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'SNL' RECAP: Melissa McCarthy Fizzles; Stefon and Amy Poehler Say Goodbye to Seth Meyers

Welcome to Edition No. 34 of Popculturology's Saturday Night Live recaps. All of your questions about the Melissa McCarthy-hosted episode will soon be answered.

How'd Melissa McCarthy do?

If Justin Timberlake is the SNL host that just keeps getting better, McCarthy is sadly an SNL host that delivers diminishing returns. When the Mike and Molly star first hosted SNL a few years ago, she was brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. She was so funny and so game for anything the show threw at her. Her turn as a wildly inappropriate coworker of Jason Sudeikis and her performance as a salad dressing taste tester were amazing. When McCarthy hosted again last season, SNL tried to reclaim some of the magic from the first time she hosted to moderate success. Sure, McCarthy was funny again, but it just wasn't the same.

Then came this weekend's episode of SNL. With McCarthy back for the third time in three seasons, we would find out which version of an episode hosted by her was the real deal. Unfortunately, it looks like the disappointing version is the real thing. This episode felt incredibly quick, which could be attributed to the fact that nothing McCarthy did this episode was as great as what she did during her rookie outing. SNL and McCarthy trotted out tricks that appeared to be the same, but they were uninspired.

McCarthy's monologue was a huge meh of a monologue. McCarthy and Bobby Moynihan on harnesses fighting in a Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon style? Why? Who that would be funny or timely? It's as if the idea got as far as, "Wouldn't it be funny to put Melissa and Bobby in harnesses and hoist them in the air?" That's not enough to build a real joke on.

What were the best sketches of the night?

We first saw McCarthy's Sheila Kelly the last time the actress hosted. Back then, Sheila was the coach of the Rutger's women's basketball team, terrorizing her players and Bill Hader with golf carts and flying toasters. Thanks to the Michael Grimm outburst after the State of the Union, SNL brought Sheila back as an even more threatening congresswoman.

As someone who once worked at a CVS and now shops there at least once a day, this short was dead on for me. I've been looking at CVS's Valentine's Day seasonal aisle for weeks now, mocking the ridiculous stuffed animals and dogs made out of chocolate frequently. Aidy Bryant's closing line, "You have hurt me today," sells the entire short.

The women's group sketch was awesome for two reasons. The first was that it didn't require McCarthy to be loud or crass. She was actually pretty low-key during this sketch, scoring laughs based on the strength of her character's lines instead of her potential to fall down a flight of stairs. The second reason was McCarthy's character's goal: "This year, I would like to avenge the death of my father."

This sketch oozed with awkwardness. SNL is still trying to figure out the tone of its shorts in the post-Digital Shorts world. Letting guys like Kyle Mooney, Beck Bennett and Jay Pharoah play around with the format is a smart move.

How about any shorts or commercials?

In addition to the CVS and "Super Champions" sketches, SNL aired a short featuring Pharoah, Kenan Thompson and Sasheer Zamata as students presenting "28 Reasons to Hug a Black Guy Today." Reason No. 1? "We deserve a chance." Reasons No. 2 through 28? "Slavery." Yes, you're not supposed to feel comfortable.

How did SNL say goodbye to Seth Meyers?

This was Seth Meyers' last episode of SNL. He'll soon begin his tenure as host of Late Night, with Jimmy Fallon moving on to become the host of The Tonight Show. Meyers has hosted "Weekend Update" since 2006, so it was only right that a bunch of his old "Weekend Update" friends swung by to say goodbye. Meyers' former "Update" parter in crime Amy Poehler returned, bringing Hader's Stefon along too. This was also the first time we got to see Stefon interact with Cecily Strong during "Weekend Update" ... it did not go well.

Andy Samberg also returned to wish Meyers well, as did Fred Armisen as former New York Gov. David Paterson. Well, Paterson never made it over to Meyers, wandering in front of the camera instead.

When SNL returns on March 1, Colin Jost will be at the "Weekend Update" desk with Strong.

How was the rest of 'Weekend Update'?

With the usual second guest spot devoted to saying goodbye to Meyers, there was only one "Weekend Update" guest this episode. Taran Killam played an Atlanta man still reeling from the disastrous snowfall the city suffered through last week.

Anything else worth mentioning?

I usually love "Girlfriends Talk Show," but this installment just didn't do it for me. McCarthy as Donna, an adult friend of Bryant's character, didn't click with the established vibe of the sketch. SNL didn't seem to have much faith in the sketch either, burying it later in the episode, which is unusual since "Girlfriends Talk Show" installments are often the first post-monologue sketch.

Creative concept, but Elisha Cuthbert eating ribs on Happy Endings trumps McCarthy eating ribs on SNL.

I was torn on the episode's cold open. On one hand, SNL threw together a pretty impressive fake Broadway Super Bowl halftime show, milking the stereotypical elements of a Broadway show for this sketch. That said, in no way should this sketch have opened the episode. It didn't have a very wide appeal and the joke seemed to stretch on forever.

Not much differentiated this sketch from most of the previous sketches that McCarthy has done during her SNL hosting stints. She was loud, intrusive and made some sexual comments. Not really original anymore.

"Latino Bert." Great diss. Now use Nasim Pedrad more, SNL.

What's next?

SNL is back on March 1. A host and musical guest has been announced yet.

Previous editions of Sunday Morning Live

Feb. 26, 2014: Jonah Hill
Jan. 18, 2014: Drake
Dec. 15, 2013: John Goodman
Dec. 8, 2013: Paul Rudd
Nov. 24, 2013: Josh Hutcherson
Nov. 17, 2013: Lady Gaga
Nov. 3, 2013: Kerry Washington
Oct. 27, 2013: Edward Norton
Oct. 13, 2013: Bruce Willis
Oct. 6, 2013: Miley Cyrus
Sept. 29, 2013: Tina Fey
'SNL' RECAP: Melissa McCarthy Fizzles; Stefon and Amy Poehler Say Goodbye to Seth Meyers Reviewed by Bill Kuchman on 2/03/2014 Rating: 5

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