For those who haven't noticed, this season's SNL has been sharp, funny, and original. (Update...uh, I stumbled upon something on You Tube that throws the originality issue into question. Nevertheless, if the saying attributed to both Picasso and Stravinsky, that "Lesser artists borrow, great artitsts steal" is true, then the new cast of SNL has indeed on the brink of greatness.)
Arguably the best ensemble since the early '90s cast that featured Nora Dunn, Dana Carvy, Phil Hartman, Dennis Miller, Jan Hooks et al., the off-season network cuts that included tightening up the cast--"the show (began) its 32nd season with just 11 regular players--down nearly one-third from last year's cast of 16 and one of the smallest ensembles in recent memory"--amidst rumors that creator Lorne Michaels might leave the show.
Back in September, when the SNL "sky is falling" stories broke, all the hype was swirling around Aaron Sorkin's attempt to fuse the backstage at a TV station milieu of Sports Nite with the self-imortance of West Wing by creating a "serious" show about comedy.
Michaels 2.0........................ Whitford: fading fast
The resulting program, Studio 60 Live on Sunset Strip, a thinly veiled critique of SNL, with Bradly Whitford affecting a thinly veiled impersonation of SNL producer Lorne Michaels, has proven a huge (ratings) disappointment for NBC. No body wants comedy explained to them. Something is either funny, or it's not. Deconstructing a joke is
Meanwhile, the Lorne Michaels produced sit-com 30 Rock is holding its own in the ratings, earned Alec Baldwin a Golden Globe Award, and has been critically hailed as the season's best new comedy.
Perhaps this off-season scrutiny pushed Michaels to the point of rejuvination.
There's no denying that SNL is worth watching again--or at least worth scheduling on your DVR as a Sunday morning hang-over remedy.