The first episode of the 39th season of “Saturday Night Live” aired a week after the Emmys and, as such, seemed to take inspiration from the homage to popular television. Aaron Paul of “Breaking Bad” made three separate cameos, and the show also featured a parody of Lena Dunham’s “Girls.”
In the "Girls" sketch, the title characters (including new cast member Noël Wells showing off her Lena Dunham impression, which seemed pretty spot-on when paired with good costuming and a proper Brooklyn backdrop) are joined by a new “girl”: an old Albanian woman, Blerta, played by Fey. Blerta, who’s had a hard time in life and wears tattered rags, lays down truth bombs as “You are unpaid prostitute? You are lower than dog” to Jessa (Kate McKinnon), who replies with “Thank you! I love your outfit.”
Blerta saves her best lines for Hannah, saying things like “You are weak and soft and dressed like baby.” One couldn’t help but remember last year’s Golden Globes, when Fey sarcastically replied “Glad we could get you through middle school,” after Dunham thanked her and inadvertently called attention to their age difference in her acceptance speech. When Blerta soothes Hannah, saying “It’s okay; you are only 15,” when Hannah replies “No I'm not: I’m 24,” Blerta blurts, “24? What ... is wrong with you?”
Aside from the tributes to cable television, the episode embraced its cast changeover since veterans such as Jason Sudeikis, Fred Armisen and Bill Hader departed last season. Fey forced all the new featured players (Wells, Beck Bennett, John Milhiser, Kyle Mooney, Mike O'Brien, and Brooks Wheelan) to dance, wearing shiny gold hot pants, behind her during her monologue, and there was even a game show titled “New Cast Member or Arcade Fire?” poking fun at the fact that the new additions to the cast almost outnumbered the members of the episode’s musical guest (which played a bonus mini concert after the regular episode).
Fey was also on hand to help pass the Weekend Update baton to Cecily Strong, who co-hosts with Seth Meyers until he departs from the show. “You be good to her,” she advised Meyers, “Because I will be watching! (I will not be watching.) Byeee!”
“SNL” returns next week with Miley Cyrus as both musical guest and host, so time to start drafting your “Miley Cyrus hosts ‘SNL’” drinking game rules now. Suggestions: a sip for each time “twerk” is mentioned, a shot for each time someone does a Robin Thicke impression and a chug for each Billy Ray Cyrus appearance.
Twitter: @ZulkeyCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times