"SNL's" uncomfortable Garner/Affleck moment

Ben Affleck's monologue was work to get through -- and not "the best kind of work"

By Daniel D'Addario

Published May 20, 2013 4:45PM (EDT)

Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck           (AP/Jordan Strauss)
Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck (AP/Jordan Strauss)

Ben Affleck got inducted into the Five-Timers Club on "Saturday Night Live," alongside the likes of great hosts like Justin Timberlake and Alec Baldwin, but it was a one-time host who provided the show's biggest moment.

Instead of the traditional Five-Timers welcome (one that Timberlake received earlier this year, with "SNL" icons dropping by), Affleck was visited by his wife, Jennifer Garner. That's the same Jennifer Garner whom Affleck told, while accepting this year's Best Picture Oscar, that marriage with her was "work, but the best kind of work!"

Affleck used his monologue to rehabilitate his image somewhat (and it's a well-worn path -- just ask Lindsay Lohan, who time after time would step out onstage and gingerly mock her partying ways), but Garner's appearance was startling in many senses.

The erstwhile "Alias" star and 2003 "SNL" host, who has been working mainly on smaller-scale film projects after prioritizing raising a family, has not been in the media much lately, except as a mute awards-season plus-one, clapping in the audience for Affleck. She seemed surprised at the loud applause she got and fell forward, steadying herself on Affleck.

"I would have said thank you to my wife, our marriage is a gift!" Garner cracked, after asking why Affleck had to expose their private conversations to "a billion people."

"Why don't we just go ahead and mention who does all the work?" Garner asked, before Affleck delivered a not-too-funny testimonial to the pair's love. He was, as Garner pointed out, reading it off a cue card.

In all, the segment was charming and good image rehab for an eleventh-hour-of-a-boring-Oscars incident that many may have forgotten already. However, Garner's parting shot, "You're a lot of work," stung, particularly given the circumstances that got the actress her five minutes on "SNL" It makes the viewer hope that Garner, who's suggested she'll make a large-scale return to moviemaking soon, will get the chance to do more in her next late-night appearance than air out her family's division of labor.

Daniel D'Addario

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