The latest of the retrospective documentaries about "Saturday Night Live" airs tonight on NBC, and in highlight terms, it has a lot to draw on. . . . .
The rise of Tina Fey. The show after 9/11. "Lazy Sunday" and the "Box" song. Timberlake, persuading Beyonce to go along with the "Single Ladies" sketch. Jon Hamm, who was so good, the documentary says that he didn't even blink when told to do James Mason instead of Dean Martin. Although now I really want to see his Dean Martin. Ferrell's W, Poehler's Hillary and, of course, Fey's Palin.
The doc includes all that and more, although I did puzzle over some things. With all the politics covered in this show, why not something from the media-fawning-over-Obama bits? That was a case of "SNL" inspiring a national discussion about news coverage. (The show was also much rougher on Gore than you'd conclude from this show.) Would we see so much of Jimmy Fallon if he wasn't still part of the NBC late-night family? And where it offers tidbits of backstage stuff, it never cuts too close to the bone, for example by dealing with the severing of some cast members, or addressing more fully the problem of doing bits that involve people who are friendly with the boss.
That said, I still enjoyed it. When you boil down a decade to two hours of highlights and talk, counting commercial, the show looks pretty good -- and made me wish the other bits had been included. (Poehler rapping to Palin: can't see it too often.)