***** = Excellent, a possible future classic
**** = Great
*** = Average
** = Meh
* = How'd this get past dress?
Cold Opening - A Message from President Obama
• What the hell? Is Fred even TRYING anymore??? His Obama impression was never great to begin with, but at least before, you could tell he attempted to sound like him, even as recent as the Obama cold opening from last Thursday’s Weekend Update special. But tonight, he literally just sounded like Fred Armisen. Did he just give up completely? How does Lorne not see how much Fred is struggling with this? I’m wondering just how many hints does Lorne need before he FINALLY hires somebody new to play Obama.
• This is also the second cold opening in a row to feature Fred, by himself, addressing the nation. How about a little variety, writers?
• Despite Fred’s lousy impression, this was actually a very well-written opening AND they finally managed to criticize Obama for once instead of just having him play the straight man. My favorite parts were the Chicago 2016 shirt, him saying “hell no” to if he fixed health care, his accomplishments being 'jack' and 'squat', and the Oprah comment.
• Okay, I noticed a few changes from last week.
• First off, Kristen’s clip seemed different this time. I don’t remember those shots of her leaning against the hallway walls. What was the point of changing her clip?
• And they also finally changed the way the hosts and musical guests’ pictures are shown, which I’m happy about since I did complain last week about the hosts/musical guests’ pictures being displayed the exact same way as the previous opening montage from the last three seasons. The newer look is nicer.
Monologue - Ryan Reynolds
• A simple but enjoyable monologue, and I’m glad he was able to handle it by himself with no interruptions from the cast.
• This reminded me a little of Bradley Cooper’s monologue for some reason, but I liked this a little more.
• The line about scaring Sandra Bullock and the alternate rain scenes with different music were the best parts.
Commercial - Mostly Garbage Dog Food
• I heard about this being cut from last week’s episode. When I read the description, I thought it sounded dumb, but this turned out to be funnier than I expected, and Jason was the perfect pitchman for this. And I'm usually not even a dog person, but that dog was just so cute.
• The “Because he’s a dog.” tagline was funny.
Sketch - Celebrity Family Feud
• When I realized this was going to be a parody of the whole John and Mackenzie Phillips thing, I was kinda shocked that SNL would go there. This was a clever, unexpected way of doing a sketch about it, and this ended up being very funny and ended at the right time.
• I would have swapped Kristen and Nasim’s roles with each other, and have Nasim play Mackenzie and have Kristen play John Phillips’ wife. No, I’m not saying this just so Nasim would have had a bigger role. Going by appearance-wise and age-wise, Nasim would look a lot more convincing as Hader’s daughter and Kristen would look more convincing as his wife. But, of course, we know SNL would never pass up the opportunity to give Kristen a big role…
• Good ending with the Roman Polanski reference.
Digital Short - Threw It On the Ground
• I wasn’t sure what to expect with this since the musical digital shorts have been so wildly hit-or-miss over the last year. But our first musical short of the season turned out to be a hit, at least with me.
• The premise was very silly, but the execution was laugh-out-loud hilarious, especially the “My dad’s not a phone” part, the “Happy birthday to the ground” bit, and him tipping over the table. Also, nice twist with Reynolds and Elijah Wood tasering Andy.
• I also liked the way Andy kept whining “maaaannnnnnn...” throughout the short.
Sketch/Commercial - Porcelain Fountains
• An obvious sequel to the Chandeliers/Marble Column sketches. None of these will ever top the original Chandeliers sketch, but it’s been so long since the last one of these that it didn’t come off as too tedious. I wish these had more originality, though.
• As usual, most of the laughs come just from the way Fred pronounces the product he’s pitching in that New York accent.
• I was wondering how they would do this without Scarlett Johansson, but of course, she made a cameo. I should have expected that if I didn't forget she and Reynolds are going out. Her appearance in this sketch was kinda boring, and the whole “look at this one, or that one, or this one, or that one” thing she always does has gotten old.
• The addition of Reynolds’ character actually made this better. His character and his repeated “I come to you” mantra were funny.
Sketch - Deep House Dish
• When I saw this sketch being set up during the commercial break, I actually yelled “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!” It seems like this sketch will just never die.
• The Danny McCooz/Facebook song actually made me laugh a little.
• When I remembered that Lady Gaga was the musical guest tonight, I realized that they probably only brought this back tonight so she could make an appearance here since she seems like a real-life version of the singers that appear in these sketches. I thought she’d play a character, though, not herself. And I DEFINITELY never expected Madonna to show up with her as well. That was certainly a surprise.
• The part afterwards with Kenan interviewing both of them was strange; the scene almost came off as improvised, since there were a lot of awkward pauses and stuff like that, which hurt the sketch.
• So, I do have to give them credit for doing something new with Deep House Dish, but I still barely laughed.
Weekend Update - Seth Meyers, featuring Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sir Charles Barkley, Mr. and Mrs. Ahmadinejad
• Best jokes: Cubs, Letterman, Polanski, Eeyore, A-Rod
• What the…? Darrell??? I-I-I don’t get it. He’s supposedly officially gone from the cast, yet he’s appeared in all three Thursday specials, and now he appears on this Saturday’s episode. WTF? He’s yet to miss a single week since this season started. It feels like he’s appearing more now than he did when he was officially still in the cast!
• The Arnold commentary was actually pretty funny, especially his facial expressions and the comments at the end about the fires. But still, Darrell… take a break, man. Remember, you’re not on the cast anymore. You don’t have to be there all the time now.
• Nice to see Kenan’s Barkley again, one of the few things with Kenan I can tolerate. I liked his bizarre rambling during his commentary and him calling Seth “Screech”.
• I’m glad that Nasim Pedrad finally got a real speaking role on the show (not counting the Thursday episodes), and such a big one on Update. When the commentary began, I didn’t really recognize her and I thought she actually looked more like Jenny Slate at first, but I figured that had to have been Nasim playing Mrs. Ahmadinejad since she actually IS Iranian. Anyway, Nasim did an excellent job here, had several funny lines, and made a fine first impression. And, as usual, Fred didn’t even need any lines to get laughs; he killed with just his facial expressions.
Sketch - So You Committed a Crime & You Think You Can Dance
• I haven’t seen Kevin Federline in a while, but has he REALLY gotten that fat?
• Andy looked like he was wearing the same short wig he wears when he plays Jack Johnson. He always looks so much like Adam Sandler in that wig.
• This was a clever concept and a creative way of parodying So You Think You Can Dance, and the sketch was really enjoyable.
• I was happy to see Bobby’s Nathan Lane impression back, although like last time, it was too brief.
• Bill looked hilarious as Phil Spector.
• Wow, where has Will Forte been tonight? This was his first and ONLY appearance of the night, and he didn’t even have any lines! He still got in his usual laughs doing his almost-too-convincing job of playing a creep. The look on his face was priceless. And of course, they had to mention his character was possibly a sex offender.
• I don’t know why, but I couldn’t help but think Nasim kinda resembled Andrea Martin from SCTV in this sketch.
• What was with the strange pause before Andy introduced Fred and Kristen’s dance rehearsal video?
• Kenan, for the second time in a row tonight, actually amused me, especially when he was biting Reynolds’ arm.
Sketch - International Masterworks
• The concept of this reminded me a bit of that “Mexican Police show written by grade schoolers” sketch from last season, for some reason. Plus, both sketches even took place in an interrogation room. This sketch was a little better, though.
• This was okay, overall. Felt kinda like a typical late-in-the-show sketch, but it got enough laughs from me. Fred’s accent and voice was especially funny.
Miscellaneous - Lady Gaga and Andy Samberg in Love
• Wow, this is really Andy’s night. He’s had a lead role in almost every single sketch tonight. Quite unusual for him, especially after barely doing anything in last week’s episode.
• I was also surprised to see another sketch with Lady Gaga, but I liked this much more than her earlier sketch tonight. This whole bit was short but sweet, and I always enjoy backstage sketches.
• The ending with Lorne’s bubble tie was hilarious.
• Weekend Update
• So You Committed a Crime & You Think You Can Dance
• Digital Short
• Celebrity Family Feud
• Lady Gaga and Andy Samberg in Love
• Deep House Dish
• Fred as Obama
• A few parts of Porcelain Fountains
Best Performer of the Night:
• Andy Samberg
Overall, a pretty good episode and a definite improvement over the ho-hum season premiere. They tried out some creative, clever parodies in sketches that also got to use most of the cast (Family Feud, You Think You Can Dance), Update was excellent the whole way through, and there was only one sketch I truly didn’t like (Deep House Dish).
Before the show, I wasn’t really looking forward to Ryan Reynolds hosting since I don’t normally like him and I’m sick of seeing him in so many movies over the last year. But after Megan Fox’s completely forgettable, effort-less hosting job last week, Reynolds seemed refreshing in comparison. Although he wasn’t given too much to do, he was actually funny in a few of the sketches, and he just seemed to have more energy and added to some of the sketches unlike Megan Fox.
CASTMEMBER / HOST COUNT DOWN
ARMISEN: 6 sketches (President Obama, Family Feud, Porcelain Fountains, Update, Think You Can Dance, Masterworks)
FORTE: 1 sketch (Think You Can Dance)
HADER: 3 sketches (Family Feud, Think You Can Dance, Masterworks)
MEYERS: 1 sketch (Update)
SAMBERG: 6 sketches (Family Feud, Digital Short, Deep House Dish, Think You Can Dance, Masterworks, Lady Gaga and Andy)
SUDEIKIS: 4 sketches (Mostly Garbage, Family Feud, Porcelain Fountains, Think You Can Dance)
THOMPSON: 4 sketches (Porcelain Fountains, Deep House Dish, Update, Think You Can Dance)
WIIG: 5 sketches (Family Feud, Deep House Dish, Think You Can Dance, Masterworks, Lady Gaga and Andy)
ELLIOTT: 2 sketches (Family Feud, Think You Can Dance)
MOYNIHAN: 3 sketches (Family Feud, Digital Short, Think You Can Dance)
PEDRAD: 4 sketches (Family Feud, Porcelain Fountains, Update, Think You Can Dance)
SLATE: 2 sketches (Digital Short, Think You Can Dance)
RYAN REYNOLDS: 7 sketches (Monologue, Family Feud, Digital Short, Porcelain Fountains, Deep House Dish, Think You Can Dance, Masterworks)