Since September 2008, only two people have hosted SNL three times: Jon Hamm and last night's singing and dancing MC, Anne Hathaway. Not only should those two make ridiculously talented babies together, they're also in many ways the ideal SNL host. They have an easy rapport with the cast, posses a superb sense of comic timing, and are game for anything. Whether it's portraying a greased-up sax man or being vomited upon by a baby, both Hamm and Hathaway seemingly have an inability to say no, and that's a good thing for SNL.
That's also why I've liked all of their previous appearances, and why I enjoyed last night's, too. Some people accuse Hathaway of trying too hard (based solely on James Franco sleep farting his way through the Oscars), and while I do agree to a certain extent that she feeds off unanimous acceptance (like any theater kid), I think pulling out the "sad desperation" card is unfair at best, sexist at worst. Hathaway nailed all of her sketches — with Crazy Carrie Mathison as the highlight — and if anything, wasn't in enough of them. It wasn't an amazing episode by any means (Weekend Update was thoroughly mediocre), but because of Hathaway's near-manic energy and enthusiasm, it flew by. That's a good thing on the level of Bill Hader as Saul Berenson.
A goodbye to Mitt Romney that doubled as an early farewell to Jason Sudeikis, who will likely leave SNL in January. I enjoyed his impression, but you got the sense that the writers were running out of ways to make fun of the milk drunker, which sounds like a derogatory term a seven-year-old would say during recess. "HEY MILK DRINKER, YOU DONE DRINKING YOUR MILK???"
FYI: Tagg Romney has TOTALLY butt-chugged at some point in his life.
Am I listening to Les Misérables in Concert while writing this? Yes.
Might that effect my critical opinion for Hathaway's monologue? Yes.
Did I like Hathaway's monologue, a bombastic musical number in the style of Les Misérables? Yes.
Am I going to watch Jason Segel and Neil Patrick Harris sing "The Confrontation" for the 100th time? Yes.
Is God forgiving? No.
Congratulations to newbies Aidy Bryant and Cecily Strong for getting the post-monologue sketch, one that I didn't particularly like, despite enjoying their performances. I worry, though, that Strong is already being typecasted as a, like, a character straight out of, like, a Clueless ripoff, the same way Nasim Pedrad too often plays young girls. But, hey, she's doing better than Tim Robinson, who may or may not be dead.
Any sketch that ends with a baby vomiting some sort of toxic green goo at the camera, especially one with a song as catchy as "Mokikki," is OK in my book. Between this, "Lincoln," and "Sad Mouse," SNL is having better success with lowercase digital shorts than any of last year's uppercase Digital Shorts.
I saw some jerks complaining on Twitter (I know, right?) that SNL's Homeland parody totally missed the point of the show, and that painting Carrie as crazy as Hathaway portrayed her was misleading and offensive. By the beard of Saul, I proclaim those people to be wrong. This sketch was fantastic. It didn't feel like whoever wrote it was pandering, which often happens with SNL spoofs; the references were so specific, like Carrie's jazz freakout and "no, no, NO, no" tirade and Dana's wandering with her hands covered by her hoodie, that only a real fan of Homeland could write it. It did what a good parody should do: focus on the eccentricities of the source material.
But seriously, Bill Hader as Saul Berenson 4 Life. I want his portrait tacked up on my Pepe Silvia wall.
The idea behind this one, in which two employees think they're about to be fired and unleash a verbal assault on their coworkers, is solid, but the putdowns weren't strong enough for "McDonald's Firing" to be any better than: meh. On the plus side, I think I've been to the McDonald's in the exterior shot. They do good work.
A mediocre Weekend Update was saved by the ever-welcome Drunk Uncle, who railed against the election, Spotify, and "Jewspapers," my favorite Jewish play on words outside of Jewy Lewis and the Ruse. Because they'll take your money, you see.
Woah woah woah gay men living in an East Coast state? You had me with the Homeland thing, SNL, but this stretched the limits of credibility.
Sudeikis and Hathaway have a natural chemistry together, which is the main reason why "American Gothic" succeeded. It had a nice build to its inevitable conclusion (SPOILER: they F*CK), including the two of them pretending to be a part of the "THIS guy, no, THIS guy" promos that Family Guy once spoofed. FUN FACT: the man in Grant Wood's painting is modeled after his dentist, and the woman, his sister, she of the soup can neck.
I support Rihanna bringing back the Windows Media Player visualization look.