By RUTH BORDETT
That’s right, folks, it’s that time of year once again. Saturday Night Live is back for its 38th season.
“Family Guy” creator and voice actor Seth MacFarlane hosted the season premiere episode along with rising R&B singer songwriter Frank Ocean as the musical guest.
Proving itself once again as the show that seems to never lose relevance in pop culture, SNL pulled off another successful season premiere.
After the previous season left fans saying a tearful goodbye to Kristen Wiig, Andy Samberg and Abby Elliot, many were left wondering how such a major shift in the lineup would affect the show. Although these SNL alums will be missed, long-time cast members, like Bill Hader and Jason Sudeikis, are still around to fill their absences.
With the new season came new cast members Aidy Bryant, Tim Robinson and Cecily Strong, all of whom fared well in the little airtime they received.
With the upcoming presidential election, the show had plenty of content for its political sketches. The signature opening political sketch featured Jay Pharaoh as President Barack Obama, a role previously filled by Fred Armisen.
In the skit, Mitt Romney was depicted as the goofy idiot to Obama’s cool composure. Although Pharaoh’s interpretation of Obama is slightly more exaggerated than Armisen’s subdued version, it is nonetheless entertaining.
In case any viewers forgot how MacFarlane made his career, he made sure to remind them in his monologue, acting out a one-person conversation with various voices from his animated TV show, “Family Guy.”
MacFarlane resorted to the overused monologue go-to of singing, but provided a fresh take with the use of his impressive repertoire of celebrity impersonations, including a surprisingly good Kermit the Frog.
One of the more prominent skits of the night was a stab at Clint Eastwood’s speech from the Republican National Convention. Played out as an advertisement for the traveling comedy duo “Eastwood and Chair,” it featured Eastwood putting other political figures in the so-called hot seat as well as song duets between the actor and his inanimate sidekick.
Musical guest Frank Ocean did not disappoint, proving that the hype surrounding him is not undeserved. Singing “Thinkin Bout You” and “Pyramids,” Ocean’s low-key performance worked well for the show, with a surprise guest appearance by John Mayer.
Another guest appearance was Korean rapper turned YouTube celebrity PSY, who performed his “Gangnam Style” dance.
Other highlights of the evening were a puppetry class skit featuring Hader using an army vet puppet to tell stories from his dark days in Grenada and MacFarlane’s impersonation of the dim, yet beloved, Olympian, Ryan Lochte.
Overall, the episode was an achievement that hopefully will carry throughout the season.