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'SNL' RECAP: Lena Dunham and Taran Killam's Killer McConaughey Impression Win the Night

Welcome to Edition No. 36 of Popculturology's Saturday Night Live recaps. All of your questions about the Lena Dunham-hosted episode will soon be answered.

How'd Lena Dunham do?

After Jim Parsons hosted quite possibly the worst SNL of the season last weekend, the show needed to bounce back. I mean, NBC isn't going to cancel SNL after a sucky week (or ever), but the show needed to make people forget about Parsons' bomb. Luckily for SNL, Dunham delivered.

The first-time SNL host carried a diversely funny episode, and best of all, Dunham was game to poke fun at her own persona. The episode opened with Dunham dealing with members of SNL's cast trying to ask her super-personal questions, all due to the fact that Girls had no problem holding back.

The episode's only few miscues actually came in sketches that Dunham wasn't the focus of, so it's hard to blame her for the low points of this weekend.

What were the best sketches of the night?

As soon as this sketch started, I had the sense that it was hiding something sinister. While Dunham's character struggled to sing her share of "Ooh Child" over the car's GPS, the kicker came with the sketch's ending. I had my money on Dunham, Cecily Strong, Taran Killam and Kenan Thompson's characters donning ski masks and heading off to rob a bank or something, but Brooks Wheelan with duct tape over his mouth was better. "If a court won't convict you, we will," sounds like a line out of a Liam Neeson movie.

Speaking of Neeson, the man with a very particular set of skills cameoed during the night's cold open. If you're President Barack Obama and you're challenged by Vladimir Putin, the most logical move is to bring in Neeson, right? He hates it when things are taken.

As someone who doesn't watch Scandal, I can't speak to the accuracy of this sketch, but it did give SNL a bit of closure. When Kerry Washington hosted the show in November, SNL didn't have a black woman in its cast. Four months later, the show has Sasheer Zamata and she's starring in a sketch playing Olivia Pope, Washington's character from Scandal.

Like Scandal, I'm unable to fully gauge SNL's take on Girls, but from what I've been told, this short nailed the show's vibe pretty perfectly. Once again, a huge part of this episode's success came from Dunham's gameness to send up Girls and her persona.

After Dunham, Killam was this weekend's star. Not only did he portray Adam Driver (allegedly the next Star Wars villain) in the "Girl" digital short, but he also unveiled a killer Matthew McConaughey impression during "Weekend Update." While a touch of his Brad Pitt impression popped up during the beginning of this segment, Killam's version of McConaughey just might be one of the best impressions on SNL right now.

How about any shorts or commercials?

While the "Ooh Child" and "Girl" shorts ranked among the top sketches this week, SNL once again closed with something from the minds of Brooks Bennett, Kyle Mooney and Mike O'Brien. It was funny, but you'll just have to take my word for it since NBC didn't post it online. Jerks.

How was Weekend Update?

Nooooo, I thought SNL was done with Fred Armisen. Guys, I don't care if he's on Late Night with Seth Meyers, you don't have to invite him to SNL. The "friends of dictators" sketch stopped being funny a long time ago — bringing back Armisen to do it AGAIN wasn't going to make it funny.

Anything else worth mentioning?

Oh look, it's Nasim Pedrad. I think SNL forgot she was on the show again. I debated ranking this sketch among the episode's bests, but it was really only worth it for the Jon Hamm appearance. Well, that and the line, "You're almost completely inside your sweater."

Jay Pharoah becomes the second person to do a Katt Williams impression this season. Drake did his own version when he hosted in January. The SNL audience was not a fan of Pharoah's Williams mocking Harrison Ford's Oscar appearance by saying, "This bitch is looking less like Harrison Ford and more like Robert Ford." Cue the boos.

I really wanted to put this sketch among the episode's bests, but I had to draw the line somewhere. O'Brien's men's rights activist was very funny, but I'm surprised SNL isn't getting flack for having Strong play a hispanic woman.

"You guys owe us a month's worth of Sprite."

What's next?

SNL is back on March 29 with Louis CK hosting.

Previous Saturday Night Live recaps

March 1, 2014: Jim Parsons
Feb. 1, 2014: Melissa McCarthy
Jan. 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: Lena Dunham and Taran Killam's Killer McConaughey Impression Win the Night Reviewed by Bill Kuchman on 3/09/2014 Rating: 5

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