Live from New York, it’s a show that we can actually relate to!
Saturday Night Live’s 38th season premiered this weekend on NBC with a fancy new title sequence, a freshly plucked cast of supporting players and a bevy of hilarious and relevant sketches. While its formula is as tried and true as ever, Lorne Michaels and company are revamping their approach to allow us all to join in on the fun.
For the first time in a long time, SNL seems to be realizing that sometimes the best comedic material isn’t all that hard to find. All we really crave is ridiculous trends in popular culture and the latest political gaffes satirically reflected back at us. And with nearly four months of summer happenings to draw inspiration from, America’s favorite variety show proved on Saturday that it would stop at nothing to once again be considered must-watch TV.
From Jay Pharaoh being inaugurated as the new Barack Obama (formerly portrayed by Fred Armisen), to Jason Sudeikis and Taran Killam playing the Romney-Ryan ticket respectively, the political jabs and jokes were out in full force. All three of the men’s biting impersonations were honest and showed no signs of holding back. The show’s political parodies have proven themselves to be especially important during election years, as demonstrated in 2008 with Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin having a higher approval rating than the actual former Alaskan governor.
Host Seth MacFarlane proved to be a strong choice for the show’s fall debut. While he used cheap tricks like employing Family Guy voices during his monologue and having them converse with each other, audiences couldn’t help but eat up the expected but amusing shtick.
This tendency toward the obvious exposed itself as a theme throughout the night as the cast parodied everyone from Clint Eastwood acting crazy with a chair at the Republican National Convention, Olympian swimmer Ryan Lochte and his inability to form coherent English sentences and even K-pop sensation PSY (who made a rock-star-worthy cameo appearance) and his ridiculously catchy single “Gangnam Style.” Predictable, sure. But that’s exactly why we watch this show; we seek humorous commentary about the things we consume on a regular basis.
So a final plea to SNL: Stick around by sticking to what you know. When it comes to comedy, we are simple creatures. We don’t need pretentious concepts or obscure cultural references. Perhaps it really as easy as having Bill Hader make out with two puppets at the same time.