Saturday Night Live (Saturdays 11:30pm Eastern, NBC)
I recently read an interview with SNL alum Norm McDonald where he said that while he still watches each week, “there's a lot of singing and dancing lately, [he’s] noticed, on the show.” At first, I wasn’t sure that was true. But this week, SNL certainly demonstrated a lot more singing and dancing than ever, where in virtually every sketch, the skit broke into a song, or dance, or both. On one level, that’s interesting and creative, but when it’s almost the entire show, it seems like lazy writing. Still, host Anne Hathaway’s beautiful, Julie Andrews-like singing voice (put to good use in a disturbing take on Mary Poppins, where we discover the distasteful meaning of supercalifragilisticexpialidocious) helped keep it an entertaining episode.
We were once again blessed with Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin, in a long but funny cold open (I particularly liked her use of maverick as a verb). Update had a great take on O.J.’s sentencing as well as a hilarious (and once again, musical) piece by Will Forte, enraged at the rudeness of being interrupted in his 500+ line song. Andy Samberg pitched in with another sharp and weird short, as well as nailing an impression of Mark Wahlberg (who seemed oddly concerned about animals saying hello to their mothers for him). The only real dud on the show was a seemingly endless musical (see what I mean?) ad for the tamer songs of Katy Perry. Musical guests The Killers seem to be steering back toward their dance music roots, which isn’t a bad thing when it sounds this catchy.—Don Sparrow
America’s Next Top Model (Wednesdays 8pm Eastern, The CW)
Even though America’s Next Top Model has the word “model” in it, the show is more about drama than fashion. This week we have to play Freud to Elina’s control issues stemming from her mom. The tough girl (recall Eva the Diva and Bianca) has to be broken down, but even after being assigned the role of “over-emotional winner” for the photo challenge, Elina just can’t let down her guard.
In this personality-driven episode, each girl has to create a signature pose. Tyra actually steps off the platform of Judge to teach them how to get a great shot. (There should be more training like this.) The self-deprecatingly adorable Marjorie wins the competition with her Hunchback of Notre Dame pose. After that, the contestants meet Mr. Jay at the Orpheum Theatre for a photo shoot on red-carpet mishaps. For the second week in a row, Analeigh, who poses as an interviewer with attitude, does well, much to everyone’s surprise. Marjorie’s peeing-in-a-gown shot is the judges’ favorite, though. During panel, it comes down to—surprise, surprise—personality, not modeling ability. The judges know that Sheena’s more entertaining for viewers, and Lauren Brie gets the boot.—Stephanie Nikolopoulos
The Office (Thursdays 9pm Eastern, NBC)
Holly sets up a business ethics seminar which eventually (and inevitably) turns into a confessional lead by Michael in which the staff admit their various workplace sins. Meredith admits to trading sex for company discounts and Outback Steakhouse coupons, after which Holly's conscience and professionalism move her to take action
therein. Jim starts using a stopwatch to keep track of the distractions Dwight faces, after Dwight claims to never take personal time during work, while Michael in an attempt to sort out the Meredith issue (but mostly sneaking in a first date) throws Holly's lunch in the garbage and takes her out for an ethical "not on the company" business lunch.
In kind of a detestably prolonged situation, Dwight and Angela continue their random and ravenous affair, still unbeknownst to fiancé Andy. It’s detestable because it means The Office, once a show known for its portrayal of the beauty in the boring, now seems to be relying more on soap opera situations than deadpan humor. The high road leads Holly straight to corporate where she is reprimanded for letting her conscience get in the way of her job. Feeling sorry for her, Michael puts his bitterness aside in order to help her slug through the rest of the grueling ethics seminar. It all ends with a scene of Meredith and her coworkers in the office lunchroom enjoying all the paid-in-sex steak and ribs they can handle. Ew.—Jordan Kurtz
Editor’s Note: Gossip Girl and Fringe were on hiatus this week.
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