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This special had originally been planned for the first quarter of 2010, during the 35th season of Saturday Night Live, but was postponed until the first half of the 36st in favor of 'SNL in the 2000's'. In between came the ratings high Betty White episode which featured a bunch of female SNL alumni to great effect. In fact, the first sketch after the main credits in this compilation is from that particular show. So it only stands to reason that all of these ladies and them some should return for new material in this tribute to all the women who have gone live and liked it.
The main attraction as far as new stuff goes is the extended cold opening in which Andy Cohen appear to hosts one of his usual Real Housewives reunion shows only with SNLers. Appearing next to the actual Andy C are: Molly Shannon, Maya Rudolph, Tina Fey, Nora Dunn, Ana Gasteyer, Rachel Dratch, (an almost unrecognizable) Cheri Otteri, Kristen Wiig, Julia Louise-Dreyfuss, Amy Poehler and Laraine Newman. Later on Jan Hooks also makes an appearance and all of the above pop up later in the show to reminisce about their own years and other SNL ladies that inspired them.
This cold opening is very funny even to those unfamiliar with the Real Housewives and it's great to see all these galls going at like they never left the show. Notice that Wiig is the only current cast-member who got an invitation to this ho-down and that Louise-Dreyfuss is being touted as one of the big stars of the early Eighties mainly because of the success she gained later on. In reality she was just part of the supporting cast at the time Eddie Murphy was the king of SNL. But since Lorne Michaels has no plans to release any shows from this time period on DVD any time soon, it's kind of hard to check out the evidence.
Now usually these clip shows like to concentrate a bit too much on current sketches for my tastes. But this time around there are quite a few older skits sprinkled in, including some choice material from the Eighties and a nice tribute to Gilda Radner and Jane Curtin. Of course Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Kristen Wiig are also well represented in the clip department. This is after all another clever way to feature Tina in a retrospective seeing as she still hasn't got enough sketch material to make up her own Best of special. Perhaps they'll add the cold opening to her hit list?
And then of course there is an equal number of former cast members that couldn't make it to the reunion, and therefore only make fleeting appearances (if at all). Names like Victoria Jackson (only spotted once doing her Roseanne impression while she did so much more). Julia Sweeney is briefly seen as 'Pat' , but there's no sigh of Ellen Cleghorne or Melanie Hutsell. Beside Julia LD, none of the other women who were on the show during the Eddie Murphy period get a shout out. But then again, the special is pretty full the way it is now. And it's always nice to see the wrongfully let go Casey Wilson & Michaela Watkins again, if only for a minute. I wonder how long it will take before Joan Cusack and Sarah Silverman will be asked back on the merit of their subsequent fame?
8 out of 10
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