September 30th, 2013
01:40 PM ET
For its 39th season, "Saturday Night Live" relied on an old favorite, Tina Fey, to help them introduce a major cast change.
In place of former stars Jason Sudeikis, Fred Armisen and Bill Hader, there are now six newbies that fans will have to learn to tell apart. That likely didn't happen after Saturday night's season premiere, but with Fey at the lead, the transition wasn't disastrous.
To kick it off, Fey did a little "hazing" of the new kids, initiating them with a "humiliating" dance routine:
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And although the fresh cast members tried their hardest to show their devotion to "SNL," Fey still ended up stealing some of the best sketches of the night, including a spoof on Lena Dunham's "Girls":
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With Fey playing the new Albanian roommate named Blerta whose problems proved just how easy Dunham's "Girls" have it, the sketch was spot-on, even to Dunham.
"The SNL parody of Girls was a true honor," she tweeted. "Very excited about the current lineup of SNL ladies. They are funny like whoa."
Fey also gave her approval of new "Weekend Update" co-anchor Cecily Strong, who could potentially lead the desk by herself after Seth Meyers transitions to "Late Night" next year. Returning to the segment that she once rocked, Fey humorously passed the honor down to Strong.
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Aside from Fey, the other big hit of the night was surprisingly Aaron Paul. The "Breaking Bad" star was a part of the cold open, speaking out in support of Obamacare as "Jesse from New Mexico":
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And he also made another cameo in a commercial parody for e-Meth (crystal meth, but electronic):
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In terms of ratings, Fey helped her old employer hold steady. According to Entertainment Weekly, the massive overhaul the show has faced hasn't hurt its viewership, earning a rating in the key adult demographic that was equal to its Ben Affleck-hosted season finale in May.
So while the premiere wasn't perfect, said Variety, "'SNL' can pride itself on a successful opening in that it steered clear of that flopsweat stink that tends to permeate ... when rookies take their wobbly first steps. None of the new kids demonstrated glimmers of greatness to come, but that’s OK, too."
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