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February 07, 2016

Host Larry David commands us to have low expectations ... before he hosts the best episode of the season.

During his monologue last night, host and career-curmudgeon Larry David refused to guarantee that they were going to “have a great show” for us, because if we had low expectations, we wouldn’t be disappointed. Of course he would say that, but whatever your expectations, out of the 12 episodes aired so far this season, this one was unequivocally the best.

If you thought Larry David could only play Larry David, you were proven wrong by Kevin Roberts and Ace Chuggins. If you thought Derek Zoolander and Hansel couldn’t possibly be just as funny fifteen years later, you were wrong on that count, too. If you thought you hadn’t seen much of new cast member Jon Rudnitsky on air because maybe he didn’t have the comedy chops, BOY were YOU WRONG! But we’ll get to Jon later. Because we’re all here primarily to watch SNL’s take on “Bern Your Enthusiasm,” amirite?

“There was no wipe, there was definitely no wipe, she didn’t have the decency to give me a wipe.”

The “Bern Your Enthusiasm” filmed piece (directed by Bernie Sanders?! Probably not, but that’s a future I wanna believe in) was nothing short of a masterpiece. Instead of playing Bernie in the same style he’s done as a guest in past episodes, Larry David essentially plays Bernie playing Larry David. That is to say: he ends up in a bunch of awkward situations with potential voters and handles them all poorly, but remains witty as he’s whining. It all comes full circle at the end with an A+ twist: he and his team learn the result of the Iowa caucus, and the voters Bernie met earlier helped determine that result. But Larry-as-Bernie-as-Larry decides that 2% (in two different respects) maybe isn’t so bad.

“You’re gonna let me drown, but you won’t just do a simple pubes-check?”

Bernie Sanders’s actual cameo came during a Titanic-themed sketch where Larry David plays a rich prick who attempts to use his status to get on the women-and-children-only lifeboat. Bernie plays Bernie Sanderswitsky, which he will eventually shorten in America so that it won’t sound quite so Jewish (“That’ll trick ‘em,” David notes). The sketch offers Bernie a quick metaphorical podium to express how he’s “so sick of the one percent getting this preferential treatment,” as well as the “yuuuuge” difference between socialism and democratic socialism — but Larry David’s obnoxious quips make it especially worth watching.

“What’s … happening … to my hungry guys?!”

Continuing with the trend of surprises around every corner (much like the insanely weird, uncoordinated introduction at the Republican debate, also last night, which an incredulous Colin Jost covers in a last minute Weekend Update addition), Vanessa Bayer’s Super Bowl Totino’s commercial isn’t anything like last year’s commentary on sexist stereotyping. Bayer is still the same demented housewife concerned only with her “hungry guys,” but there’s something off this time. The guys don’t seem concerned about food at all; in fact, they’re acting a little strange as they repeat the mantra “Go, go, go, go, go, touchdown! No, no, no, no, no, ah, fumble!"with glazed eyes. When Bayer goes to present the men with the fresh-baked pizza rolls, she is horrified to find that the TV screen … is blank.

“Well, you’re not a regular guy, I mean you’re on SNL.” “Literally nobody knows that, Colin.”

Last but certainly not least (I can’t write about every segment of the episode and call this “SNL Highlights”), Jon Rudnitsky finally got a chance to showcase his brilliant physical comedy with a Dirty Dancing audition that takes a manic turn, expressed through dance and mime.