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'SNL' RECAP: Bazinga! Jim Parsons Flops as 'Saturday Night Live' Host

Welcome to Edition No. 35 of Popculturology's Saturday Night Live recaps. All of your questions about the Jim Parsons-hosted episode will soon be answered.

How'd Jim Parsons do?

If you're going to drop the line, "It really would be super if you didn't call me Sheldon Cooper," you gotta back that request up with a reason why. Parsons' SNL debut didn't do much to keep me from thinking of him as just the lead from The Big Bang Theory.

Parsons' SNL stunk.

For a guy who has won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy three times, I expected so much more. Unfortunately, there was never a moment during this episode when Parsons disappeared into a character or role. His mannerisms were always the same — I'm not sure if they were his as an actual person or just his standard Sheldon Cooper act, but there wasn't a wig or a funny costume that could hide the fact that Parsons was over his head as an SNL host. When the laughter isn't prerecorded and there aren't giant gaps to signal jokes, comedy isn't quite so easy.

What were the best sketches of the night?

Um, for the first time in the history of Popculturology's SNL recaps, I'm not going to offer a sketch as the night's best. I take my responsibility as a pretend pop culture expert seriously, and I can't in good faith call anything from this episode "best."

How about any shorts or commercials?

I guess you can base an entire sketch on someone's desire to Photoshop birds into Bible scenes.

How was Colin Jost's first 'Weekend Update'?

With Seth Meyers now hosting Late Night, Colin Jost made his "Weekend Update" debut this weekend. Jost appeared nervous, but not nervous enough to derail his time behind the "Update" desk. After seeing Meyers host "Weekend Update" for so long, it's going to take everyone — the cast and the audience — some time to get used to Jost there. Cecily Strong is already a "Weekend Update" vet, but Jost still has to figure out what his "Update" angle is going to be. During his debut, he kept things pretty straightforward. Hopefully Jost warms up over the next few weeks.

OK, if I was feeling generous and wanted to name one sketch the episode's best, it would be the latest appearance by Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley on "Weekend Update." I love this bit. Kenan Thompson has been doing his Barkley impression forever, but Jay Pharoah's Shaq impression is newer — and so bizarre it's genius.

So SNL's really going to milk Taran Killam's Jebediah Atkinson, isn't it? Guys, I'm not sure this bit has what it takes to be an sketch we see almost every week. Kudos for throwing in, "Go see The Lego Movie. It's adorable."

Anything else worth mentioning?

Lines like "fancy baby" made me laugh, but whoever was in charge of matching up the green screen of Parsons as Peter Pan and Aidy Bryant as Tonkerbell was asleep on the job.

Using the host in the cold open has become a big thing during Season 39. Whatever happened to preserving a little bit of mystery before the monologue?

Where was most of the cast during this episode? I think Nasim Pedrad only appeared during this sketch.

Since SNL's much-talked-about addition of Sasheer Zamata and a few black writers, the show has actually done a better job talking racial topics. We saw "28 Reasons to Hug a Black Guy Today" last episode, and the SNL went after the reality of a bunch of white people making a movie about slavery this episode.

At times during this sketch, I had no idea where Parsons was looking. Was a bird holding his cue cards? Was that bird flying around the stage? Was Donald the Falcon holding Parsons' cue cards?

Well, this sketch pretty much sums up the episode.

What's next?

SNL is back on March 8 with Lena Dunham hosting and The National as the musical guest.

Previous Saturday Night Live recaps

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: Bazinga! Jim Parsons Flops as 'Saturday Night Live' Host Reviewed by Bill Kuchman on 3/03/2014 Rating: 5

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