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<i>Saturday Night Live</i>: The Best and Worst Callbacks

It was yet another nostalgic outing for Saturday Night Live this weekend, as Justin Timberlake gained membership into the "Five Timers Club" for quintuple hosting gigs and the writers celebrated by raiding the show's back catalogue for (vaguely) fresh material. Some of these reunions with old friends were welcome, while others were... well, really kind of cringe-inducing. Here were the best and worst callbacks from an overall uneven episode.

Best: The Five-Timers Club
Originally introduced in a 1990 episode to mark Tom Hanks's own fifth outing as host, the concept has made several re-appearances over the years, usually to great effect if only at the prospect of seeing so many famous former not ready for primetime players reunited in Studio 8H. And nostalgia is the primary reason why Timberlake's iteration of the sketch gets to join the "win" column, because as a piece of comedy writing, it too often felt stilted, forced and much too long, officially clocking in at over eight freakin' minutes, an eternity in SNL time. Still, it's hard to not get excited about the prospect of seeing Tom Hanks, Paul Simon, Alec Baldwin, Candice Bergan, Dan Aykroyd and all Three Amigos (here's a fun/depressing thought: the bulk of Timberlake's fanbase wasn't even born when that movie came out -- and Timberlake himself was only five years old -- which is why the singer had to explicitly call them the "Three Amigos") together on one stage. If only they had been given more than a handful of funny lines to say.
Best Line: Steve Martin: "Chevy, what a surprise!"
Chevy Chase: "Steve! I never see you anymore."
Steve Martin: "I know! It's a shame."
Chevy Chase: "No, it's on purpose."


Worst: It's a Date
Because Timberlake and Andy Samberg are contractually obligated to revive their early '90s R&B singer alter egos whenever he stops by to host, the Dick in a Box duo made their latest appearance as contestants on a dating show, competing for the opportunity to take Vanessa Bayer out for a night on the town at the mall. Although these characters are funnier in pre-taped bits than actual sketches (guess Lonely Island couldn't reunite in time to do a standalone digital short), Samberg and Timberlake inhabit them so fully, it's only a matter of time until they get their own Night at the Roxbury feature spin-off. What killed this sketch dead, though, was the additional resurrection of Steven Martin and Dan Aykroyd's Festrunk Brothers a.k.a. those "Wild and Crazy Guys." Watching Aykroyd in particular desperately try to slip back into the mannerisms (not to mention the wardrobe) of decades-old characters was awkward and really kind of sad. See Dan? This is why nobody wants to see Ghostbusters 3.
Worst Line: "Do you know, Judy, what a package is? Ours is so big, you will enjoy to see them!"


Best: Stefon
The "Veganville" sketch, which brought back Timberlake's dancing, rapping costumed pitchman, was probably the night's funniest sketch and the host's best callback. But most likely due to licensing issues for all the songs he parodied, it's not available online as a standalone clip through Hulu. So instead, we're going to go with another returning champ, Bill Hader's Weekend Update culture correspondent, who remains the show's single best recurring character, not just for his free-associative descriptions of Big Apple hot spots, but also for his potent chemistry with Seth Meyers. Forget the Dick in a Box duo -- these guys need their own movie.
Best Line: "This job writing for Smash is killing me." (Although Stefon's impression of Donald Duck having a Vietnam nightmare was pretty great as well.)


Worst: Maine Justice
If the writers had to bring back one of SNL's stereotype-fueled Southern-caricaturing sketches, Maine Justice is probably preferable to Appalachian Emergency Room, but not by much. Maybe you've gotta be from Maine to find this premise even mildly amusing.
Worst Line: "He gonna have to eat so much powdered sugar... white powder comin' out of his butt every time he farts!"


Worst: She's Got a D!%k
Since the "Dick in a Box" guys where otherwise engaged and the writers couldn't let Timberlake escape dickless, they cobbled together this exceedingly lame, borderline offensive spoof of a glossy romantic comedy where Timberlake played a regular dude who falls in love with an adorable brunette (poor Nasim Pedrad, who deserves so much better) only to discover that she has... well, a dick. Yes, that's the extent of the joke. The only positive we can say about this sketch was that it only lasted a minute-and-a-half.
Worst Line: "Like a regular-sized dick?"

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