President Obama stopped by the cold opening of NBC's "Saturday Night Live" this week to address the nation about the situation in Ukraine and Russia's occupation of Crimea.
He dropped a secret weapon on the Russians - actor Liam Neeson.
"I hate it when things are taken," Neeson told the nation, borrowing from his "Taken" franchise. Up next was a partly shirtless and buffed-up Obama [transformed via Jay Phraoah], starring a in a video and seen roughing it with some undesirables and wrestling a bear. The message was to send a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin that America, too, can be tough. At least when it comes to acting tough.
"Because the world needs this."
If only international diplomacy were so simple. The subject of Putin returned during "Weekend Update" when his "Best Friends From Growing Up" [Vanessa Bayer and Fred Armisen] paid a visit. The results were predictable.
During her monologue, host Lena Dunham talked about the perils of appearing naked and having plenty of sex on her HBO show "Girls." Apparently, lots of folks talk to her about their sex lives. She was accosted by a flashing Bobby Moynihan and her grandmother [Kate McKinnon] talking about how "only the cool girls went to third base" in the 1940s. "I was like a third-base coach."
Lena Dunham will host Saturday Night Live tonight! History will be made as it will be her first time on TV with her clothes on.— Joan Rivers (@Joan_Rivers) March 8, 2014
Dunham's frequent nudity on "Girls" also inspired "Girl," a modern-day look at Adam and Eve. It's not your typical Bible story. "I can eat this if I wash it, right," she asks a serpent after finding an apple.
"If this is feminism, then I'm confused," writes the Wall Street Journal.
"Can you not apple shame me right now? I know I committed an original sin, but at least it was original," she asks God during His thunderous criticism. "I'm three days old, I don't even have health insurance."
Matthew McConaughey [Taran Killam] visited "Weekend Update" to talk about his recent film success and his cable series "True Detective," which ends its first season Sunday. "I'm a body in motion. I'm shoveling coal and it's getting hot," the Oscar-winner said in a rambling style reminiscent of both his Oscar acceptance speech and several of his recent characters. "You want answers. Who? What? Where? When? Why? The answers are on Neptune, but you can't see it because you didn't bring your telescope." Ahh, right.
Co-host Colin Jost delivered the line of the week about Arby's paying $44,100 for the hat Pharrell Williams wore during the Grammy awards. "Like their customers, Arby's is prone to making bad decisions." In defense of Arby's customers, those "3 for $5" coupons are often too hard to pass up.
It would take a true comedic detective to find much to enjoy about this week's show outside the opening, the early filmed spots and "Weekend Update." Being duty-bound to watch it through, this reviewer admittedly was relieved with it finally ended. It's always fashionable to bash "SNL" with lines about how the show hasn't been funny since the days of John Belushi or Jimmy Fallon. Those criticisms are as stale as the bulk of this week's show.
The current season, until this week, has been a pleasant surprise of sorts with the largely-rookie cast working its way into the background while the host has had frequent opportunities to shine. Dunham was incapable of overcoming flat writing and pedestrian subject matter, never mind enhancing a quality script. The newbie supporting cast is nowhere near being in a place to help any host who doesn't have a solid comedy or live acting/stage background.
The skits were overwhelming stale and just not very funny. Although the make-up team did a solid job transforming Dunham's hair and, surprise, wardrobe, between each character change. Her brief appearance as Liza Minnelli during Katt Williams' [Pharoah] BET2 show was a true credit to the SNL behind-the-scenes team. When a semi-metro-sexual version of Harrison Ford [Killam] stopped by, Williams lamented: "Seeing Indiana Jones in an earring is like seeing Darth Vader in Uggs."
To no one's surprise, a "jewelry party/men's activist" skit morphed into an infomercial for Dunham's various political causes and beliefs. It came complete with a painful-to-watch Hispanic Cecily Strong.
Strong is one of the most talented SNL cast members and is far better than that.
Jon Hamm made another one of his "SNL" cameos during an otherwise lame "What are you doing?" junior-high, on-line, talk show spoof.
Dunham didn't have much luck during an in-car sing-along, as her turn during "Ohh Child' was constantly interrupted by Siri's directions. Didn't see the end of that one coming.
The show returns live on March 29 with a certain comedic upgrade in Newton's own Louis C.K.
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