Girls is smart, well-made, thought-provoking, and very entertaining – provided you’re in the right mindset and/or have a high tolerance for watching selfish people go about their lives. That said, Lena Dunham’s adventure in auteurism isn’t exactly a laugh-out-loud sort of show – and really never has been, barring a few notable exceptions (Shoshanna on crack; Hannah and Elijah on coke; suddenly I’m sensing a pattern). I like to describe Broad City as “Girls, but funny” – which is probably why I like Broad City a whole lot more than I like Girls.
Despite all this, I’ve still got high hopes for Lena Dunham’s first episode as host of Saturday Night Live. Why? Because while Girls isn’t funny, Dunham herself is; I’ve got no doubt that when she decides to make a pure comedy, she’ll end up creating something great. And perhaps more importantly, Dunham is an experienced writer with a fully developed voice, which is just what SNL needs right now.
Last week’s episode – the first one in over a decade written without the input of Seth Meyers – was a mess from start to finish, stuffed with meandering, pointless sketches that weren’t clever enough to make up for their lack of solid jokes. (Maybe head writer Colin Jost was so busy preparing to take over Weekend Update that he didn’t have time to make sure the rest of the show was solid.) With a strong leader like Dunham at the helm, though, SNL’s cast and writers may have the stewardship they need to turn in something more polished. And if nothing else, I’m expecting a show that bears Dunham’s stamp even when she isn’t headlining a sketch – which should make for one of this season’s more interesting experiments, even if it doesn’t end up being one of this season’s funnier installments.
So, what can we expect to see tonight? I’d say a Girls parody, if SNL hadn’t already aired a (great) one earlier this season. Either way, I can’t see the show passing up the opportunity to have Noël Wells break out her Dunham impression again, most likely alongside the real Lena herself. (Though again, it’d be hard for them to top last fall’s Miley on Miley cold open.) Other things to look out for: Post-Oscars hangover, if there’s anything left to wring out, a True Detective parody before Sunday’s finale, some stuff about Putin, lots of work for the show’s ladies, and perhaps a cameo from one (or more) of Dunham’s famous pals (Mindy Kaling, Taylor Swift, etc.). Oh, and the smooth sounds of The National, a band that’s just the sort of indie rock powerhouse you’d expect to see alongside Dunham as she makes her SNL debut.
Are you looking forward to Dunham’s SNL takeover? How many times do you think she or someone else in the cast will get naked, or be the butt of some kind of nudity joke? And in your estimation, how many of tonight’s sketches will focus on 1. Brooklyn, 2. feminism, 3. body image, and 4. the confluence of all three? Discuss in the comments, and check back tomorrow morning for my full recap.