The Jan. 14 episode of “Saturday Night Live” wasn’t a snooze, exactly, but it did have that quality of being created with a hangover that you sometimes get after a hiatus. Always makes us wonder if the situation isn’t, in fact, that the ensemble was so excited to be back that all their sketches were too weird, so we got this diluted sort of middle of the road mix of randomness. Like, for example, the monologue — which starts boring and becomes awful, until Tina Fey shows up, at which point it becomes a highlight of the night:
When was the last time a monologue literally cracked you up? We love Tina Fey so much.
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The theme continued throughout the night, with the more pro-forma expected pieces coming out strong, like the cold open:
Started okay, went to some great places, ended soft.
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Weekend Update has been a little whatever lately, but this time around there were some very strong segments, including this one, in which Pete Davidson just kind of talked for a while:
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But other than those staples, there weren’t too many memorable sketches: A trip to the Susan B. Anthony house in Rochester provided one really good, Armisen-style behavioral observations, but the sketch itself didn’t really go anywhere except to that well, over and over. Perhaps the problem was that Felicity Jones was as happy to be here as she seems to be doing anything at all, which made most of the sketches pretty hard sells.
We did enjoy this “Bachelor” takeoff, but only because it’s pretty much exactly what the show is actually like:
So. A few pop culture wingdings, very strong moments in the weekly standards, and not much else.
“Saturday Night Live” airs Saturdays at 11:29 p.m. ET/PT on NBC. It looks like the show may be taking a long break after the Jan. 21 episode (Aziz Ansari/Big Sean!) — but we live in hope, so stay tuned.