Recap: Anna Kendrick on Saturday Night Live

Anna Kendrick SNL

The adorable, affable Anna Kendrick hosted her first Saturday Night Live tonight, with musical guest Pharrell Williams.

Ultimately it was her infectious energy and enthusiasm that made the so-so, uneven episode (so many musical sketches – she’s an Oscar nominee, I think the writers could have given her something more) lots of fun to watch. My favourite part was her monologue, which I link to below.

Kendrick is perhaps best known for her roles in musical Pitch Perfect and the Twilight series, but she’s had a number of memorable supporting roles, including her Oscar-nominated turn in Jason Reitman’s Up in the Air, and 50/50Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and End of Watch. She’s going to have a hell of a year: her IMDb page has her in six projects slated for 2014, including Rob Marshall’s Into the Woods, out Christmas Day.

Kendrick is the eighth first-time host this season. They’ve ranged from the fantastic (Drake, Kerry Washington) to the good (Josh Hutcherson, Lady GaGa, Lena Dunham) to the bad (Jim Parsons, Edward Norton, though that Wes Anderson spoof was phenomenal). I wished Kendrick would join Drake and Washington as a fantastic first-time host. I think she was all in, ultra game and endlessly cute, but didn’t have the greatest material to work with.

Next week’s episode will be hosted by Seth Rogen with musical guest Ed Sheeran.

You can check out my recap of Anna Kendrick on SNL below – and let me know what you thought! – and the rest of my recaps of the show, which I do every week, here..

IN CANADA, YOU CAN STREAM THE EPISODE ON GLOBAL’S WEBSITE ON SUNDAY, USUALLY BY NOON.

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Cold open

Rough start to tonight’s episode. A mock hearing about a faulty ignition on Chevy Cobalts featured a clueless GM exec (the wonderful Kate McKinnon, whose go-to “We’re looking into that” wasn’t funny the first time, let alone the 12th) being harangued by Congress people about GM and corporate responsibility. Aren’t those recipes for comedy gold? I’m nervous about what they’ve chosen for the cold open, because this was really weak and unfunny, but I hope it’s not indicative of the 90 minutes to come. Anna Kendrick deserves better. Video via mediaite.com.

Monologue

Hey, musical monologues are back! I’d hate it, but they haven’t done one since Drake, right? I also can’t hate it because host Anna Kendrick burst onto the stage. High energy and almost unbearable cuteness but so-so sketches is my prediction for the rest of the show. The monologue featured a reworked version of The Beauty and the Beast‘s “Belle,” otherwise known as that song in which she says “Bonjour” a ton, and her week preparing for SNL. Cute overload. Video via Tumblr.

Fox & Friends

Hey, Fox & Friends is back, too! For me, Vanessa Bayer’s Elisabeth Hasselbeck was just “confused Fox blonde:” Kristen Wiig really nailed Hasselbeck’s mannerisms. It sucks to always be comparing non-Wiig impersonations to Wiig’s, but this one really struck me as poorly done. The rest of the sketch was pretty good, though, with Bobby Moynihan’s character always the craziest (Global warming? He saw a documentary about a town with a princess and it was cold there all the time!) Anna Kendrick played Bethany Ravenel, an “Obamacare survivor” and guest of the show. Best part of the sketch are the mock corrections they run. You can check out the list on Tumblr. Video via mediaite.com.

International Nasty Girl Dongs

The International Bad Girls are on a mission to do all the dongs in the world! I love that the shorts and songs are being more female-centric, with some of the most famous digital shorts Andy Samberg did being so male-centric (“Dick in a Box” and “Lazy Sunday”). This song reminded of “(Do It On My) Twin Bed” from earlier this season (the Jimmy Fallon episode to be exact, if you’d like to revisit it) and I just didn’t like it nearly as much. Sometimes funny, though, and high-energy for sure. Video via mediaite.com.

International Nasty Girls Dongs SNL

Little Mermaid 

What is SNL‘s music budget? Damn. Ursula (a comically exaggeratedly evil Aidy Bryant) wants Ariel’s voice, who sings for Ursula so she can hear her voice. But she sings songs by Kesha and Britney Spears, and in their likeness too. This was cute, and no doubt Anna Kendrick is super into it, but this got slate by the third song.

Kyle Mooney short

These shorts are going to be Kyle Mooney’s saving grace. Does he appear in anything else? This one was cute and awkward and funny. He plays an awkward guy crushing on his neighbour played by Vanessa Bayer but he can’t work up the courage to talk to her.

Weekend Update

A new era of Weekend Update in which it’s no longer a guaranteed winner. Tonight’s was better than last week’s: it was longer and featured three guests (Kate McKinnon’s Angela Merkel, Bobby Moynihan’s George R. R. Martin and Brooks Wheelan, delivering an alcohol-consumption PSA) but it’s become painfully obvious that Cecily Strong and Colin Jost don’t mesh as well as she did with Seth Meyers.

Les Jeunes de Paris

I am an uncultured swine because I don’t know what this sketch references or spoofs, but I do remember this used to be a top-of-show sketch, and it’s now a post-Update one (was it Miley’s 2011 episode that opened with this? I can’t remember). This was lots of fun, though, and we got a glimpse of Nasim Pedrad!

Norfolk Zoo

Poor Anna Kendrick. This reminded me of Drake at Universal Studios: high energy from the host but the sketch was DOA.

Big Joe

It’s annoying that the bar for post-Update sketches is set lower, but this sketch didn’t really work on any level.

Pharrell audition

So many singing and music sketches tonight. Anna Kendrick is adorable, again, and it would have been great if she was able to do more things (I thought they were would bring back the rude waitress character Jennifer Lawrence did when she hosted), but her enthusiasm is truly infectious. Kendrick is the talented twin, Vanessa Bayer the less-so. They both audition to be Pharrell’s back-up singers but only one spot is open.

NCAA – Best of the White Guys

A nice way to end the night. Light, pre-recorded, with some clever voice over; the best footage of white guys during March Madness includes a white guy bounce-passing to another white guy and running down the court with a panicked look on his face.

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