Back in its heyday, "The Carol Burnett Show" was notorious (with me, anyway) for setting up a sketch premise, rolling along with it for a bit and then abruptly and none too satisfyingly ending. It made the whole sketch seem weaker, that it didn't really have anywhere to go, but much would be forgiven because they had been giggles along the way -- especially if Tim Conway was in the middle of things. ...
I bring this up because there's a similar lack of execution that is just killing "Saturday Night Live" right now. Consider last night's show, with Alec Baldwin, one of the gamest and best hosts in the show's history (Pete Schwety, Tony Bennett, need I say more?) and yet still a dud. At some point, no matter how hard you're trying -- Baldwin, stunt-casting Dan Aykroyd and Cameron Diaz, getting the Jonas bros in sketches as well as musical guests -- the writing has to hold up and right now it just isn't. Even the digital short was pointless. And this isn't the first letdown in recent weeks.
It's not as if all the ideas are terrible. There was something good buried in the "oldest Jonas brother" sketch, but they just couldn't dig it out, especially when it came to the ending. The Vincent Price sketch had worked before when Jon Hamm was host, but it faltered here -- so the writers just had no idea where to take it. And the cougars? For the love of God, Montresor, enough!
When the funniest thing in the show are the commerciala for Hulu and Amy Poehler's new show -- commercials I have seen quite enough at that -- then the problems with "SNL" run deep. The show has recovered from bad patches in the past, and it's time to climb out of one again.