‘Saturday Night Live’ review: Manti Te’o, ‘Hunger Games,’ ‘The Hobbit,’ and Jennifer Lawrence

Saturday Night Live“Saturday Night Live” is back, and it didn’t take us much time to remember just how much we missed it. Was every sketch funny? No, and the writers need to retire the tired “Girlfriends Talk Show” right away. However, the writers came prepared this week with some of their best overall material of the year, including some returning characters (Piers Morgan, Anthony Crispino), and they found some great uses for host Jennifer Lawrence.

The cold and open, first and foremost, was brilliant. We don’t even care that Taran Killam’s Morgan is pretty bad, and that Bobby Moynihan looks nothing like Manti Te’o. We just love the fact that “SNL” managed to spoof the Notre Dame star, Lance Armstrong, and Jodie Foster (wonderfully done by Kate McKinnon) in the same skit, and the jokes all landed in the process.

Following an opening like that, it was easy to say that “SNL” had its work cut out for it … and the next two sketches faltered a little. The ¬†monologue had a great spoof on Tommy Lee Jones played by Bill Hader, but Lawrence was very reliant on the teleprompter and, despite her best efforts, did not have the sort of impeccable comic timing you would hope for. Then, there was the Starbucks Verismo skit which clearly going to be as controversial as Jamie Foxx’s hosting gig was. (We’ll let you debate about it below.) By the time the “Girlfriends Talk Show” ended, we were legitimately worried; but then, some of the other parts of the show kicked off.

Other highlights

“The Hunger Games” press conference – You knew it was coming: the inevitable spoof of the motion picture mega-franchise. It may not have been uproariously funny, but “SNL” did a good job of getting in some good “Hunger Games” while also not trashing the franchise that helps Lawrence cash in plenty of checks. With that being said, she did not fire off a bow like she did in the official promo for the show.

“The Hobbit” trailer – This was just hilariously, mostly because everyone under the sun can agree that “The Hobbit” did not need three movies. It is skits like these that help us to not miss the old Digital Shorts with Andy Samberg.

Anthony Crispino – What was with the super-short “Weekend Update” this week? We almost would have preferred even more Second-Hand news to some jokes from Seth Meyers that were pretty funny … but we were distracted for most of the past minute and half wondering who else was going to turn up.

The Lumineers – It’s just nice to have great music on “SNL.” That’s all that we will say.

As for the rest…

Lawrence showed off some great skills immersing into characters in both a diner sketch and a weird “Top Chef” spoof featuring dogs (but a surprisingly good Tom Colicchio impersonation), and the sketches in the last half-hour were at least moderately funny (which is more than we can say than most of the bits that happen in this block). Even the “Danielle” sketch, while weird, was at least original.

Overall, Lawrence should not be embarrassed at all about her performance. While she struggled at times when forced to play (and tell jokes as) herself, she mostly fell into every character she played very well. More importantly than that, she was also pretty funny and appeared in almost every sketch. Ultimately, though, the MVP for this episode has to be Bobby Moynihan, who killed in the aforementioned “Weekend Update” and pretty much every other thing that he appeared in.

What did you think about this week’s “SNL”? Be sure to vote in our poll below, and you can check out what else is coming up this season by clicking the link here.

Photo: NBC

 

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