Despite Scarlett Johansson's surprisingly likable turn as host of this week's show, all of the accents, accents, accents in the world couldn't save it from being a fairly forgettable episode.
We opened with a political skit about the Chinese G20 summit that featured a grand total of five not-getting-paid-back-is-just-like-buttsex jokes.
Also, is it just me, or is Fred Armisen being gradually put in makeup that's really starting to move toward blackface territory? And why hasn''t new cast member Jay Pharaoh been allowed to pull out his reportedly excellent Barack Obama impression? SNL, why won't you let yourself be great?!
Scarlett's monologue was energetic and didn't take too many risks, although I may have been distracted by the fact that Scarlett was distracted by her Madonna-circa-Vogue hair. Abby Elliott, who is constantly being relegated to the role of the happy, smiling and gradually disgusted girlfriend in skits that allow her male cast members to shine, was allowed to pull out a short duration but high impact Ke$ha impression. More of Abby being funny, please. She's good at it.
This week's episode rolled out a fairly impressive MTV parody commercial that recharacterized the network as "Maternity Television.
The whole thing was dense and fast-moving, which is the opposite of what SNL usually offers, which is probably why I liked it so much, since most SNL skits should probably be about half as long as they are. The best part of the entire bit, though, was this baby's reaction shot-
Step it up, cast. You are being upstaged by a baby.
We then zipped right into a brick wall of a Millionaire Matchmaker parody skit that featured a horribly miscast Scarlett as Patti Stanger.
Is it just me, or would this skit have been funnier with someone else as Patti and Scarlett as an incredibly hot woman looking to date a short, balding millionaire with female attractiveness standards that are much too high? Also, new cast member Vanessa Bayer is getting a lot of mileage this episode, playing roles that normally would have probably gone to a hysterical-acting Kristin Wiig. I welcome the change.
And then we started back into the familiar SNL territory with a skit that was used as an example at the Repeating A Joke 10,000 Times School Of Humor. The only thing good about the Manuel Ortiz Show sketch was this-
This week's parody of the trailer for the new Denzel Washington/Chris Pine vehicle Unstoppable pretty much sums up why I don't want to see that movie.
Two new cast members got some screen time, Scarlett got to break out her well-worn Angry New Yorker accent again, and there was just enough silliness to make it fun.
Next, we moved onto another installment of Wiig and Hader as two obnoxious celebrity news reporters on Hollywood Dish, which is probably the greatest source of gifs since Tyra Banks.
They're just asking to be turned into epic gifs.
The best part of the sketch was when Hader and Wiig both nearly broke character.
Weekend update only made me roll my eyes like three times this week, which is a Seth Meyers record. Great job, sport!
From this point on, I had difficulty making myself pay attention. Keenan Thompson did some stuff that wasn't really funny, and then Kristin Wiig acted like ultra crazy Paula Deen.
Vanessa Bayer, who I'm starting to feel a little fangirly about, starred opposite Scarlett in my favorite sketch of the evening, about competing child stars who are terrible at acting.
Speaking of fangirling out, I'm still a little sore that the hilarious, f-bomb dropping Jenny Slate was cut from the cast this season and was doubly pissed off to see SNL trot out what was basically a complete rip off of her Tina Tina Chaneuse character's schtick.
For shame, SNL.
What did you think, commenters? Did this episode live up to your expectations? Any sketches really work for you? Anything really rub you the wrong way? And do you realize that The Arcade Fire are sort of The Smashing Pumpkins for people who were born after 1990? Did I just blow your mind? Or make you feel old? OR BOTH?!