Splitsider: SNL Recap: Zooey Deschanel Gets Quirky
February 13, 2012 Leave a comment
For this week’s SNL recap on Splitsider, I discuss how the episode became a sort of portrait of Zooey Deschanel and her signature quirky charm.
“In the world of improv comedy, there is a popular show format in which an ensemble improvises scenes inspired by a true story told by a guest monologist. The inclination during these shows is to reenact scenes from a new comedic point of view, or to riff on a specific detail from the story, for example the monologist getting a fact wrong or mispronouncing a word. However, the show seems to be the most successful when the ensemble mines the monologist’s story for deep-rooted emotions, themes or personality traits, and then uses the scenes to collectively “respond” to the monologist. The scenes become a thematic statement about the kind of person the monologist is.
SNL, as a show with a new guest host every week, often reflects this format. We tend to see it especially when there is a host with a particularly specific persona. At times the resulting show is irritating — for example, sketch after sketch exploiting Channing Tatum’s background as an exotic dancer or Elton John’s homosexuality — while in others, we’re left with a pleasant sense of wholeness — for example, last season’s Jesse Eisenberg episode as a case study of “awkward humor,” and past episodes exploring Donald Trump’s narcissism and Al Gore’s always-a-bridesmaid curse.
Last weekend’s episode, hosted by the aquirkable Zooey Deschanel, fell in the latter category for me. Perhaps I have succumbed to Deschanel’s charms, but I sensed a through-line during the night that painted an interesting picture of the actress’s vintage style and soft-spoken nature. While her ukulele song may have surprised no one, nowadays I think it’s less important for SNL to surprise us than it is to serve as a cathartic snapshot of our cultural icons.”
Read the full post on Splitsider.com.