Elizabeth Banks was the host of Saturday Night Live. ‘The Hunger Games’ star made her long-awaited debut. Was she a standout? Find out what the television critics have to say; a review roundup and video highlights are right here!
A week after GOP front runner Donald Trump was host of the show, leading everyone with a mobile device of any kind to voice an opinion on social media, Saturday Night Live now faced a challenge. How to pay tribute to the victims of the deadly terror attacks in Paris the night before. Sacrificing the cold open, SNL chose to bring out cast member Cecily Strong, to share a powerful and affirming message in both English and French, in part, “Paris is the city of light. And here in New York, we know that light will never go out.”
After that powerful and sobering moment, it was Elizabeth Bank’s turn on the stage for her monologue. While known for her role in wildly popular franchise that comes to its end with ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2,’ she has recently made her feature film directorial debut with ‘Pitch Perfect 2.’ And thus we saw the host attempt to direct her own monologue. This saw a costume change, the iconic dance number ‘What A Feeling’ from ‘Flashdance’ and more. Yes, quite a juxtaposition.
And we saw her in a variety of other sketches including ‘Black Jeopardy’ which saw her, of course, playing a bewildered white contestant trying to excel in such categories as ‘It Ain’t Like That’ and ‘Shaking My Head.’ Later she was, similarly the proverbial fish out of water in the ‘So Ghetto’ skit.
Along the way, we had the usual Presidential election mockery, and Dr. Ben Carson became an easy target after massive media coverage of the claims he has made about his life history in his bestselling memoir. Naturally, we had ‘Young Ben Carson’ and he was portrayed by SNL cast member Jay Pharoah.
And through it all, Saturday Night Live carried on. It’s been 41 years after all! Here’s a roundup of what that critics have to say of Elizabeth Banks and the episode as a whole.
“….Host Elizabeth Banks wasn’t perfect, and there were downsides to the night, but overall Saturday Night Live moved a step back in the right direction this weekend. There weren’t as many Hunger Games trolls as one might have expected and no surprise cast cameos popped up to hype up the release of the film — the reason Banks was hosting. But there were still cameos to be had with the musical performances and most of the sketches landed with decent accuracy. ….” –
“….In the end, we found this show very funny. The last ten minutes could be cut, but for the most part, Banks did great and this was a nice way to spend Saturday night. ….” — Carter Matt
“….Banks was game and charming as she launched into “What a Feeling” from “Flashdance,” shouting orders at longtime “SNL” director Don Roy King from stage the whole time, but the bit like an idea settled on for lack of a better one. The show thankfully picked up steam thereafter, veering often into welcome weirdness following the parade of horrors that was the previous week’s Donald Trump-hosted episode. ….” -The Wrap
“….No real bummers tonight, although the Ten-To-Oneland sketch about privileged young women calling everything “ghetto” wouldn’t have amounted to much without Banks’ signature commitment as the member of the group who cluelessly revealed that she does, in fact, live in some pretty dire housing circumstances. ….” – The A.V. Club
And with that, another episode of the iconic show is one for the annals of television as Elizabeth Banks made her debut and, one suspects we will see her on the famed stage of Studio 8H again. See SNL video highlights below!
Pictures: PR Photos