Let’s see what noted shrew Nikki Finke thought about last night’s SNL: “Lena Dunham may be one of worst ever hosts of one of worst ever SNL shows…She demonstrates she can’t act, can’t mimic, can’t hold a live audience. That’s why she may be one of worst hosts of one of worst SNL shows.”
Well, THAT’S harsh, less an opinion of Lena, the actress as Lena, the person. Did Lena do a great job? No. She relied too heavily on the cue cards, and almost always played a variation of “Lena Dunham,” whether it be Excited Lena Dunham (the Scandal parody) or Teenage Lena Dunham (“What Are You Even Doing?”). But the first half of her episode was fairly strong, before, as is custom, everything fell apart in the second. Lena didn’t single-handedly save any sketches, nor did she kill them. She was perfectly fine in a equally fine(-ish) episode.
Also, Jon Hamm showed up and made everything better.
Is that LIAM NEESONS? OH THAT’S LIAM NEESONS. Neeson’s tough-guy shtick will never get old (until it does when Taken 12 the Streets gets made), and his presence alone made this one of the more memorable cold opens of the season. That, and shirtless Obama on a horse.
Well, at least she didn’t sing? Lena had. Problems. Talking like. A. Human. Due to Her. Cue. Card. Dependence. The idea behind the monologue was a good, if expected one — the cast, and a horny grandmother, talk to Lena about their sex lives — but she was oddly nervous for someone who once got naked during the Emmys.
Excellent, just excellent. “Ooh Child” could have ended with the GPS lady continually cutting off Lena and it still would have been fine, but then came the kicker of the four passengers in the car actually being five, and a fine sketch became great. Dark, funny, and a clever misdirect — the best sketch of the night.
I’ve never actually seen an entire episode of Scandal, but even I caught on to what was happening here: the Scandal folk do insane things they think are totally normal, like travel to-and-from Mexico in the time it takes Lena to scream, “WHAT.” About that: her performance was more loud than nuanced. The specificity of what Lena was commenting worked beautifully (Olivia’s President romantic problems vs. her drinking swamp water), but she could have fixed her performance slightly, and the sketch would have been better off for it.