We’re here in the final stretch of the “Saturday Night Live” season, with just three consecutive episodes separating us and wild speculation about the fortieth season of the program. I have a few thoughts on what to look for over these three weeks, but the promos this week suggest “SNL” might have an extremely fun and game host in Garfield. He has cameo’d in the past when real-life girlfriend Emma Stone has hosted (look for her to return the favor tonight), but this is his first chance to show the comedic touches he brings to Peter Parker in a sketch-comedy setting. Along for the ride is musical guest Coldplay, who ironically last appeared on “SNL” when Stone hosted. Maybe Spider-Man will fight them as two-thirds of The Sinister Six. Not an EXTREMELY sinister six, I’d grant you. But hey, what do I know?
As “Saturday Night Live” prepares for its final three weeks, lots of questions still remain in this transitional season. In anticipation of the show wrapping things up until Fall, several key themes will be important to gauge.
Here are ten things you should keep an eye on when the show returns in May:
It’s almost five years to the day that Seth Rogen last hosted “Saturday Night Live.” (Somewhat amusingly, his “Neighbors” co-star Zac Efron hosted the very next week.) Meanwhile, over the last five episodes, “SNL” itself has survived a rather rocky start to the post-Seth Meyers Era with a string of solid albeit non-classic episodes after the Jim Parsons-hosted debacle. Heading into its final break of the season, it will be interesting to see if the show ends on an upswing or downswing heading into the final stretch of this flawed yet fascinating season.
Chances are good for an aca-awesome episode of “Saturday Night Live”, with host Anna Kendrick appearing for the first time. And since Pharrell Williams is musical guest, there’s an equal likelihood that you might feel “Happy” while watching. But all puns inside, all things are aligned for a fun episode of the show to follow up a strong outing last week. Kendrick has a winning personality, seems game for anything, and can shine equally with both the men and women of the cast.
There have only been five new installments of “Saturday Night Live” this calendar year, so you’ll be forgiven if the pace of the season as a whole has seemed somewhat off. Throw in the fact that Seth Meyers left between one of the two lengthy breaks in the past three months, and you have a downright disjointed season. But starting tonight, “SNL” airs three new episodes in a row. Anna Kendrick and Seth Rogan will have their respective chances to shine in upcoming weeks, but tonight, it’s time for Louis C.K. to host for a second time. His first hosting gig back in the Fall of 2012 was a mixed bag, but did offer up some classic stuff (including the digital short “Lincoln” and the first installment of “Last Call,” a now-recurring sketch that tends to close out episodes) as well as fascinating disasters (“Mountain Call” is still cringe-worthy even now).
Well, this should be interesting.
Not “Saturday Night Live” itself, which I imagine will rebound quite nicely from last week’s fairly disastrous show. Rather, I mean reaction to Lena Dunham, who inspires more conversation than almost anyone else on television, all of which can be accurately described as “passionate.” Dunham, and her HBO “Girls,” seems to touch a nerve unlike anything else in current popular culture, to the point where any rationale online discussion of either seems as likely as my mother waking up tomorrow and suddenly understanding the concept of cloud computing.
It seems like an eternity since the last episode of “Saturday Night Live” aired, but it’s back tonight, with the most beloved member of one of television’s biggest shows as host. Jim Parsons is a semi-unlikely television star, but there are few who don’t know who Sheldon Cooper is at this point, and a large chunk of that goes to Parson’s portrayal of that character. In lesser hands, Sheldon would not be one of the true genuine breakout characters in recent TV history. Tonight, Parsons gets to potentially stretch his wings, in addition to almost undoubtedly delivering “The Big Bang Theory”-related humor as well. Along for the ride is musical act Beck for this, the first show in the post-Seth Meyers Era.
With the departure of Seth Meyers, “Saturday Night Live” experiences another big casting change. But change is built into the show’s very DNA, so this isn’t time to worry. Rather, it’s time to get excited about what’s now possible. The effects of his departure will echo beyond the “Weekend Update” desk and ripple into each aspect of the show. Sure, the show can and probably will try to move on and overtly act as if nothing is different. But that’s a terrifically boring approach to take. Anything and everything is possible. That was true when Meyers was there, and now the show has a perfect excuse to try some new approaches. How can the show best take advantage?
We have a few thoughts:
Oscar excitement is starting to reach fever pitch. But while HitFix’s staff has nearly every aspect of the lead up to the awards themselves covered, it’s time to also think about what will happen after the statues are handed out on March 2. Sure, many of the nominees will move onto other film projects. But there’s also another place we’d like to see them sooner rather than later: in Studio 8H hosting “Saturday Night Live.” All these selections are long shots in one way or another. But these choices aren’t about the likelihood of any one performer actually hosting. This is about looking at the field of 2014 nominees and seeing where the most interesting pairings between host and show exist.
In the middle of a lengthy hiatus for "Saturday Night Live" after the end of The Seth Meyers Era, it’s time to take stock of the show’s remaining players in HitFix’s annual Cast Power Rankings. (You can see last year’s list here.) The following list has nothing to do with the talent of those on the show. This list merely ascertains their overall worth to the show as exhibited by onscreen time, level of contribution, and the show’s perceived value of their worth to the program as a whole. Those low on the list aren’t unfunny: They simply haven’t had the chance to shine or haven’t found a way to break through just yet. Those atop the list are vital to "SNL" as a whole and are poised to lead the show heading into its fortieth anniversary next year.
You can check out the entire list in the embedded gallery in this post. Agree or disagree? Share your thoughts below.