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October 7, 2005

SNL hits creative nadir with follow-up Ashlee Simpson "performance"

“Hi, my name is Lorne Michaels, and Saturday Night Live is not funny.”

“Hi, Lorne,” says the group in unison.

“This is the first step…one day at a time,” yells someone from the back.

This is my idea for what might help the atrocious product that NBC puts on display every Saturday night. A support group where writers and producers can come to terms with the comic trash they continue to produce. That would be in a perfect world, but this is a world in which SNL no longer deserves pity laughs.

I believe that the genesis of comedic drivel at SNL can be traced back to when Kenan Thompson arrived on scene. I mean, what were these people thinking? That the star of All That and Kenan and Kel would be a great addition? For God’s sake, he starred in Good Burger (Good Burger!) D3: The Mighty Ducks marked his crowning artistic achievement. Aside from Kenan, Horatio Sanz has become nothing but an overweight Jimmy Fallon. At least Fallon laughed during sketches that were funny. The same cannot be said for ol’ Horatio.

And if you thought that the show could not get any worse, you cannot possibly anticipate this next twist. Ashlee Simpson, heiress to the throne of Milli Vanilli, is returning to SNL as tomorrow night’s musical guest. Now, as I recall, the last time she went on the show, her musical integrity was called into question. A “microphone malfunction” occurred. But the always stand-up Simpson blamed her band for playing the wrong tune.

Classy gal. Not only were you caught on live television lip-syncing, but you have the audacity to blame it on someone else. So after all this, SNL and Ashlee Simpson want to add another chapter to this drama. That is just fine with me.

But, the question remains, is SNL really that desperate to return to Ashlee Simpson? I think the plan is a bit more devious than it appears on the surface. To me, Saturday Night Live employees are analogous to raging alcoholics. Week in and week out they get worse and worse. But all addicts have a breaking point.

Perhaps the organization believes the addition of Ashlee Simpson will cause them to hit rock bottom so hard that any relapse would be an improvement. Maybe a little self-destruction is just what the writers of SNL need to spice things up.

This commentary could be longer, but it would run the risk of rivaling the singer in superficiality, so I’ll keep it short. Maybe little Miss Vacuous will give us something to watch this weekend. But if not, we’re all going be there to see the growth she has experienced over these difficult few months. She might even play her song called “Beautifully Broken,” which is about the SNL fiasco. Simpson has herself said, “The song is about it’s OK to mess up, that it’s okay to do bad. It’s very normal, actually.”

Sure, but I would substitute “mess up” with “getting caught.” That’s just me, though. How to address, “It’s OK to do bad?” I believe that sentence pretty much speaks for itself. It is possible that Ms. Simpson has not yet discovered the innovation of adverbs into the English language. Who knows?

Americans love giving out second chances and rooting for the underdog, but more than that, we love a good train wreck. I think we all know which category Ashlee falls into. I implore everyone to watch this weekend. Although I cannot imagine the show getting any worse, I sure hope it does Saturday night.