lena dunham, snl, girls

Lena Dunham was at the helm of SNL’s first show back after a winter hiatus and quickly squashed any hopes that she could play more than a whiny Hannah Horvath, her annoying character on HBO’s Girls.

But the episode wasn’t a total bust. It’s just the Lena Dunham part of “Lena Dunham hosting SNL” that tanked. Here we count down the 5 things that saved the show:

5. Guest appearances:
Liam Neeson showed up for the opening sketch and performed a hilarious parody of his role in Taken. Jon Hamm from Mad Men showed up for a subpar sketch but was shamelessly handsome and squeezed more laughs out of us than Dunham did. And Fred Arnisen’s return during Weekend Update breathed some life into an otherwise flat episode.

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4. Weekend Update was hilarious:
After a weak farewell to long-time anchor Seth Meyers, his replacement, Colin Jobst, had big shoes to fill. But so far, so good. Don’t let his hair mislead you. His jokes are actually brilliant.

3. Taran Killam as Matthew McConaughey:
Killam’s impersonation during Weekend Update was so good, it saved the whole episode. Not even an appearance from McConaughey himself could have turned out so well.

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2.  Sasheer Zamata actually got to talk.
SNL’s newest cast member has had all eyes on her since she joined in January, but she didn’t do or say much until now. She led an entire sketch as Olivia Pope, Kerry Washington’s character on Scandal. It wasn’t that funny but she’s working her way up the SNL food chain.

1. Lena Dunham kept her clothes on. There were Girls nudity jokes and a spoof of course, but no nipple shots or awkward sex scenes to sit through.

So let’s never do that again.

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