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‘SNL’ Recap: Miles Teller Scores A TD With His Hilarious Peyton Manning Impression To Kick Off Season 48

It’s time for season 48 of Saturday Night Live, already termed a transitional or rebuilding year by the show’s creator and guru, Lorne Michaels. Eight cast members left over the summer (Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, Pete Davidson, Kyle Mooney in May, then Alex Moffat, Melissa Villaseñor, Aristotle Athari and Chris Redd in September), and Lorne hired four new cast members (Marcello Hernandez, Molly Kearney, Michael Longfellow and Devon Walker). How might the show look and feel different already? For one thing, there’s a new opening credit sequence complete with new title font (how they didn’t go with Papyrus, only Ryan Gosling and Julio Torres can tell us!?), which put Michael Che front of the order alphabetically. Still no formal recognition in the opening for the “please don’t destroy” trio (though they’re listed in the end credits as part of the writing staff). But also, where’s Cecily Strong? Are we to believe she was just too busy performing “The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe” in Los Angeles to make an appearance in the credits, too? And what, pray tell, is up with all of the corporate branding in so many sketches? I hope they got inflation bonuses…

What’s The Deal For The SNL Cold Open For Last Night (10/01/22)?

Peyton and Eli Manning’s “Manningcasts” for Monday Night Football proved a hit last season for ESPN, and host Miles Teller leaned into an impersonation every bit as efficient as Peyton’s passing stats, becoming one of the rare SNL hosts to anchor a cold opening. Andrew Dismukes as Eli was mostly there along for the ride (as one could argue Eli is on the Manningcast!), as the brothers provided real-time commentary on SNL’s own cold open.

Arch meta humor. Also something that the older SNL fans may remember from 40 seasons earlier, when the late great movie critics Siskel and Ebert showed up to do their thing live from 30 Rock:

Anyhow. Back to 2022 and Season 48.

As the Mannings, Teller and Dismukes serve as audience surrogates, allowing us to giggle at the lack of laughs (only 1 in the first 14 joke attempts, according to the Mannings), mock purposefully bad line deliveries by Bowen Yang and Heidi Gardner (of the latter, Teller as Peyton offered: “A political impression that no one asked for”), play up the first appearances by new cast members as well as “gratuitous stunt casting” courtesy of cameos by Shaun White and Jon Hamm. There’s a “Damn!” when they realize McKinnon’s not around to provide devastating portrayals of politicians, but no mention of the missing Moffat as Eric Trump. :(

How Did The SNL Guest Host Miles Teller Do?

Teller has been working toward this moment his whole life, and he has the videotape to prove it. He thanked his parents, in the audience (not pictured), for holding onto a recording of young Miles and his older sister re-enacting a Spartan Cheerleader sketch by Will Ferrell and Cheri Oteri. Teller also poked fun at himself for looking more than a bit like Rachel Maddow (although no Maddow sketches would be forthcoming), and how he took piano lessons for Top Gun: Maverick, only to not get much credit for it in the final movie edit. Nevertheless, the actor really put in the work tonight, appearing in key roles in most of the sketches!

He also played host in the requisite game show parody, in this case a game called “Send Something Normal.” SNL has enjoyed success in recent years playing off society’s social media mishaps, and this game reflects how celebrities such as Adam Levine (Mikey Day) and Armie Hammer (James Austin Johnson) have gotten caught sliding into DMs of women not their wives with horrifying sexts. Can the send something normal in reply to a female fan and win $1 million. Nope. Nor could Neil deGrasse Tyson (Kenan Thompson) nor even Bowen Yang as himself. Dua Lipa just has that effect on everyone.

Teller and Day also portrayed hapless finance bros at a rooftop bar, flailing to hit on two women despite all of their braggadocio beforehand.

Would Day accompany Teller in every sketch tonight? Good question! Read on…

Just How Many Sponsored Sketches Were There?

This is a better question, perhaps. If you ask the writers or publicists at NBC/SNL, they might defer full disclosure on this kind of thing still, even six years after Lorne announced the show would be doing branded content as a way to allow for more sketches and less actual commercial breaks. ‘Twas very noticeable in the Season 48 premiere, however, as we saw Teller and Day as bank robbers interrupted full stop by the hot new social media app, BeReal.

We also saw a sketch imagining the rich backstory of the Charmin Bear family (papa Kenan, mama Heidi, and kids Punkie Johnson and Teller), with a dance partner/coach in Yang. This sketch was immediately followed by a commercial break with a very real Charmin Bear ad. Hmmmm.

Chloe Fineman presented us with an even more disturbing Nicole Kidman ad for AMC movie theaters to ponder.

And if you’re wondering what has happened to the characters from McDonaldland, well, Sarah Sherman as Birdie, Mikey as Ronald McDonald, Bowen as Hamburglar and Kenan as Mayor McCheese all look familiar, but what’s up with Grimace (Teller)? Apparently, losing 300 pounds and no longer eating McDonald’s turns you into a cheating bisexual hunk o purple!

How Relevant Was The Musical Guest Kendrick Lamar?

Lamar, considered one of the most influential rappers of all time, released his fifth studio album (and first since 2017) back in May, with “Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers” hitting #1 on the Billboard charts. Teller as Peyton Manning suggested in the cold open that Lamar’s performances might be the only reason some viewers even tuned in!

For his first performance, he segued from a static performance of “Rich Spirit,” letting his shadow do all the dancing, before launching into first single “N95.”

Lamar sported a Dodgers cap and a guest in Sampha to perform “Father Time.”

Which Sketch Will We Be Sharing: “BeReal”

Of all the sponsored sketches, the BeReal one may hit the hardest with folks who share clips on social media, primarily because it’s about social media and our habits and addictions to it. It’s also a chance to explain the hot new thing to everyone in your friend group who hasn’t figured it out yet.

Who Stopped By Weekend Update?

Lorne said Weekend Update’s longest-serving anchors, Michael Che and Colin Jost, weren’t going anywhere because he didn’t want to switch it up with midterm elections only a month away. But we’d get three guest segments at the desk.

First up, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell (JAJ) and Georgia candidate Herschel Walker (Kenan) on their prospects for flipping the senate to the Republicans. Walker has a penchant for lying and saying stupid things, so obvious jokes aplenty about that. All I could think about is how JAJ’s McConnell has a stronger, more defined chin than in real life or via Beck Bennett.

I told you last month that newbie Michael Longfellow would be the kind of cast member to show up at Update as himself to do stand-up, and here he was in week one, commenting on how, much like Sydney Sweeney, he has MAGA-loving family members he cannot apologize enough for. His advice? “Don’t cut them out of your life. They might be dead tomorrow…get in the will!”

And finally, Bowen as a pesky spotted lanternfly received a big intro offstage in a PSA parody, then behind the desk to taunt his haters.

What Sketch Filled The “10-to-1” Slot?

Barb & Star Go To Vista Del Mar is available currently on FX. As Trinity and Desiree, Ego Nwodim and Heidi Gardner are no Barb and Star, but they’re five months into a Caribbean resort vacation and their fast friendship has developed into a talk show. At least we get to see newbie Devon Walker as Frank Ocean (no relation to Billy).

Who Was The Episode’s MVP?

No singular performance stood out as much as Teller’s overall commitment to hosting did, but as predicted in the Manningcast cold open, Bowen Yang really is going to have to step up into the spotlight. And he’s doing just that. It really felt like a Bros night (no tie-in, tho!?!?), as Yang, Mikey Day and Kenan Thompson all carried more of the load than any of the other cast members, with the ladies getting especially short shrift.

Next week, Brendan Gleeson hosts with musical guest Willow.

Sean L. McCarthy works the comedy beat for his own digital newspaper, The Comic’s Comic; before that, for actual newspapers. Based in NYC but will travel anywhere for the scoop: Ice cream or news. He also tweets @thecomicscomic and podcasts half-hour episodes with comedians revealing origin stories: The Comic’s Comic Presents Last Things First.