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SUNDAY MORNING LIVE: 'SNL' and Ben Affleck Give Bill Hader, Stefon and Fred Armisen a Huge Farewell

Welcome to Edition No. 21 of Sunday Morning Live, Popculturology's look at the latest episode of Saturday Night Live. All of your questions about the Ben Affleck-hosted episode will be answered after the jump.

How'd Ben Affleck do?

Does anyone really care how Affleck did? This was the season finale for SNL, so the real questions that need to be asked involve Bill Hader, Fred Armisen, Jason Sudeikis and their futures on the show. But, since the way this column works is that we discuss the episode's host, let's quickly get that out of the way.

This was Affleck's fifth time hosting SNL, accomplishing the same feat that Justin Timberlake did earlier this season. While Timberlake got a big opening sketch featuring other Five-Timers and SNL legends, Affleck got Bobby Moynihan in a T-shirt with the number 5 on it. Unfortunately, SNL missed the chance to make a joke out of Affleck's Best Director Oscar snub, instead focusing on the actor's "Marriage is work" comment from his Oscar speech. Jennifer Garner, Affleck's wife, appeared to criticize her husband's choice of words.

Sadly, Affleck wasn't spectacular during this episode. He did what he was asked to, managed to mostly avoid relying on the cue cards and he allowed SNL to poke fun at his less happy days as an actor. Yup, there was a Gigli reference at one point.

We knew this would be Bill Hader's last episode. Did we get to say farewell to Stefon?

C'mon, did you really thing that SNL was going to let Hader go without Stefon making one last appearance? The show went all out for this Weekend Update segment, which started out like any other Stefon visit (with the exception of Seth Meyers assuring Stefon that Amy Poehler was just his platonic work friend, that is). After years of being told he wasn't suggesting the right kinds of clubs, Stefon got fed up with being rejected by Meyers and stormed off the set. At Poehler's urging, Meyers ran after Stefon, tracking him down at a church filled with all the characters from Stefon's nightmare club descriptions (including ALF). And, yes, it's SNL canon that Affleck plays Stefon's brother.

This really was a great ending for Stefon. The character got to run off with Meyers, and many of SNL's best Weekend Update characters showed up to say goodbye. We knew that this was it for Hader, and while the actor had a huge impact on SNL, Stefon really did become the character of his that people looked forward to seeing the most.

How about Fred Armisen? Did we get an answer about his future?

SNL closed out the episode with a performance from Ian Rubbish and the Bizarros, the fake British punk band introduced a few weeks ago to pay tribute to Margaret Thatcher. Armisen got to use this sketch as his farewell moment, singing "It's been alright. I've had a lovely night with you." Hader, Sudeikis and Taran Killam made up the rest of the Bizarros, with a bunch of punk-rock icons and Armisen's Porlandia co-star Carrie Brownstein joining in as the sketch went along.

At the end of the episode, Hader and Armisen had their arms around each other, a clear sign that the SNL journey had ended for this duo.

Well, how about Jason Sudeikis? Was this finally the last episode for him?

Honestly, I have no idea. Like last year, SNL's season finale didn't feature any iconic Sudeikis sketches. He appeared in a lot of sketches last night, but none of them were built around him. While Hader and Armisen hugged their castmembers during the end credits, Sudeikis ducked behind the group, eventually winding up next to Kanye West. Awkward.

If this was it for Sudeikis, he didn't get any kind of big send off, especially when compared to Hader and Armisen. I guess we'll have to wait around to see what Sudeikis does.

What were the best sketches of the night?

Well, that Stefon one was probably the highlight of the night, but let's look at a few other sketches.

Vanessa Bayer and Cecily Strong's "definitely not pornstars anymore" characters make up the dirtiest reoccurring sketch SNL has right now. Look at the clock whenever this one comes on — it's always past 12:30. There's now way SNL could run this one earlier in the episode. With mentions of "Christopher Cum Bus" and Strong saying, "One time I got banged through a glass ceiling. I changed everything for women. Turns out I’m a feminist," SNL pushes the envelope like crazy with this sketch. I love it.

Poehler doesn't have anything to promote, but that doesn't mean she can't stop by Weekend Update for another round of Really!?! With Seth and Amy. This segment is always at its strongest when both Meyers and Poehler are together for it.

Our last time watching Hader go old-school. The highlight of this sketch was Kate McKinnon mimicking Hader's arm motions. The brick with a face on it was pretty cute too. Was kind of weird that Affleck couldn't lock in the old-timey accent right away. I think some Boston twang snuck in at the beginning.

Armisen got to break out his Mahmoud Ahmadinejad impression for this sketch, a classic character that appeared in the legendary I Ran Digital Short. "Park the car in Harvard Yard," Ahmadinejad kept reciting, his way of locking in Affleck's Boston accent.

How about Pseudo Digital Shorts or commercials?

Pretty weak stuff this episode.

Politics? With so much political news this past week, SNL had to nail that subject.

Um, not really ... SNL trotted out Keenan Thompson's version of Al Sharpton for the episode's cold open, mainly focusing on the IRS scandal. It's really surprising how little SNL has touched politics lately. Why can't the writing staff seem to find a way to bring some humor to the political realm?

What's next?

That's it for Season 38 of SNL. The show and Sunday Morning Live will return in the fall.

Previous editions of Sunday Morning Live

May 12, 2013: Kristen Wiig
May 5, 2013: Zach Galifianakis
April 14, 2013: Vince Vaughn
April 7, 2013: Melissa McCarthy
March 10, 2013: Justin Timberlake
March 3, 2013: Kevin Hart
Feb. 17, 2013: Christoph Waltz
Feb. 10, 2013: Justin Bieber
Jan. 27, 2013: Adam Levine
Jan. 20, 2013: Jennifer Lawrence
Dec. 16, 2012: Martin Short
Dec. 9, 2012: Jamie Foxx
Nov. 18, 2012: Jeremy Renner
Nov. 11, 2012: Anne Hathaway
Nov. 4, 2012: Louis CK
Oct. 21, 2012: Bruno Mars
Oct. 14, 2012: Christina Applegate
Oct. 7, 2012: Daniel Craig
Sept. 23, 2012: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Sept. 16, 2012: Seth MacFarlane
SUNDAY MORNING LIVE: 'SNL' and Ben Affleck Give Bill Hader, Stefon and Fred Armisen a Huge Farewell Reviewed by Bill Kuchman on 5/19/2013 Rating: 5

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