Good morning, friends of Uncle Sam! Say, do you want to be like Captain America? Young Steve Rogers was nothing but a scrawny Brooklyn do-nothing, but then our brightest scientific minds injected the kid with an experimental drug called the Super Soldier Serum. Miraculously, the cocktail of mercury, sulfur, and other useful chemicals turned little Steve into a gilded symbol of American might and vigor: Captain America. Boy! Look at those muscles. He’s like a steak- and corn-fed American Adonis.
Even though you tiny patriots at home might not have pure 1940s scientific knowhow coursing though your veins, you have something even more important flowing through your ventricles. America! And blind nationalistic pride can shield you from any foreigner’s bullet. Even if you’re a scrawny bookworm, or a plain no-talent dame without any suitors, you can be just like Cap with a little bit of effort! Just take a look at the daily life of Captain America. Live like him, and you can be our next super human weapon against the ever-present communist threat.
5:00 AM: Every day, Steve Rogers wakes up at the crack of dawn.
6:00 AM: Rogers then runs a light half-marathon before breakfast.
8:00 AM: But wait! Rogers learns that the dastardly villain Crossbones has just robbed a bank. Go get him, Cap! Give him a good socking!
9:00 AM: After handing over Crossbones to the local authorities, Cap eats some breakfast. It’s a heaping plate of steak and eggs for this hardworking superhero.
10:00 AM: After basically eating an entire cow, Rogers continues his morning workout. Tractors aren’t going to lift themselves you know.
12:00 PM: Next, it’s time for Rogers to head into work. Steve dons the stars and stripes and instantly becomes Captain America, the upholder of truth, justice, and the American way (Superman doesn't exist in the Marvel reality, so that's not trademarked yet!). Captain America heads to the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier. It’s here that Cap works with S.H.I.E.L.D. to look into your email and phone records in order to learn every aspect of your lives. For your safety, of course!
2:00 PM: Out on his lunchtime jog, Captain America saves a kitty from a tree for a little girl. Don’t worry, little Sally, the Captain cares for every American, no matter how fuzzy.
3:00 PM: In the S.H.I.E.L.D. break room, Falcon tries to explain to Cap the difference between Blu-ray and DVD. Captain America settles for old Howdy Doody reruns instead. Simplicity is the American way!
4:00 PM: Oh no! the cosmic menace Galactus is attacking New York City. It looks like It’s time for the Avengers to ASSEMBLE.
7:00 PM: After a fierce battle, It looks like Galactus has changed his sights from New York to London. Cap will let Lieutenant Britain and the other U.K. superheroes (Aluminium Man, Pheasant-Eye, The Lummox) handle this one.
7:15 PM: London has been completely destroyed... but America is still standing as tall as ever.
8:00 PM: Whew! after a long battle, Captain America has led the Avengers to victory. Good going, fellows! ... and Black Widow, I guess.
9:00 PM: Back in his Brooklyn apartment, Captain America takes off Old Glory and becomes the mild mannered Steve Rogers once again. He heads to bed early to rest up after a long day of gallant superheroics. Get some shut-eye, Cap, you deserve it.
Last night's Saturday Night Live featured two jokes about Red Bull, one of which described the popular beverage as "tasting salty dishwater." I really could have used a couple of cans of the stuff to make it through the episode. Not just because I watched it on an exhausting delay because of that heartbreaker extra-innings Yankees game, but because this episode was such a slog to get through.
Things started off strong enough with a cold open about that prime-for-the-picking Vice Presidential debate. There's no way SNL couldn't go to town on the face-off that had everyone talking this week. The opener hit all the right notes, from Taran Killam's creepy Howdy Doody-esque imitation of Congressman Paul Ryan ("shark eyes", widows peak and all) to Jason Sudeikis' grinning, hyper take on Veep Joe Biden. While I'm fairly certain the people of Scranton didn't find this opener funny, I couldn't help but laugh at promising newcomer Kate McKinnon's moderator Martha Raddatz warning ("Don't try to f**k me like I'm Jim Lehrer") and that delightfully unexpected cameo from Olympic champion Usain Bolt. No "malarkey" cry though? Malarkey! Watch:
The opening monologue, which brought host Christina Applegate back out to the SNL stage for the first time in 19 years, wasn't bad either... just something of a jumbled mess. There was a song-and-dance number about the pre-holiday season (though, to Applegate's credit, she gave it her all and has an absolutely lovely singing voice) that didn't make much sense (what exactly is wrong with things that taste like pumpkins?!), Fruppets (knock-off Muppets that seemed like something Stefon would find at a club), and a dead-on, but completely out-of-place imitation of Dane Cook by Sudeikis (that guy is not having the best weekend with NBC, is he?).
The first sign that things would be taking a really sour turn for the night was the pre-taped commercial that riffed on that incredibly smug Gilette commercial that features Adrien Brody, Gael Garcia Bernal, and Andre 3000. Inexplicably, the punchline of the bit was to throw Jerry Sandusky (prison uniform and all) into the mix. The only problem was, there was no punchline. The sketch didn't make fun of Sandusky, nor did it really make fun of the Gilette ad. It seemed as if they just threw the disgraced former Penn State coach in for shock value. It was a doubly wasted opportunity, and based on the audible groans from the crowd, they didn't get on board with the head scratcher either.
Speaking of groans, SNL decided to bring out their polarizing "Californians" sketch. I actually don't happen to have a problem with the sketch (though I'd venture to guess if I lived on the West Coast I might appreciate it more), but that's mainly because it prominently features Bill Hader and I will take any excuse to watch that guy. Last night's sketch went, as usual, far too long, but was saved by yet another delightful cameo from Bolt, this time wearing a blond wig. If you thought those overdone "Californians" accents were tough to understand before, Bolt put them all to shame. Still, it's impossible to make fun of that guy. He's simply awesome. Check it out, brah:
The "Tech Talk" sketch that followed likely hit a nerve with anyone who has had to endure the listening to their tech-y friends endlessly complain about technology. The sketch probably packed the biggest laughs of the night, despite that fact that it featured some arguably racist or insensitive imitations of disgruntled Apple employees. (Of course Fred Armisen was in this sketch).
I so wanted the faux preview for the faux movie "Give Us All Our Daughters Back" to work, because not only was it a much-needed riff on all these revenge movies like Taken 2 and all-star ensembles such as The Expendables, but because sometimes when SNL does a slew of celebrity imitations, it's pure gold. Unfortunately, not so much here. While I certainly chuckled at Killam's Liam Neeson (whose skills included "fighting and growling") and Jay Pharoah's Denzel Washington is always a blast, the Mel Gibson gag seemed like a wasted opportunity (come on, how could they not have him say "Give me back my son!"?) and I couldn't figure out for the life of me why they made Applegate's hands so big to play Uma Thurman in Kill Bill. The sketch went in too many directions when it was such a straight target. See for yourself:
The usually dependable Weekend Update felt especially tough to get through, despite a solid outing from Nasim Pedrad and her awesome Arianna Huffington impression. ("Could you be seeeerious?") Pedrad's turn made the whole thing worthwhile as Kenan Thompson's French Def Jam comic Jean K Jean has never been able to take off and Seth Meyers only had a handful of solid jokes. The best of the latter category was about that Philadelphia wedding brawl: "[Police] encouraged everyone to shout a little bit softer now."
The night only got worse from then on, thanks to a baffling sketch about Sudeikis (who was more prominently featured on the show than he's been in years) as a Greek God enjoying '90s music (maybe it was a leftover from when Applegate originally hosted back in 1993?); a painful-to-endure school Halloween party bit; and, finally, a Broadway dance class sketch taught by a major Fosse enthusiast. The latter of the three, while not particularly good, was salvaged by Applegate's total commitment to it. The Up All Night actress committed to everything throughout the night, it's just unfortunate they didn't give her something worth committing to.
Since I don't want to end my recap on a bad note, I'll end it on a good note. Several good notes, actually, courtesy of musical guests Passion Pit. Their album Gossamer has been a favorite of mine over the past few weeks, so it was fun to hear the toe-tappers "Take a Walk" and "Carried Away" performed live and performed very well, at that. Though, truth be told, I was keeping my fingers crossed for a little "Cry Like a Ghost", but much like last week's outing from Muse (particularly their performance of "Madness"), the musical guests were this week's big highlight for me. If the music is trumping the comedy thus far this season, that probably bodes pretty well for next week's host/guest Bruno Mars. Still, I'm ready for great music and great comedy again soon.
What did you think of last night's SNL? Am I being too hard on the episode or going too easy on it? Did Christina Applegate save it by giving it her all or was the whole night shot down once they aired that Gilette commercial? Were you wondering what happened to the Janis Joplin sketch, too? Did you enjoy the sounds of Passion Pit? What was your favorite joke or sketch of the night? How about least favorite? Share in the comments section below. [Photo Credit: NBC] More:
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Bob Keeshan, better known as television's mustachioed Captain Kangaroo, died in Vermont Friday of a long illness, The Associated Press reports. He was 76.
Keeshan's children TV program Captain Kangaroo aired on CBS from 1955 through 1985 before moving to public television for another six years. During its 30-year-run the show won six Emmy Awards, three Gabriels and three Peabody Awards.
Keeshan, a children's advocate, believed kids learn more in the first six years of life than at any other time. Captain Kangaroo was aimed at helping children understand their rapidly changing world through cartoons, stories, songs and sketches.
On the show, Captain Kangaroo, who wore a uniform coat with kangaroo pouch-like pockets, would wander through his Treasure House, talking with his friend Mr. Green Jeans (Hugh "Lumpy" Brannum) and Banana Man (A. Robbins), and visit with puppet animals, including Bunny Rabbit and Mr. Moose.
But Keeshan's first TV appearance was in 1948, when he played Clarabell the Clown--a role he created and portrayed for five years-on the Howdy Doody Show. He later played Corny the clown, the host of a noontime cartoon program in New York City.
Keeshan was born in Lynbrook, N.Y., but moved to Vermont in 1990. He remained active as a children's activist, lecturing and lobbying on behalf of children's issues and the importance of good parenting.
In 1987, he collaborated with former Tennessee Gov. Lamar Alexander to co-founed Corporate Family Solutions, an organization that provided day-care programs to businesses around the country.
Keeshan is survived by three children. His wife Jeanne died in 1990.
A revival of the 1947-60 series featuring the adventures of the wooden puppet Howdy Doody and his ventriloquist sidekick, Buffalo Bob Smith. The new version relates songs, stories, and sketches geared to children.