When Jennifer Lawrence hosted SNL earlier this year, she faced one major hurdle: the perils of high expectations. By January 2013, Jennifer Lawrence had been the Internet’s ultimate celebrity BFF for nearly a year. Given how winning she was in talk show appearance after talk show appearance and interview after interview, it seemed a no-brainer to assume that her turn hosting SNL would be a slam dunk. Unfortunately, that assumption led to disappointment when the show didn’t deliver the episode we all hoped for – through no real fault of Lawrence’s, for what it’s worth.
And this is why Lawrence’s Hunger Games costar Josh Hutcherson may actually fare better when he makes his SNL hosting debut this weekend. On January 20, 2013, Lawrence was at the height of her ubiquity: She had been nominated for an Academy Award 10 days earlier, won a Golden Globe three days later, and received her Oscar one month after that. Hutcherson, by contrast, is much more under the radar. While franchise fans have a deep, abiding love for Peeta Mellark and the actor who portrays him, he’s hardly a household name on Lawrence’s level – and only a die-hard Peeta stan (do those exist?) would call Catching Fire his movie. (This may change by Mockingjay: Part 1, which will give Hutcherson more showcase moments.)
The pressure, then, is off.
Which means that Hutcherson will have plenty of room to just have fun on the SNL stage – and if there’s anything we do know about Hutcherson, it’s that he doesn’t take himself too seriously. He jokes that Katniss, Peeta, and Gale should just have a threesome already! He knows how dumb he looked when Peeta camouflaged himself in The Hunger Games! He fondly remembers a Catching Fire take in which he knelt to propose to Lawrence’s Katniss, and his pants ripped – “right up the taint”! (Seriously, our Catching Fire cover story is a must-read for tidbits like that.)
So buck up, skeptics – clearly, Lawrence isn’t the only member of Catching Fire’s love triangle trio capable of mounting an impressive charm offensive. (Er, sorry, Liam Hemsworth.) My only real reservation is the fact that SNL hasn’t yet produced a Hunger Games parody that’s as funny as its Frankenstein-inspired riff on Twilight or as, er, memorable as its Harry Potter spoof, starring Lindsay Lohan as Sexy Hermione. (Could it be that children murdering children just isn’t funny as vampires or wizards?) Maybe, though, tonight will be the night all that changes. Bonus: Such a sketch may or may not involve Hutcherson’s sex face.
What are you hoping to see from Hutcherson tonight – as well as musical guest Haim? (Strange but true: All three of the L.A. band’s youthful sisters are older than 21-year-old Hutcherson.) Discuss below, and check back tomorrow for a full recap.