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February 6, 2017
By Ellen O’Brien, Glenbard West
Host Kristen Stewart was far from the highlight of “Saturday Night Live” this week. There were only a couple of sketches that stood out, but everybody, from the cast to the writers, seemed to be off their game. Still, there were some impressive bits, but did they make the episode worth watching? It’s debatable.
This week’s “Cold Open” got a warm welcome from me. It had a smart format, consisting of Donald Trump, portrayed by Alec Baldwin, calling different countries, from Australia to Zimbabwe, and being his rude self. This parodied the president’s actual phone call with the Australian prime minister, in which he abruptly hung up, so props to “SNL” for timeliness. The end of the opener suggested something that the show has emphasized a few times before – Steve Bannon is the real president; Trump is just a puppet. All in all, this is the first Trump-led “Cold Open” that has made me laugh in a while.
The first thing that struck me about Kristen Stewart was that she looked nervous. And just a few minutes later, she had let her guard down so much that she accidentally dropped an F-bomb. Sounds like a rocky start, but the middle was absolute gold: Stewart made some funny Twilight jokes, and even mentioned Trump’s tweets about her and her now ex-boyfriend Robert Pattinson from a couple years back. Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant crashed the monologue, too, attempting to be as cool as the host. Still, I’m left wondering how much of a fine that certain four letter word cost NBC…
This was hands-down my favorite sketch of the night. It featured a freshly edited American customs video, to incorporate the new changes since Trump’s Muslim ban. A voice kept cutting in to the otherwise happy and helpful video to inform viewers of recent strict rules to follow when coming into the country. It made me relieved to know that I can always count on “SNL” to expose the injustices in our nation – not to mention, in a way that is downright hilarious. That takes talent.
“SEAN SPICER PRESS CONFERENCE”
Surprise! Melissa McCarthy was just about the last person I’d expect to portray White House press secretary Sean Spicer on “SNL”, but here she was, and she was amazing! McCarthy’s Spicer spewed dozens upon dozens of lies at a press conference – that is, when he was screeching at reporters. He dodged questions, reminiscent of the actual Spicer, and even used props to get his points across, which was a genius touch. McKinnon’s Betsy DeVos, the secretary of education nominee, shuffled in, too, and confirmed that she didn’t know a single thing about schools. Ah, if I had a nickel for every time “SNL” mocked a politician.
“Update” had its fair share of flubs this episode, between Michael Che taking far too long to deliver a single joke and Colin Jost ending the segment prematurely. But it happens to the best of us, right? Apart from all that, there were some great jokes at – get this – Trump’s expense, and Kenan Thompson’s David Ortiz (not my favorite character) made an appearance. While this definitely wasn’t the best “Update” I’ve witnessed, it did what it was intended to do; it found humor in current events. What more can you ask for?
“CELEBRITY FAMILY FEUD: SUPER BOWL EDITION”
If nothing else, the celebrity impressions in this sketch were enough to land it in the best ones of the night. McKinnon’s Justin Bieber is consistently a crowdpleaser, but how about Leslie Jones’s Samuel L. Jackson? And Bryant’s Paula Deen? Don’t even get me started on Alex Moffat’s Casey Affleck! “SNL” knows – if all else fails, just whip out some impressions.
Oh, the meet cute, the staple of every romantic comedy. So simple, so adorable, so…unrealistic. In this sketch, Stewart’s and Pete Davidson’s characters meet cute at a coffee shop, and plan to go out for dinner that night. Without knowing each other’s last names. Or phone numbers. Or where they’re even going to dinner. While a happy-go-lucky Stewart prepared for the date, Davidson struggled to find any bit of information about her, shedding light on how impractical the meet cute really is. But thankfully, they found each other in the end. Well, almost.
This sketch had potential, but it stopped short of anything noteworthy. In it, college students busted for drinking gathered for Dry Fridays, where they shared stories about their experiences. It began with the classic tales of passing out or drunk-texting, but Stewart’s character had far more drastic anecdotes to tell – we’re talking AA-level stuff. Stewart’s delivery was sub-par, making a sketch that could’ve been good mediocre.
The fake Totinos commercials on “SNL” usually crack me up, and this one almost got me there. It featured Vanessa Bayer’s character falling in love with Stewart’s, as all the guys cluelessly enjoy the football game on TV. Essentially, there was a commercial and a romance that soon turned French going on simultaneously. If “SNL” had done more with the parallels between the two situations, it could’ve been much funnier.
“SNL” addressed something I’ve been wondering for a while in this sketch – how was Charlie’s grandpa in Willy Wonka suddenly able to walk after Charlie got a golden ticket? But the sketch didn’t amount to much more than that. It basically called out old people for being lazy.
“Saturday Night Live”
10:30 p.m., Saturday, NBC
2.5 out of 4 stars
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