November 20, 2010

SNL Recap: Anne Hathaway / Florence and the Machine

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Following a string of weak episodes (Stone, Hamm, Johannson), Hathaway returned to the SNL stage for her second hosting stint with a bubbly enthusiasm, shining in every sketch.  While the past few episodes have been marred with otherwise funny hosts cheated from good material, SNL finally seemed to have woken up its writers who provided thankfully Hathaway with sharp material.  The co-star of the new movie, Love and Other Drugs, Hathaway lit up the Thanksgiving episode, proving to be a multifaceted and versatile host.  I have a feeling that Hathaway is slowly on her way to joining the ranks of Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin in terms of superb hosting abilities – the audience clearly loved her.

Cold Open – Abby Elliot finally proved to serve a purpose on SNL, reprising her strong Rachel Maddow impression.  Joining the crooked-mouthed, smart-alecy host were an orange Senator Boehner (Bill Hader), a guilty Senator Rangel (Kenan Thompson) and a wide-eyed and visibly pissed Senator Pelosi (Kristen Wiig).  SNL used this template to efficiently cover all the political topics they’ve failed to mention the past few weeks – the midterm elections, Senator Rangel’s ethical charges, that unfliching expression on Nancy Pelosi’s face…

Monologue – I swear, pixie dust was literally flying off Anne Hathaway as she bounced on stage – that was how radiant she was.  She addressed her recent, nude Entertainment Weekly cover with co-star Jake Gyllenhaal and revealed to the audience that she was willing to do nude scenes in movies if it was relevant to the storyline.  Cue the horny male castmembers Kenan Thompson, Andy Samberg and Bobby Moynihan who take Hathaway up on her claim by insisting that she needs to get naked in sketches to come.

Transportation Security Administration Commercial – Following the recent backlash against the pat-downs at airports across America, the TSA attempted to salvage its reputation by making this seductive commercial insisting that the pat-downs don’t necessarily have to be a bad thing – complete with lighting, music, and makeup akin to that of an 80′s porn.

The Miley Cyrus Show – I’m a huge fan of Vanessa Bayer’s Miley Cyrus impression; she gets down all of Cyrus’ grating vocal mannerisms perfectly.  She started off the sketch with an unexpected but funny, “As y’all probably heard, I’m sexy now…,” and Miley’s newfound sexiness quickly became the recurring theme of the sketch.  That is, until Anne Hathaway joined Miley with her absolutely hilarious and spot-on Katie Holmes impression.  As always, Bayer asked her guest only the most intelligent string of questions, finishing with, “What does Jesus think of Scientology?”

Thanksgiving Penelope – It’s been a while since we’ve seen Kristen Wiig’s infamous, “everything you can do I can do better,” character, Penelope and tonight she tries to one-up the existence of a caring soup-kitchen organizer played by Hathaway.  Visual gags are always a staple in these sketches and tonight’s sketch did not disappoint with Penelope ultimately floating on a large celery stick in soup.

Prince William & Kate Middleton – First of all, why is Fred Armisen in drag again?  Surely, they could have used a woman to play the role of the Queen.  Prince William (Andy Samberg) proudly showcased his fiance Kate Middleton (Anne Hathaway) to the King and Queen only to have the King and Queen bust Middleton’s ass – but not in front of little William, of course.

Weekend Update – Even Weekend Update was surprisingly strong with joke as Seth took jabs at the TSA for its new security procedures at the airport and the dictionary for putting Sarah Palin’s non-sensible word, “refudiate,” on a pedestal.  Guests that rolled by this week included Guy Fieri (Bobby Moynihan) who shared with the audience Thanksgiving recipes that all comprised of the common ingredients of raisins and alcohol, and Chris Hunter, one of the makers of Four Loko, who while on the brim of the New-York banning of his drink, revealed his next two deadly concoctions, appropriately named the “Organ Blaster” and “the Amy Winehouse.”  Jay Pharaoh closed the Update with uncanny vocal impersonations in the style of rap as he showcased Jay-Z, Drake and Biggie Smalls.

TCM: The Essentials – It’s absolutely obligatory to place Anne Hathaway into the role of a universally loved character whenever she’s on the show; she played Mary Poppins her last hosting stint and this time, she claimed the role of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.  Fred Armisen played the lost-character of a weather vane and the audience quickly realized why the weather vane was taken out of the movie; it was essentially an angry and pessimistic Jewish mother.

WXPD News – It’s Herb Welch’s (Bill Hader) 60th year as a news-reporter for WXPD and he celebrated by being incompetent and smacking his interviewees incessantly with his microphone.  As a sidenote, Anne Hathaway’s State Island accent was perfect – who would’ve thought that an innocent girl like Hathaway would have the voice of an Italian-American prostitute?

Mega Mart Black Friday – This filmed commercial captured the riot-inducing essence of Black Friday seamlessly with a faux “12 Minute Sale.”  Even when Hathaway spends ten seconds as a hillbilly customer drunk off Four Loko waiting for the Black Friday specials, she does it with such grace and charm.

Camel Tame – It’s happened to even the best of women – the cameltoe.  We know, sometimes it just happens – that underwear just gets scrunched in front of your vagina.  But no worries anymore… you’ll never face the embarrassment of a cameltoe again with the new Camel Tame.  Wave goodbye to your cameltoe and hello to the resemblance of a cup and penis.  I always think it’s wonderful when SNL places its roster of surprisingly attractive women in direct fire of the most embarrassing concepts.  Who  doesn’t want to see Kristen Wiig in a cup?

Musical Guest – Florence took center stage and rocked out in her frizzy red hair to the omnipresent “Dog Days Are Over” and her new single “You Got the Love.”  Although personally no performance will reach my level of love as last week’s Arcade Fire, Florence and the Machine, I have to say, comes to a close second.

Overall Episode – A-

SNL rebounded this week to perhaps what will become the pinnacle of the season – the winning combination of strong writing and Anne Hathaway’s natural charm and wit made this episode the best episode of the year so far.  Please, return whenever you’d like Anne.  We love you.

Next week… SNL takes a break to celebrate Thanksgiving with a repeat of Bryan Cranston / Kanye West but the week after: Hollywood legend Robert De Niro hosts and Diddy-Dirty-Money performs as musical guest.  I just can’t get over how weird that pairing is.

Original Author: Jonathan Yuan