Holy moly. It was all change this week as Saturday Night Live returned for its 39th season. Three major players left (and sadly Tim Robinson), six nervous newbies donned their glitzy jackets and Cecily Strong became the newest female anchor of Weekend Update. Because of this, it was always going to be an awkward start to the run but luckily veteran Tina Fey was on hand to regain our confidence and restore some stability to proceedings. Just about. And hey, any show with a cheeky Lorne Micheals appearance is always worth saving a little positivity for.

THE HOST: Tina Fey can’t really do much wrong in any SNL fan’s eyes. And as usual each of her performances were efficient and got the job done. However, similarly to when she was a cast member herself, the show still struggled to find the right way to use her other than as a creepy weirdo or as the reliable straight woman. There’s obviously more to her talents than this and it seems a shame to underrepresent her formidable reputation as a writer in such a way.  Nevertheless, she was the perfect choice to kick of this “transition year” to avoid further hiccups.

WORST SKETCH: “Cinema Classics” – Hmmm, not really sure what was going on here. A tad too weird to see Keenan Thomson shoved into a seat clearly earmarked for Bill Hader. That’s the least of its worries however. You can close up on as many stuffed animals as you like but it won’t, I guarantee, get any funnier. A dead end sketch which may have sounded funnier than it looked.

BEST SKETCH: “Girls Promo” – Noël Wells made possibly the best impression she could have with this. A stunning Lena Dunham impression coupled alongside a spoof which really nailed exactly why we simultaneously watch and become infuriated with the self-importance and youthful indulgence of Girls. Affectionate and accurate, it’s a nice tease of what’s to come from such an exciting performer. This sketch seems to have been a long time coming and has some genius moves including a dead on topless Taran Killam as Adam, which may have stole the sketch, alongside Kate McKinnon’s Jenna being absurdly weird, naturally.

STAND OUT PLAYER: Bobby Moynihan has never comprehensively made his mark on the show, despite holding two of the funniest characters in his locker. He’s not yet the household name he should be. However, by some odd quirk he now happens to be the third longest running cast member and there seems to be a hint of change regarding his significance. With only a ridiculous look to give he gained one of the biggest laughs of the night in the Airplane sketch, whilst also reasserting the importance of simplicity in this week’s Drunk Uncle. Underrated no more?


Photo by Dana Edelson

WEEKEND UPDATE: ATTENTION YOU IGNORANT SLUTS, THERE IS A NEW LADY PERSON ON THE DESK. Cecily Strong made her debut with her all to brief partner Seth Meyers and showed just how much he needs someone to bounce off of. These two make a lovely pairing and Strong, despite clearly visible nerves, showed she’ll be absolutely fine on her own, combing Fey’s signature sarky style and Poehler’s energetic knack for performance, a brilliant choice. Other than this, it was a fairly laid back Update, Drunk Uncle drawing in the obviously deserved laughs whilst Kyle Mooney debuted his bad stand up comic character, Bruce Chandling to a mixed reaction (I happened to quite like it’s cringey results)

OVERALL: The show made a real effort to showcase the new talent and, by all accounts, they seem capable with the potential for brilliance so it just needs a bit of time. This week played it safe, eased its way in like a grandma on a Stenna, but who knows what will happen next Saturday with the tongue maiden herself, Miley Cyrus. A special mention should be made to Keenan Thompson’s outlandishly large suitcase which reinforced the importance of props departments the world over, as well as Aaron Paul’s many cameos which invariably stole the show, bitch.