First of all, welcome back to another season of “Saturday Night Live” recaps! Second of all, sorry about the promotional photo to the left of this paragraph and the nightmares it will undoubtedly inspire. That”s on NBC, not us.
Monologue: Tina Fey is greeted like a rock star by the audience. As well she should! She”s dying to do all her recurring characters, like “Johnny Jean Jacket” and “Queef Latina”. But it”s not about her: it”s about the half-dozen new cast members! They all come out…and I see white people! Fey wants them to do a time-honored tradition: dancing awkwardly behind the host. So much gold lamé! It”s funny when people in tight pants dance provocatively, I guess? Still, it”s all about Fey, who has some great zingers as they writhe. (“I hope you have a lot of impressions!”) Not much in the way of introducing the personalities, but some pretty good energy all the same. [Grade: B]
Cinema Classics: Well, this was over before it began. Thompson”s host introduces “Unwanted Woman,” a film that features a series of increasingly silly stuffed animals. Why? Because of an elaborate backstory involving a mentally challenged taxidermist. My God. At some point, someone thought this was a good idea, even the part where Toonces The Cat is replaced by a raccoon. Well, we have our first completely terrible sketch of the season. Happy to get that out of the way. Off to take a shower for three days to wash that off. [Grade: D-]
Arcade Fire returns, this time performing “Afterlife”. It”s in the same vicinity of “Reflektor,” but also keeps more in line with its past albums. There”s more of a rhythmic urgency here, with at least four percussionists going wild onstage. It very much feels like The Talking Heads” “Stop Making Sense” tour. Maybe it”s just because I”ve never heard the track until now that it seems denser and slightly more impenetrable than “Reflektor,” but I”m willing to bet there”s plenty more I”d like once I heard it a few more times. [Grade: B]