The cold open tonight was, as expected, on the Presidential debates with Jason Sudeikis and Jay Pharoh as Romney / Obama and Aidy Bryant as moderator Candy Crowley. Thankfully no F-bombs were tossed as they constantly played up the bad blood between the two and had several funny barbs. The skit also featured a cameo by Tom Hanks.
Host/musical guest Bruno Mars quickly acknowledged his awkwardness as an actor and went to his strong suit by singing the monologue followed by Taran Killam giving Brad Pitt's odd Chanel commercial an inside look. It would become a running skit with various sponsors.
Next Bobby Moynahan played a Mom accused of stealing her daughter's (Mars) boyfriends on the daytime talk show "haters". Thankfully it was a short skit and didn't implode. The acting was funny, but the writing was weak.
A power failure at Pandora HQ forcing an intern (Mars) to karaoke various songs was the plot for the next skit. That was followed by what is presumably the new SNL short film segment. Titled "Sad Mouse", it featuring Mars as a distraught man who was just dumped by his girlfriend of 6 years being hired to play a life size mascot that happens to be a patriotic mouse. Things do not go well as he suffers his breakup on the job. But in the end he finds a distraught female frog mascot (presumably suffering a similar breakup) and they walk away together.
That was followed by Bruno's musical segment introduced by Tom Hanks and a rather weak Weekend Update that was only saved by an appearance of Bill Hader as Stefon with Halloween party recommendations. I love Stefon because he reminds me of a mix between Harvey Korman and Tim Conway. Hader always loses character and cracks himself up in the middle of jokes.
After WU, a skit dug up from from the grave that would have been better off left for dead. The Merryville carnival haunted house ride taken over by animatronic characters after a malfunction. Hanks made another cameo at the end of the skit.
The Wilderness Lodge was the locale for the next skit as two tourists (Sukeikis, Vanessa Bayer) look for Yeti Point. Mars played the one eyed innkeeper and Hader the disturbed caretaker that was sexually molested by a Yeti.
In what may be an SNL first, Bill Hader redonned his Stefon costume to introduce Bruno Mars' second set. Not sure a cast member in character has ever introduced a musical guest before. I certainly don't remember it ever happening.
Donkey Punch the Vote was a weak attempt at humor and shock value as a youth "get out the vote" commercial. Thankfully it was the last bit of the night.
Overall, tonight's episode scores a C. Mars did a respectable job as a first-timer pulling double duty, Stefon made a long awaited appearance and Tom Hanks provided help when needed. But the writing was just plain weak.