Highlights included Bill Hader’s remarkable Clint Eastwood, Nasim Pedrad’s Arianna Huffington, and Andy Samberg’s Nicolas Cage — plus Abby Elliott’s Deschanel sitting opposite Deschanel’s Mary Kate Olsen, Taran Killam’s Michael Cera and Kristen Wiig’s Bjork. There were also surprise appearances from the real Nicolas Cage (more on that in a moment), and The Artist‘s Jean Dujardin, who brought some authentic French flavor to the loopy “Les Jeunes de Paris.” And an 1860s letter-writing bit so dreadful, I dare not speak of it again.
Here are my picks for the week’s best and worst:
Best: Bein’ Quirky With Zooey Deschanel
Deschanel proved her gameness as a host by playing opposite Elliott’s version of herself — a wide-eyed, twee actress extolling the virtues of Blossom, yarn (which got a genius one-word theme song), and bringing home garbage. Deschanel’s Mary Kate Olsen blew in on a breeze to make a cozy for her Starbucks cup, but Killam’s Cera (a giggling, mealy-mouthed delight) and Wiig’s Bjork (“if you like screaming, make it music!”) scored plenty of laughs, too.
Best: Get in the Cage
Honestly, I don’t know the real Cage managed to keep a straight face during a bit that explained the two-step formula for his most successful movies: “All the dialog is either whispered or screamed.” And “everything in the movie is on fire.” Amazing stuff.
Best: Clint Eastwood/Chrysler Ads
Fourth quarter in America means it’s “overtime in China,” and that the pants on Hader’s Eastwood go higher than ever.
Worst: Daily Post
I appreciated Jason Sudeikis and Kristen Wiig trying to capture the rhythms of old-time screwball comedies, but the writing didn’t give Deschanel any wiggle room to take her befuddled reporter in an exaggerated or funny direction. The result was the waste of what should’ve been an amusing setup.
Worst: Crab Legs
A perfect example of SNL creating an interminable sketch with a puncline so obvious it might as well have run on a ticker across the bottom of the screen.
What did you think of this week’s SNL? How would you rate Deschanel as host? Sound off below!