Splitsider: ‘SNL’ Recap: Seth MacFarlane Makes Good Impression
September 17, 2012 Leave a comment
I’m back doing SNL recaps for Splitsider for Season 38! For last weekend’s episode, I discussed how Seth MacFarlane’s fine performance helped elevate an already strong season premiere.
“Right now, SNL is sitting at the grown-ups’ table. It has to know just as much about politics and current events as Brian Williams and be wittier than Jon Stewart. Its actors’ impressions of candidates and media figures must be razor sharp. Lorne knows this — he’s steered SNL through eight presidential elections (not including 1984, when he took a break from the show), and he doesn’t take this responsibility lightly.
Over the past year, change has been a-brewing at SNL, but it wasn’t until last Saturday night that everything finally fell into place, like the decisive moves of chess match. In retrospect, it makes perfect sense that Lorne would string Jay Pharoah along for two seasons without much of a highlight reel — after this cold open, it’s clear he was destined to play Obama all along. Bobby Moynihan, Vanessa Bayer, Taran Killam, and Kate McKinnon have all been similarly groomed to replace the departing Kristen Wiig, Andy Samberg, and Abby Elliott. The three new cast members — Aidy Bryant, Tim Robinson, and Cecily Strong — appear to be solid long-term investments that might start paying off even sooner than expected. And Bill Hader, Jason Sudeikis, Kenan Thompson, and Fred Armisen are by now reliable anchors… give them any line and they’ll win the audience with it.
Lorne, guided by trusted writers Seth Meyers and Steve Higgins, has made SNL a well-oiled machine. He still makes mistakes, but he still learns from them. Four years ago, SNL premiered with a history-making cold open featuring Tina Fey as Sarah Palin and Amy Poehler as a disgruntled Hilary Clinton, but then squandered the rest of the episode with Michael Phelps, an athlete inexperienced in comedy. This season premiere’s host was a performer who could easily be in the SNL cast himself, and instead of having a dimwitted Olympic swimmer host, they destroyed one during Weekend Update. And last season, the GOP debate cold open dragged for 11 minutes; this cold open ran a tidy five.”
Read the full post on Splitsider.com.