John Goodman deserved so much better than this. The veteran actor and Saturday Night Live host (this weekend marked his 13th time as emcee at Studio 8H) was subjected to a mediocre episode that felt dated, at best. In fact, most of the sketches (with the exception of the exceptional H&M commercial and the uproarious Guy Fieri commercial) looked like they could have been on SNL during the heyday of Roseanne. I'm tawkin' to you, "Three Wise Guys" sketch featuring Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone that bummed me out even more than the trailers for Grudge Match. (Wait, that's not true). While I'll always love Goodman (who doesn't?!) and Kings of Leon made for pretty decent musical guests, this episode felt like as depressing as grown-ups regretting their decision to dance around as snowflakes in a Christmas pageant. Here are the best and worst moments from this weekend's ep.
No one could quite figure out why Edward Norton hosted Saturday Night Live this weekend. Not because he isn't talented enough to (in fact, he's better at impressions than SNL's in-house impression guy Jay Pharoah) or that he isn't easy on the eyes (seriously, that guy is getting better looking the older he gets), but because he had absolutely nothing to promote. (Recent host Miley Cyrus, on the other hand, hijacked his opening monologue to announce that she'd be going on tour). But unlike last week's host Bruce Willis, who also had nothing to pimp except himself, Norton gave the material his all and helped turn out a halfway decent episode. That said, a lot of credit has to be given to musical guest Janelle Monae, a wildly entertaining performer who proves you can have style and substance.
In hindsight, 1990 was a particularly momentous year for the cast of Grown Ups 2. That was the season that Lorne Michaels made Adam Sandler, Chris Rock and David Spade regular cast members on Saturday Night Live, the show that launched each of their careers and made them household names. Rob Schneider was also cast that season, but since he doesn't appear to be in this sequel, we are more than comfortable forgetting about him.
Now that he's less "bizarre" and more "kinda weird" to mainstream audiences thanks to a ton of exposure since the first time he hosted Saturday Night Live, Zach Galifianakis was able to pull off more experimental gags this week on SNL -- and they were less totally inaccessible than they were the second time he hosted. The former half of the episode was tight, funny and definitely a success by current SNL standards... the latter, not so much. Let's focus on the sketches worth watching:
It was yet another nostalgic outing for Saturday Night Live this weekend, as Justin Timberlake gained membership into the "Five Timers Club" for quintuple hosting gigs and the writers celebrated by raiding the show's back catalogue for (vaguely) fresh material. Some of these reunions with old friends were welcome, while others were... well, really kind of cringe-inducing. Here were the best and worst callbacks from an overall uneven episode.
This was a great week for Saturday Night Live, in no small part thanks to host Christoph Waltz's energy and stage presence (and you could say the same for Django Unchained). Unlike his recent costar Jamie Foxx, Waltz was actually allowed to play more than just one character -- and thank God for that, because "wacky Austrian" sounds worse than watching Quentin Tarantino try to act. They weren't all winners, but let's take a look at the scenes that Waltz and the SNL gang actually shone in. (And not for nothing, Alabama Shakes put on a great show, too.):
In case Daniel Craig hadn't proved it enough this season, sometimes action stars should just stick to action. This weekend, Jeremy Renner hosted Saturday Night Live and in all honesty, we were rooting for him. He's pretty adorable for someone who plays a badass all the time, and seeing a comedic side would have been great. Unfortunately, that side doesn't seem to exist. The opening monologue was awkward, especially with a technical issue just a few minutes in, and it pretty much set the tone for the rest of the episode. It wasn't completely Renner's fault, though; most of the sketches didn't have promise to begin with. The worst of the night barely included him. It was the third installment of "The Californians," a sketch that was funny the first time, a little less so the second and this time, sort of uncomfortable. With much of the cast breaking when there wasn't anything to laugh at, it seemed like the painful sketch would never end. Here are the few sketches that may be worth watching, or were at least better by comparison:
It's hard to follow Louis C.K.'s hosting debut on SNL, and while Anne Hathaway couldn't quite top him, her third time was still a success. She was a team player, and except for one particularly great sketch (we'll get to that later), she let the regular cast stand out, giving some of its newest members more screen time than usual (looking at you, Aidy). There's no better proof than her monologue, which besides showing that she really does have the voice to star in Les Miserables, was more of a fun ensemble performance -- except, doesn't The Lonely Island own Sundays? Still, after a weak cold open, Hathaway lifted our spirits and brought enough entertaining sketches to distract us from whatever was going on with Rihanna.
I felt nervous watching Louis CK on Saturday Night Live up until the moment he spoke with a slightly different, high-pitched voice on the Fox and Friends sketch. CK isn't exactly a character actor -- at best, he's basically a heightened version of himself on Louie -- and the chances of him mucking up his SNL debut felt pretty high. Fortunately, CK proved he does in fact have versatility as an actor, and this week's episode ended up being pretty fun and will not go down in the SNL history books as a particularly awful installment... I'm telling you, my expectations were low. (Need I remind you about the "Dave Returns" episode of Parks and Recreation?) Rather than pick on the more underwhelming sketches of the night -- the aforementioned Fox and Friends, Kourtney Barnes and the Girl You Wish You Hadn't Started a Conversation With at a Party bits from Weekend Update, Mountain Pass, Hotel Fees -- let's focus on the highlights:
Let's be honest, whenever a host pulls double duty as the musical guest, everyone's expectations are pretty low. It's a tough thing to do for anyone who isn't Justin Timberlake -- who got a little shout out from Bruno Mars in his monologue. Lucky for us, after the mandatory debate cold open and an impressive if not very funny monologue, Mars lead a solid episode. Besides being Mars' debut as a host, this episode marked a few firsts. It was the first time new featured player Aidy Bryant was given more than one line and featured the season's first appearance of Stefon, who, of course, didn't disappoint. Here's a look at some of this week's best sketches that would make Justin proud.
MOST RECENT POSTS