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'SNL' recap: John Goodman returns for a 13th gig, solidly hosting a shaky episode

Thirteen times; seriously, John Goodman has now hosted Saturday Night Live 13 times. I can’t think of anything significant I’ve ever done 13 times. And I was really looking forward to maybe rubbing Goodman’s episode in the faces of those who are just holding on until Fallon/Timberlake next week. It’s not that those two aren’t great; they are, and all of my fingers are crossed for them. But Goodman has been just as good in the past, an SNL champion if ever there was one.

It was 2001 when Goodman last hosted and, for reference, Ja Rule was the musical guest. We have a tendency to glamorize the past and I know that there were stinkers back then like there were last night. But there were also huge successes, like Goodman’s Wilford Brimley “diabeetus” commercial or anytime he was conniving as Linda Tripp. I don’t think we got anything like that from SNL last night.

The episode certainly had its moments, but those moments were more, “oh yes, that is a true and funny thing,” than laugh out loud. If next week’s turn with Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake is supposed to be like going to the most outrageous Saturday night party, then John Goodman is usually like deciding to stay in with delivery and not feeling guilty about it: As a host, he’s joyous and reliable, a return to a level playing field. It’s been 12 years without the jovial host since his last turn, and I was glad to have him back, even if last night’s episode hovered around a B. It wasn’t mind-altering, but it was better in Goodman’s hands than it would have been in anyone else’s.

If you gave up after Weekend Update, I would understand, but then you missed some of the more redeeming sketches of the night. This was no outright chuckle-fest, but the cast got down to business trying to make a series of one-joke sketches into something more.
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TV Recap: 'Modern Family,' 'Nashville,' 'American Horror Story: Coven' -- VIDEO

Did you miss Wednesday night’s episodes of Modern Family, Nashville or American Horror Story: Coven? Catch up with our TV Recap video below! READ FULL STORY

TV Recap: 'The Biggest Loser,' 'The Goldbergs,' and 'The Voice' -- VIDEO

Did you miss Tuesday night’s episodes of The Biggest Loser, The Goldbergs or The Voice? Catch up with our TV Recap video, below! READ FULL STORY

TV Recap: 'The Voice,' Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,' and 'The Sing Off' -- VIDEO

Did you miss Monday night’s episodes of The Voice, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills or The Sing Off? Catch up with our TV Recap video below! READ FULL STORY

TV Recap: 'The Amazing Race,' 'Once Upon a Time,' and 'Homeland' -- VIDEO

Did you miss Sunday’s episodes of The Amazing Race, Once Upon a Time or Homeland? Catch up with our TV Recap video below! READ FULL STORY

TV Recap: 'The Sound of Music,' 'Glee,' and 'Scandal' -- VIDEO

Did you miss Thursday night’s Sound of Music or the new episodes of Glee or Scandal? Catch up with our TV recap below! READ FULL STORY

TV Recap: 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine,' 'The Mindy Project,' and 'The Voice' -- VIDEO

Did you miss Tuesday night’s episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Mindy Project or The Voice? Catch up with our TV Recap video below! READ FULL STORY

TV Recap: 'How I Met Your Mother,' 'The Voice,' and 'The Blacklist'

Did you miss Monday night’s episodes of How I Met Your Mother, The Voice, or The Blacklist? Catch up with our TV Recap video below! READ FULL STORY

'How I Met Your Mother' recap: In the Thicke of celebration

Tonight’s How I Met Your Mother was about honesty and trust and all that stuff Lily and Marshall are usually really good at, but are not currently thriving.

You see, Robin was getting increasingly fed up with Barney lying to her for the sake of getting a reaction out of her. One of the last straws was when he pretended to call off the wedding just so he could turn her frown upside down with a suitcase of puppies. (Aww, puppies.) Sweet as the gestures were intended to be, it was just too much. So she said no more surprises.

Barney took this to mean that Robin was secretly planning a huge surprise for him — a laser tag-themed rehearsal dinner. So he spent the entire episode begging his bride to give up the act while handcuffed in a security guard’s office. (He had been apprehended by the guard while searching for the truth about Robin’s plan…or so he claimed.) I have to admit, because the Barney Thinks Robin is Lying gag went on so long, I thought the end would reveal Barney’s suspicions to be true. Instead, we found out it was Barney who had yet another surprise up his sleeve.

Via flashback, we were shown that Robin had initially wanted her wedding to take place in Canada. But, as you might guess, the gang quickly squashed that idea. (“Canada? Are you registered at Tim Horton’s?” — Ted) But this stayed in Barney’s mind, I assume, because when it came time to plan their rehearsal dinner, he decided to bring Canada to her.
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TV Recap: 'The Walking Dead,' 'The Good Wife,' and 'Homeland'

Did you miss Sunday night’s episodes of The Walking Dead, The Good Wife or Homeland? Catch up with EW’s TV Recap below.

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