• Barely there Lindsay Lohan flops in an otherwise standard Saturday Night Live

    Last night’s Saturday Night Live was one of the most anticipated of the current season, seeing as constantly embattled actress Lindsay Lohan was returning as its host for her fourth time and after a six-year absence. So, how did she do? Well, she looks relatively healthy and maybe clean and sober. But, as a whole, she seemed pretty underwhelmed to be there, regularly running through her lines with little to no expression. And it seems the writers were well aware of her limitations; independent of her sketch with Kristen Wiig, Lohan’s responsibilities last night were light, to say the least. Let’s get into it.

    The show’s cold open last night featured Bill Hader’s always-fun, creepily nuanced Shepard Smith from Fox Report welcoming Mitt Romney and his “spark plug” wife Ann as well as guests Kid Rock (Andy Samberg) and Romney’s sons, where SNL writer Mike O’Brien scores some screen time. We also get to see Seth Meyers away from the Weekend Update desk. Check it out; it’s consistently funny throughout.

    Ever since the promos for Lohan’s show were released Wednesday morning, we knew that SNL wouldn’t shy away from addressing the actress’ personal life. And that’s exactly what we got during her monologue. Complete with a sounding alarm, Kenan Thompson (nice Goodburger reference) and Wiig physically making sure Lohan was sober — as well as drop-ins from Jimmy Fallon and Jon Hamm — the monologue was a success, albeit barely demanding on Lohan.

    There’s been no shortage of Real Housewives video parodies online– from amateurs and pros, alike. But SNL‘s Real Housewives of Disney, is by far the best I’ve seen. They were able to nail almost every Housewives recurring story line, character flaw and conflict in just three minutes. Abby Elliott is Belle — “The Magic Kingdom is my playground, and I like to play” — Vanessa Bayer is a proud Snow White, who sticks up for her posse of Dwarves; Nasim Pedrad is Jasmine (she and Aladdin are having some financial problems); host Lohan plays a pretty straight Rapunzel; and Wiig is Cinderalla, who plainly exclaims, “I’m a huge fucking mess.” Her fella, Prince Charming (Taran Killam) really likes shoes. It’s interesting to note that SNL decided to cast Wiig and not Lohan into the drunken princess role. I smell a pre-show request from Lohan’s handlers. Check out the fun below.

    Somewhat fresh off the Oscars, I guess it made sense to include an awards show spoof this week? This one, the 2012 Psychic Awards, falls a bit flat. This is one of those contrived, ‘What if we replaced [real-life thing] with [thing that would never happen] type of concepts. Like, sure it’s going to be funny, but since there’s no hook in reality, it just doesn’t have the same effect as, say, the above Housewives sketch. I laughed at the tight shot of Jay Pharoah during the future dead psychic montage, but that’s about it. Lohan plays the awards show co-host with Samberg, and again is under-utilized.

    In the Scared Straight sketch, it’s revealed why Lohan is being so underused. The answer is simple: she’s terrible — and just maybe — not even trying not to be terrible. The phrase “phoning it in” doesn’t even begin to describe her lackluster performance here. Despite her clearly reading nearly every word out of her mouth, she still stumbles and delivers her lines a la Keanu Reeves– except there’s no cool costumes or explosions or a young Sandra Bullock driving a speeding bus to distract us from the terribleness of it all. Even the smart writing and the always-excellent Thompson couldn’t save this.

    Bill Hader joins Meyers at the Weekend Update desk as James Carville to chat about Rush Limbaugh’s recent public relations nightmare that fell upon him after he called Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute” for speaking out in support of president Obama’s new pro-contraception movement. Although, I think the writers missed an opportunity to deliver a more pointed, harsh criticism (a la Jason Sudeikis’ portrayal of the Devil in reference to the Penn State scandal earlier in the season), Hader’s character work here — not to mention the bizarre homosexual reality created — is incredibly fun to watch.

    It’s been a while since we’ve seen Bobby Moynihan’s Snooki. And it made sense for him/her to sidle up to Meyers this week, hot on the news that the Jersey Shore star is probably knocked up. With another drop-in from Hamm (this time as Snooki’s baby daddy), the sketch is worth a watch but certainly not one for the books. Also, a plug for The Lorax at the end?

    While we’re at the desk, here’s some highlights that include more Snooki, Chuck Norris and a pregnant Chimpanzee!

    Wow. That’s the only way I can describe the pointlessness of the Delinquent Teen Girl Gang sketch. In it, said gang (a play off 1950s teen rebellion movies) lead by Lohan’s character, are harassed by a policeman (Hader) for dancing in the street. The funny thing, though, is that Fred Armisen’s character keeps getting hit by speeding vehicles. And, that’s it. I’ll watch (and enjoy) Armisen in just about anything, but I’m unclear as to why this sketch was greenlighted for last night’s episode.

    Short, sweet and bizarrely funny, this week’s Digital Short finds Wiig and Samberg sharing an enormous afro, singing their video “save the date” message for their character’s wedding. Will you be attending?

    Any stand-up comedy who works the road will appreciate this sketch, featuring Killam and Monahan as wacky, brash morning DJs broadcasting from a remote, ice-covered Minnesota town. It’s the type of place comics are forced to appear to promote their weekend shows while on tour. The bit also features Lohan as the duo’s illiterate sidekick and Bayer as the straight-laced news woman, who doesn’t appreciate the show’s crass sensibilities. The concept is fun but the sketch goes on a bit long. Still, it’s good for a few laughs.

    This is clearly Lohan’s best performance of the night. She appears as a house sitter to Wiig’s character, who’s been receiving mysterious silent phone calls; she’s convinced someone will show up to her house to murder her. But she’s fleeing to a topless vacation and leaving Lohan in apparent danger. Lohan’s character gets increasingly concerned about her house sitting gig. In the end, Lohan figures out the real problem is mostly in Wiig’s head, and back pocket. Check it out.

    Have you ever wondered, ‘What if Buddha was actually a mean-spirited frat boy?’ No? Well, SNL is going to show you anyway. Samberg plays the part, giving seemingly earnest advice to his disciples and then talking shit behind their backs as soon as they leave his sight. Lohan plays yet another miniscule part; she’s one of the disciples– the one Buddha wants to bang. Watch it below. Just remember: purposely unfunny puns are still unfunny.

    And now we leave you with some Sudeikis time filler, wherein he plays a weird guy by a fireplace who sounds as though he’s about to try to sell you a horrible eight-CD box set of 1970s music and then gets distracted.

    Before anyone gets angry about me bashing SNL, please don’t ignore the positives I’ve mentioned. This was, by no means, a terrible episode of SNL, it’s just that I honestly thought Lohan (who I believe to be a strong actress) would be used more and would prove excellent. I was wrong. In the end, her limited screen time helped prevent this episode from becoming a complete disaster.

    Dylan P. Gadino

    Dylan is the founder and editor emeritus of Laughspin.

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