***** = Excellent, a possible future classic
**** = Great
*** = Average
** = Meh
* = How'd this get past dress?
Cold Opening - Piers Morgan Tonight
• A decent opening sketch, and a good way to address several of the current events of the week at once.
• Taran seems to have toned down the stammering part of his Piers impression (I think he only did it at the beginning of tonight's installment), which is probably a good thing since that joke probably would've gotten old after a while.
• I had a feeling that if anyone would play Lance Armstrong tonight, it would be Jason. He did fine in the role, and I liked his various angry outbursts as well as his non-apologies.
• The Manti Teo interview was probably the best part. The look on Bobby's face alone was perfect and had me laughing out loud during most of the interview.
• The Jodie Foster part was okay, but nothing really memorable. The Sally O'Malley reference was certainly... random.
• Even though it's kinda old news by now, I think it would've been hilarious to see someone play Alex Jones in this, as a parody of Jones' infamous interview on Piers Morgan's show. Jason would've been perfect for the role since he kills me anytime he plays an angry loud ranting character, but since he was already playing Lance Armstrong in this sketch, maybe the Alex Jones role could've gone to Tim Robinson. Tim has a similar body type to Alex Jones so I can picture him in the role, and Lord knows Tim could use the airtime. Who knows, this could've been his breakout role.
Monologue - Jennifer Lawrence
• Wait, am I seeing correctly? An actual song-less and dance-less monologue??? Sorry, I had almost forgotten what it's like.
• I wasn't expecting the show to make fun of Tommy Lee Jones' stone-faced demeanor at the Golden Globes, but Bill was funny as him here and it was the only part of the monologue I really liked.
• The bit with Jennifer trash-talking her fellow Oscar nominees wasn't really funny at all, and her alternately praising them with a compliment fell flat.
Commercial - Starbucks Verismo
• An average commercial parody. Nothing great, but not terrible either.
• Jay's sluggish voice was pretty funny, and I liked the detail of the coffee system coming with accessories such as non-refrigerated milk pitchers.
Sketch - Girlfriends Talk Show
• To no surprise, this is now recurring. I had a feeling this would appear tonight, though I was hoping it wouldn't, partly because they did this sketch the last time a female hosted the show (Anne Hathaway). Seems kinda lazy to bring it back as soon as the next female hosted. Is that going to be the criteria for when this sketch will appear? If so, maybe it's a good thing we don't seem to be getting many female hosts this season.
• The first time they did this sketch, I wasn't crazy about it, and I didn't care for tonight's installment, either. Just as I had feared, this came off too much like a lazy rewrite of the first installment, though at least Jennifer played a character that was completely different from Anne Hathaway's.
• Aidy's performance was the sole highlight like last time, and I liked her odd sarcastic delivery of the line "Do these human fingers look like paws???"
Sketch - Post Hunger Games News Conference
• A pretty good way of executing the obligatory Hunger Games parody of the night. I'm glad they took an original approach to the parody rather than just doing a lazy rewrite of the parody from last season's Sofia Vergara episode.
• Bill's stern facial expression and the way he looked in that wig and beard cracked me up, and I liked how the reporters eventually called him out on his weird-looking beard.
• Tim's sports question and his embarrassment afterwards was really funny. I also liked Jay asking Taran if he's taken any performance-REDUCING drugs and Bobby desperately asking if he can eat Bill's beard after he shaves.
• The revelation at the end that Taran was standing the whole time could be seen coming from a mile away. Plus, didn't SNL recently use that EXACT same joke in Jay's Katt Williams commentary on Update?
Commercial - More Hobbit
• Not a bad premise for a Hobbit parody, but the execution came off underwhelming. This could've been better.
• Bobby looked hilarious in that huge bushy beard that took up over half of his face.
• Fred as Gandalf? Didn't Taran Killam play Gandalf in that Knights of the Realm sketch from the Elton John episode? So why did they give the role to Fred this time, especially considering Taran's impression was much better (from what I remember).
• Why did the announcer say "Hobbit 8" when the screen clearly said "Hobbit 10"? Strange.
• The part with the title crossovers between Hobbits and other popular movies (Boyz in the Hood, Look Who's Talking Now, etc.) was very lame, and the part with the guys singing "For the Longest Time" felt like a tired clichéd gag as well.
• The "Shit-Vision" bit was worth a chuckle.
• That technical screw-up towards the end with the screen repeatedly freezing was really embarrassing and killed the Ikea dresser gag. At first, I thought it was just a glitch on my local NBC affiliate, but then I noticed you could still hear the studio audience when the screen kept freezing, which made me realize it was a glitch on SNL's end. This reminds me of a similar technical error that happened during the Taco Town fake ad from 05-06, where right in the middle of it, they accidentally cut away to a frozen shot of a funeral home (which was supposed to be used for a sketch later in that episode) and the screen stayed frozen like that for about 10 seconds, which was painfully awkward.
Sketch - Johnny Two Tones
• This had its moments, but the overall sketch needed to be much more fleshed-out. Something about the script felt very unfinished or incomplete.
• Bobby was a great straight man and some of Jennifer's rude actions & lines were pretty funny, especially her whispering to Bobby that he's gonna die in the bathroom ala Elvis.
• As usual, Bill Hader has the ability to make even the smallest insignificant roles come off humorous with his voice and delivery. Loved his cheesy 1950s voice in this.
• The ending was absolutely terrible.
Weekend Update - Seth Meyers, featuring Anthony Crispino
• Best jokes: Manti Teo the Samoan Mormon, Federal Aviation mobile device ban, Ann Romney/Dancing with the Stars
• Boy, Seth sure loves talking in German accents, doesn't he?
• It's been quite a while since Bobby's Second-Hand News guy last appeared. Initially, I wasn't exactly thrilled when he showed up tonight, as I normally don't care for this character, but I ended up actually enjoying him this time. He had a few funny bits like the Lance Armstrong/Dopey the Dwarf joke, and it also helped that this had a loose vibe with Bobby and Seth throwing in several fun ad-libs throughout. I especially liked how they openly acknowledged how lame that "Depp ceiling" joke was.
• Overall, a surprisingly good Update tonight; the best in a long time. Not just because it was short, but also because Seth had a rare strong night with mostly good jokes, and the sole guest commentary worked.
Sketch - Top Dog Chef
• Wasn't too crazy about this. The whole dog thing worked better in a similar sketch from 10 years ago when Dan Aykroyd hosted, where he and the cast played dogs at an upscale restaurant.
• There were still a few somewhat-clever lines here, however, even though I didn't care for the overall idea of the sketch.
• Bobby continues his strong season with tonight's episode, as he's been EVERYWHERE tonight so far. He stole this Top Chef sketch with his funny character and provided my only big laughs in this.
• For a second, it looked like Jason was about to crack up for some reason, although it's hard to tell whether that was in-character or not.
• The ending with Vanessa as the cat didn't work for me and it ended the sketch on an awkward note. Also, did Nasim forget a line or something? It felt like she was supposed to say something after the cat & dogs yelled at each other; there was an awkward pause when they stopped yelling as if they were waiting for Nasim to say a line, but then the sketch just ended.
Sketch - B108 FM
• I had totally forgotten about this sketch until they brought it back tonight. Looking back at my review of the first installment from last season's Lindsay Lohan episode, I notice I stated that "This has “future recurring sketch” written all over it", which is funny because I stated the exact same thing in my review of the first Girlfriend Talk Show installment which they also brought back tonight.
• This sketch wasn't much of an improvement over the forgettable first installment, but there were a few new aspects added to tonight's sketch that I found decent and Jennifer at least played a much more developed character than Lohan did. Jennifer's non-rhyming freestyle bit was okay, mostly for Taran and Bobby's irritated reactions to her.
• The two funniest moments both came from Bobby (he is on fire tonight!): him fainting on the ground and his line "I swear, if you were not my wife's kid..."
Film - Danielle
• This whole thing had me cracking up, as I usually always enjoy when SNL does really bizarre, unconventional humor like this. While I've never seen the specific film this was parodying (an old foreign porn flick titled "Emmanuelle", apparently), I have seen enough similar flicks and I get what this parody was going for.
• There were lots of little details in this that I found really funny, particularly the bad dubbing, the brief interludes where they played the Danielle theme song, the quick close-up of Bill turning to the camera and randomly saying "Danielle" in a dramatic voice, and the part with the children.
Sketch - Love Letters
• Hey, a sketch actually starring Tim Robinson! While he has co-starred in two sketches before (one with Nasim, and another with Seth MacFarlane), this is actually his first REAL lead part where he has the comedic role all to himself. It's about damn time!
• I enjoyed this sketch a lot. Tim did a very good job and he had funny lines all throughout, and the audience reacted well to him. Hopefully, this will be the beginning of him getting more airtime on the show.
• I also got a good laugh from all the silly photos of Tim in this, even the first one where he just had a normal deadpan look on his face. You see, I'm still at the stage where I automatically crack up whenever I initially see Tim's face in a sketch, simply because he has such a comedic goofy-looking face.
• Loved the random bizarre ending with Tim dying out of nowhere followed by Bill as Abe Lincoln closing Tim's eyes and then breaking into tears.
• Love Letters
• parts of Weekend Update
• the ending of Johnny Two Tones
• parts of Top Dog Chef
Best Performer of the Night:
• Bobby Moynihan
CASTMEMBER / HOST COUNT DOWN
ARMISEN: 3 sketches (Hobbit, Top Chef, Danielle)
BAYER: 4 sketches (Starbucks, Johnny Two Tones, Top Chef, B108)
HADER: 6 sketches (Monologue, Hunger Games, Johnny Two Tones, Top Chef, Danielle, Love Letters)
KILLAM: 6 sketches (Piers Morgan, Hunger Games, Hobbit, Johnny Two Tones, B108, Danielle)
MEYERS: 1 sketch (Update)
MOYNIHAN: 7 sketches (Piers Morgan, Hunger Games, Hobbit, Johnny Two Tones, Update, Top Chef, B108)
PEDRAD: 2 sketches (Johnny Two Tones, Top Chef)
PHAROAH: 1 sketch (Hunger Games)
SUDEIKIS: 4 sketches (Piers Morgan, Hobbit, Top Chef, Danielle)
THOMPSON: 2 sketches (Hunger Games, Danielle)
BRYANT: 2 sketches (Girlfriends, Johnny Two Tones)
MCKINNON: 1 sketch (Piers Morgan)
ROBINSON: 3 sketches (Hunger Games, Hobbit, Love Letters)
STRONG: 4 sketches (Girlfriends, Hunger Games, Johnny Two Tones, Danielle)
JENNIFER LAWRENCE: 9 sketches (Monologue, Girlfriends, Hunger Games, Hobbit, Johnny Two Tones, Top Chef, B108, Danielle, Love Letters)