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SNL Recap: Scarlett Johansson’s Patti Stanger, Arcade Fire’s Aggressive Performance

Saturday Night Live had a promising, indie-leaning lineup last night: ScarJo and Arcade Fire! They didn't quite kill it: Unsurprisingly, Johansson never quite kicked her endearing stiffness, and Arcade Fire amped up the angry passion. But both of them were still generally fun to watch, and we found this week's more specific parodies a lot funnier than the bizarre, apropos-of-nothing sketches that have been on heavy rotation in recent weeks. As usual, Twitter was torn, with some surprised to see "a halfway decent episode," which was how we felt, while many others said they "fell asleep on it." The live-blogging ladies at Jezebel bashed it pretty hard: "Holy fuck. I really think this is the worst episode of SNL I've ever seen." And Entertainment Weekly noted that the live audience was laughing less than usual, calling it "a silent night." Maybe the joke about reality-TV featuring pregnant people, pictured, missed the mark, and the skit about a student with a broken leg failing to overcome his injury was a little awkward, but we laughed! Here were the other highlights:

Scarlett Johansson is a bit too demure to really nail Patti Stanger, but the Millionaire Matchmaker parody was still pretty spot-on, mirroring how most episodes of the Bravo show actually work and reminding us that beneath her layers of awesomeness, Patti's pretty cruel.

Scarlett Johansson is a bit too demure to really nail Patti Stanger, but the Millionaire Matchmaker parody was still pretty spot-on, mirroring how most episodes of the Bravo show actually work and reminding us that beneath her layers of awesomeness, Patti's pretty cruel.

Most Surprisingly Self-Aware Spoof

The "Weekend Update" take on the Kanye/W. spat didn't quite do it justice, though it raised the point that the two men have more in common than it might seem: "We're both rich, we're both impulsive." Jay Pharoah's Kanye impression was pretty great — as was his Denzel impression — and it's promising, as surely there will be more reasons to mock Kanye in the future.

Skit We Never Really Wanted to See the Arcade Fire Participate In

Yeah, that would be the awkward and unfunny rap about Darfur. That would be the one. The "MSNBC broadcast" of a U.N. General Assembly address by high-school students had some energy, thanks to Samberg, but the Arcade Fire might be one of those bands that's just better off staying serious.

Most Welcome New Impression

The "Weekend Update" take on the Kanye/W. spat didn't quite do it justice, though it raised the point that the two men have more in common than it might seem: "We're both rich, we're both impulsive." Jay Pharoah's Kanye impression was pretty great — as was his Denzel impression — and it's promising, as surely there will be more reasons to mock Kanye in the future.

Most Disappointing Musical Performance

We didn't like when Arcade Fire was being funny, and then, in their performance, we felt they were being a little too serious. Can't win! The band played excellent music, and we were glad to hear it, but they really didn't do themselves any favors with the pretentious outfits, spastic dance moves, fancy haircuts, and general aggression here. The music speaks for itself. Though check out Owen Pallett in the vest.

Photo: NBC