Jeers to Big Lake for achieving the impossible: making Chris Parnell unfunny.
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During his 1999-2006 tenure at SNL, he was like the second coming of Phil Hartman, a chameleon who held sketches together with dead-on deadpan timing. Parnell finally went viral with the digital short "Lazy Sunday," then exited SNL to explore greener prime time pastures. His outlandish cameos as Dr. Leo Spaceman on 30 Rock led to what should've been his breakout role as a passive-aggressive vice principal on Judy Greer's sitcom Miss Guided, but ABC mishandled the show and it was quickly axed.
His role on Comedy Central's depressingly conventional Big Lake (exec-produced by Will Ferrell) feels like a watered-down version of his Miss Guided part: He's Chris Henkel, a burned-out high-school history teacher who attempts to help a disgraced former student (Chris Gethard). Despite shlock-value punchlines about his character's taste for Vicodin and "titty bars," Parnell's unjustly overshadowed by another SNL alum, Horatio Sanz — who was only funny when he was cracking up at Jimmy Fallon's antics — and the show wastes even more talented character actors, James Rebhorn and Deborah Rush, as Gethard's one-dimensional parents. In short, Big Lake is all wet.
Did you find Big Lake funny — or just lazy?
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