You can be pretty sure it’s not going to be a stellar week for Saturday Night Live when “Girlfriends Talk Show” — current front-runner for Most Inexplicable Recurring Sketch of 2013 — serves as the lead-out to the opening monologue.
But wait…with Josh Hutcherson, charming star of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, hosting, how bad could the episode really end up being?
Alas, bad enough that my single biggest laugh of the night arrived in the episode’s final moments, as Vanessa Bayer (dresssed as a massive turkey) ate corn out of Hutcheron’s palm. (More on that in a moment.)
You’re only as strong as your material, of course, and in the case of this week’s show, said fabric was as flimsy as an off-brand paper towel being doused with a fire hose. But Hutcherson, truth be told, failed to make much of a comedic impression over the course of 90 minutes. Below, my picks for the week’s best and worst sketches:
BEST: THE WORST LADY ON AN AIRPLANE
Hands down, this was Aidy Bryant’s funniest work on SNL since coming aboard at the start of last season. Her neck-pillow-wearing she-devil shared her hilariously rude methods for enjoying a flight, including (but not limited to) using loose plastic bags instead of checked luggage, lining one’s seat tray with broccoli to mask the smell of Chinese-food farts, and tormenting fellow passengers with “unexplained adult laughter.” I loved Bryant decalring she’d only pipe down if someone finds the way to “make Monsters U less hilarious!”
BEST: OUTFIELD’S “YOUR LOVE”
This sketch — in which Hutcherson’s ’80s teen hit on his older sister’s pal (Vanessa Bayer) by speaking only with blasts of music from the Outfield’s “Your Love” — was more clever than hilarious. But on an episode this subpar, cleverness counts.
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HONORABLE MENTION: TURKEY GIRLFRIEND
Yes, it went on too long and ended dreadfully, but the sheer size and absurdity of Bayer’s turkey costume, and the horror of Hutcherson’s relatives trying to introduce their Thanksgiving dinner to the unexpectedly fowl visitor, did make me chuckle. “I’ve never had it cooked before,” Bayer’s bird declared of the corn that Hutcherson fed her. “It’s good!”
WORST: BANKER WITH A BABY’S BODY
Hutcherson’s reactions barely registered while his young investment fund employee encountered newbie Beck Bennett as a financial genius who — from the neck down — had the lack of physical dexterity and impulse control you’d expect from an infant. But who can blame Hutcherson’s performance when the action playing out in front of him was both bizzare and pointless — and even botched the chance at a diaper-change joke?
WORST: WINSTON SAM BASS — INVESTIGATIVE REPORT
Hey, it’s newcomer Mike O’Brien chasing after bugs, shoving his microphone up in their faces and trying to find out “where the heck do you gotta be?” Maybe this sounded funny on paper, but the end product was so insipid, I actually feel myself losing valuable brain cells with each word I type about it. J’enough!
What did you think of Hutcherson as SNL host? Grade the episode in the poll below, then sound off in the comments!