May 13, 2012 at 2:22 PM ET
Nostalgia hit as Will Ferrell returned to host “Saturday Night Live,” resurrecting his favorite routines and paying tribute to Mother’s Day while helming the latest edition of the variety show. He began by bringing out his mother for an opening monologue, thanking her for matronly good deeds such as making milk like “the lady on the cover of Time magazine.
Afterward, the blast from the past continued with appearances from guest “SNL” alums Ana Gasteyer in an LGBT prom, and Will Forte as an ESPN reporter. There was even a comic resurrection of Ferrell’s epic sneeze when he and Kristen Wiig posed as husband and wife in a spoof Nasaflu commercial. “That sneeze is outrageous!” Wiig complained as Ferrell stalked her around the house, grunting every two seconds. “Just sneeze like a normal person!”
The actor also reprised his role as George W. Bush, opening the broadcast with a parody of President Barack Obama (Fred Armisen) and Vice President Joe Biden (Jason Sudeikis) hashing out gay marriage.
“(Obama’s) a real buzz-kill,” Ferrell said as Bush, Biden’s “imaginary friend.” He then delved into his own theories as a political chief: “Mission accomplished! … It's just something I say when a problem isn’t solved but I don’t want to talk about it anymore.”
Ferrell had some memorable lines, but it was primarily his return to the show that had most people talking, along with an all-star digital short to commemorate the 100th edition of the mini-film series. The video – which featured all of the stars of the previous shorts -- became the buzz of the viral community when a pop-meets-rap-meets-R&B mock jingle that featured Justin Bieber, Natalie Portman, Justin Timberlake, Usher, Jon Hamm and Michael Bolton came to life through rap-sung harmonies.
Liam Neeson made a cameo on “Weekend Update” and answered questions about his new film, “Battleship,” with a fake Nicolas Cage played by Andy Samberg.
“I have a particular set of skills that make me a nightmare for people like you,” joked Neeson, explaining why he was selected for the role over Cage.
Noticeably absent was a throwback to Ferrell’s classic skit “Celebrity Jeopardy,” which many fans had been pining for. Also missed was the rest of the cast, who played mere minor roles compared to returning vets.
When the regulars resurfaced in a dance skit toward the end, Billboard magazine contributor Kevin Rutherford tweeted, “This sketch is called, "Hey, we have other people on this show, let's give them a chance to have some lines tonight!" #snl”
With Ferrell manning the helm, overall, the feel was retro-cool.
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