Saturday Night Live (Saturdays, 11:30 Eastern, NBC)
This week’s Anna Faris-hosted SNL was solid, further establishing Faris as a gifted comedienne who is often the lone funny thing in unfunny movies.
• Tina Fey as Sarah Palin, in a clever sketch about Palin’s cuteness increasing exponentially when she feels threatened. Pew! Pew!
• A timely, pointed skit on the presidential debate. Good character work here with Darrell Hammond’s McCain blurring that line between “maverick” and “lunatic” and also a pretty jaw-dropping insinuation about Fred Armisen’s Obama using the race card when dealing with a rogue North Korea.
• Hammond’s Bill Clinton on Update, skewering his faint and non-committal "endorsement" of Obama.
• Deep House Dish can be a good showcase for game hosts, but the dance club scene is a bit too obscure a niche for most audiences (like, the one watching live in New York, apparently) to find familiar enough to be funny.
• A bit about strippers dealing with economic crisis was about as funny as paying attention to an economic crisis.
Tomorrow: Anne Hathaway and the Killers. Let’s hope it’s slightly less awkward than when Dave asked her about her ex-boyfriend on The Late Show this week.—Don Sparrow
Gossip Girl (Mondays 8 Eastern, The CW)
It's the week Blair goes and insane, all her double-crossing comes to naught, and she is fantastically, gloriously beaten BUT you still feel really sorry for her. What in the world? So it's fashion week, and Eleanor Waldorf is debuting her spring line. She wants Serena to sit on the front row with her socialite friend "Poppy" to get press attention, but Blair will have none of it. First she tries to send S to the back row. Then she sends the models home. Then finally she sends S out for the big runway finale in … the wrong dress! This one was made by Jenny, who B was also trying to sabotage (ie, making all the show disasters look like her fault, telling the inexplicably unreasonable Dad Humphrey that Little J's been skipping school. So Serena finally has had enough, and tells Blair that she will no longer hold herself back in order not to step on B's sensitive, insecure toes. A good friend, after all, would support even her more glamorous, more press-centric best friend right? Little J gets toasted for saving the show and bringing success to the Waldorf company, even as she tells her dad she's never going back to that hoity-toity school of his and major madz explode. B cries lonelily, and S trots out into the waiting pack of paparazzi. Meanwhile, Dan has been trying to write a "real" story, so he's been attempting to unravel Chuck's layers of cynicism and have "dangerous experiences" in order to write about them authentically. But after the two get thrown in jail, Chuck finds the manuscript, leaves Dan out in the cold, and Dan decides to forsake all for the sake of his career and write the story anyway. No sign of Nate or the drama swirling around the royal family of the old Duchess he's been doing. What's next? All we know is that it's not gonna be pretty!—David Sessions
Fringe (Wednesdays 9 Eastern, FOX)
J.J. Abrams continues his habit of capitalizing on recent news for disaster fodder (vis-a-vis Law and Order style), this time launching his show with a New York City crane crash. There's a mysterious bald man watching the whole ordeal in a nearby diner eating a very peppery sandwich (we find out later he can't really taste much), using futuristic spyglasses and writing notes in some sort of hieroglyph-language. The cause of the accident is a … well … turd-like machine that apparently burrows through the ground for an inexplicable reason. Mad scientist Walter, of course, has experimented with similar technology in the past, and apparently is friends with the bald man. Turns out baldy has been photographed at almost every event connected with “the pattern,” earning him the nickname The Observer because he always watches. The friction between Peter and Walter intensifies, but the heat helps burn away years of resentment as well. Walter tells Peter at one point they both died and are now somehow psychically connected. He also claims that thoughts and ideas can be shared by osmosis, as well. Oh, and it seems John Scott, Olivia's old F.B.I. partner/squeeze, isn’t dead?—Micah Towery
America’s Next Top Model (Wednesdays 8 Eastern, The CW)
Janice Dickinson—no, Twiggy—no, who’s this cycle’s has-been-model judge? Paulina Porizkova teaches the girls tricks to rock an oversized outfit—since 90 percent of jobs they’ll get will be for catalogs. Vogue fantasies dashed, the girls stuff water bottles down their pants for a bootylicious fit. The Czech-born judge encourages the French Marjorie, who’s feeling glass-half-empty; Sam retorts to the camera, “Welcome to America. This is not France. This is how it is.” Having pulled her dress up last week, Sam is admonished this week for shortening her outfit. McKey wins the challenge. Commercial break: Last cycle’s winner, plus-size model Whitney, compares Cover Girl make up to cupcakes. On set with photographer Brian Edwards, the girls’ photos are as catastrophic as the L.A. disasters they’re invoking. Jay Manuel tells Clark (black out), “It doesn’t look pretty at all,” and feels like Marjorie’s (traffic jam) puppeteer. “We finally have a model on set,” he says of McKey (heat wave), but during judging Tyra thinks otherwise. The judges pun that Lauren Brie’s snowstorm is “cheese on ice.” Sam (tidal wave) wins top photo of the week, and Joslyn gets by on her personality when it comes down to her and Clark.— Stephanie Nikolopoulos
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Stephanie Nikolopoulos is a writer and editor in New York. David Sessions is editor in chief of Patrol. Don Sparrow is a writer and illustrator in Saskatchewan. Micah Towery is the founder and co-editor of The Cartographer Electric.
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