Saturday Night Live Recap: Anne Hathaway’s Katie Holmes, Abby Elliott’s Rachel Maddow

Saturday Night Live

Anne Hathaway/Florence and the Machine
Season 36 Episode 7

Last night, for perhaps the first time this season, Saturday Night Live was consistently funny! Host Anne Hathaway showed commitment, playing Black Friday–shopping hillbillies and mocking Katie Holmes without holding back. The episode’s Thanksgiving theme served it well: The opening monologue’s driving joke was that the crux of the holiday’s family time is spent lying to make people happy, and other skits took place at funny places likes American shopping malls and soup kitchens. There was still some post-“Update” filler — like the Wizard of Oz sketch — but less than usual. Early online reactions have been positive: Entertainment Weekly called the episode, “extremely amusing,” noting that Hathaway was “brightly-lit, bold, and adventurous.” The normally critical Jezebel commenterati exclaimed, “Can Anne host every week? They pulled out all the best skits for her, and she gives it everything.” HitFix said: “A good overall show? Sure. Better than most this season? Yes. But that’s fairly faint praise.” People on Twitter, well, they generally still hated it: “OK, #SNL really needs to clean house. Writing staff and on-air ‘talent’ is sorely lacking in every regard,” was one rallying cry. Anyway, awards:

Best Impersonations

During perhaps the best cold opening of the season, Abby Elliott excellently channeled Rachel Maddow, highlighting the news anchor’s general sass by shaking her head around, enunciating funnily, and making sense when none of the guests do. Kristin Wiig held her own as Nancy Pelosi, noting: “If you want to get rid of Nancy Pelosi, you’d better be ready to cut off my head and bury it separately from my body.” Another astute observation: “Nancy Pelosi is someone who always looks like she’s watching someone not use a coaster.” And Kenan Thompson did Charlie Rangel justice, characterizing him as someone who “if you lived in the Old West, would be the bartender.”

Favorite Actress-on-Actress Crime

“The Miley Cyrus show” skit might get old quickly, since, without guests, it’s a one-note joke about Cyrus’s airheadedness. Vanessa Bayer gets Cyrus right and it’s momentarily funny, but the skit was saved from redundancy by Anne Hathaway’s seemingly stoned, spacey Katie Holmes impersonation. It’s fairly ballsy celebrity-on-celebrity crime.

Nearing a Return to Form

With just Seth Meyers holding down the fort, “Weekend Update” has been a little rusty this season, but last night saw some decent kickers about topless protesters (“Authorities responded with, ‘Hey … no … stop…’”), and a relevant segment about Four Loko! We’re pretty sure that was improv when “Chris Hunter” took a sip of an actual Four Loko and described it as “Satan’s piss,” too.

Best Anne Hathaway Moment

The Black Friday skit turned the country’s unofficial national shopping day into the horror movie it already actually is. It wasn’t the most original take on the makeshift consumer holiday, but Anne Hathaway’s few moments as a determined mall shopper were memorably funny.

Most Needed Send-Up

The TSA skit compared the gropey, naked new security requirements at airports to, well, sex. But, still:

Well Done Musical Performance

And for her part, Florence and the Machine sounded and looked pretty great, belting out her single in a sparkly dress.

Did you find this episode funnier than usual?

Saturday Night Live Recap: Anne Hathaway’s Katie Holmes, Abby Elliott’s Rachel Maddow