'SNL' Review: Paul Rudd's 'Anchorman' Ad

The most beloved SNL hosts over the years can make sketch comedy magic with anyone. Justin Timberlake, for example, seemed to hit it off so well with Jimmy Fallon in the early 2000s, but even after Fallon left the show, Timberlake still hosted stellar episodes with whichever lineup of actors and writers happened to be working those seasons. Alec Baldwin is another example — despite being famous for his Scoutmaster and Schweddy Balls bits, Baldwin has never been dependent on any particular writer or cast member to make him look good. Baldwin understands that it's about making everyone else look good, and that's why he's hosted the show 16 times.

Paul Rudd's first two times hosting the show exemplified this chemistry. His memorable stints in the kissing Vogelcheck family were a particular highlight (he even popped up in Jason Segel's episode two years ago to reprise the role). But now in Rudd's third time hosting, most of that old guard has moved on from the show — Bill Hader, Andy Samberg, Kristen Wiig, and Fred Armisen. Would Rudd step up to the plate like Timberlake and Baldwin have, or, like most repeat hosts, would he look like a man excited to return to his old high school just to find all his favorite teachers have retired?

Unfortunately, this episode gave us mostly the latter, with the night's most memorable moments consisting of cameos from past cast members or Rudd mixing with his Anchorman buddies, making the entire episode feel like an extended promo for a movie we don't need another reminder to go see, let alone one that fell short of film's clever promotional campaign. Meanwhile, Rudd mostly failed to connect with the current generation of cast members, relying on a surprising number of recurring sketches — some from this season, some from past ones — not all of which I'm certain we needed to see again. But hey, Rudd looked like he was having fun, and I'm sure for several fans, Bill Brasky made it all worth it. READ MORE


'SNL' Review: Josh Hutcherson Brings the Charm

More often than not, the success of any given episode of SNL depends less on the talent of the host or the output of the writers that week than it does on how thoroughly the show's producers understand the host's abilities and how efficiently they deploy them. For example, past seasons have seen lukewarm episodes hosted by comedy greats like Bryan Cranston, Jane Lynch, and Ed Helms — not by the fault of the hosts or the sketches themselves, but because the producers didn't know quite how to make them shine as bright as they had as their other popular characters. Meanwhile, the show has had great success with non-comedy types like Bruno Mars, Christoph Waltz, and Kerry Washington, perhaps because producers were able to identify what roles those performers would be most comfortable in, setting the table for surprisingly funny episodes. Of course, it helps when a host can bring to that table a proven range of talents, which is why I'll always take a Tina Fey over a Miley Cyrus, and why I'm excited the next three episodes will be helmed by longtime SNL veterans: Paul Rudd, John Goodman, and Jimmy Fallon.

Josh Hutcherson doesn't seem to have much to offer by way of comedy skills — the 21-year-old actor is best known for his role as Peeta Mellark, the doe-eyed co-star to Jennifer Lawrence in the Hunger Games films. But the producers wisely made the most of the situation, keeping the spotlight focused on their talented cast members while allowing their heartthrob host to be charming at every turn. Charm is infinitely valuable when it comes to televised bloodbaths — whether it's 24 children fighting to the death or 16 sketch comedians fighting for screen time — and it's one skill Hutcherson knows quite well. READ MORE


'SNL' Review: Applause for Lady Gaga

In case you hadn't noticed, there have been a lot more music stars on SNL lately. Not merely performing as musical guests or popping up in a sketch here or there, as we've seen on the show every week, but pop stars getting booked as host in addition to their musical guest gig. What was once a rare event with triple threats like Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake occasionally pulling double duty in the early 2000s (and once by Paul Simon in 1976) has now become a fairly common practice. The last three seasons have seen hosts + musical guests Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Justin Timberlake, Justin Bieber, Bruno Mars, and Mick Jagger, as well as just-hosts Adam Levine and Katy Perry. Perhaps Timberlake's success in the combined roles has paved the way for this trend: he has hosted the show five times, also serving as musical guest three of those times, to great critical acclaim.

The benefits of having a pop star host SNL are obvious. In addition to a guaranteed ratings boost, SNL often finds musicians to be gifted live performers with larger-than-life charisma and a willingness to poke fun at themselves — qualities not always present in serious screen actors. The downside, meanwhile, is over-saturation. A celebrity typically needs to have reached a certain level of cultural relevancy to get booked on SNL in the first place. For musicians, that means a new album to promote, flashy stunts at awards shows, and endless talk show appearances and magazine covers. Add SNL on top of that, and a pop star hosting the show feels more like yet another promotional deal in a shock-and-awe publicity campaign than something viewers actually wanted. Indeed, the general consensus from last month's Miley Cyrus episode wasn't that she was particularly bad — it's that she didn't know when to stop.

While Lady Gaga fared better than Cyrus or Bieber, she was every bit as unable to connect with sketches' overall concepts, focusing only on her small, one-dimensional components within pieces, and failing to convey the on-field awareness that makes hosts like Justin Timberlake so successful. Of course, that's a tall order for a first-time host. Gaga nevertheless capitalized on her on-stage talents and eccentric style to produce a high-energy and entertaining episode, where strong writing took the backseat to over-the-top performance. For most viewers, I'm sure the risk of a pop star host was well worth it. READ MORE


'SNL' Review: Kerry Washington Is Ready

I never thought we would see the day when SNL considered itself newsworthy enough to parody. But it happened — not in the form of a quick joke during the monologue or Weekend Update, or a walk-on by Lorne Michaels, as has happened before — but with a whole cold open sketch, wherein host Kerry Washington was compelled to play numerous black female characters (Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Beyonce) because SNL literally had no one else who could do them. The meta-sketch also included a half-apologetic text scroll from the producers promising to fix the situation, unless they "fall in love with another white guy first," and a cameo by the Rev. Al Sharpton, who mugged: "What have we learned from this sketch? As usual, nothing."

The clever piece showed some nerve, though the lines were infused with an uncomfortable tension. Not because, as many critics have accused, this was a transparent opportunistic ploy by the show to move past its recent diversity controversy (a controversy many of those same critics have fanned into a bonfire), but because using an episode's opening segment to respond to such controversies is a move so out of character for SNL. In the past, SNL's game plan during these media storms has been to keep its head down and continue churning out good comedy until it blows over. But here, the show pulled its head out of the sand and directly called it out, like Studio 60's Gilbert and Sullivan parody, but funny. That visceral unease is precisely why the bit was so exciting to watch. And it worked, on the network level, at least: the episode gave the show its highest ratings all season.

While I enjoyed the cold open, my fear is that by calling attention to its lack of diversity, SNL has less taken ownership of the controversy than it has given haters an opportunity to further marginalize the hilarious things it's doing. And I use the term "haters," because that's what we have become, once again. Never mind that this episode was the best of the season so far. Never mind the fact that the lineup contained no true weak links and gave Jay Pharoah a chance to finally earn his keep in the cast. Never mind that Kerry Washington proved with a nearly flawless performance (and not by complaining) that there exist black women who are every bit as "ready" to be on SNL as anyone else. Yes, never mind the comedy… the story here for too many of us is that SNL is trying to get away with something. Why can't we just relax, accept that SNL has acknowledged it needs a black woman, hope that it follows through soon, and enjoy what was an undeniably funny episode? Because folding our arms and calling the show racist drives up site traffic?

If SNL proved anything last weekend, it's that it is a comedy show first and foremost. So let's talk about the comedy it put out, which was, to say the least, pretty great. READ MORE


'SNL' Review: Edward Norton Gets Into Character

Whenever the holiday season begins, a strange vibe settles in at SNL. The weeks blend together as sketches revolve around seasonal themes, with few exciting fresh ideas and a lineup of decent hosts with unmemorable episodes. Fall of last year was no different — Bruno Mars and Louis CK were highlights in what was otherwise a forgettable stretch including Daniel Craig, Christina Applegate, and Jeremy Renner. On the viewer side, this drop in enthusiasm is likely the result of the start-of-season excitement wearing off as we see the cast members fall into a familiar rotation. On the writers' side, perhaps it's a matter of fatigue, or limited options from whoever the host happens to be that week. Whatever it is, it seems like you could trade out Halloween with Thanksgiving or Christmas or the general "autumn," and these would all be the same episode.

Last weekend's episode, hosted by Edward Norton, satisfied despite few memorable thrills, with Norton relying heavily on his impressions and character-actor chops to carry less-than-inspired material. Often, the choices were a little baffling ("I guess I can do a good Rain Man," one could imagine Norton suggesting to a quiet writers room), though they were about as odd as Norton's hosting the episode in the first place. The actor has had no movies coming out in 2013, with his recent working relationship with Wes Anderson (in last year's Moonrise Kingdom and next year's The Grand Budapest Hotel) serving as the only source material worth referencing. Of course, we don't always need a host to be plugging a movie or Oscar campaign; in fact, it usually works better when that's not the case (Alec Baldwin certainly doesn't need his MSNBC show to get in the door). However, it does feel a little strange to go from watching an inescapably popular idol like Miley Cyrus to a well-regarded but currently sidelined actor like Edward Norton. The viewing experience is less about what he will do next than it is where the hell he's been lately and why he's doing a Rain Man impression. READ MORE


Let's Talk About SNL's Diversity Problem

Kenan Thompson has been taking a lot of heat this week for a comment he made in a TV Guide interview about SNL's lack of a black female cast member, despite the recent hiring of six white performers. Following Jay Pharoah's rather blunt remark to theGrio that "They need to pay attention" and cast a black woman like Darmirra Brunson, Thompson had a more ambiguous response:

Instead of blaming showrunner Lorne Michaels or the series, which currently only employs three actors of color out of 16 cast members (Thompson, Pharaoh and the Iranian Nasim Pedrad), Thompson blames the lack of quality black female comedians. "It's just a tough part of the business," Thompson says. "Like in auditions, they just never find ones that are ready."

Following the comment was a frenzy of articles, tweets, and talking heads furious over Thompson saying that there aren't any black women out there who are talented enough to be on SNL. (It should be noted that Thompson didn't say those words exactly; rather, he seemed to imply that the black comediennes who have auditioned for the show lately simply haven't made the cut, as has been the case for any number of hilarious performers over the years.) The responses were far less nuanced. Buzzfeed ran an article titled "4 Black Women SNL's Kenan Thompson Should Meet," and one of those women, Nyima Funk (a Second City veteran who has auditioned for SNL in the past) posted a video that mocked Thompson's statement by suggesting the only way she could be ready for SNL would be to transform herself into a white man.

The lack of diversity on SNL has always been a thorn in the paw for the show's progressive fan base. Since SNL premiered in 1975, only 15 black performers have been in the cast (and only two Latinos and zero Asian-Americans), and only four of those black performers have been women: Yvonne Hudson (1980-81), Danitra Vance (1985-86), Ellen Cleghorne (1991-95) and Maya Rudolph (2000-2007). Since Rudolph left, viewers have complained that SNL has no one to play zeitgeist celebrities like Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, or Beyonce — not to mention a wealth of original black female characters. In the past, Thompson donned drag to play Whoopi Goldberg and Star Jones, but he now refuses to play such roles.

SNL's casting process is notoriously secretive, leaving outsiders wondering why the show hasn't diversified its cast. Is it, as Thompson suggested, simply a matter of the SNL's producers being unable to find black women who are "ready"? How is that possible when those of us in the alternative comedy scene know hilarious black women who have auditioned, only to be mysteriously rejected? Is anyone ever "ready" for SNL? READ MORE


'SNL' Review: Badass Bruce Willis

For people who like to talk about comedy, there are few greater debates than the one over the claim that "funny is funny." Can a performer or joke be objectively funny independent of context or medium? There are those who argue yes, that some comedians are so talented that their popularity is universal — Robin Williams, say, or Bill Murray — and that every culture since the dawn of man has had some version of a fart joke. Then there are those who argue no, that there are "different kinds of funny." Comedian Bill Burr made waves for his rant about "alternative comedy," which he criticized as being less tough than the brutal career pains of traditional "club comics." The argument here is that comedy is highly dependent on a number of variables — whether the performance is being watched live or on TV, the age/gender/ethnicity/political affiliation of the audience, the size of the crowd and whether people can hear others laughing, etc.

When SNL books an actor like Bruce Willis to host the show, it caters to those with the first mindset. "Bruce Willis' wisecracking was the best part of the Die Hard movies," they're hoping we think. "If he can be funny as John McClane, he can be funny on SNL." It's the same logic behind booking action movie stars like Daniel Craig or Jeremy Renner. The most popular Hollywood leading men win over audiences with one-liners, and the game plan is that the appeal should easily translate to SNL and bring in big ratings. But by the end of the episode, SNL has instead proven the second mindset, that the ability of Bruce Willis (and Daniel Craig and Jeremy Renner) to deliver laughs on the big screen loses its potency without exploding helicopters and extreme closeups. It's not that Bruce Willis isn't funny — on the contrary, throughout the night he clearly understood the game of each sketch and his function within it, getting him plenty of laughs — it's that he's not, for lack of a better term, "SNL-funny." READ MORE


'SNL' Review: No Escape from Miley Cyrus

After Justin Bieber hosted SNL last season, I concluded that SNL will never quite be the alternative comedy show we'd like it to be. There's no denying the show would be much funnier if producers only booked the heroes of comedy nerds to host the show, as it did last season with Louis CK and last week with Tina Fey. I've made the case several times that the show would be far better if only former cast members hosted — indeed, SNL has enough star alumni to fill a few seasons' worth of episodes.

But SNL isn't that show. The ongoing inclusion of performances by a musical guest in every episode tells us that SNL will always be a classic, network late-night variety show, where ratings and cultural relevancy remain top priorities.

So despite the ire of fans, a couple of times each season, we will have to deal with whatever pop culture sensation currently controls the zeitgeist. Sometimes, this mainstream pandering ends up being a good thing, as it was with Jon Hamm or Justin Timberlake. More often than not, however, we're stuck with a performer who, frankly, has no place on SNL: Justin Bieber, Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, Donald Trump, and now, for a second time, Miley Cyrus. To the writers' credit, they shot for the moon with some pretty ambitious ideas — a post-apocalyptic flashback cold open and cheerleaders getting abducted by aliens, and the cast members (namely Taran Killam and Vanessa Bayer) gave some of the best performances of their careers. But the early sketches had so many moving parts — and so much Miley — that the show felt rushed, with little breathing room for the cast and no time for jokes to land. That might be an unfair criticism for a show that is hastily thrown together last minute, but SNL normally pulls off the feat with a finesse that was noticeably absent this week.

If you didn't enjoy this episode — and I'm sure there were many of you — you shouldn't blame the writers, who got the most out of their hot button host while managing to address some big news events, or the cast members, who have stepped up remarkably so far this season. Nor should you blame Miley Cyrus, who improved on her hosting stint in 2011, left it all on stage, and happily poked fun at herself — even if it played right into her strategy to dominate every aspect of pop culture. Some of the blame can go to SNL's booking producers, who should recognize that the show is popular enough that it doesn't need to play within the toxic publicity machine that buoys stars like Cyrus and Bieber. READ MORE


'SNL' Review: Tina Fey Introduces The New Cast

For a show that evolves constantly, SNL does a remarkable job preserving its brand. Despite the changes in the cast, the writers, and the culture it parodies, SNL will always be that live, hip, New York-centered show that puts up a few sketches at the end of the week to try to make you laugh. There's the "Live from New York…" throw line, the theme music, Don Pardo listing off the cast, the host walking out on stage, followed by that predictable pattern of live sketches, videos, musical performances, and the news segment. Critics put down this structure in favor of looser, more inventive sketch show formats, but given SNL's need to change with the times, its formula is its sole remaining constant in a flurry of variables, the engine that keeps the car running while the other parts are swapped out. The familiarity is what makes SNL, SNL.

So when new performers join the cast, it's common for them to stay on the sidelines for their first few episodes while SNL works to maintain its image. Other than a few quick cameos or larger appearances late into the broadcast, the newcomers typically sit backseat to the returning cast members, whose job it is to remind viewers that SNL is still just as funny as it always was. In the meantime, the producers will gradually fold the freshmen into the show, allowing viewers to slowly acclimate themselves to the new faces. (See: Bill Hader and Andy Samberg's impression-off segment in their first episode.)

Then again, sometimes the changes are too big to ignore. Case in point: the season 39 premiere, in which the six new cast members were shoved front and center, forced to dance like monkeys in humiliating costumes while hazed by host Tina Fey. Fey's joke at the end of the routine ("Thanks guys, you're done for the night!") was quite a misdirect — the newcomers were baptized by fire, manning the front lines throughout the night and proving, hey, maybe America doesn't need a couple months to fall in love with a new SNL cast. With the show's veterans bullying the pledges, SNL's recurring "gentleman's club" vibe took a fun, fratty turn, celebrating the show's tradition while avoiding the awkward built-up expectations that past all-new casts have suffered. (In the cold open to 1980's famously awful season, Charles Rocket painfully described himself as "a cross between Chevy Chase and Bill Murray." Lesson learned.) READ MORE


What to Look Forward to in 'SNL' Season 39

Season 39 of SNL kicks off this Saturday night with Tina Fey, Arcade Fire, and a mouthful of new names for Don Pardo to read off in the opening credits. After several seasons of little turnover, the cast is experiencing a major upheaval, with six — six! — new cast members to replace the departed Bill Hader, Jason Sudeikis, and Fred Armisen. This is the largest staff hire in 18 years, tying the 1995-1996 season's addition of Jim Breuer, Will Ferrell, Darrell Hammond, David Koechner, Cheri Oteri, and Nancy Walls. After the show's dismal 1994-1995 season, which saw near cancellation and the firing/resignation of 12 cast members, those six were seen as the poster children of SNL's next era and tasked with bringing the show back from the brink.

Luckily for the 2013 freshmen, the stakes aren't nearly as high. Recent seasons' solid ratings, critical acclaim, and evergreen cultural relevancy have provided the new repertory players with breathing room to acclimate themselves with viewers and find their footing without the fear of seeing the death of one of the greatest TV comedy institutions of all time. Yes, they will face the same scrutiny and growing pains suffered by all newcomers, but should any of them fail to assimilate with the show's notoriously demanding work environment, the only ones they'll be letting down is themselves. Heck, that ain't so bad!

An exciting new class, along with Cecily Strong moving to the Weekend Update desk and some interesting additions to the writing and production staff, give us plenty of reasons to look forward to SNL Season 39… even as viewers question what the show will look like in the absence of its three lead males, as well as head writer Seth Meyers, who in December will move on to a dramatically different career of telling desk jokes in a suit in a 30 Rock studio. How will we even recognize him? READ MORE


'Arrested Development' Episode Reviews: It Gets Better / Off The Hook / Blockheads

In addition to our Arrested Development season 4 review, Splitsider has also been posting episode-by-episode recaps that have covered a few episodes at a time. So if you haven't yet plowed through all 8 hours of the new season, and instead opted for a slower, more leisurely approach to screening the episodes, these weekly recaps should suit your old fashioned and increasingly obsolete lifestyle perfectly. Each of the articles have been written from the persepctive of someone watching the episodes sequentially, with gradually widening comprehension of the season's convoluted, Inception-depth storylines. However, since we've finally reached the end of the season, feel free to comment with any jokes or plot details from the season as a whole.

Episode 13 – It Gets Better

What Happened: Following his high school graduation (and a pathetic family send-off party), George Michael heads off in the stair car to college at UC Irvine. His early years at college feature a mix of embarrassment, social acceptance, and experimentation (wherein his poor kissing skills are quantified), and when he studies abroad in Spain, he finally reaches sexual maturity upon sleeping with the Spanish woman whose children he nannies. He returns to Irvine as a senior with soaring confidence and a mustache, just in time for his father Michael to move into his dorm. While trying to record a demo tape of his wood block playing, he and P-Hound work on software for a wood block app. The only available domain name — FakeBlock — costs $5,000, so George Michael takes on tutoring high school students to make money, which is how he crosses paths with Maeby. George Michael is unable to reignite the chemistry with Maeby and tries to impress her by confirming his father's misrepresentation of FakeBlock as sophisticated anti-piracy privacy software… something he and P-Hound realistically have no idea how to build. READ MORE


'Arrested Development' Episode Reviews: A New Attitude / Señoritis

In addition to our Arrested Development season 4 review, Splitsider has also been posting episode-by-episode recaps that will cover two episodes at a time. So if you haven't yet plowed through all 8 hours of the new season, and instead opted for a slower, more leisurely approach to screening the episodes, these weekly recaps should suit your old fashioned and increasingly obsolete lifestyle perfectly. These articles will be written from the perspective of someone watching the episodes sequentially, with no knowledge of future reveals or plot twists. That said, there may be some discussion of running gags or seemingly throwaway jokes, which, given the show's reputation, may very well likely serve as setups or foreshadowing of events to come. We ask that commenters refrain from discussing information from episodes past the ones reviewed below.

Episode 11 – A New Attitude

What Happened: GOB takes on the job of selling Michael’s homes and asks his brother to pose as his gay boyfriend in a scheme to enact revenge on gay rival magician Tony Wonder. Michael refuses (as does Steve Holt), so GOB turns to George Michael, promising to reconnect his nephew with Michael. GOB uses George Michael to sneak into the Gothic Castle, where he tries unsuccessfully to sabotage Tony’s act. While watching it, however, GOB relates with the coming-out themes presented in the routine and hits it off with Tony at the bar – both men assuming the other is gay. GOB devises a new plan: get Tony to fall in love with him, and then break his heart. While GOB secures one deal with Tobias to sell the Sudden Valley homes to sex offenders, and another to have the Chinese "build" the border wall, we learn that Tony Wonder is not gay, but secretly colluding with Sally Sitwell, who stole money from Lucille Austero to re-brand Tony as a “gay magician.” Having overheard about George Michael’s FakeBlock software while hiding at the Gothic Castle, Tony now plans on using GOB to get closer to his nephew (whom Tony still thinks is GOB’s boyfriend) to exploit his million dollar software idea. READ MORE


‘Arrested Development’ Episode Reviews: Smashed / Queen B.

In addition to our Arrested Development season 4 review, Splitsider has also been posting episode-by-episode recaps that will cover two episodes at a time. So if you haven't yet plowed through all 8 hours of the new season, and instead opted for a slower, more leisurely approach to screening the episodes, these weekly recaps should suit your old fashioned and increasingly obsolete lifestyle perfectly. These articles will be written from the perspective of someone watching the episodes sequentially, with no knowledge of future reveals or plot twists. That said, there may be some discussion of running gags or seemingly throwaway jokes, which, given the show's reputation, may very well likely serve as setups or foreshadowing of events to come. We ask that commenters refrain from discussing information from episodes past the ones reviewed below.

Episode 9 – Smashed

What Happened: After being falsely accused and arrested as a sex offender, Tobias takes a job as a therapist in Lucille Austero’s rehab clinic, Austerity. Having Debrie as a patient creates a conflict of interest, so Tobias pitches to Lucille Austero’s brother Argyle (Broadway legend Tommy Tune) that he direct a Fantastic Four musical with the patients instead. Tobias crosses paths with GOB, who is struggling to sell Michael’s Sudden Valley units. With the development so remote (away from schools and playgrounds) sex offender Tobias offers to buy one. Tobias and Argyle begin rehearsals for the musicals, with Mark Cherry (having checked into rehab) composing the music. Debrie struggles with the pressure of the lead role of Sue Storm, but rehearsals crawl along and Tobias hopes to take the production to Broadway. Argyle says they will need funding, a preview show at Cinco de Quatro, and for Tobias to obtain the rights from Imagine Generic (Ron Howard’s company that produced a low-budget 1992 version of The Fantastic Four). READ MORE


‘Arrested Development’ Episode Reviews: Colony Collapse / Red Herring

In addition to our Arrested Development season 4 review, Splitsider has also been posting episode-by-episode recaps that will cover two episodes at a time. So if you haven't yet plowed through all 8 hours of the new season, and instead opted for a slower, more leisurely approach to screening the episodes, these weekly recaps should suit your old fashioned and increasingly obsolete lifestyle perfectly. These articles will be written from the perspective of someone watching the episodes sequentially, with no knowledge of future reveals or plot twists. That said, there may be some discussion of running gags or seemingly throwaway jokes, which, given the show's reputation, may very well likely serve as setups or foreshadowing of events to come. We ask that commenters refrain from discussing information from episodes past the ones reviewed below.

Episode 7 – Colony Collapse

What Happened: After taking George Michael’s plain-faced girlfriend Ann – as well as a punch in the face – GOB begs for his nephew’s forgiveness/blessing, and receives it (sort of). Upon realizing his fate with Ann is sealed, he panics and sneaks into her house late at night to break things off, but ends up sleeping with… her… and accidentally proposing to… her. GOB plans to televise the wedding on Ann’s father’s evangelical TV show, along with a magic spectacle to top his rival Tony Wonder’s publicity for coming out. GOB’s illusion (which casts him as Jesus) malfunctions when he can’t get out of his handcuffs and is locked inside a dummy boulder for two weeks. He’s finally discovered having gone feral in a storage locker. Ann leaves GOB as he recovers, so he reaches out to his son Steve Holt (who looks drastically different). Steve offers GOB a job in his pest control business. GOB celebrates with some magic tricks and gets the attention of pop sensation Mark Cherry’s entourage. He helps them escape from the paparazzi and becomes Cherry’s driver… blowing off his son in the process. GOB becomes a hardcore partier, curbing his next-morning shame with roofie pills called Forget-Me-Now’s. However, he gets trapped in a self-destructive “roofie circle,” with his only erased memories being having already taken a roofie. GOB also wears out his welcome with Cherry, who writes the song “Getaway” about him. GOB’s bee colony is about to collapse, so he transports the bees in his limo while driving the entourage. A high Debrie unleashes the bees, which attack the entourage, unbeknownst to GOB. GOB arrives at the Opie Awards , stumbles across what he thinks is Tony Wonder’s trick, and sabotages it… but fails. Shortly after, he learns that Cherry has checked into rehab. When his bees swarm George Sr.’s desert colony, GOB discovers in the sweat lodge (the same tomb from his magic trick) a cross jammed into the handcuff compartment, which he interprets as a sabotage attempt by Tony Wonder. READ MORE