“Saturday Night Live” took advantage of this weekend’s “Breaking Bad”-mania by recruiting “BB” star Aaron Paul for three surprise cameo appearances.
Paul, who plays the emotionally tortured meth-dealer Jesse Pinkman on the AMC series, helped guest-host Tina Fey usher in the 39th season of “SNL” Saturday.
Fey positioned the season premiere — featuring musical guest Arcade Fire — as a “transitional” year for “SNL” as she introduced the show’s six new cast members in her opening segment, and also helped newly appointed “Weekend Update” anchor Cecily Strong get acclimated in her new, high-profile role.
The newbies were brought in to help take up the slack left by the exits of Andy Samberg and Fred Armisen, who have left the show, and Jason Sudeikis and Seth Meyers, who are leaving (the latter to replace Jimmy Fallon on “Late Night”).
Paul first turned up at the very beginning of the show, in a “cold open” that had President Obama (Jay Pharoah) trying to explain his national health program known as Obamacare. Among those the “president” invited to join him at the podium were “Jesse Pinkman,” a young man from New Mexico. Paul — as Pinkman — then told the story of his friend who couldn’t afford cancer treatments so he had to resort to cooking meth. That, of course, is the story of “Breaking Bad,” which has its highly anticipated series finale Sunday night (Sept. 29) at 9/8c on AMC.
“I had this friend and he got sick, like cancer sick,” said Paul as Pinkman. “But because there wasn’t Obamcare, he couldn’t afford treatments. So he was like, backed into a corner. So, he did what any of us would have done. He started cooking meth.”
Paul also turned up in another meth-related context — a commercial spoof of the electronic cigarette craze. This one was a commercial for “E-Meth.”
Then the Pinkman character turned up again, in a “Drunk Uncle” bit with Bobby Moynihan during “Weekend Update.” Paul played the uncle’s nephew, “Meth Nephew!”
Also on “Weekend Update,” Fey helped new anchor Cecily Strong get comfortable behind the anchor desk. Fey, of course, became a star as “Weekend Update” anchor before Meyers, who earned a promotion to “Late Night.” Certainly, anchoring “Weekend Update” means Strong could be poised for bigger things.
Also just getting started are the six new cast members of “SNL,” whose arrival this weekend made for an extra-lengthy opening-title sequence as announcer Don Pardo worked his way through the list — presumably not a simple task for “SNL’s” legendary 95-year-old announcer.
Tina Fey introduced all of the newbies in her opening monologue, and even had them perform a humiliating dance as a kind of “SNL” hazing ritual.
For us, when all was said and done, and all the Aaron Paul cameos were put aside, and the cast member introductions taken care of, the best thing about Saturday’s “SNL” were the sketches that had nothing to do with any of that.
A case in point: A spoof of HBO’s “Girls” that hammered this Lena Dunham comedy series. The spoof was styled as a lengthy promo spot for a new, upcoming season of “Girls,” with Fey playing a new female character from Albania.
Watch more of this weekend’s “SNL” right HERE.