SNL Scorecard: Anne Hathaway Leads a Spirited Comeback

Anne Hathaway did more than bring Saturday Night Live back to form last night -- she hosted the most consistent episode from start to finish this season. Hathaway, when she hosted two years ago, was surprisingly game for just about anything, and her second stint as host -- often a letdown for most hosts not names Jon Hamm -- proved to be a winner. To the Scorecard!

Even the sketches that made the "bad" column this week had some saving graces; most featured good concepts that just didn't come to fruition, as opposed to the "I really want to turn this off" quality seen last week. Well, except "Penelope" (hold that thought).

Sketch of the Night

"Black Friday" (Moynihan): As the coked up rooster told you, this Friday is Black Friday at Mega Mart. Which means you need to line up early for 12 minute madness -- iPads for $39.00, 3D televisions for $71. And there are only seven copies of the new secret Harry Potter and the Treacherous Crawl Space left for only $6 (and stay tuned for next week's live blog). Very reminiscent of last year's brilliant "Kick Spit Underground Festival," only Moynihan isn't playing Ass Dan this time (I think).

Score: 9.5

The Good

"Message From TSA" (Moynihan, Hader, Thompson, Wiig, Pedrad, Elliott): This one was the sketch of the night until "Black Friday" came along near the end of the show. Set up to look like a late-night, "I'm lonely and horny" call-in line, it turns out to be a special message from the TSA. "Do you want to feel contact in certain special places?" "Then why not go through security at an airport?"

Score: 9.0

"The Wizard of Oz Deleted Scenes" (Armisen, Ensemble): Armisen plays "New York actor" Lon Donson whose rooster weather vane character was cut from The Wizard of Oz. While the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion wanted a brain, heart and nerve -- the weather vane wanted his own apartment. Also, he wasn't a fan of Dorothy's singing. This is the kind of sketch that reminds me of why I like Armisen. (Please bring back Nicholas Fehn soon.)

Score: 7.5

"Herb Welch" (Hader, Sudeikis): Hader plays WXPD's aging news reporter Herb Welch -- who demands on-air to be referred to as "Mr. Welch." He also has a tendency to strike his interview subjects in the head with his microphone. A pretty one note sketch, but somehow it worked.

Score: 7.0

"Rachel Maddow Show Cold Open" (Armisen, Ensemble): Abby Elliott is a serviceable Maddow, but what's important is SNL went away from Armisen's tired Obama impression for a different slant on political humor. Last night's victims were Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner -- the American people have spoken; the American people were vague on the details -- and Charlie Rangel. There was something actually quite biting and fresh about this week's cold open that had been missing the last few weeks.

Score: 6.5

"Weekend Update" (Meyers, Moynihan, Sudeikis, Pharoah): My favorite moment of this week's "Update" was the Seth Meyers' new feature, "Come On, Dictionary"

I'm not a huge fan of Moynihan's Guy Fieri, considering it's almost impossible to parody someone who already is a parody. But, admittedly, Moynihan's manic laugh as Fieri gets me every time. Sudeikis played the founder of Four Loko who introduces his new product, Organ Blaster. Then there was Jay Pharoah borrowing a page from Adam Sandler with his "Thanksgiving Rap." They were fine -- none of them will be the next "Thanksgiving Song" -- but Pharoah loses a point for wearing a shirt that said "Jay Pharoah." He gains a point back for assuming that all white people sing the Golden Girls theme, "Thank You For Being a Friend," at every Thanksgiving.

Score: 6.5

"Anne Hathaway Monologue" (Hathaway, Ensemble): Hathaway surprised me the first time she hosted because she has an unexpected "Hey, I'm up for anything" attitude that is perfect for hosting SNL. This time around, she explains the reasoning for he nude scenes in Love and Other Drugs -- as the male cast members convince her that every upcoming sketch requires her to be nude. Nothing really special, but it doesn't work at all without Hathaway selling the hell out of it.

Score: 6.0

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  • panamanancy says:

    Yes! Nicholas Fehn needs to return! Nobody else I know thinks he's funny. SNL was quite funny last night, which was a relief considering last week's debacle. I did enjoy the Brit skit a lot more than you did ...

  • Mike Ryan says:

    I know what you mean, I only know one other Nicholas Fehn fan. So it's nice to know there are now three of us.

  • Nerd says:

    What a nice surprise after last week. It's funny tho, I would have ranked the sketches pretty differently. It seemed like one of those nights that had a bunch of good sketches, but none that really stood out as an obvious front runner. And on the flip, none of the sketches were really bad either. Even the cold open was better than usual, I still didn't laugh (and I would definitely have ranked it last), but it was better.
    I can't quite figure out why, but I think my favorite sketch of the night was 'Visiting The Queen'. Sure, the TSA and Herb Welch ones were probably the best on paper, but there was something about The Queen that I really loved. Oh, and Jay Pahroah's Jay-Z impression was great as well (yes, wearing a shirt with his own name on it lost points).

  • Jim says:

    Make that four! I mean... no. You can't--you just can't. You can't not love him.

  • topsyturvy says:

    I too felt the Queen sketch never really got off the ground. In theory it's funny (like the take on Ronald Regan all those years ago with Phil Hartman; he's a doddering old man except when alone with his advisors) but it never went any where. (Killam would have been a better choice for Prince William.) I felt the same about Herb Welch; one joke that was humped for a few minutes. More needed to be done with the story he was working on. And I fear it's not the last we've seen of him.
    I thought this Miley sketch was funnier than the first. Hathaway as Holmes was priceless. For me the Oz sketch just sort of died after a nice opening.
    Still this was the best show of the season.
    I'm terrified of DeNiro hosting. He's just dreadful. But I have high hopes for Paul Rudd who I think is after DeNiro.

  • bierce says:

    This would have been funny in person.
    That explains why I didn't enjoy your commentary this week. I would have liked it more if I'd seen you typing it.

  • Mike Ryan says:

    As long as you bring caffeine, you're welcome to come over anytime, Bierce.

  • Nerd says:

    I am worried about DeNiro as well. I wonder how many mafia/gangster sketches the cast will end up pitching to him by the end of the week? IMO, 1 is too many. At least they have 2 weeks to try to get the episode on point. My fingers are definitely crossed...

  • Kristen says:

    How ironic, Bierce. The same could be said for your comment.

  • topsyturvy says:

    The Queen sketch was just blocked/staged so poorly that it undercut some of the laughs. Armisten and Hader needed to be nearer the chair so that when William reappeared he merely had to sit. As it was they had to cross to get into place which screwed up the timing.

  • Scraps says:

    Funny how different some people like different sketches that others don't. For example, I don't find anything funny about Nicholas Fehn. However, I'm a sucker for 'What up Wit Dat!' and I know several people who can't stand that recurring sketch. Though, I know of no one who finds Penelope or Gilly funny...

  • Adam Sandler is so sexy. He is so humorous and so all the way down to earth. He allways sings that rattling thanksgiving tune and I snicker each time.

  • Joey says:

    "Horse Play" was a sequel to a similar soundtrack-based sketch last season about rabbits in an office; it's a rip on low-budget focus-group animated movies. The previous sketch even ended by saying they hadn't bothered finishing the movie, but buy the soundtrack anyway!
    I'm right with you on Penelope; her sketches only work as long as she's lying. The moment she actually lives up to her claims, it stops being funny.

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