'SNL' Goes Full Te'o

The Atlantic

Gosh, remember Saturday Night Live? It's been over a month since we last hung out! If you were expecting strong, complex sketches that would bring the funny for the first episode of 2013, hosted by Jennifer Lawrence no less, and not lazy jokes about last week's news, well... 

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The first SNL outing this year was kind of a bust, no? There was a lot of news to catch up on, being gone for a month and all, so they started out with a Piers Morgan Tonight parody. See if you can guess the guests. Give it a try. It isn't hard. 

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Lance Armstrong, Manti Te'o and Jodie Foster. Oh, awesome. A lot of jokes that already feel old. The normally infallible Jason Sudeikis can't save this sketch. Bobby Moynihan's clueless Te'o actually isn't bad, but there's nothing new here. Thankfully they get them both out of the way quickly. Kate MacKinnon's Jodie Foster is more than a little meta, considering Foster was channeling SNL's Sally O'Malley (an old Molly Shannon character) at the Globes. So this is MacKinnon impersonating Foster channeling O'Malley. Got it? Let's move on before the vein on your forehead bursts. 

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Wake us up in two minutes, please, or whenever Lawrence's snooze of a monologue is over. She seems to have some kind of personality, and it's a shame the SNL writers couldn't give her something more to work with. Half of this sketch revolves around the Grumpy Tommy Lee Jones meme, which was played out by Monday afternoon. Why anyone still thought it would work almost a whole week later is concerning. Eventually Lawrence starts trash-talking her Best Actress co-nominees, a great concept that doesn't work because the jokes are, to out it frankly, lame. (And it seems obvious Lawrence knows how bad they are.) It's fitting that one of her best lines was for Jessica Chastain, easily Lawrence's biggest competition. "In Zero Dark Thirty, you caught Bin Laden. So what? In Winter's Bone, I caught a squirrel and then I ate it. Booom! Beat that." 

It's amazing they haven't done a sketch wherein the Hunger Games gets the pro sports post-game press conference treatment before, to be honest. It was easily the highlight of the first half of the show. As weird as this feels coming now, instead of when the movie came out, it works for us. Between Sad Peeta, the ridiculous Hunger Games outfits, and the PEDs question, we were throughly entertained. 

Te'o and Armstrong took center stage again during Weekend Update, of course. Seth Meyers got things started early. "This week, Lance Armstrong disappointed the last man on earth who still believed in him..."

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After another brief jab at Armstrong, Meyers went back to covering the Te'o story. As unbelievable as the girlfriend hoax story is, Meyers says it "is not as weird as the fact that a Samoan Mormon who plays football for a Catholic school actually does exist."

And this Hobbit sketch that played before Weekend Update is actually a manifestation of my worst nightmares so maybe this is the best place to end. 

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