Seth MacFarlane Hosts SNL Season Premiere: What Were the Best and Worst Skits?

Get More: Late Night TV, Recaps

Seth MacFarlane SNLSeason 38 of Saturday Night Live got off to an excellent start with Family Guy‘s Seth MacFarlane proving to be a hard-working, versatile presence as host.

The cold open (with Jay Pharoah replacing Fred Armisen as Barack Obama) and opening monologue (with MacFarlane nailing a wide range of voices in a cute musical number) were promising appetizers to an episode that scored laughs in pretty much every sketch — right down to the final (and very brief) bit with McFarlane and cast newcomer Tim Robinson as Amish spoon makers.

Without further ado, my picks for the night’s best and worst:

Best: Intro to Puppetry
MacFarlane did a nice job of anchoring a hilarious skit about an amateur puppet class, but Bill Hader stole the show as a disturbed war vet working through his dark past with his plush doppelganger. Warning: You’ll say “TTYL to your innocence” watching sexually active and murderous puppet behaviors.

Best: Ryan Lochte’s Fall TV Preview
MacFarlane dropped by Weekend Update to do his best impersonation of the dim Olympic swimmer, and he had me hooked right from his awesome pronunciation of the title of Matthew Perry’s new sitcom. “Soup yourself” and press play. You won’t regret it.

Best: Eastwood & Chair
Hader’s Eastwood (and his hiked-up pants) is already the stuff of SNL legend, but you’ve never seen him eat a whole rotisserie chicken while standing in the background for 45 minutes, have you?

Worst: Rodger Brush
Armisen proved more crass than comedic as a producer for a show called “Sex After 50″ forced to sub for its ailing host. If someone saying “erection” out loud sends you into fits of laughter, then this sketch is all for you.

What did you think of SNL’s Season 38 premiere? Were you as impressed as I was by MacFarlane’s hosting skills? Hit the comments with your thoughts!



Comments (57)

  • You were way more generous than I. The Ryan skit was the only funny part.

    Comment by Andy bay view – September 16, 2012 09:19 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Are you kidding me? This was the funniest SNL in a long long loooooooooong time.

      Comment by Eli – September 16, 2012 10:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • BEST EPISODE IN A LONG TIME. Why? No Kristen Wig. Really. Enjoyed this so much without the Target Lady and all of the other tired characters. A Really Good start to the season. IMHO.

        Comment by forrest – September 17, 2012 12:24 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • The stuttering drill sergeant was awesome!

        Comment by Jennifer – September 22, 2012 06:50 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • HE DID A GREAT JOB! Vanessa Brayer needs to go.

    Comment by Lilly – September 16, 2012 09:24 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • A rather bipolar comment….

      Comment by Jacob – September 16, 2012 09:32 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • It’s Bayer.

      Comment by YowzaPowza – September 16, 2012 09:45 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Has anyone mentioned how much Seth looks like Peter Brady?? :)

      Comment by Kim R – September 16, 2012 01:08 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • It’s Bayer but yeah… she’s gotta go. The only thing she’s EVER done that I enjoyed was the Miley Cyrus impression.

      Comment by Tathi – September 17, 2012 12:41 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Excellent premiere. I laughed at every sketch. Seth MacFarlane shined and should remind producers that people with comedy backgrounds make the best hosts. Also liked Jay P. as Obama over Fred Armisen who had been doing him for years. Only negative was that i wish we could have seen more of the new cast members who were mostly reduced to one line walk ons.

    Comment by Pete S – September 16, 2012 09:28 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • jay’s obama was great. he definitely brought something new.

      Comment by murley – September 16, 2012 10:42 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I thought the show was great and Seth MacFarlane, in addition to all this other talents, has a great voice! I was a teeny bit shocked – and wondered if any viewers were – when he said something like, as part of his near-lifelong dream to host SNL, he wanted to say, “Farrah Fawcett, will you go out with me”? (or something like that.)

      Wasn’t that comment in horrible taste, since she’s dead??/

      Comment by Pat Graney – September 16, 2012 11:44 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • No. In the early days of SNL, Steve Martin complained that Farrah Fawcett didn’t return his calls, even though he spent hours and hours hold up her poster with one hand.
        Now, THAT was in horrible taste.

        Comment by Rock Golf – September 16, 2012 12:49 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • It would maybe be in poor taste if she died the week before. And it wasn’t a joke mocking her or anything.

        Comment by Amy – September 17, 2012 12:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I found it kind of poignant — gone but not forgotten…

        Comment by Joy – September 20, 2012 12:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I thought Jay Pharoah’s Obama was sooo much better than Armisen’s (who I’m not all that fond of) too

      Comment by Karen – September 16, 2012 02:32 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Loved Honey Boo Boo and Mama. Also, Cecily Strong was great in her first sketch on Weekend Update.

    Loved the puppet sketch, loved Seth as Ryan Lochte, but also loved the sketch about the couple on their first date.

    Pretty good start to the season.

    Comment by Marin Kuharić (@Prkan_708) – September 16, 2012 09:37 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Frank Ocean – Awesome

    Comment by forwarddad – September 16, 2012 09:48 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I don’t know–he may be wonderful, but like almost every musical act on SNL (going all the way back to 1975), he just came off as weird on the show. The musical interludes on this show have always been a “see what else is on” or “perfect time for a bathroom break” time for me.

      Comment by CJ – September 16, 2012 10:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The Latina part of weekend update seemed pretty racist. Also I was watching snl with my friends, one of whom has always struggled with a stutter growing up and still battles with it. So that skit was uncomfortable to watch. He was laughing but still.

    Comment by Mark – September 16, 2012 09:51 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I think we as an audience need to re-explore what the term “racist” actually means. Nothing about that character implied that all Latino people are like that, or even all Latino women. It was a specific character that keyed into a specific archetype.

      “Racist”, by contrast, would be a sketch populated by multiple characters of the same ethnicity defined by the same traits, or a pattern by SNL over time of always portraying a particular race in the same way.

      Comment by J – September 16, 2012 10:10 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • ICAM. What the new girl did was create a pin-point accurate depiction of a specific type of Latina girl, and not just break out some Charo accent. She’s definitely a keeper. Very, very funny work.

        Comment by Danyelle – September 16, 2012 10:24 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • The character seemed indicative of any Latina portrayal in a sketch comedy show. Think of Mad Tv and the Latina character that Nicole Sullivan did. It was the essentially the same thing. I didn’t find it funny, I found it annoying. Granted, she did what she was supposed to do well though.

        Comment by Mark – September 16, 2012 10:31 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Totally agree, both the Latina and the stuttering were crass unoriginal racist/speechdisordermocking humor. The Latina reminded me of those racist Kudos commercials. That coupled with Jay Pharoah’s horrible Obama made for one of the worst episodes of SNL in a while.
      Missing Kristen Wiig, Paul Brittain and Armisen’s superior Obama. And I hate the Family Guy.

      Comment by matt – September 16, 2012 02:34 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • It’s Family guys, not “the Family Guy”. Also I disagree with just about everything you said, Armisen being the superior Obama being the only exception.

        Comment by Eli – September 16, 2012 10:13 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • *Family Guy – bloody hell TVline, get an edit option already, now I look like an idjit :(

          Comment by Eli – September 16, 2012 10:13 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • It was raaaaaaaaaaacist!!!!

        Comment by E – September 22, 2012 10:35 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • There is NOTHING funny about stuttering. It is one of the worst disabilities in the world. I, ashamed to admit, used to laugh at stutter humor until my little boy started stuttering. Now I am so ashamed I ever laughed at such painful crap.

      Comment by Angela Gibbs – October 1, 2012 09:40 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Actually, if you’ve seen Seth on Larry King, he does have a bit of a stuttering problem. So if he can poke fun at his own stuttering issues, then what can be said?

        Comment by JasonWheeler – November 12, 2012 08:55 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Laughing at SETH McFARLANE stuttering on a COMEDY SHOW & laughing at someone stuttering IN PUBLIC are different, lady. Good grief.

      Comment by Jennifer – October 1, 2012 09:46 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I loved the opening, Seth’s monologue and the intro 2 puppetry, but everything else was ok. Of course, now I will have to go to Lids and see if Psy shows up.

    Comment by Kathy – September 16, 2012 10:05 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I was blown away by his singing voice. Sort of a throw back to the Sinatra, rat-pack days. Smooth and velvety.

      Comment by Michael – September 16, 2012 12:42 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • If you enjoy family guy, the family guy live in Vegas album features some songs that showcase his voice well.

        Comment by Mark – September 16, 2012 01:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Seth McFarlane also has a music cd..

        Comment by jdbohatch – September 16, 2012 01:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • You should check out his CD – it’s great! I listen to it all the time.

        Comment by Ann – September 16, 2012 04:18 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Or just check out about half the episodes of Family Guy–Brian, Stewie, and Peter sing all the time.

          Comment by CJ – September 16, 2012 10:40 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I didn’t feel the absence of Wiig and Samberg (2 of my favorites) and I laughed at pretty much every skits so that was a good start.

    Comment by damian – September 16, 2012 10:23 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I kept envisioning Wiig coming on as Ann Romney…imagine the comedy gold she would uncover.

    Comment by Tl – September 16, 2012 10:48 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I thought Seth was great with eveything he was given. I also agree that a couple of the newbies needed more air time. I was also hoping for a change in Weekend Update. I like it better when there are 2anchors.

    Comment by Amanda – September 16, 2012 11:04 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Overall, I really enjoyed it. It wasn’t perfect, but it was nice to have a confident, energetic host who truly was game for anything. I’d be happy to have Seth MacFarlane back as host in the future.

    Comment by CJ – September 16, 2012 11:04 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I loved the Lids skit with the Korean dancer

    Comment by Carl – September 16, 2012 11:04 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • That was like watching something in a foreign language for me–no idea what the “korean dancer” was, or why there would be a shop selling only caps, or why their calling each other “bra” was supposed to be funny.

      Comment by CJ – September 16, 2012 10:44 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Was consistently entertained by the entire show last night. Hope Macfarlane returns soon!

    Comment by tara – September 16, 2012 11:43 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I liked it…though without Kristen it seems…empty

    Comment by Line – September 16, 2012 01:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 8.5 from me. Seth was really really good. The first 3/4 of the show was damn fine. I laughed out loud in damn near every skit except the last two. Excellent show.

    Comment by Dan – September 16, 2012 01:30 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Seth MacFarlane was so great in this episode. The Ryan Lochte sketch was high-larious.I also loved his intro (Marty McFly in particular). Generally a really great episode – which is rarely the case, I think.
    Also glad to see Jay Pharoah as Obama instead of Fred Armisen, who I’m not really a fan of. Pharoah did a great job

    Comment by Karen – September 16, 2012 03:38 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The best were the puppet and Gangnam style skits.

    Comment by Sg. Grant – September 16, 2012 04:42 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Lochte seemed more like Phelps in places.

    Comment by Pia – September 16, 2012 05:40 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I was pleasantly surprised at how good it really was and how much I was laughing at what I was seeing. The “Rodger Brush” recurring character needs to die a slow, agonizing death, but everything else was unexpectedly funny.

    Even Weekend Update, which has suffered in recent years (especially in comparison to Stewart & Colbert) was chuckle-worthy.

    Comment by Alexander Ryan Rhoades – September 16, 2012 06:39 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I didn’t like Jay Pharoah as Barack Obama. Maybe I’m use to Fred Armisen impression. I really like the Ryan Lochte impression and the Clint eastwood one

    Comment by SNL Fan – September 16, 2012 07:26 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I can only hope they’ll bring Seth back again like they bring others back (Justin Timberlake, Alec Baldwin, etc) he’s a gem and was perfect in every skit. SNL was a lot funnier than it usually is, and I didn’t really feel the loss of Wiig as much as I thought I would.

    Comment by Alex – September 17, 2012 01:07 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Seth was great; SNL needs a fulltime cast member who has that range of character voices!!! The only part I thought was cruel, and in very poor taste was him asking Farrah Fawcet out…how horrible was that??!! Here’s my list previous/new hosts I’d like to see this year: Justin Timberlake, Peyton Manning, Billy Burke, Damon Wayans Jr., Casey Wilson, Nick Offerman, Josh Radnor, Krysten Ritter, James Van Der Beek, Dax Shepard, Rebel Wilson, Claire Danes, Louis C.K.,…there are more, but will spare you my ideas :) have a great week!

    Comment by Belle – September 17, 2012 05:16 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Peyton Manning is freaking hilarious, I’d love to see him back!!!

      Comment by Jackson – September 17, 2012 05:21 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Let’s start a campaign to bring Seth Back!!! He’s just awesome, he seemed so at ease and in his element…LOVED HIM!! (Jay did a great job being Obama at the beginning, was really terrific!!)

    Comment by Aryn – September 17, 2012 05:19 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I thought Seth’s opening monologue was the best part of the entire ep, but I found most of the skits really funny and I wish he could join the cast permanently!

    Comment by Ruby – September 17, 2012 07:02 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Seth did a great job. Every sketch was funny. The Ryan Lochte bit was hilarious. “I like that show GOON” “It’s weird to be dry” LMAO.

    Comment by Ethan – September 17, 2012 07:56 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The puppet sketch and the Lochte bit were the outstanding live performances. The Eastwood bit went on a bit too long, but is more than redeemed by Hader’s performance. When they lose him (and Sudeikis), the show will really suffer.

    Comment by Bob – September 18, 2012 06:13 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

Leave a Reply

Comments on TVLine.com are monitored. So don't go off topic, don't frakkin' curse, and be gone with your offers of discount leather goods. Talk smart about TV!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s