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'SNL' RECAP: Seth Rogen's Episode Gets High Marks

Welcome to Edition No. 39 of Popculturology's Saturday Night Live recaps. All of your questions about the Seth Rogen-hosted episode will soon be answered.

How'd Seth Rogen do?

If SNL invites you to host for a third time, you're probably doing something right. (Unless you're Lindsay Lohan. That choice still baffles us.) Not only was Rogen an excellent host this weekend, but he also appears to now have enough pull with the SNL writing staff to get an entire episode tailored to him.

Remember when I called Louis CK's episode weird? Yeah, Rogen brought the weird, just in his own way. SNL tends to have kinds of sketches that it won't air until later in an episode, assuming the easily offended parts of the audience won't still be watching at 12:45 a.m. Rogen's episode was pretty much one giant collection of these kinds of sketches.

Rogen brought some friends with him for the episode, with James Franco, Zooey Deschanel and Taylor Swift all showing up during the monologue. (Well, I guess Swift is music guest Ed Sheeran's friend, right? Wink wink.)

What were the best sketches of the night?

Aidy Bryant as a wife with large casts on her arms and Rogen as her husband forced to feed her and take care of her was the highlight of this episode. This sketch evoked memories of Will Ferrell and Rachel Dratch as hot tub lovers or Dratch making everyone break as Debbie Downer. Bryant and Rogen started breaking in several spots, but they remained committed.

"You said cut it, so I did."

An entire sketch based around the idea of Rogen's character desperately trying to keep his fiancé from learning about his one gay experience while Cecily Strong's hick character kept giving away his secrets. Unlike a lot of this episode's weirdness, this sketch did come after "Weekend Update."

This sketch made fun of owning Jason Mraz albums. Was this a reference to the fact that Sheeran, the episode's musical guest, sounds like a Mraz ripoff?

Boom. Roasted, CNN. While SNL couldn't make a point about current events during this episode's cold open (more on that later), the show nailed its spoof of CNN's overuse of breaking news alerts and constant coverage of non-events.

Putting this sketch super early in the episode was a bold move. If you showed me a short about two monsters who decide to get plastic surgery to look human (and eventually become Franco and Mike O'Brien), I would've guessed it had aired in the final minutes of the episode.

Fun fact: There's a commercial for Blue Buffalo Dog Food that begins exactly like this sketch about Blue River Dog Food does. If you haven't seen it, check it out to understand that there really are people furious that big-brand dog foods have been lying to them about what they were feeding their dogs.

Well, there's nowhere this sketch could have aired besides last. Are TCBYs still a real thing? I remember them from back in the 80s, but I haven't seen one in a long time. I'm probably going to avoid all of them now, just in case the location was once a sperm bank complete with sperm dispensers.

How about any shorts or commercials?

You can't have an SNL hosted by Rogen without a sketch about weed, right?

How was Weekend Update?

OK, Colin Jost has now been at the "Weekend Update" desk for five episodes — is he a success or a failure as Seth Meyers' replacement? From what we've seen so far, I don't think Jost is a failure, but he has yet to show any signs that he'll be an exceptional "Weekend Update" anchor. All of the "Weekend Update" hosts in recent history — Meyers, Tina Fey, Jimmy Fallon, Amy Poehler — have brought something unique to the desk. Jost doesn't have that. He tells his jokes. He maybe smirks slightly. He fails to play along with any ad-libbing on Strong's part. Not sure where the chemistry is.

Two things: Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz is a big fan of Dominican food and it's hard to tell if a Samsung device is a phone or a television.

Jacob the Bar Mitzvah boy made his first appearance since Meyers left, getting paired with Strong. This shakeup brings a freshness to a sketch that was getting stale. Vanessa Bayer did a great job giving us a Jacob that was nervous talking to a girl and physically couldn't handle the mention of Derek Jeter retiring.

Anything else worth mentioning?

SNL continues to have trouble finding success in spoofing politics. The only interesting thing to come out of the cold open was that we got a look at who SNL is prepping to play various Republican politicians in the next election. We've seen Taran Killam as Paul Ryan before, but I think this was the first time we got Beck Bennett as Jeb Bush, Nasim Pedrad as Bobby Jindal and Brooks Wheelan as DJ Rand Paul.

I want this recurring sketch to work since it would give Pedrad a bigger presence on SNL, but the Shallon sketches aren't really all that funny.

At least Kenan Thompson playing the now-thin Al Sharpton made sense again.

What's next?

SNL is back on May 3 with Andrew Garfield hosting and Coldplay as the musical guest..

Previous Saturday Night Live recaps

April 5, 2014: Anna Kendrick
March 29, 2014: Louis CK
March 8, 2014: Lena Dunham
March 1, 2014: Jim Parsons
Feb. 1, 2014: Melissa McCarthy
Jan. 26, 2014: Jonah Hill
Jan. 18, 2014: Drake
Dec. 21, 2013: Jimmy Fallon
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: Seth Rogen's Episode Gets High Marks Reviewed by Bill Kuchman on 4/13/2014 Rating: 5

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