Alien Attack Cold Open
This week’s Cold Open still had Trump as usual but with an Independance Day twist. Basically portraying the big speech moment from the blockbuster film but with a Trump paranoia angle. I found this one to be mostly bland though Trump’s accusing the only black people in the crowd of being aliens was a funny beat. All the Pledge of Allegiance stuff and the same old Trump jokes are starting to get stale.
Scarlett Johansson 5th Monologue
Scarlett Johansson got to join the five timers club and though she took a backseat in her own monologue it was for the better. Starting with “highlights” of her hosting duties, put together by Kenan Thompson, featuring Kenan scenes in every clip and hilariously cutting before Scarlett can say any lines. Then Kate McKinnon had some cute little moments with her costar from the upcoming Rough Night. All in all adorable, amusing, but not hysterical. Even the “Five Timers” song, sung to the tune of Subway’s “Five Dollar Foot Long” jingle was amusing in its way.
First proper sketch of the evening was a mistaken report on an animal photographer who is accidentally identified as a pornographer. Lots of innuendo and unfortunate graphics mistakes drag the same joke out far too long, even having a website called DannyBangsAnimals.com, which reroutes to SNL’s site by the way. This was crude and amusing in an incredibly cheap way. The bit went on too long however and could have used a bigger punch to end on.
The commercial for the Fire Island “spin-off” Cherry Grove was well produced. It aped the style of reality television well and played off the contrast between a show about gay men who party and club against a stereotypical lesbian lifestyle. Another amusing but overall forgetful bit.
The Innotech Dog link sketch benefited greatly from some unexpected mistakes and quick thinking. The piece about a helmet that allows dogs to talk was kind of dumb but the surprise that the dog in question is a huge Trump supporter was a surprisingly good choice. The shock and disgust from the humans at hearing the dog was funny but what impressed me was when the dog took the helmet off mid scene forcing Scarlett and the cast member doing the dog’s voice (Beck Bennett) to recover with some fast improv. One of those moments only afforded to live television. Seeing the recovery was well worth it and the sketch was pretty good too.
The Olive Garden ad was a simple idea perfectly executed, with the actors directed to do bigger and bigger takes, sometimes even ludicrously so. The section with each member giving their “O” face seemed a bit much but otherwise I laughed a ton here. Kenan with his face in a bowl of pasta for an incredibly long time and so well timed, then Leslie Jones, while funny overall, really shone when the director would motivate her with an “Oh Lawdy” line in a full on Mammy voice. Those looks could kill. Dumb in the best way possible, this sketch was a winner.
The Ivanka fragrance commercial: Complicit, seems to be getting a lot of attention but I don’t get why. Yes it is mildly clever for pointing out that her long stance on women’s rights is undercut by supporting her father and his staunch opposition to many of those same rights, but it wasn’t any great genius piece. It wasn’t terribly funny either. It happened in front of me and then it was gone, like a fart in the wind. Much like the Melania thoughts pieces, this was lacking in bite or wit.
“Weekend Update” was fair this week. Still not hitting the stride they did earlier this year, but the jokes were decent. McKinnon’s Sessions impression was highly entertaining and we got to see a pretty decent Al Franken, though it’s a shame they couldn’t get the Senator and former SNL alum to make a cameo instead. There was a Jergens masturbation joke that while cheap was also effective. Then Pete Davidson had a decent though less than his best appearance while also acknowledging his new sobriety.
Shud the Mermaid
“True Tales from the Sea” was a repeat of an already tired sketch. Joining McKinnon’s Blobfish mermaid was Scarlett as an angler version. With gross out humor, I found myself bored to tears and grossed out more than amused. Just a complete miss for me.
Shanice Goodwin: Ninja Rivals
Another recycled sketch was “Shanice Goodwin: Ninja.” A cheesy, silly send-up of kung fu movies, this felt more liked a 3 AM Adult Swim show than an SNL sketch. Just weird and awkward. I kind of snickered at a few parts but it was just bizarre and a rehash to boot.
A Sketch for the Women
Day Without Women did something very hard. It made Kyle Mooney funny … kind of. The idea being that he and Beck wrote this for all the women on the show, only to make themselves the stars of the piece, relegating the female cast members to supporting and mostly unspoken roles. Having the two bros explain the nuances of feminism while making these women sit and do nothing but agree was the type of clever social commentary I would not expect from these two. Very well written and executed.
Ending on a sour note, Dan and Didi performing an over-sexualized funeral tribute landed with a thud. A wholly unfunny sketch that mistakes sexualized songs at a wake as comedy. Which it could be if better written, which this was not. Just lame.
Musical guest Lorde performed the singles “Green Light” and “Liability”. The first performance seemed very off for the singer. Pitchy and rough vocals throughout, it almost seemed like there were technical issues at play as she looked lost at several points. The second performance was much better, a simpler stripped down number that better showed off her talents. Though overall I found both outings not particularly memorable.
While much better than last week, Scarlett Johansson was just along for the ride this week. Never making a huge impact but also playing her parts well. It was a fair show overall but only so. Nothing stuck out as incredibly great or terribly bad, sort of a “fine whatever” week for the crew over at 30 Rock.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Tell us in the comments below!