Top Ad unit 728 × 90

'SNL' RECAP: Kristen Wiig Tries to Hijack Bill Hader's Hosting Gig

Welcome to Edition No. 45 of Popculturology's Saturday Night Live recaps. All of your questions about the Bill Hader-hosted episode will soon be answered.

How'd Bill Hader do?

Hader was supposed to be the host of SNL this weekend, but apparently showrunner Lorne Michaels felt that he wasn't up to the task — not without Kristen Wiig, that is. Despite being allowed to host the show by herself last season, Wiig did what she could to hijack Hader's episode. She was there during his monologue. She showed up during a sketch. She intro'd the Jan Hooks memorial alongside Hader. She brought back her worn-out Kathie Lee Gifford impression, stealing a spot from an actual member of SNL's cast.

When Hader was allowed to host without Wiig holding his hand, it was a great episode. Hader brought back a few of his classic characters — Stefon and Herb Welch — while also reprising psychotic puppet enthusiast Anthony Peter Coleman. He was funny and got along well with the castmembers who actually work for SNL.

What a shame SNL couldn't just let Hader host by himself. Wiig's return was unnecessary and took away from the progress the show had been making during its 40th season. One of SNL's biggest problems last season was that the show was addicted to former castmembers, which never let its new castmembers catch on. The first two episodes of this season made it look like Michaels had kicked that habit. Unfortunately, Michaels has always favored Wiig. Whether it was the massive and unprecedented goodbye she got in her final episode or the fact that she was brought back to host before even being gone from SNL for a season, Michaels has repeatedly put Wiig above what's best for the show. 

What were the best sketches of the night?

Let's do this one first. Stefon made his triumphant return to SNL. We last saw him in Seth Meyers' final episode. At that point, Stefon was fazed by Cecily Strong's presence on the 'Weekend Update' desk. He took Michael Che and Colin Jost (or, "Barack and Mitt," as he referred to them) well. We haven't seen Hader break this much while playing Stefon in a long time. Repeated mentions of MTV's Dan Cortese especially caused Hader to break.

Oh, and big news: Stefon is pregnant. He'll let us know if he keeps it.

After giving us The Fault in Our Star 2: The Ebola in Our Everything last week, SNL returned with another fantastic movie trailer: The Group Hopper. Pete Davidson carried this sketch, playing Thehero or "the hero" as a group of teens fighting being categorized discovered. Based on a YA novel written in the comments section of a Hunger Games trailer, The Group Hopper absolutely skewered The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Maze Runner and every other similar YA book-turned-movie.

We first and last saw the "Puppet Class" sketch when Seth McFarlane hosted two seasons ago. SNL wisely turned the sketch into a Hader centerpiece this time around, bringing back his Vietnam PTSD-suffering character.

SNL would've never been able to pull off this sketch a season or two ago. Thanks to the additions of castmember Sasheer Zamata and writer Leslie Jones to Kenan Thompson and Jay Pharoah, the show has gained the ability to deliver edgy and smart commentary on race and diversity. Speaking of Jones, when does SNL make her a full castmember?

Any shorts or commercials?

In addition to the Group Hopper trailer, SNL also brought back Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett's "Inside SoCal." As I've said previously during this season, I love what Mooney and Bennett are doing with these shorts, but I know they're not for everyone. Andy Samberg's Lonely Island Digital Shorts were made to be pop culture moments that appealed to a wide audience. They brought in popular movie stars, musicians and rappers. Mooney and Bennett's shorts are a much more acquired taste.

How was 'Weekend Update'?

Stefon wasn't the only much-talked-about guest who returned to "Weekend Update" this weekend. After his buzzy season premiere appearance on "Update," Davidson was back with commentary on why he bought a gold chain. Not quite as great as his last appearance, but this sketch still showed that SNL has a ton of faith in Davidson's promise.

Anything else worth mentioning?

I love the Herb Welch sketches, but didn't include this one among the episode's best sketches. Nothing wrong with it — just nothing that stood out. I do miss Jason Sudeikis being the news anchor feuding with Herb.

Is "Hollywood Game Night" the new "Celebrity Jeopardy!" for SNL? No one cares about the real Hollywood Game Night, but it's an excuse for the show to roll out the celebrity impressions. We got some great ones thanks to this sketch: Kate McKinnon as Jane Lynch ("America's No. 2 lesbian), Strong as Sofia Vergara, Taran Killam as Christoph Waltz, Pharoah as Morgan Freeman, Beck as Nick Offerman and Hader as Al Pacino. Then there was Wiig as Kathie Lee Gifford. I would've loved to see more of Beck's amazing Offerman impression (which veered heavily into Ron Swanson territory), but Wiig turned this sketch into another showcase for herself. Too many castmembers like Aidy Bryant and Vanessa Bayer were sidelined to allow Wiig to do that.

Hader in full Cat in the Hat makeup commenting, "But, oh, the places she let me go."

Bobby Moynihan's take on Kim Jong Un was amusing, but isn't the North Korea dictator too easy of a target? Yes, I laughed at his expense, but they were cheap laughs.

SNL paid tribute to the late Jan Hooks by airing "Love Is a Dream."

What's next?

SNL is back on Oct. 25 with Jim Carrey hosting and Iggy Azalea as the musical guest.
'SNL' RECAP: Kristen Wiig Tries to Hijack Bill Hader's Hosting Gig Reviewed by Bill Kuchman on 10/12/2014 Rating: 5

No comments:

© Popculturology. All rights reserved.

Contact Form


Email *

Message *

Powered by Blogger.