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'SNL' Review: Lena Dunham, Guest Stars, and Lots of Impressions

This time last year, Megh Wright and I compiled a list of 10 first-time SNL hosts we'd like to see someday. The list included Stephen Colbert (right?) and the now-sadly-late Philip Seymour Hoffman, but decidedly not Lena Dunham. She was one of the first people we discussed, and we both agreed to pass over the Girls creator/star in favor of figures who might make better hosts. I told Megh then that Dunham would be a person people like us would want to see host, but by the time the episode started, we'd quickly realize, "Oh, this wasn't as good an idea as we thought." Dunham doesn't strike me [...]

'SNL' Recap: Jamie Foxx Unchained

After keeping track of each SNL cast member's share of screen time each episode for the past few seasons, I have noticed an interesting correlation: Whenever a person of color hosts the show, we see a spike in the roles given to the black cast members. Charles Barkley, Maya Rudolph, and now Jamie Foxx all hosted episodes that were big nights for Kenan Thompson and Jay Pharoah — at least, respective to other episodes. What causes this trend? Are black hosts lobbying for black cast members to get more screen time? Does Lorne think black hosts will be more comfortable in sketches if they're accompanied by black performers? Do [...]

'How I Met Your Mother' Recap: "Lobster Crawl"

Ah yes, the art of seduction. Since the beginning of time, countless magazines have attempted to tell you in different ways to have self-esteem, shower and not be a creep. But seriously: what is the truth?

Cookies. Feed them cookies.

'How I Met Your Mother' Recap: "Twelve Horny Women"

Which show was better: Saved by the Bell or The Wire? Both were beloved while never winning a single Emmy award. Both were quintessential shows that redefined television with their honest depictions of drugs and class warfare. It's a tough, unfair question if you have seen both, but the question popped up in my brain thanks to "Twelve Horny Women." One of the members of the New York Judiciary Committee that Marshall faced that didn't appreciate his wonderful puns was played by none other than Dennis Haskins, Mr. Belding himself.

'SNL' Recap: Jeremy Renner's Strong Finish

Part of the genius of SNL's design is how effectively it underestimates its audience's patience. Despite the show's ongoing popularity, it's rare that all of its viewers stay tuned in until the goodbyes at 1 a.m. — "Our competition is sleep," one cast member once said. In the early years, Lorne adopted a strategy of front-loading the lineup with the stronger, more topical sketches, leaving the last half-hour (when even NBC's censor guy has stopped paying attention) for off-beat pieces, filler sketches in case the episode runs short, or sketches in which Fred Armisen sings.

Of course, now that more and more people are watching SNL sketches at [...]

Tuesday Night Sitcom Recap: 'Happy Endings,' 'New Girl,' 'Mindy,' and More

This season, Tuesday is the busiest sitcom night of the year, with three of the four networks airing comedies all against each other on that night each week. Yesterday saw Fox's New Girl and The Mindy Project each celebrating the holidays as they prepare to take their winter breaks, while Happy Endings has its holiday episode set up to debut next week. Let's take a look at last night's new holiday-themed (and non-holiday-themed) episodes:

Happy Endings – "To Serb with Love" CLAY: In "To Serb with Love" we get to meet Alex and Jane's parents, look inside Jane's joke-writing process, and watch Max try to compete with Pete for [...]

NBC Thursday Sitcom Recaps: Award Shows, Christmas Parties, Weddings, and Guilt Trips

NBC's Thursday night lineup kicked off their holiday episodes last night, taking on themes like weirdly intimate relationships, personal temptation, and in true holiday spirit, and familial guilt trips. 30 Rock easily took the cake for most cameos and featured Florence Henderson, Andrea Martin, Wendy Williams, Sue Summons, Gayle King, Judy Gold, Kermit, and much more, and Parks and Rec saw the return of Megan Mullally as well as appearances from Lucy Lawless and Christie Brinkley. So not only was it a night of mostly holiday-themed fun, it was also a night for badass lady celeb cameos! Let's take a look at what happened. (Pop quiz: Which two shows [...]

NBC Thursday Sitcom Recaps: Liz Gets Married & More!

Last night's lineup was all about overcoming what Leslie Knope calls "totally legitimate prejudices," whether that be those against cheesy parents, the "Industrial Wedding Complex," secretly gay husbands, murder plots, and those damn snobs up in Eagleton. The night also included cameos from Tony Bennett, Brad Hall, Dan Castellaneta, and Splitsider friend and contributor Chris Gethard. Oh, and Liz Lemon got married, Up All Night returned with its strongest episode yet this season, and two shows at one point make fun of jazz.

Tuesday Night Sitcom Recap: 'Happy Endings,' 'New Girl' and More Celebrate Thanksgiving

It's Thanksgiving week in Sitcomland (and in real life too – call your loved ones), and all your favorite shows are celebrating Turkey Day this week. Let's see what happened last night on the Thanksgiving episodes of Happy Endings, New Girl, Ben and Kate, and The Mindy Project.

Happy Endings – “More Like Stanksgiving”

CLAY: "More Like Stanksgiving" takes the usual sitcom thanksgiving episode flashback and gives it a new twist. In the beginning of the show, Max reveals that he finally got the DVDs from he and Brad's season on The Real World: Sacramento, where they met. Before their Thanksgiving dinner, the group sits down to watch an episode [...]

NBC Thursday Sitcom Recaps: Bunions, Bidens, and Big Lebowskis

Halloween and Hurricane Sandy are finally behind us, and last night's lineup returned in full before it goes away again for Thanksgiving break next week. So will Up All Night survive its second retooling? Is The Office keeping up its final season momentum? Did Biden do a good job on Parks and Rec? And most importantly, has Liz Lemon ruined her feet forever?

'How I Met Your Mother' Recap: "The Over-Correction"

"The Over-Correction" didn't fulfill its promise almost immediately. After its initial ten seconds of four of our heroes on the phone with one another seemingly hiding out in different tiny spaces, we were all praying to Rufus that a twenty one minute parody of R. Kelly's Trapped in the Closet was about to flicker in front of our faces. Initially I was as disappointed as you were, but after thinking about it for more than a second it became clear that outside of the abstract it would be a terrible idea. (Besides, this show has already had their musical episode.) Nonetheless, you shouldn't tease people like that.

Instead, [...]

Tuesday Night Sitcom Recap: 'Happy Endings,' 'New Girl,' 'Mindy,' and More

This season, Tuesday night is a sitcom traffic jam in primetime, with three of the four big networks airing comedies all against each other on the same night. Let's take a look at last night's shows, including new episodes of Happy Endings, New Girl, The Mindy Project, Ben and Kate, and Don't Trust the B—- in Apartment 23.

Happy Endings – "P&P Romance Factory"

CLAY: This week's episode, "P&P Romance Factory," seemed a little slow. Even though we got three separate storylines, none of them really stood out. The best story was probably Penny and Alex's, thanks to Casey Wilson's excellent delivery, while Max and Dave's fist bump [...]

Tuesday Night Sitcom Recap: 'New Girl,' 'Mindy,' and 'Ben and Kate'

The big networks' Tuesday night sitcom traffic jam continued last night – at least Fox and NBC's shows did. ABC's Tuesday comedies, Happy Endings and Don't Trust the B, took the night off to clear way for the Dancing with the Stars finale, but they'll be back next week. Let's take a look at what happened on last night's new Fox sitcoms, New Girl, The Mindy Project, and Ben and Kate:

New Girl – “Eggs”

SAMANTHA: This Neal Brennan-directed episode begins when Jess and Cece’s friends, Melissa and Sadie (Kay Cannon and June Diane Raphael!), reveal that they’re pregnant. Initially, the girls are thrilled – until Sadie (who’s also [...]

'How I Met Your Mother' Recap: "The Stamp Tramp"

The men of How I Met Your Mother are all nice, law abiding people, but they are definitely all flawed: Ted knows a lot of things about a lot of high brow subjects, but whenever he exhibits his knowledge he is an alienating, insufferable prick about it; Barney's childhood abandonment issues have led to a lifetime of overindulging on female flesh and crude, groan inducing sexual punnery; Marshall gives every human being the benefit of the doubt, even though he is a New York City resident, where it's a minor miracle that he doesn't get mugged every time he leaves the apartment.

Ted and Barney's issues are broader, and [...]