It's almost as if the Saturday Night Live writers read my glowing review of last week's show and decided to put together a show that was the complete opposite. Hosted by actress Anne Hathaway for the third time, this episode went back to the pathetic and mediocre formula that has transformed SNL into "Must Miss TV" over the last decade. Instead of an opening monologue that was actually funny, like Louis CK's stand-up routine last week, we got yet another musical number that wasn't even remotely humorous or entertaining. I realize that they did it because Hathaway is starring in the film adaptation of the musical Les Misérables, but these opening musical numbers very rarely turn out well and this one was no exception. It's flabbergasting that they continue to crank these out every few episodes when they obviously don't work. I've never heard or read anybody who loves the musical monologues, yet they keep on relying on them. Almost as bad is the monologue where the host takes fake questions from fake audience members, so I expect to see that old chestnut in the next couple of weeks.
Even after the conclusion of such a controversial and unintentionally funny election cycle, SNL continued its streak of terrible political sketches last night with one about how Mitt Romney handled his loss on Election Night. Since he's a Mormon, he was drinking milk like it was alcohol! His sons all look the same, so Taran Killam played all of them and Mitt, played by Jason Sudeikis, couldn't figure out which one was which! Truly cutting-edge humor, indeed. At least last week's show had a funny Fox & Friends parody that lampooned the Republican response to Hurricane Sandy. The other political segment was a Weekend Update visit from Jay Pharaoh's President Obama that was pretty forgettable. In 2008, SNL received an abdundance of publicity for Tina Fey's appearances as Sarah Palin, but this year was a massive disappointment. How is it that The Daily Show and The Colbert Report can produce consistently funny and intelligent shows four days a week, but SNL airs only once a week—after having six days to write, rehearse, and prepare—and falls flat on its face more often than not?
All was not lost, however. As usual, Bobby Moynihan proved that he is the most underappreciated cast member in a long time. He turned up on Weekend Update with his recurring Drunk Uncle character, sharing his semi-racist and uninformed viewpoints on politics and other current events. Although the Drunk Uncle bits are all quite similar, they usually hit the mark and end up being the funniest thing on the show. This was no exception. Moynihan also brought his A-game to a sketch where he and Cecily Strong portrayed two McDonald's employees who thought they were being fired and insulted the rest of the staff before discovering that they weren't being let go. While the sketch itself was nothing special, the performers elevated the material; Taran Killam's creepy stare was a laugh-out-loud moment for sure.
Overall, this week's edition of Saturday Night Live was a huge letdown, especially considering the talent of its host. In her previous appearances, Anne Hathaway has been an eager and fearless performer, and she brought that attitude to the show once again. Unfortunately, the writers didn't meet her half-way and threw together a half-assed effort that was a chore to sit through. Hosting SNL for the first time next week, Jeremy Renner must be hoping that they can come up with something better for him. So do I.
FINAL GRADE: D