Jason Aldean Cold Open
Saturday Night Live returned this week on a somber note. It seems that since the events of 9/11, we as a nation turn to television to help soothe our pain. In 2001, both David Letterman and SNL told us it was okay to laugh again while we dealt with a national tragedy. It’s happened a few times since then and this week, in light of the horrific shooting in Las Vegas, the show opened with the man who was on stage when the shooting started, Jason Aldean. Aldean delivered a message of hope and peace and finished with a song of strength and resilience, “Won’t Back Down”, which also served as a silent tribute to the man who originated the song, Tom Petty. It’s tough to laugh after such an emotional moment but we must be able to after events like that. And the show must go on.
Gal Gadot Monologue
I think it’s been mentioned here before, and even the SNL writers made a bit about it, but when they don’t know what to do with the host in the opening monologue, throw in a cast member to guide them along (and steal the spotlight). The monologue actually started out cute with host Gal Gadot speaking to her friends and family back in Israel where they were seeing the show live for the first time, making humorously disparaging remarks about the writers not knowing what to do with her (all in Hebrew with subtitles). Then Leslie Jones joined her as Times Square Wonder Woman and overshadowed the host. But Leslie did get to show off her newly svelte figure!
E! New Line Up
If you watch the E! channel, you’re pretty familiar with their line up of Kardashian series and other “celeb-reality” shows. The “new fall line up” was pretty hilarious with clips from “Kendall’s Model House” (with Kendall Jenner and the Hadid sisters, but Kendall forgot which one she is), “Down Home with Blake & Gwen”, “Where’s Kanye?” (which was just footage of Kanye trying to avoid the cameras while shooting Keeping Up With the Kardashians), “Kendall’s World” (she’s lost in a house she only lives in two weeks a year), “Background Actors of Riverdale” and a few more. This was a pretty funny pre-taped bit with Gadot pretty great as Kendall Jenner.
A couple who met on a dating app (played by Gal Gadot and Kenan Thompson) are on their first date and all is well but it feels like one of those sketches where it seems the writers have no idea where to go with the story. Then BOOM, they hit us with a hilarious twist that I won’t ruin if you haven’t yet seen it. Just watch the sketch linked above and give it a minute.
The Chosen One
I’m pretty sure Pete Davidson has played this video game burn out character Chad before and this time he’s transported to another Lord of the Rings type universe where he must go on a quest to save the kingdom but … he’s Chad. A lot of juvenile humor here, and after seeing Pete on “Weekend Update”, you have to wonder if this is one of those sketches he was referring to. And no Gal Gadot in this one (puzzling that she didn’t play the queen).
Two Nat Geo cameramen are stranded in the desert, dying of thirst. One conjures up his wife’s personal trainer tempting him with lemonade, the other can only see the two guys who work at Jamba Juice and the manager who hates him. It’s a silly sketch but it still made me laugh.
You’ve seen those Safelite commercials where the repairman comes to fix the windshield while the mother and daughter are at a school sporting event. Well, this one perfectly apes that at the beginning, but it goes on a but longer and takes quite the icky turn.
Colin Jost and Michael Che were on fire at the top of the segment focusing on the gun control issue after the Las Vegas shooting, comparing people with 47 guns to people with 47 cats — no one needs that many, and if you have 47 cats, the government comes and takes them away. The suggestion of a buy back program was also pretty funny. The idea of how to get rid of the Second Amendment was brilliant. They also touched on Trump’s disastrous visit to Puerto Rico, OJ’s first meal out of prison at McDonald’s (and Burger King’s new slogan), and the birth control requirements lifted from employer health care coverage. Kate McKinnon did her usual schtick as Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and Pete Davidson did a terrific piece about his own battle with depression and how SNL could help him by airing more of his sketches (of course, if he wrote “The Chosen One”, we know why more of them don’t make it to air). It was a good bit for the segment.
The Maiden and the Mice
This “Story Book Classic” was a spin on the Cinderella story (and reminiscent of the annual Christmas elves sketch) with three mice having created a new ball gown for their princess. It didn’t really turn out that well but what do you expect from mice?
Government agents are trying to communicate with a forreign spy to negotiate delivery of a flash drive, except someone keeps piggy-backing on the Wifi signal so every time a piece of vital information is being relayed, the signal switches to Sexy Chat Now where two trashy women are performing various bizarre requests like crunching pickles. Aidy Bryant was a hoot and Cecily Strong did that same white trash, redneck voice she always does for this type of character (it’s also the same one she does as the crazy lady on “Weekend Update”). Only mildy humorous.
Diana and the women of Themyscira are doing their training exercises to do battle with Ares when two women who have been adrift at sea come upon their island and assume they’ve found a group of women just like them, if ya know what I mean. Perhaps this sketch was a response to the recent online demands that Wonder Woman be bisexual in the next movie, and Gal Gadot was pretty game to plant one on Kate McKinnon. The bit really didn’t go anywhere except fulfill the obligation of doing a Wonder Woman sketch (and really late in the show) and getting a few fan boys excited.
The Naomi Show
Gal plays talk show host Naomi, a Dr. Phil type, trying to help a mother and her troubled teen (what is she doing with all those straws?). She brings in a boot camp sergeant and things go horribly wrong … for the sergeant. It was almost funny but as the last sketch of the show it ran out of steam.
British singer Sam Smith performed songs from his new album, “Too Good at Goodbyes” and “Pray”. I think if you’re a fan, you will love his performances. I like Smith and his vocal range and both songs were pretty good. He may not be the flashiest performer who’s ever been on the show, but he showcased his talents perfectly. What I like about the musical performances so far this season is that the set has been changed for each number.
Episode 2 of season 43 had a lot to overcome with recent events that have left the country stunned, and giving the opening over to Jason Aldean instead of trotting out Alec Baldwin again was the right move. Gal Gadot was obviously game for anything they threw at her, but they really didn’t throw too much and she relied way too much on the cue cards from which she was obviously reading the whole time. The writing was consistently okay with a few high points but when your host is Wonder Woman you expect something a little more wonderful. Not awful, not great, a little better than average overall.
What did you think of this episode? Tell us in the comments below!