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‘Saturday Night Live’: Zooey Deschanel, Jean Dujardin and Nic Cage get adorkable

snl-zooey-deschanel-feb-11.jpgZooey Deschanel took the “Saturday Night Live” stage for the first time on Feb. 11, bringing her particular brand of quirky cuteness to the show.

And for the most part, she did pretty well. The show played to her comedy strengths (and poked a little bit of fun at her persona). Plus, “The Artist” star Jean Dujardin!

Here’s how it played out.

Cold open

Jason Sudeikis as Mitt Romney tries to play off his losses in Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado, but Baron the dog steals the show, barely letting Sudeikis get the “Live from New York …” line out.


Deschanel walks out in a red dress adorned with little white hearts. “Even though I do this a lot,” she says, “it’s for a special occasion.” She then sings a pretty funny little song about guys who forget Valentine’s Day: “I know I’m angry/But later I’ll be fine/You’re just a moron/But at least you’re mine.” It’s one of the better moments of the show.

Clint Eastwood Chrysler ads

In a running bit throughout the first half of the show, Bill Hader trots out his high-waisted Clint Eastwood impression, getting crankier and crankier in a series of three ads following up the Chrysler Super Bowl commercial. “While you were b****ing about my commercial we lost to Mexico by 30 points,” he growls in the last one. “Te gusta losing, numb nuts?”

“Piers Morgan Tonight”

Even in a wig, Taran Killam looks very little like Morgan, but his stammering portrayal of the CNN host isn’t bad. A so-so sketch dissecting the controversy over the Super Bowl halftime show is saved by Kristen Wiig’s dead-on mimicking of Madonna’s quasi-British accent.

“Les Jeunes de Paris”

We’re always kind of charmed by this sketch, even though there’s very little dialogue and what there is is in French. But Killam, Deschanel and special guest Dujardin seem to be having an awful lot of fun at their little dance party/homage to “The Artist.” Nothing wrong with that.

1930s newsroom

Sudeikis and Wiig go all “His Girl Friday” while a befuddled Deschanel fails to keep up with the rat-a-tat dialogue. It’s blessedly short, and Deschanel gets the best line: “Straight up — is everyone here on cocaine?”

Musical guest Karmin

Like Lana Del Rey, Karmin is making its “SNL” debut before its first full-length album is released. Unlike Lana Del Rey, they probably won’t wake up to a hail of criticism Sunday morning. Their performances of the catchy “Brokenhearted” and new song “I Told You So” are both pretty winning.

“Weekend Update”

Nicolas Cage shows he’s a good sport (and pimps his new movie) by appearing with Andy Samberg for an “In the Cage” segment, which Samberg is clearly pretty excited about. Nasim Pedrad shows off a pretty strong impression of Arianna Huffington, and Seth Meyers is his usual solid self. Our favorite one-liners:

  • On Rick Santorum pitching himself as an alternative to Mitt Romney: “I believe it’s reflected in his new campaign slogan, ‘The Other White Meat.'”
  • On President Obama calling New York Giants Coach Tom Coughlin after the Super Bowl: “He tried to phone the Patriots too, but the call was dropped.”
  • On the premiere of “Smash”: “‘Smash’ won its timeslot Monday night … so get ready for two new NBC series, ‘Smash: Criminal Intent’ and ‘Smash: SVU.’ [Singing, with jazz hands] Bum-buum!”

Post-“Update” sketches

The highlight of latter-show hodgepodge was easily “Bein’ Quirky with Zooey Deschanel,” with Abby Elliott as Zooey, Killam as Michael Cera, the real Zooey as Mary-Kate Olsen and Kristen Wiig doing Bjork for the first time in quite a while. Bjork knitting a sweater for an octopus — “I made an extra hole for his dreams and ideas” — kind of kills us.

We won’t waste pixels on the crab sketch, the Victorian women writing letters that was really about gay marriage or “We’re Gonna Make Technology Hump.” After the crab sketch, though, the show paid a brief tribute to Whitney Houston by showing a still of her 1996 appearance on the show with Molly Shannon‘s Mary Katherine Gallagher.

We’ll post video of this week’s sketches as it becomes available. What did you think of “SNL” this week?

Photo/Video credit: NBC