December 21, 2009By Joe Diliberto Posted: Dec 21, 2009
Well, it certainly could have been worse. And the promotional spots made it seem like it could have been much worse. I'm talking about James Franco's gig as host of this week's SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE. That one promo in which Fred Armisen slapped Franco after he copped to being on GENERAL HOSPITAL made me cringe, playing as it did off the most broad, stereotypical impressions of soaps. So I was a little nervous tuning in to the actual broadcast.
But it wasn't quite as bad as all that. Franco grinned broadly and cracked a couple of jokes, then admitted he's now on a soap opera — but that part isn't a joke, it's really true. The clip he showed, in which Franco (the character) tries to seduce Maxie with that lurid line about her panties already being halfway down her thighs was guaranteed to elicit "Whooo's" from the SNL audience. Franco (the actor) "explained" that each year he randomly picks a few career suggestions from fans to follow and, well, last year's suggestion was to do a soap opera. Okay, that's pretty funny, if we're being honest and open-minded. Franco demonstrated by pulling a couple of new cards for 2010 from a tumbler. ("Do another Spider-Man movie," indeed!)
Surprisingly (and thankfully), that monologue bit was it for mentions of Franco's soap career! The rest of the show was the usual frantic hit-or-miss bid for chuckles. And, well, I don't want to take any shots at another genre after chiding SNL...