Cruel Intentions

Ok, let’s talk about that Late Late Show final.

The cold open was terrific, and easily the best segment of the episode:

The monologue was very good, especially the montage at the beginning:

“Tweetmail” was pretty entertaining:

Then the show kinda went downhill.

First, Jay Leno was mediocre. Jon Michaud’s New Yorker article on the LLS finale summed up my feelings on Leno’s appearance really well:

Leno was tieless, his hair shaggier than in his “Tonight Show” days. He had the relaxed but slightly irritable demeanor of someone who’d just been woken from a nap. “You look very poetic,” Ferguson offered, pointing at his guest’s burgeoning sideburns. Collegial, but only intermittently amusing, their conversation had a throwaway quality, as if it were taking place in a bar after the cameras had stopped rolling. Both men seemed fatigued. “I feel like I’m done,” Ferguson said. As if to acknowledge the truth of this admission, he and Leno went on to grouse about the constraints and tedium that go with hosting a network talk show—celebrity handlers, demanding bosses, the ban on profanity, and an aging viewership. This all might have been satisfactory middle-of-the week fare sometime during Ferguson’s nine-year run, but fans who’d stayed up late or left a holiday party early in order to see something special were disappointed.

Jon and I disagree, however, on the show’s ending. While he enjoyed it, I can’t tell you how tired I am of seeing the “It was all a dream” joke. Newhart did it first, and it was fabulous. One or two other shows paid homage to it and it was funny. Now, however, it’s old and tired. Craig should have been able to come up with something better. Plus, honestly, it was a bummer that the two people who play secretariat didn’t get the proper shout out they’ve deserved for the last five years.

– Ben