Tonight Amy Poehler becomes the 4th former female SNL cast member to come back to host (following Tina Fey, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Molly Shannon), and Katy Perry becomes the first person to be an SNL musical guest the same week a segment she filmed for Sesame Street was pulled from the show.
For the record, here are my predictions. These are based on nothing except published articles, and educated guesses. So if I get them right, compliment me:
I am now guessing there will be 9 cameos, as follows:
-Maya Rudolph (for Bronx Beat?)
-Jimmy Fallon (some sort of extended Really?!?!?)
-Tina Fey (see Fallon)
-Governor David Paterson (D-NY) (reported in several places)
-Will Arnett (wife is hosting, new series to promote)
-Rashida Jones (she was in NY for Fallon on Thursday with Poehler, despite not having to promote Parks and Rec since it is a midseason show)
-Aziz Asnari (comedy comes in 3s. And Rob Lowe probably busy)
-Justin Timberlake (According to AOTS/Daily Show's Olivia Munn, he will be at the screening of his new film Social Network in Manhattan tomorrow. He is probably the most popular cameo on the show the past 5 years. And he and Fallon could bring back the Barry Gibb Talk Show, with guests Poehler's Hillary, Fey's Palin, Rudolph's Michelle Obama, and either Armisen's Paterson, or the actual Governor Paterson)
-Colbie Smulders (probably just an audience shot, or introducing 2nd musical guest, but her baby daddy (not sure boyfriend/husband/fiance) makes his SNL debut tonight, so I think she gets there. Also I think it's her wedding on HIMYM.)
-I also think Russell Brand is a possibility.
They do Barry Gibb Talk Show, Bronx Beat, and The Dakota Fanning Show out of Poehler's past.
In a surprise, after more than a season off, Wiig and Sudeikis bring back "Two A-Holes"
Lorne Michaels appears in the episode.
I'll be back at 11:30!
Sketch 1- Wiig plays a solid Chistine O'Donnell, in a sketch with Sudeikis and Hader. Random Michael Vick dog fight joke. Someone in the writers' room had Kevin Kolb on their fantasy team. Talks about an extreme sketchy past. Surprisingly well done compared to last season's political sketches. Then they have her fly away like wicked witch. Not bad at all. B+
Theme- Nice to see Elliot/Moynihan move to regulars after 2 years as featured players. Pardo recorded sounds the same as Pardo live.
Monologue- Poehler looks incredible considering she gave birth like a month ago. Great Parks and Rec joke. Shoutout to the 4 newbies (including Mr. Smulders). Crazy dream scene. Pedrad brings in an old Poehler favorite, Kaitlin. CAMEO #1 JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE. CAMEO #2 RACHEL DRATCH. Killed by a Polar Bear. CAMEOs #3&4 TINA FEY and JIMMY FALLON. Keenan appears as a black Lorne Michaels. Inception joke. Unbelievable monologue. A+
Sketch 2- Bronx Beat. CAMEO #5 MAYA RUDOLPH. I was never a Bronx Beat fan, but I'm glad they're highlighting the best of Poehler's time there. Speaking of which, why hasn't there been a Best of Poehler yet? Of course the guest on Bronx Beat was always played by the host (best with Brian Williams), so who will it be? Katy Perry, in a skin tight Elmo tee-shirt, showing off her cleavage. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. That was fantastic. A+
Sketch 3- Fake ad, for Bosley Hair Care. Sudeikis, Wiig, Moynihan, Armisen. Pubic hair, transplanted to the head. Funny, a bit too much for me. B+
NEXT WEEK BRIAN CRANSTON AND KANYE WEST
Sketch 4- Maternity Matters. A question show for pregnant mothers. The doctor is sick, Armisen is the producer replacing her. We've seen this before. It sucked. Hader plays the staff member, the question from Wiig. Oh right, Armisen's character is hard of hearing. Next question from Poehler. Oh and Armisen's character is offensive. Question 3 from Samberg. Question 4 from Elliot. Blah. C.
Sketch 5- Some gay wedding sketch with Poehler and a new girl (Vanessa Bayer) getting married in front of Armisen. But it's at the Ground Zero Mosque! An ad from Hader! Actually funny. But then its actually an RNC ad against it. This has more twists than a HIMYM episode. B.
Music 1- California Gurls. She sounds terrible. Like much worse than she normally sounds. No Snoop Dogg. I actually have grown to like this song somewhat, but this was dreadful. Minor props for setting up the stage like the video. D.
Weekend Update- Funny O'Donnell/witchcraft joke. Really!?! with Seth and Amy! about Iranian President. Excellent as always. Amy- "Don't Ask, Don't Tell sounds a little gay to begin with." Seth- "U.S. military policy needs a makeover. Who is really good at makeovers?" Now Amy just co-anchoring like it is 2008. Seth claims victory on Blockbuster, because he never returned a VHS 8 years ago, and they filed for Chapter 11. New cast member Jay Pharoah debuts a Will Smith impression. Good, not great. Amy should be co-anchoring Weekend Update until she has to go back to L.A. for Parks and Rec. And we bring in Armisen's Paterson to discuss the Cuomo v. Paladino race to replace him. "The Democrat in me wants Cuomo, but the trainwreck in me relates to Paladino." And there's New Jersey joke #1! And CAMEO #6 GOVERNOR DAVID PATERSON. As in actual Governor Paterson. And a blind joke. "Working in Albany is like watching SNL. There are a lot of characters. It's funny for 10 minutes. And then you just want it to be over." It's like Paterson is campaigning. And then "You've poked so much fun in me for being governor, I almost forgot I was black." And then "Just from my heightened sense of smell, I can tell that there are 15 people in this audience from...NEW JERSEY!" And as Amy begins to express thanks to exiting NBC exec Jeff Zucker, the Governors Paterson walk in front of the camera and talk. Very well done. A.
Sketch 6- Showtime is the Home for Women with Secrets. Wiig as Mary Louise Parker. Pedrad as Edie Falco. Abby Elliot as Laura Linney, really really well. And it's AMBER! One-legged Amber! What a random character to bring back. "Amy Poehler stars in "The Lean Years." Samberg plays "co-star Stanley Tucci." And there is the farting. Mr. Smulders makes his debut as her doctor. Other possible titles- One Leg to Live, The L(eg) Word, Farts and Recreation, Glee. They actually made that character funny. B+.
Sketch 7- Digital Short, Hader Presenting some award, now Perry singing a Best Original song nominee, with backup dancers. The Booger Man. Screen shots of NPH and Terry O'Quinn in the audience. Add Ed O'Neill, Tom Hanks, Morgan Freeman. They also have clips from the film with each member of SNL. "And the winner is, Randy Newman." Poor, especially for a digital short, which has been the weekly highlight the past 2+ years. D.
Sketch 8- A lunch scene with Wiig, Elliot, new girl, and Amy Poehler in a tiny cowboy hat. Elliot and new girl love hat, Hader comes over and compliments hat. Wiig hates hat. One week later, Wiig wearing ridiculous hat. Now Poehler has a smaller hat under her hat. Next week, and "Trish (Poehler's character) Eats Here" is on sign for restaurant. Wiig comes, with microscope for microsopic hat, but Trish is in Wiig's hair with a smaller hat. One week later, we learn Trish died in a motorcycle crash, because her helment was tiny. And then Trish comes back, because "faking your own life is the new tiny hat!" Umm, okay? C.
MUSIC 2- Teenage Dream. Nothing terrific, nothing terrible. B.
Sketch 9- Actor II Actor- Andy Samberg goes in depth with premier actors of stage and screen. "This week- Actor Justin Timberlake." This combo has worked out before... Brilliant sketch with a longer opening than an actual sketch. A+.
Sketch 10- Promo for "The Even More Expendables" Hader as Steven Segal. Pharoah as Chris Tucker. Samberg as Bridgette Nielson. Then #3 "The Availables" Armisen as Eugene Levy. Eliot as Brooke Hogan... Okay this keeps going. Very funny. Too much to write. OH MY GOD MR. SMULDERS AS STEVEN SLATER! Poehler brings back her Kim Jong Il impression. Brilliant throwaway 12:55 sketch. A.
Overall a very strong episode, something that outside of Betty White and Taylor Swift they did not really have last season. Grade for episode 1: A.