials in the hope of finding that gem of a sketch. SNL is failing because the sketch comedy is not working anymore on TV and I sincerely hope NBC starts presenting their show online instead, or perhaps start investing in better and more writers.