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SNL RECAP: Martin Freeman Parodies THE OFFICE, Kenan Thompson Brings Sump'n Claus

Welcome to Edition No. 51 of Popculturology's Saturday Night Live recaps. All of your questions about the Martin Freeman-hosted episode will soon be answered.

How'd Martin Freeman do?

When it was announced that the Hobbit star would host SNL, it seemed like an odd choice. Despite Freeman being in popular movies like The Hobbit trilogy and acclaimed TV shows like the original The Office and Fargo, he's not a household name. Despite knowing that Freeman was that guy from Love Actually, the average SNL viewer probably couldn't name him.

From the earliest part of the monologue, it was clear that Freeman wasn't going to be your average SNL host. His monologue was an interesting attempt at standup. Freeman appeared to thrive off his audience's reaction.

Overall, Freeman was a decent host. He was often a bit player in sketches. Freeman's highlight came in the "Assembly Line" sketch, where he and Taran Killam had to move fast and keep on rhythm.

What were the best sketches of the night?

This wasn't the first time SNL has parodied The Office. Last time they did it, it was with Ricky Gervais hosting and it was a play on the American version of the show. This weekend, we got a mashup between The Hobbit and the British version of The Office. While the Hobbit part of the sketch was great, I don't know if the Office side connected well with audiences. Sure, Americans know Steve Carell's Michael Scott, but did they get the character being combined with Bobby Moynihan's take on Gandalf?

The British-American divide aside, how could you not love Killam's take on Gollum working in a paper office? Not a fan of having The Ring put in Jell-O.

Everything in this sketch is true. When you're at Christmas Mass next week, bring a checklist of the highlights this sketch mentions with you.

One of the more bizarre sketches SNL has done in awhile, "Assembly Line" was all about timing between Killam and Freeman. The two had to be in perfect sync for it to work.

Kenan Thompson has been on SNL for a long time. Just when I started to think it was time for him to move on, much of this season has been a reminder of how important Thompson is to the show. Perhaps those rumors that this will be his last season are true and Thompson is really trying to go out with a bang. We're going to miss sketches like "Sump'n Claus" when Thompson is gone.

I thought Killam describing Freeman's penis as a late-stage Jenga tower was the funniest part of this sketch, but Leslie Jones clearly found Kate McKinnon as a crazy old lady even funnier, breaking during the sketch.

How was 'Weekend Update'?

It's amazing how far SNL has come in terms of diversity over the past season. Not long ago, the chance of a black castmember having a conversation with a black "Weekend Update" anchor about who emojis don't represent them would have been impossible.

The One-Dimensional Female Character From a Male-Driven Comedy isn't as good as Cecily Strong's Girl You Wish You Hadn't Started a Conversation With at a Party.

Poor Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy. After talking with (to?) Seth Meyers for years, the Vanessa Bayer character has had to adjust to Strong and now Michael Che at the "Update" desk. This segment resulted in Che's most natural exchange with a "Weekend Update" guest. Hopefully that's a sign of better things to come.

How about the rest of the show?

SNL went with politics for the cold open again, this time focusing on the recently released torture report. This segment was an interesting take on the subject. It's hard to make jokes about torture, so SNL turned its attention to the consultants paid to develop the CIA torture program. The jokes in the sketch were funny, but they weren't anything new. It's not hard to make fun of Time Warner Cable or the TSA.

The punchline here was that Grayson appeared to be a gay man but kept talking about having sex with his wife and co-host, right? I dunno ...

Killam is no stranger to red boots, as his wife, Cobie Smulders, spent several years around a pair of red cowboy boots on How I Met Your Mother.

Is there a Doritos clown?

What's next?

SNL is back on Dec. 20 with Amy Adams hosting and On Direction as the musical guest.
SNL RECAP: Martin Freeman Parodies THE OFFICE, Kenan Thompson Brings Sump'n Claus Reviewed by Bill Kuchman on 12/14/2014 Rating: 5

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