Tina Fey and Kenan Thompson join forces on "Saturday Night Live."
Tina Fey can do no wrong.
That being said, it's possible that the anticipation of the "30 Rock" star and queen of comedy returning to her old "Saturday Night Live" stomping grounds raised expectations to a ridiculous level. A level that, unfortunately, could not be reached.
[Photos: Check Out 'SNL' Pics From the New Season]
Season 38 of "SNL" is one of change; Bill Hader, Jason Sudeikis, and Fred Armisen are all gone. Seth Meyers is leaving mid-season to host "Late Night." There are six new faces in the cast. The show will experience growing pains — and it showed last night.
But Fey … again, can do little wrong. The premiere started off on the wrong (very wrong) foot, but her cold open was as charming and wry as anything she's ever done. And it was nice of her to feature the newbies in the cast:
Still, overall — it was a weak premiere. Here are the highlights — and lowlights — of the evening:
Best: "Girls" Promo
Even though the episode as a whole was not great, this might've been the funniest thing "SNL" has done in years. Fey killed it as Bierta, an Albanian woman who was the newest member of the "Girls" posse. "What the f---k is wrong with you?" she responded on learning Hannah is 24. Vanessa Bayer was at the top of her game as Shoshanna, while new cast member Noël Wells showed off her impression skills as Hannah. Seriously, if this sketch repeated every week, we would be very happy.
Worst: Obamacare Cold Open
Ugh. Last season's cold opens were pretty bad. This one upped the ante to awful. Jay Pharoah's Obama impression is good, but it's clear that the "SNL" writers can't write jokes about current events. Not even a surprise cameo by "Breaking Bad" star Aaron Paul, playing Jesse Pinkman, could save it. The idea behind it wasn't bad — Jesse talked about how a teacher he knew couldn't afford cancer treatments and turned to cooking meth — but it just wasn't funny. At all.
Runner-up Best: Manolo Blahnik
In recent years, "SNL" has had a difficult time finding good recurring sketches (please, television gods, don't inflict "The Californians" on us again). But this one featuring Bayer and Cecily Strong as former porn stars never gets old. Fey gets in on the action as they try to sell "Manuel Blondicks" — perfect for wearing during your first Amber Alert. Once again, the ladies of the cast prove that they're tops.
Runner-up Worst: Cinema Classics
This was a one-joke sketch — an old movie featuring weird stuffed animals — and that joke wasn't amusing the first time. Four minutes of it was excruciating.
Best Cameo: E-Meth
If Paul had only been in the cold open, it would've been a waste of his talents. Thankfully, he showed up again in this fake commercial. These pre-taped bits are something "SNL" has been very good at recently ("Nuva-Bling," "Papal Securities") and this one was selling an electronic meth pipe. Paul cracked us up when he exclaimed, "It's blue, bitch!"
Very Good: "Weekend Update"
This was the first outing for Strong as co-anchor of "Weekend Update" and she passed with flying colors. She thanked previous female anchors (Fey dropped by to give her some advice) and did a great job snarking at current events and topics. Meyers still did most of the interviewing, though, which is understandable since he'll be departing the show in a few months. We were glad to see Bobby Moynihan's Drunk Uncle again (and to see Paul as Meth Nephew). While the character isn't as hilarious as Stefon, he is a promising replacement. Remember, Stefon took awhile to fully form, too.
To watch more "Saturday Night Live" skits, check out Yahoo! Screen.
"Saturday Night Live" airs Saturdays at 11:30 p.m. on NBC.
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