Girls star Lena Dunham made her much-anticipated Saturday Night Live debut last night. It was a mixed bag—she definitely wasn't a superstar like Justin Timberlake or Drake, but she didn't tank, either. The cold open once again featured Jay Pharoah and his Obama impression. He's trying to take a hard line with Vladimir Putin, so he calls Liam Neeson to help out. The real Neeson gives Putin a threatening message: "Crimea has been taken. I don't like things being taken."
The monologue dealt mostly with the success of Girls, and how total strangers now come up to Dunham to tell her about their sex lives. But Girls is in its third season. Why are we talking about it like Dunham is dealing with overnight fame?
Next was a pretty on-point digital short about singing in the car. Friends take turns belting out "O-o-h Child," but Dunham is repeatedly interrupted by the phone's GPS directions, which happens to us all the time. Siri needs to back off—we can't turn left in 100 feet, it's a red light. Stop ruining our Britney jam.
Dunham (in a long wig) played Scandal's newest gladiator who's amazing at how fast they do everything. It seemed mostly like a reason to use Sasheer Zamata, the first black female cast member since 2007. She's not particularly Oliva Pope-like, but OK. At least it highlights how ridiculous that show is and allowed Dunham to live out her dream of guest starring on it.
One of the weirder sketches was "What's Poppin?" with Pharoah and Kenan Thompson, who were confused when some sort of hippie spoken-word band came on their hip-hop show to perform. We do imagine that's what people who make spoken-word albums look and act like.
On the other hand, the Adam and Eve parody of Girls was on-point. Hannah Horvath questions god ("Do you mean no...with a side of maybe yes?") and Taran Killam as Adam Driver calls her kid. Hannah deals with living in paradise with an endless stream of questions. Shosh as the snake who convinces her to eat the apple is great. "I know I committed original sin, but at least I was being original."
A lot of people hated on the sketch "What Are You Even Doing? You're Being Crazy," but they must not have ever been middle school girls. Dunham and Nasim Pedrad play two tweens livestreaming their show for their classmates. The captain of the soccer team shows up, and he and Pedrad hold hands until it overcomes them. Oh, good times. Jon Hamm showed up—we're not sure why, but when Jon Hamm shows up, we don't ask questions. "Is this, like, a Dateline/Chris Hansen thing?" he asks the youngsters.
Time for "Weekend Update." Cecily Strong is growing into the role, but her new co-host Colin Jost still has some adjusting to do. He did excellently deliver a line about an Asian food truck called—no joke—"Cock Asian." Alum Fred Armisen stopped by to play Putin's best friends with Vanessa Bayer. Oh, and inexplicably, Taran Killam was Matthew McConaughey. Lots of people do a great McConaughey impression, so we can't believe Killam's was the best at 30 Rock. He, of course, looks nothing like the Oscar winner, and he couldn't even get the voice right when spoofing his Academy Award acceptance speech.
The worst sketch of the night was "Jewelry Party," where a group of girlfriends are hanging out over wine and jewelry, but one of the gals has brought her new boyfriend, who turns out to be a Mens' Rights Activist. The only thing worth discussing is Strong's South American accent. We're not sure why she was doing it, but she needs to start playing Sofía Vergara, stat.
Jay Pharaoh pulled another great impression out of his bag of tricks for "Pimpin' Pimpin' Pimpin' with Katt Williams: Oscar Edition." He decided to bring on a bunch of crazy white people that most black people have never heard of. "You're lucky you're the prettiest man I've ever seen," he said to Jared Leto. Killam did a pretty good Harrison Ford (seriously, what did happen to him?!) and Dunham was a perfect combination of oblivious and excited as Liza Minelli. Also, we hope Katt Williams really has MCed an oompa loompa convention. Just saying.
To end the night, some of the lesser-known cast members did a digital short about annoying coworkers sending you emails about everything. They were trying to organize an outing to a Will Smith concert. It did capture the endless pit of hell that is your work inbox but it was also pretty weird. There wasn't even a Will Smith concert to go to. Er, OK. Glad we ended on that note.
Dunham said thank you to musical guest The National as she stood next to Jon Hamm. "I want to French kiss all of you!" she exclaimed. Maybe next time.
Written by Nancy Stiles (@nancerdancer)