Some people like to analyze Saturday Night Live so much that they forget that, for casual viewers young and old, it's just an entertaining way to wrap up a Saturday night at home in front of the television. They don't assign points to cast members. They certainly don't hit the pause button to take notes. They just sit back and laugh. Or not laugh.
Even in their own casual viewing experience, audience members at home are still critics, doing so by turning off the TV after Weekend Update, or turning to the friends and/or loved ones around them to say, "Oh, Gilly again?" or even by tuning out by having the show on in the background as their house party becomes more interesting than what's on the TV. Increasingly now there's even another subset of audience members for SNL who don't even watch the show on TV on Saturday, but rather log onto their computers on Sunday (or Monday) to seek out individual sketches online based on what they've read and heard their friends talk about, or just based on what gets their attention from a screencap and a headline.
I've been trying to think about all of these people, because I'm them. I am you. And I'm not just saying that to, in my own way, parody Christine O'Donnell's campaign ad. Although that works, too! No, no, I say it because I remember how I watched SNL as a kid, alone in my bedroom; as a college student, on the big screen with a couple of dozen friends in a common room; in an acquaintance's apartment during a Christmas party, avoiding small-talk by noticing Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg sing about their gifts in boxes, on a TV next to the acquaintance's Christmas tree; or at home last night, reclining on my sofa, while looking at the Twitter feed on my iPhone. Of course, none of these few hundred words tell you anything about what happened in the third episode of the thirty-sixth season of SNL. So let's get to recapping, shall we?
The soothing sound of Higbone's voice assures me that the cold open is not going to open cold on some dumb political message of the day. Oh, no. We open with a parody of attorney Gloria Allred, as played by Nasim Pedrad, taking potshots at herself by trying to defend her career as an attention-seeking attorney who defends people who are themselves attention-seekers. I've seen, we've all seen enough of Allred herself on the TV, but I don't think she's one of those people that really registers with people, not enough for us to go, oh her again. Which is to say, I didn't feel like looking up YouTube video of the real Allred to see if Pedrad nailed the impersonation. Not important to me. I just enjoyed seeing Pedrad take the piss out of Allred, and that it wasn't a dumb political cold open that already sent viewers looking for the remote control.
And now for our host, Jane Lynch! Lynch does look excited to be here, hosting SNL. You probably know her from her Emmy-winning turn as Sue Sylvester in Glee. She's the one who doesn't sing on Glee. So right off the bat, you know we're going to get to hear Lynch sing on SNL. In fact, we're going to get to hear Lynch sing multiple times on tonight's episode, and curiously, multiple times it's singing theme songs for things that don't have theme songs. Such as, well, Glee. Take it away, Jane! She gets spoken-word and guitar help from Fred Armisen. Jason Sudeikis shows up in a short permafro to fake the trumpet, which must make the real trumpeter in the background not so gleeful. Meanwhile, I'm curious who is playing her background dancers. I won't tell you which one is my favorite. But I definitely have one.
We go straight to our first videotaped ad spoof. It's a filter for when your mom becomes your Facebook friend. I get it. You get it. Even my mom probably gets it. And she's on Facebook. Or she was on Facebook. I don't think she's still on Facebook. That's how much my mom got this joke. Which is weird, mostly because I feel like this joke could have been done a season or two ago, but with the Facebook movie out this past weekend, maybe it's just the right time for this joke. Then again, SNL did do a mom-translating-technology sketch a season or two ago (Season 34, Episode 22: "Mom Translator"). Meanwhile, for you SNL trivia fans, in this sketch, Jane Lynch plays Andy Samberg's mom, and he isn't happy about it. Coming up in just a bit, she'll play his mom, and he's over the moon about it. She'll also play his maternal therapist in a dream sketch, which just weirds him out again. These two: Get a room! Am I right? No? I'm not right? Samberg does seem to be Lynch's favorite tonight. You just go ahead and try to prove me wrong. Bill Hader and Taran Killam get speaking roles in this ad spoof, too, you know!