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©2017/Will Heath/NBC

©2017/Will Heath/NBC

By Ellen O’Brien, Glenbard West  

Talk about a snore-fest this week on “Saturday Night Live”. Host Scarlett Johansson wasn’t bad, per say; she just wasn’t given many opportunities to show off the talents we all know she has on this episode. As always, there were a few must-see sketches, but the rest were maybe-see’s and definitely-don’t-see’s. Will next episode be better? I hope so, but I guess we’ll just wait and see.

THE BEST

“COLD OPEN”

The gang was all here for this opener, including Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump, predictably! Although that impression can get old, you’ve got to admit that it’s uncanny. This sketch took place in the near future as our country was in battle with aliens. Still, Trump was stuck in his ways – you know, being “all talk”, blaming problems on illegal immigrants, exaggerating just about everything. He topped it off with a totally incorrect, but hilarious version of the pledge of allegiance. But if I can offer one piece of criticism, it’s that much more realistic stuff could’ve been done with this idea of an apocalyptic future under Trump. Just saying.

“ZOO PORNOGRAPHER”

This sketch revolved around a Freudian slip, specifically a pair of news anchors calling a zoo photographer a zoo pornographer. Oops! Johansson was a surprisingly believable interview, but she couldn’t compete with the likes of Mikey Day playing the photographer, who was of course named Danny Bangs. Day kept saying sentences that sounded like he was an animal pornographer when taken out of context, and the escalation was so funny to watch. It was even a bit reminiscent of fake news, dare I suggest that.

“FIRE ISLAND”

You’ve heard of the reality show “Fire Island”, featuring drama about partying gay men (actually, I hadn’t heard of it before this spoof preview), so catch a fake spin-off from “SNL” about dull lesbian women, called “Cherry Grove”. This commercial alternated between shots of wild men from “Fire Island” and of peaceful women from “Cherry Grove”, showing comical parallels between the groups. I don’t know if this was the intention, but this captured some mainstream views about the roles of gay men compared to the roles of lesbian women in society. Thoughtful stuff.

“OLIVE GARDEN”

I was shocked by how funny this sketch was. It simply consisted of a director filming actors’ reaction shots for an Olive Garden commercial, but it was just super over the top. The director made them look way too excited about the restaurant, and did different takes for various markets – of course bringing race into it, quite inappropriately. The filming concluded with the best you-know-what faces from the actors, which were impossible not to laugh at. Just the facial expressions from the people in this sketch made it worth watching.

“COMPLICIT”

Let me start by saying that Scarlett Johansson played a darn good Ivanka Trump! She was made for that impersonation. This fragrance commercial focused on Ivanka’s new scent, entitled Complicit. I loved that, because besides the fact that it truly does sound like a perfume name, it called Ivanka out for not being the “champion of women” some people say she is. “SNL” has been roasting the entire family lately, and honestly, it has made for some good content.

“WEEKEND UPDATE”

To sum up half of “Update”: health care, health care, health care. Justifiably. Apart from that, the lovable co-anchors, Colin Jost and Michael Che, really toed the line with their political jokes this week, most notably saying that Trump’s travel ban has to do with certain color swatches. This stuff was edgy, but made worthwhile points. Later, Alex Moffat’s Senator Al Franken and Kate McKinnon’s spot-on Jeff Sessions arrived to discuss their extensive issues. The non-political jokes were rather weak this episode, but Pete Davidson was a welcome surprise, as were his First Impressions on more Trump associates.

“A SKETCH FOR THE WOMEN”

Wow, awesome sketch. I’m not sure if that sounds like sarcasm, but it’s not. This was a sketch about women’s issues written by men. And you could tell. In it, men kept rambling about facts and statistics regarding being a woman in America. They pointed out how women are never given the opportunity to talk, yet the actual women in the sketch were never given the opportunity to talk! The irony was perfection, and the message was clear. Great ingredients for a great sketch.

THE WORST

“MONOLOGUE”

Here’s an idea, “SNL”: let the host talk during her monologue maybe. Johansson’s time to shine was taken over by McKinnon and Kenan Thompson – and don’t get me wrong, they were funny for the most part, but we barely got a word out of the actual host. I’m a strong believer that monologues need some vamping up nowadays.

“TRANSLATOR”

Maybe this sketch was good, but I was too distracted by the poor little dog in it to pay attention to anything else! From what I gathered, this sketch featured technology for translating pets’ thoughts into words, and alas, a Trump-supporting dog gained a voice. But the puppy looked so miserable in its translation headgear. I’m mad at “SNL”.

“SHUD THE MERMAID”

Two terribly ugly mermaids, played by McKinnon and Johansson, were the stars of this sketch. And that was unfortunate, because I was pretty disgusted by both of their characters. Is it weird that I don’t find this kind of stuff comedic? Or is this opinion shared? Let me know.

“SHANICE GOODWIN NINJA-RIVALS”

Rival ninjas, depicted by Johansson and Leslie Jones, teamed up to save their sensei from the British mob in this sketch, and frankly, I was bored. The funniest thing about this was that the members of the mob were pretending not to notice the ninjas when they could so obviously see them, and even that didn’t get a chuckle out of me.

“FUNERAL SERVICE”

Again, I was practically snoring. This bit displayed a couple of friends singing wildly inappropriate songs with extremely questionable content at their buddy’s funeral. You can do better than that, “SNL”.

“Saturday Night Live”

10:30 p.m., Saturday, NBC

2.5 out of 4 stars

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