“Saturday Night Live” is “rebuilding,” but we have to say that if they continue to put out shows like this one while in this process, we are not going to be that upset. This was not a perfect show by any means, but we found it to be silly, spontaneous, surprising, and most of all funny. Given that she is a familiar face, Tina Fey was great as the first host of the year. She delivers no matter the environment, and makes almost everyone else around her even more awesome.
The biggest challenge for tonight’s episode, for us as a reviewer, is simply going to be trying to figure out who is who. Basically, we have five guys who more or less look like the same dude. We also have Noel Wells, who looks a little like Vanessa Bayer’s little sister.
President Obama cold open – Oh boy, we’re starting with an Obama sketch. We just don’t think that Obama is that interesting of a President to make fun of. The only major highlight here? Cecily Strong coming on and acting confused about Obamacare vs. Applecare, a joke that only geeks like us could love.
Just when we thought that things were starting to take a turn for the worse, we had a visit from “Jesse from New Mexico” to explain how his friend had to suffer because of not having free healthcare to pay for his cancer treatments. The fact that Aaron Paul got through this without swearing once is shocking.
Tina Fey monologue – Not a bad way to start the show at all. What Tina does in this opening that is so effective is make fun of herself, and the bring on all of the newbies so that they can be humiliated for the first time on national television. There was a nice air of tradition to it. While this was not the funniest thing of all time, we at least give “SNL” props for trying to get us to see all of the new people on screen so we can start to get to know them better.
“Girls” spoof – First of all, Bayer was so convincing as Shoshanna that we seriously believed that it was Zosia Mamet in the role. She was that convincing! The idea here was hysterical, as it revolved around the idea of there being a new addition to the group in an Albanian woman with strong opinions. It was basically “Borat,” but very funny even if the Hannah was a little weak.
New cast member, or Arcade Fire member? – The first sketch of the night that really showed us that Kenan Thompson is taking more of a leadership role in this cast. He was pretty funny as a host of a ridiculous game show, and “SNL” had more fun with the cast that all looks pretty much the same. Also, there was a great cameo from Lorne Michaels in here, and hats off to the band for playing along with the notion that most people don’t know what they look like.
eMeth – Another great use for Aaron Paul tonight, once again stepping in as Jesse Pinkman … and this time he did swear. As a big fan of most “SNL” commercials, we’re glad that the first one really was a winner.
Weekend Updates – Welcome Cecily to the co-anchor chair! We’re going to miss her being the Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party, but she’s a natural at the gig and for the most part, was very strong here. Ironically, the weakest part of her performance was a little bit with Tina that didn’t go anywhere.
Let’s also talk a little bit about Bruce Chandling, which is new cast member Kyle Mooney actually getting to do a segment like this in his first show (which is rare). Mooney already has done this character of a bad comic with dreams before this show, and while it was okay, some of the jokes were a little flat.
And, we did have the return of Drunk Uncle! There’s not much here to say here outside of “hilarious,” which it really was from start to finish. Also, another appearance from Paul, who is apparently not asked to do anything other than meth-related characters this week.
Used cars – A completely absurd, but very funny sketch where Fey stole the show as a brainwashed woman helping to sell used Model Ts. It was so random that it worked, and if the jokes land, this is the perfect 12:45 sketch.
Manolo Blahnik – If the show ends with these two “Hermes Handbags” ladies every week, we’ll be glad. Bayer and Strong are consistently wonderful here as the clueless saleswomen, and the cameo from Fey? Much in the vein of Ben Affleck last time.
The poor sketches
Airline sketch – A bad premise, and only one funny joke about a large suitcase. It was basically just all about that feeling when you are at an airport, and everyone is called to their seats before you. Yawn.
PBS classic cinema – What was this? Kenan didn’t do anything to help it, and it was so nonsensical, we didn’t really even care to pay attention during it. If you are going to air past the hour mark, you gotta do something other than a random bit about taxidermy.
What did you think overall about tonight’s “SNL” premiere? Be sure to share your thoughts below! Meanwhile, click here if you do want to read some more news about what Seth Meyers is planning to do come the start of his late-night show in February.