Welcome to our new Saturday Night Live recap section! I’m here to tell you how SNL is doing these days, which I know is a great concern. Hell, the show is in it’s 40th season! And as it reaches middle-age, the wrinkles are starting to show. I can’t say I’m not a bit worried about this season after watching the premiere this weekend. SNL continues to be plagued by poor writing and horrific pacing (one of the many reasons that the video sketches continue to reign supreme week-to-week), and there are only glimmers of hope through much of the mediocrity.
But enough with the negative stuff, our host tonight was Chris Pratt! We all love Chris Pratt! He’s an adorable everyman who is also a kickass action hero. We saw him in a lot of everyman roles, or action hero roles tonight. So how did he do? Well……read on, my friends.
Best Sketch of the Night
Tonight’s middle-of-the-road episode didn’t really have a stand-out “best” sketch, really. The closest I can say was the Beck Bennett/Kyle Mooney Video of the Week, an 80’s/90’s style sitcom that was so out there and ludicrous that I loved it so. The Bennet/Mooney video sketches are doing their own thing, and it’s so damn admirable that I can’t help but love them every time. They’re doing something weird and different, and at least trying to take risks. That’s where the live sketches seem to falter.
Worst Sketch of the Night
I’m going to have to go with the one where Aidy Bryant was rapping “Anaconda” to Chris Pratt in the bar. SNL hasn’t had the best track record recently of commenting on pop culture in a meaningful way, and this is a perfect example of that. This was just a dumb sketch, from beginning to end. I’m sorry that I don’t have a lot of words about it. It’s just not worth it, to be honest.
What Else Happened Tonight?
-Lots of weird flubbed line stuff tonight, you guys. Aidy Bryant was definitely tripping up on some words in the cold open. Same with Chris Pratt during his monologue (also, of course it was a song. Jesus). And then Michael Che during Weekend Update. They need to get this figured out, it really messes with the already messy pace of the show.
-Lots of NFL stuff tonight. And none of it really that good. The sketch later in the night going through the team members and their crimes (we’ll touch on that soon) was pretty decent, I’ll give it that. But the cold open was the tamest of tame, and none of the Update jokes on the matter had any real punch to them. In a week that had amazing commentary from South Park and the Daily Show on the subject, it’s a shame SNL couldn’t do the same comedic damage.
-Two sketches tonight gave me a severe case of deja vu. First, the sketch where Kyle Mooney’s toys came to life. It’s freakily reminiscent of this sketch from 2006. For reference, these are the guys who did the David Blaine parody videos from many moons ago. But watch that and tell me there aren’t some freaky similarities. Similarly, the NFL sketch later in the evening was eerily similar to the classic Key & Peele sketch about the East/West College Bowl. I hope this isn’t a trend that keeps repeating throughout the season.
How was Weekend Update?
I don’t feel right judging the first outing of co-anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che. They’ve got a new rapport they need to figure out, new rhythms to work on, and that will take some time. I’m a huge fan of Michael Che, and I’m excited to see where this new team goes. And I also love the new set, it’s really lovely.
I was also pleased to see the return of Cecily Strong’s “The Girl You Wish Yada Yada Yada” character, who always has fantastic lines. My favorites tonight included “I’m thinking about it 25/7,” and “Ugh, swipe left.” Of course she has Tinder.
We also got lovely, fantastically raunchy bits from writer Leslie Jones and newcomer Pete Davidson. It’s nice when the show gives a chance for their performers to just riff and do their thing. It’s fresh and different and new. Again, the complete antithesis of SNL.
And the Musical Guest?
A cat was the musical guest this week. She sung songs which sounded nice. She also played She-Ra in the aforementioned toy sketch, and proved to be as awkward as can be. This is why you don’t let cats be your musical guest.
Any Other Memorable Moments?
Sadly, not a lot. Again, this was a tepid episode, and not a great way to start off the season. Hopefully Sarah Silverman will bring some much-needed life into the proceedings when she hosts. Here are a few things thought that did stand out from the show…
-In the cold open, “Did your bowtie just get bigger?” got a very big laugh from me.
-I did enjoy the recklessness of the “Toys Come to Life” sketch. Taran Killam as Lion-O ripping off the door was lovely.
-I really wanted to like the “Marvel Can’t Fail” sketch more than I did. It started off in a fun place, but then sort of trailed off. However, I would pay big bucks to see Marvel’s “Pam.”
-Michael Che’s impression of Madea on Update made me laugh the hardest out of anything on this episode.
-“This is a fight.” Seriously, that Bennett/Mooney sketch was perfection.
-Two lines from the NFL sketch that were saved because of their delivery. “And I’m the punter. Tax fraud!” “Donald Washburn. American Taliban.”
-I couldn’t stand the “Puzzle World 6” sketch, but I quite enjoyed the line “their relationship drama is blocking the puzzle.” Four stars for that line.