by (@unclegrambo)

SNL Power Rankings: Won’t Someone Please Open Up An Express Lane For Zach Galifianakis To Get Into The Five Timers Club?

That’s the way you do it, that’s the way you debate host Saturday Night Live! Despite the fact that we didn’t see a reprisal of last year’s best SNL sketch, “Pageant Talk,” Zach Galifianakis proved himself worthy of an express lane pass to the Five Timers Club with his hosting work over the weekend. His opening monologue — only part of which NBC has made available online — was pitch perfect, and he was able to confidently and charismatically play the lead in a number of awesomely bizarre sketches (including “Noodles,”which was so blue that NBC has thus far refused to put it online). Much like Jim Carrey, Zach is one of those crazy talented performers that could be an SNL cast member if he wanted to, but we’ll be content if he instead settles on coming back to host once a year (a la Jon Hamm).

Way more divisive, however, were the opinions on Dr. Luke’s newest protégé, Jessie J. The fact that she’s got a big voice and killer stems is undeniable, but her performance (at least to me!) came across like Natasha Bedingfield on a fistful of bennies. However, based on a quick search of Vevo, her music is apparently quite popular with the kids these days (26 million views for “Price Tag” alone). Would anyone care to explain exactly what her deal is?

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It’s the Top Chef All-Stars Finale, “Fit For A King!!!” Well, Part 1 of the finale, and only one of the five remaining chefs is getting eliminated, and three of the best chefs have already been eliminated, so really it’s just a regular episode with more tropical B-Roll.

Let’s welcome back Antonia, Mike, Carla, Tiffany, and OH NO IT’S RICHARD’S EVIL GOATEE SPOCK TWIN:

Keep that guy away from the warp drive, I don’t trust him. If he’s regular Richard, though, I trust him with the warp drive more than anyone, living or Star Trek era.

For the first Bahamas Quickfire, the chefs have to cook against the people who won their seasons (cool!), so let’s also welcome back Stephanie, Michael Voltaggio, Kevin, and…this dude?

Yeah right, Hosea really won his Top Chef season – and Slumdog Millionaire won Best Picture. I think I’d remember if that actually happened.

So how do the Apprentices stack up against the Masters (most of whom are worse than their respective apprentices)? Let’s find out…BAHAMAS Style (of finding out):

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by (@unclegrambo)

SNL Power Rankings: Miley Cyrus Is The Poor Man’s Emma Stone

While watching this weekend’s episode of Saturday Night Live, a sensation not unlike déjà vu washed over me. At first, it was tough to place, considering Miley Cyrus had never before hosted the show. However, by the time the “Les Jeunes de Paris” sketch came around, I figured it out: The show’s writers gave Miley basically the same material to perform as they did when Emma Stone hosted SNL back in October. Careful watchers will note that both did Lindsay Lohan impressions, both danced it up with Taran Killam, and Lorne even decided to rerun the “Baby Spanx” commercial that first aired during Stone’s ep. What gives?

Well, it’s probably this: Although I love Emma Stone’s work in film, both her and Cyrus demonstrated during their respective hosting stints that they’re not natural sketch comediennes. I can only assume that the writers panicked a bit when Cyrus showed up early last week to begin preparing for the show, as they relied on her ability to sing (however thinly) as a crutch repeatedly during the episode. She wasn’t exactly January Jones terrible, mind you, but it will likely be some time before she’s invited back to host again.

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TOP CHEF ALL-STARS RECAP: Give Me Your Huddled Masses Yearning To Be FOOD

It’s the final episode before the Top Chef All-Stars Finale, “Give Me Your Huddled Masses”, but before we get to the pointless Quickfire and almost as pointless Elimination Challenge, first things first – this photo of Mike Isabella as a kid:

THE BEST!!!! Who knew Mike was so flamboyantly adorable before he grew up to become a fish?

Ah! Snap back to reality (oops there goes fishity). What? No idea either, I’ve given up trying to make sense in these recaps. Not like I’m gonna get eliminated before the Finale, will I? Or anyone?? Let’s find out.

First up, a LOW STAKES QUICKFIRE furnished by Dial Low Soap:

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TOP CHEF ALL-STARS RECAP: A Crazy Elimination For The Gulf

Angelo lost last week we are sad to see him go but this is Top Chef All-Stars you have to bring your A Game every week we are really down to the wire one mistake can send you home no margin for error I’m in this to win it an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Top Chef All-Stars Episode 11, “For The Gulf” – here we go!

Dale has the nerve to point out “The reality is, we all gotta go except for one” — WRONG DALE! The reality is you have to sit in that empty bar that serves outside coffee and act demonstrably distraught that a person on a reality show that eliminates someone every day has been eliminated. “But…how can that be, I just talked to him!” would be a better thing to say.

On to Quickfireier pastures — this week’s Quickfire Guest Judge is Paula Deen. Whattdya think of THAT, Carla?

For once, I can actually believe the chefs all instantly recognized the Guest Judge and got excited; it wasn’t the usual “We walk in and GEOFFREY WIMZAMADOO is standing there, Owner of Sextant in Portland, he’s the KING of Risottos. A producer is definitely not just telling me that right now through my head-chip.” Alright, Final Six – Time to get DEEN and dirty (not dirty):

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TOP CHEF ALL-STARS RECAP: Can You Tell Me How To Get To CHEF-same Street?

We’re into Episode 10 of Top Chef All-Stars, entitled “Lock Down”, which starts exactly how you’d expect something called “Lock Down” to start – with Sesame Street characters popping up and giving Tiffany a heart attack:

“Oh thank God – for a second there, I thought it was three actual monsters.”

I love that the Quickfire starts with Padma whimsically rhyming her sentences, and Dale’s like “Is Padma speaking in tongues? What could POSSIBLY be going on here??” Do the contestanchefsts still not realize that when Padma does something unusual (or anything), she’s about to introduce a challenge? “I think she just went insane and Bravo’s filming it and I guess there’s no Quickfire today” – Every Chef.

Tell them about our Quickfire, COOKIE MONSTER! (I’ll bet they have to bake monsters):

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by (@unclegrambo)

SNL Power Rankings: Things Get Shouty When Russell Brand’s Around

Egads, are your ears still ringing after this weekend’s Saturday Night Live? For whatever reason, the Russell Brand hosted episode was one of the shoutiest since the days of Chris Farley, which has left my cochlea buzzing for the last few days. It’s sort of a shame, really, because I am normally quite fond of Russell Brand’s work and was excited to see what he would do when adhering to the rules of sketch comedy. His monologue was one of the best in quite a long time, but the rest of the episode was tainted by the sheer volume of his shrill accent. While I still feel that Get Him To The Greek is an underrated work, I fear that this weekend’s hosting duties turned me off the prospect of going to see Arthur*.

However, Brand (and the cast’s) general shoutiness was NOT the worst part of the episode. Nope, that honor rests with the SNL music booker’s decision to give the stage to Chris Brown on what, for all intents and purposes, was the two-year anniversary of the night he beat the sh*t out of Rihanna. Yes yes, I am a firm believer in second chances, the power of forgiveness, turning the other cheek and all that jive, but this decision by Lorne and his bookers was tone-deaf at best and downright offensive at worst (especially considering the subject matter of Chris Brown’s second song, in which he sang “You already know what time it is / Reach up in the dresser where the condoms is” and promised/threatened to “Leave it in all night”). Ew!

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How To Sneak Into New York Fashion Week

Last week, my friend Piper Weiss of the Yahoo blog Shine asked me if I’d join her in a crucial human experiment to determine whether it’s easier for a man or a woman to sneak into New York Fashion Week. Being the fashionphile and bold anarchist that I am (no words in this statement are true, including “that”), I immediately agreed.

Below is our triumphant story, along with some tips on how to go about sneaking into Fashion Week yourself, should you ever DAAAAAREEEEEEEE (the extra E’s stand for “it’s actually pretty Easy.”) You can read Piper’s recollection of the events here.

Before we embarked on our guerrilla assault to shake up the fashion galaxy this morning, we contacted an industry insider (who I think was either some girl Piper knew or the actual Anna Wintour, I forget), who gave us Three Quick Tips on how to make ourselves seem Fashionably legit:

Tip #1: Dress The Part

We were told to “Dress like we lost our minds.” I decided to take a more elementary approach, using one simple accessory to turn myself from “Blogger wearing an ok dress shirt because he hasn’t picked up his laundry which is full of his regular clothes” into Dr. Fashiono McLiterallyKarlLagerfeld:

Boom! Fashion’d. Piper took a more elaborate, vaginal approach:

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TOP CHEF ALL-STARS RECAP: Is Top Chef, Not Top Fallon!

It’s Episode 9 of Top Chef All-Stars, entitled “Feeding Fallon”, and as we know from the previews last week, we’re not talking about SNL alum and character actress Siobhan Fallon, we’re talking about SNL alum and Late Night host Fallon Comma Jimmy. How will the chefs who are already effing crazy react to this celebrity news? I am guessing they will be super reserved.

CARRRRLA, what did I just predict?

Tre was eliminated last week, and the remaining chefs are absolutely shocked. Actually no, not shocked, what’s that other word? Ah, “Mostly indifferent because they finally realize that someone will be eliminated every episode as per the entire concept of the show so there’s no reason to act devastated when it happens.” In German, the word is “Tuppenchifrenzung.”

For the second straight episode, the chefs hash things out at the trendy New York bar that only serves designer drinks and coffee from outside:

For the Quickfire, the chefs must “Make a fondue.” Fondues are designed to be enticing and non imaginary, just like clothing, and because of that, please welcome back Guest Judge Isaac Mizrahi!

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by (@unclegrambo)

SNL Power Rankings: Dana Carvey’s Episode Is Party Time, Excellent

When I first heard that Dana Carvey was going to be hosting an episode of Saturday Night Live — in the year 2011 (!!!), no less! — I immediately began concocting a list of excuses that could get me out of watching the episode. After all, in the 17 years or so since Carvey left the hallowed halls of Studio 8H, he had seemingly morphed from one of the greatest sketch performers of all-time to battling Robin Williams for the title of World’s Most Annoying Talk Show Guest™. Sadly for me, the best excuse I could come up with was “The dog ate my iPad,” an excuse I realized wouldn’t really hold water due to the fact that I don’t actually own an iPad. So somewhat begrudgingly, I flipped on the telly on Sunday morning and fired up my DVR.

As I sat down on my couch, fired up the coffee machine and popped a couple of Advil, who did I see on my screen? Why, that’s Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar, quite possibly the most iconic duo in Saturday Night Live history! Even better, the two were instantly in sync and appeared as if they hadn’t missed a beat since the last time they appeared on the show way back on November 20, 1993. Much to his credit, Carvey was able to keep that momentum and spirit cruising through the entire 90 minute show, revisiting both old characters (Regis, The Church Lady, Mickey Rooney) AND launching some highly likable new ones (specifically, one half of the eighties-tastic musical duo, The Fingerlings). Call me a sucker for nostalgia if you must, but this episode was one of my favorites in a long, long time.

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