If the "Saturday Night Live" writers told Anne Hathaway to jump off a bridge, she'd enthusiastically ask "Which one?" The movie star's boundless enthusiasm bubbled over throughout this week's episode, and while there were a few gems, it left us wanting more. Hathaway seems up for anything, and the show could have taken more of a risk with over-the-top sketches to get her into crazy-good Alec Baldwin territory.
Best of the Night
Like "Sad Mouse" in the Bruno Mars episode, the film segment "Legend of Mokiki and the Sloppy Swish" seemed like a crazy idea that nonetheless totally worked. Taran Killam starred as the title character, an odd, vacant-eyed wanderer in pseudo-samurai garb and geisha-pale make-up who swishes his way through a mesmerizing dance move. The guest host joins in as a woman hypnotized by his awesomeness, then transformed by his venom. Never mind, just watch the hilarious insanity on the "SNL" video page.
Weekend Update gave us a recap of the elections with Obama. While Jay Pharoah's impression may not be perfect, he's a lot better at capturing The President's "I'm cooler than you" vibe than Armisen ever was, and the material here was funny. Our leader for four more years chuckled over his surprise win over Republicans, considering the "8% unemployment rate, five-dollar gas...I even gave you a one-debate head start." Added points for the satirical greeting of his next potential voter, the gay, Hispanic "Baby Juanita."
Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis had fun with a sketch on the story behind the painting "American Gothic," which consisted of two strangers wanting to do goofy poses for the artist. It went on a bit too long, but the pair was so goodnaturedly invested in making lizard faces and threatening pitchfork poses that you couldn't help but laugh at them.
Other highlights included the host showing off her mad singing skills in a monologue version of Les Mis with the entire cast, and the almost wistful send-off of Romney in the Cold Open that amusingly had Killam playing multiple Romney sons. "Homeland" fans should get a kick out of the "Saturday Night Live" parody of the show, with Kate McKinnon's wild-eyed portrayal of Claire Danes and jokes about Damien Lewis' tiny, tiny mouth. Watch all the best sketches on the "SNL" site here.
Worst of the Night
Two of the worst "Saturday Night Live" sketches land here because they had promise but left us disappointed. Aidy Bryant and Cecily Strong starred as two teenage "besties" who have their own talk show, until suddenly Strong's got a new BFF, played by Hathaway. There were a few mild chuckles from the "OMG" rivalry between the three, but it never got catty or clever enough for real laughs.
McKinnon then took the stage for the Ellen DeGeneres show, but the jabs at Ellen's "middle-aged dancing" and non sequiturs didn't take the humor anyplace new, and the guest host's funny Katie Holmes impression didn't get enough screen time.
The McDonald's sketch, with Strong and Bobby Moynihan telling off their coworkers with their own mini stand-up routine had a few laughs, but overstayed its welcome and left Hathaway stranded with nothing to do. The "Flaritan" commercial for people with fake allergies was just annoying filler, a one-line joke with a bucketload of gross-out humor.
Rihanna performed "Diamonds" with a green-screen effect that had random images swirling behind her for the entire song. It was a bit pre-MTV psychedelic, but I give her credit for trying to do something creative on that microscopic stage. Not so sure about the men's camo jacket and matching workboots, however, that she Rihanna'd up with a barely-there mini-dress.
The "Saturday Night Live" musical guest followed up with "Stay," one of her best live vocal performances. Whatever you think of her music, the tunes seem to invade your brain, especially with Rihanna's plaintive wail on the melody.
Overall it was a fair episode, with the hits and misses spaced pretty evenly so it never felt like a drag. The Mokiki sketch is a highlight of the season, and though the story had an end, I wouldn't mind if Killam's character turned up again sometime later--even just as a surprise cameo in another video. Hathaway clearly has fun on the "Saturday Night Live" stage, and there's plenty more they can do with her in future episodes. The episode also ended on an adorable note, with a genuinely affectionate hug between Rihanna and Anne.
What do you think, "Saturday Night Live" fans? Could the show have done more with the host? Which was your favorite sketch?
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