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SUNDAY MORNING LIVE: Edward Norton Spoofs Wes Anderson, Nasim Pedrad Stars in a Sketch

Welcome to Edition No. 25 of Sunday Morning LivePopculturology's look at the latest episode of Saturday Night Live. All of your questions about the Edward Norton-hosted episode will soon be answered.

How'd Edward Norton do?

With no movie or TV show to promote, Norton was pretty much hosting SNL just to host SNL. Or, as Norton told the story, Lorne Michaels asked him to host back in 2000, but Norton wanted to put 13 years of Method acting practices into becoming a great host.

If that was the case, Norton's 13 years of work paid off. Norton's episode of SNL was funny, brisk and tight. No cue card reading for this guy. Norton showed up in pretty much every sketch, playing all kinds of characters. He wasn't afraid to don a mullet wig to play the friend of an exterminator or even poke fun at his work with Wes Anderson. It was refreshing to have a host who didn't come with a ton of baggage. With no baggage, SNL wasn't able to bog Norton down with constant references to his career or public controversies.

Speaking of public controversies, Norton did get some help from a duo of past SNL hosts. Alec Baldwin and Miley Cyrus showed up during his monologue to give hosting advice, since (believe or or not) this was Norton's first time hosting SNL.

I'm also pretty sure that Norton's mention of Chris Kattan during the monologue was the first time anyone has said Kattan's name in like five years. I'm even including his family.

What were the best sketches of the night?

Guys, Nasim Pedrad actually had the main role in a sketch this weekend. It was the first post-monologue sketch too. Shocking, I know. While it didn't necessarily mean Pedrad was back in the spotlight for the entire episode, Pedrad as Shallon (I think her name was Shallon ... ?) could be the actress' shot at having a new SNL recurring character. This sketch reminded me a bit of Kristen Wiig's Gilly sketches, only not awful.

This was the most random sketch of the night. I'm not sure if Norton was supposed to be playing John Waters or a domestic version of Vincent Price. I do know that if a sketch contains the line "I'll suck anything you put in front of me" for a Klondike Bar, that sketch probably isn't going to air until the end of the night.

12 Days Not a Slave was actually kind of heavy for SNL. First off, whoever brought up "Let's spoof 12 Years a Slave" in the writers' room is a brave soul. Second, SNL hasn't actually been the fortress of social commentary over the past few years. When you only have two African-Americans on your cast (neither of which are women), it's hard to claim moral high ground.

A pitch perfect spoof of Anderson's films. Midnight Coterie of Sinister Intruders not only touched on most of the director's cues, but also served as this week's "have the castmembers do impressions" sketch. Norton demonstrated that he can do killer Ian McKellen, Woody Allen and Woody Harrelson impressions during his monologue, and he continued that showcase with his Owen Wilson impression here. If you see the phrase "Da fuh?" pop up anywhere the next few days, you have this sketch to blame.

For this sketch to work, Norton and Brooks Wheelan had to fully commit as exterminators engrossed in the lives of possums living in an air vent, which they did. Could Wheelan have a recurring character on his hands with this one? "Oh gawd, something's wrong!" sounds an awful like a catchphrase ...

SNL was off last week, so the show missed the train wreck rollout of Obamacare. Luckily for SNL, nothing got fixed over the past week, giving them a shot to poke fun at Obamacare and its website this weekend. Kate McKinnon debuted her Kathleen Sebelius impression, a bit that I'm not sure we'll ever see again. I mean, Sebelius isn't exactly the government figure SNL is going to roll out week after week.

How about any Pseudo Digital Shorts or commercials?

The Anderson movie trailer would be the highlight of this segment of Sunday Morning Live if I hadn't used it above.

In a world where there's a pumpkin-spice version of everything, Summer's Eve joins the party with Autumn's Eve Pumpkin Spice Douche. Sold at your local farm stand.

How was Weekend Update?

Nothing really stood out during Weekend Update this week, but I do have to note that Cecily Strong has completed her transformation from ditzy anchor to Tina Fey disciple. When Strong first joined Seth Meyers at the Update desk this season, her first episode relied heavily on her naive/dumb girl persona. That bit works well for a Weekend Update guest but not for a Weekend Update host. Someone at SNL figured that out quickly, and Strong has now become a confident Update anchor. There have been several instances the past two episodes when Strong's Weekend Update demeanor has made me think of Fey.

He's not Drunk Uncle, but Anthony Crispino's secondhand news report is still worth a few laughs. Would people still protest health care reform if it was called Bahamacare?

Anything else worth mentioning?

Norton's ability to play very different characters made him a strong host. Here are a couple of his other characters from this week.

Right before SNL started, I saw a commercial for Steve Harvey's show. I thought to myself, "Hmmm, SNL hasn't done the Steve Harvey sketch in awhile." It was destiny.

Will there be some backlash for this sketch? It's one thing for Rain Man to portray an autistic savant as a genius who was protective of his baby brother, but to have an autistic savant who's really just kind of a moron? Am I being too sensitive here?

Side note: The Lady Bug Picnic is a real Sesame Street song. The minute Norton started counting, it popped into my head.

Previous editions of Sunday Morning Live

Oct. 13, 2013: Bruce Willis
Oct. 6, 2013: Miley Cyrus
Sept. 29, 2013: Tina Fey
SUNDAY MORNING LIVE: Edward Norton Spoofs Wes Anderson, Nasim Pedrad Stars in a Sketch Reviewed by Bill Kuchman on 10/27/2013 Rating: 5

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