Thursday, February 27, 2014

Tonight, Tonight!

Hello all you sleep deprived night owls and bleary eyed midnight marathoners! Last week I joined your ranks, and I have to ask - how do you do it?

See, I'm the "needs her nine hours" girl, the first one to pass out at the sleepover, the nerd who fell asleep at the after prom party while people played beer pong over her (true story). In fact, Freshman year of college, my ability to sleep through anything became the stuff of dorm legend. I chose to look at it as my superpower: I'm Sleep-Girl! And my origin story is not worthy of a feature film. It's ok. That's just who I am and who I always will be, and I'm not about to change.


There is one person who can make me stay up past my weekday bedtime. One person who is worth all the alarm snoozes and extra morning coffees in the world. And that, my friends, is Jimmy Fallon.

A super-fan since as far back as I can remember, and an avid Late Night watcher (usually on DVR the next day of course) I honestly can't say enough great things about this guy. I even got the chance to see him perform his monologue rehersal live last summer, and it was an experience I'll never forget. When I found out he would be taking over The Tonight Show - and bringing it back to New York no less - I was as happy as a raccoon pulling an all-nighter.

So for The Tonight Show's premiere week, I decided to watch the episodes as they aired (12AM due to Olympics coverage. Oofah.) and while it may have thrown my REM cycle completely out of whack, the experience was beyond worth it.

Let me start by saying Jimmy Fallon brings a real joy to late night TV that is desperately needed. In a genre that tends to embrace cynicism, Late Night always stood out to me as the most positive, good-hearted, and straight up hilarious of the bunch. When you watch Fallon interviewing someone, it's like he can barely hold himself together, he's so excited to have them as a guest on his show. That sheer ebullience defines him as a host, and it spills over into every musical number, pre-taped sketch, and celebrity game he does. There's no one on TV like him, and no one better to take over the franchise in my opinion.

Ok, ok. I'm going to stop fan-girling out right now and talk about the new Tonight Show. No surprise here, but it's pretty similar to Late Night, and that's just what I was hoping for.

Of course there have been some growing pains. I was a little thrown off by how big the stage was, and I found myself missing the intimacy of the Late Night set especially during the interview segments. I also know this is the Tonight Show, and NBC's not looking to change too much and turn Leno's viewers off, but I wish that the monologue segment could get cut in favor of something new and different, as it tends to be the part of the show where Fallon seems the least natural, and a little out of his element.

But these are only minor issues. Thankfully, Fallon has kept a lot of the same recurring segments from Late Night including "Superlatives", "Charades", and my personal favorite, "Thank You Notes". The wacky sensibility of Late Night still remains, especially in moments like his interview with "Harry Styles" (the always hilarious Kristen Wiig doing another impromptu celebrity impression) and the return of the recurring sketch "Eww" where Fallon dresses as a teenage girl, this time with Will Ferrell, interviewing Michelle Obama about living a healthy lifestyle. As expected, there have been some truly amazing musical moments in the first week too, from U2's Top of the Rock performance to Jimmy and Justin Timberlake's incredible History of Rap 5. Check it out below to see exactly why JF and JT are the Sammy and Dean of our generation.

Excuse me while I pick my jaw up off the floor for the tenth time...
Phew, ok. I'm back. Well, it's safe to say I'm going to be a Tonight Show viewer from now on. At least it's on at 11:30. Normal adults can stay up that late right? Although...Late Night With Seth Meyers also premiered this week...hmm. I may never sleep again.
SHAMELESS RECAP: Season 4, Episode 7
I'm so sad, angry, confused and hurt, I honestly have nothing to say this week. Check back next week when I'm not so emotionally drained and I'll fill you in.
NEXT WEEK: Portlandia returns tonight, February 27th at 10PM on IFC! I'll be reviewing the fourth season premiere and talking about my favorite past sketches, so get your pickles ready!


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