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Many were genuinely surprised when it was revealed that Lindsay Lohan, who has spent more time in the media spotlight for her problems with the law as of late than making films, would be hosting Saturday Night Live on March 3.
The actress took to the stage for her opening monologue able to poke fun of herself and her past. “I feel lucky and grateful to be here tonight,” Lohan said. “And that’s why I really want to thank all of my friends at SNL who trusted me enough to have me back.” Skits that night included “The Real Housewives of Disney” – considered by many to be the best of the night – and a “Bicycle Thieves Scared Straight” sketch, which was not met with such praise from viewers.
Overall, critics admitted that Lohan, who was hosting for the fourth time, was not the worst thing that’s ever happened to the late-night show. But that might be due to the fact that she wasn’t given as big a role as past hosts.
“Letting Lindsay Lohan host Saturday Night Live was a mistake,” wrote Moviefone’s Mike Ryan on The Huffington Post. “The fact is, she just wasn’t ready. It was apparent that the cast and the writers didn’t particularly trust her (and why should they?) since they relegated her to backup duty in pretty much every sketch.”
HitFix’s Ryan McGee agreed: “SNL essentially gave Lohan nothing to do in this monologue, which either means they are trying to shield her from being along onstage or they actually don’t trust her as a performer to hold the audience’s attention for that long.”
The A.V. Club’s David Sims agreed that Lohan wasn’t a big part of the show. “Lohan was barely a presence in the episode, and her energy definitely wasn’t that high, but the sketches were by and large pretty decent, so it felt like an alright show.”
Wrote Entertainment Weekly’s Darren Franich: “Lohan’s a long way from her Disney days, and although last night marked her fourth time hosting SNL, it became clear early on that her range was limited — for most of the show, she was relegated to making faces in the background.
“Lohan, to her credit, did address her legal and personal issues head-on in a self-deprecating enough way in the monologue,” he added.
“How many lines she actually learned, too, may be a matter of debate; you could see her eyes wandering, or fixated on cue cards, in skits like “Scared Straight” — the weakest of the lot and designed to poke direct fun at her troubled history — which tended to make her wooden and flat,” wrote Verne Gay of Newsday.
“I was genuinely hoping she’d score some big laughs as host of this week’s Saturday Night Live,” wrote Michael Slezak of TVLine. “Unfortunately for the troubled actress, however, there’s only so much one can do with setups built around prison-rape jokes or the sight of Fred Armisen in drag getting repeatedly hit by a car.”
Sarah Anne Hughes of The Washington Post agreed with several writers that the “Disney Housewives” sketch was one of the highlights of the night: “Perhaps the best Lohan moment of the night was the pretaped ‘Real Housewives of Disney’ sketch. The actress was completely competent as Rapunzel, and Kristen Wiig really nailed being drunk/bitter Cinderella.”
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