Splitsider: ‘SNL’ Recap: Jeremy Renner’s Strong Finish
November 19, 2012 Leave a comment
For this week’s SNL recap on Splitsider, I talk about how Jeremy Renner’s first time hosting resulted in an episode that was slow out of the gate but had a strong finish — the opposite of a typically front-loaded run order.
“Part of the genius of SNL‘s design is how effectively it underestimates its audience’s patience. Despite the show’s ongoing popularity, it’s rare that all of its viewers stay tuned in until the goodbyes at 1 a.m. — “Our competition is sleep,” one cast member once said. In the early years, Lorne adopted a strategy of front-loading the lineup with the stronger, more topical sketches, leaving the last half-hour (when even NBC’s censor guy has stopped paying attention) for off-beat pieces, filler sketches in case the episode runs short, or sketches in which Fred Armisen sings.
Of course, now that more and more people are watching SNL sketches at their own convenience online, and in whatever order they want, this strategy is becoming increasingly obsolete. It’s not uncommon these days to see a few dark premises crawl into the first half of the show, sometimes to great success (“Puppet Class” from the Seth MacFarlane episode). This trend also owes some credit to the Digital Short innovation, where Andy Samberg’s short films were so popular that even his most bizarre clips were granted early time slots. However, the old-school formula is still set very much in stone at SNL, and most of America won’t miss much if they turn off their TVs after Weekend Update.
Such was not the case last weekend, when action-star Jeremy Renner hosted an episode with one of the weakest starts I’ve seen in quite some time, just to find its footing later on and cross the finish line with the audience firmly on its side. Having already written off the episode, I was shocked during the goodbyes at how many sketches I actually enjoyed, in retrospect. So if you’re one of those viewers who turns in after Seth Meyers’ last joke, consider sticking around. And if that’s too hard for your sweepy wittwe eyes, or you’re way cooler than me and actually do stuff on Saturday nights, just go to bed and then read my recaps to find out which sketches are worth watching on Hulu. Deal?”
Read the full post on Splitsider.com.