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Saturday Night Live: 38.07 – “Anne Hathaway/Rihanna”

SNL is back for another episode this week. This is Anne Hathaway’s third time hosting and Rihanna’s fourth time as the musical guest (and she appeared as recently as Eli Manning’s episode back in May). I’m looking forward to their take on the recent election on Tuesday, so let’s see what they had in store for us this week.

Cold Open: Mitt Romney’s Mansion:
Jason Sudeikis was back as Mitt Romney (possibly the last time Romney will be portrayed on the show) and he was drinking numerous cartons of milk to get over his loss. Kate McKinnon was also there as Ann Romney, but she wasn’t as funny this time and didn’t get enough crazy things to do. Taran appeared as one of Mitt’s sons Tagg. Then there was a running joke where he would leave and then re-enter again, as a different son that looks exactly the same. Mostly I thought the cold open was a bust. They had some good ideas but they were half-baked and didn’t work for the most part.

Anne Hathaway just came out to say that she is hosting her third time and is excited about her upcoming role in the film version of the musical Les Miserables. Then Jason Sudeikis and the entire cast came out and sang “One Day More” from the musical, with a lot of the lyrics changed. This wasn’t very funny but I absolutely loved it. You know most of the cast are probably huge fans of the musical and just wanted an excuse for all of them to get together and sing a song from it. I thought it was great and a stronger way to start the show than the cold open.

Girlfriends Talk Show:
Aidy Bryant & Cecily Strong are hosts of a talk show where they are teen girls that are best friends. But sitting next to Strong is Hathaway, who is also another one of her best friends. So there is a little bit of jealous between Bryant & Hathaway because of this, especially from Bryant (“How many best friends do you have?”). This was a running theme throughout the sketch and it was hilarious. Strong & Hathaway basically agree on everything while Bryant is the odd person out of the group.

Short: The Legend of Mokiki and the Sloppy Swish:
This was so bizarre that I don’t even know what to think of it. Kenan Thompson is a guy in a checkered-yellow suit that is singing along to reggae track about the island of Manhattan. He then starts to sing about Mokiki (played by Killam in a weird wig and lipstick all over his way) and his dance move the Sloppy Swish. He hypnotized people with it and makes Anne Hathaway fall in love with him. He draws her in and vomits on her face (seriously) and she turns into Mokiki’s double with the same clothing and wig. Odd but it was interesting.

The show took on the Showtime drama Homeland and it was pretty amazing. Anne Hathaway was Claire Danes, Taran Killam was Damian Lewis, Bill Hader was Mandy Patinkin, Nasim Pedrad as Mogan Saylor and Kenan Thompson was David Harewood. They really played up a lot of the things about the show that has made it distinct. Hathaway as Danes was fantastic. She basically played her character in a constant manic state. Damian Lewis having a small mouth and everyone else having trouble understanding what he’s saying. Hader also got down Patinkin’s voice perfectly. I would love a whole sketch of just Hader doing a Mandy Patinkin impression.

McDonald’s Firing:
Anne Hathaway plays a manager at McDonald’s who gathers all of the employees together (the entire cast of SNL was in this sketch) and announces that she has to let go of a few people. Bobby Moynihan & Cecily Strong step forward and assume that they are the ones being fired, so they completely smackdown and diss every one of the employees. It’s pretty funny. Moynihan & Strong were really committed to the characters and they carried the entire sketch on their performances. My favorite part: putting down Killam’s character because he constantly has sleepy eyes and they think he could be a serial killer. After all of this, Hathaway announces that Carl (the character played by Tim Robinson) is the one being fired. I thought it was a strong sketch overall.

Rihanna – “Diamonds”:
Rihanna’s fist performance of the night. “Diamonds” is one of my favorite songs of the moment so I was really looking forward to it. The production of this was bizarre. Rihanna & her band were in front of a green screen and it looked weird. The graphics were really cheesy that looked like Windows ’98 screensavers. It really took away from her performance because she sounded great.

Weekend Update:
There were a lot of political jokes this week because of the recent election (I wonder if the trend will continue next week or what else will they do?). Seth also had a fantastic joke about General Petraeus’ affair being exposed by his biographer. “The book was called All In, but the original title was Just the Tip.” Then Jay Pharaoh came out as Obama and had some more election material. It wasn’t that funny and it was probably Pharaoh’s weakest appearance as Obama so far. The next guest was a gay couple from Maine played by Bill Hader & Fred Armisen. They are basically fishermen with strong northern accents. It was fun to see them do the accents but the bit didn’t work very well. The final guest was Bobby Moynihan’s Drunk Uncle with a recap of the election. This is one of my favorite characters that Moynihan does and it was the strong point of the night’s Weekend Update. Overall, WU was pretty weak and seemed to go on forever.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show:
Kate McKinnon played Ellen DeGeneres hosting her talk. McKinnon had DeGeneres down pretty well, especially her voice and doing really corny jokes in her monologue. One of the greatest moments of the sketch was when Vanessa Bayer & Nasim Pedrad played the two little girls Ellen has the show frequently, Sophia Grace & Rosie. “We haven’t been to school in over a year!” Then Ellen introduced her guest for the show, Katie Holmes (played by Hathaway). Hathaway was funny but she was maybe in the sketch for a total of 30 seconds. Definitely wasted in this sketch, but I thought overall it was funny.

American Gothic:
The sketch starts with Kenan being a curator at a museum and talking about the famous American Gothic painting. Then the show did a flashback thing to the moment where the two people were posing for the painting. They were played by Hathaway & Sudeikis and it was one of the strongest moments of the night for both of them. They kept doing stupid poses and acting silly. It was another one-joke premise that actually worked because of the commitment to the characters by the performers.

Rihanna – “Stay”:
Her second performance of the nighta and thankfully they got rid of the green screen and corny special effects. Rihanna was wearing a Bob Marley dress that looked odd. But I’ll take that over that bad green screen any day. I thought the song was pretty strong and it was Rihanna’s strongest vocals ever. I can’t wait to hear the studio version on the album.

Commercial: Flaritin:
A commercial for people who make allergies just to annoy people. I’m guessing this was recorded earlier in the season and just shoe-horned into tonight because of the short time between Rihanna performing and the goodbyes. A throwaway.

First of all, the goodbyes were actually really long this week. Anne Hathaway went on a little bit of a tangent and even asked Rihanna who she wanted to thank. My favorite moment of that was Hathaway thanking Claire Danes & Katie Holmes, basically apologizing for making fun of them. Overall, the show was just an above average one. SNL has had some strong outings this season and this wasn’t one of them. Hathaway was a little bit wasted and most of the political humor fell flat. But I thought Cecily Strong & Bobby Moynihan had some strong moments. Bryant was amazing in the Girlfriends sketch and it continues to affirm my position that she’s the best of the newbies (although Strong is getting up there too).

Next week is Jeremy Renner & Maroon 5. I think Renner could be really funny if he gets the right material. Fingers crossed.

Anne Hathaway