‘Saturday Night Live’: Emma Stone, you deserved better.

Saturday Night Live
Emma Stone and Shawn Mendes
December 3, 2016

Here are a couple of positive things I will say about this episode: 1. Emma Stone was as charming and delightful as ever, even while being given some bullshit material to work with. POSTER SKETCH, I’M LOOKING AT YOU. 2. No sketch was over 6 minutes long.

That’s it. That’s pretty much the only positive things I have to say about this episode. Were there some good sketches buried in here? Yes. I am willing to concede that it was not a complete shit show all the way through. But someone as talented as Emma Stone deserved so much better from the writing that she was given last night. Try harder, guys. You can’t just keep expecting Kate McKinnon to come in and save the day each week.

This morning, before I even got out of bed, I watched a clip of President-elect Donald Trump from a year ago, ranting about some terrorist in Paris — I’m not exactly sure which one, he just kept referring to him as the one with the “dirty hat.” Trump was furious that some in the media were referring to this terrorist as a “mastermind,” insisting that by doing so they were inspiring Americans to run off and become terrorists, too, because that’s how these things work in his tiny Cheeto brain. The solution, Trump declared, was that we should shut down parts of the internet, and maybe he would discuss doing just that with Bill Gates, because apparently Donald Trump believes that Bill Gates has some sort of magic switch to the internet that he can just turn off and on.

My point here is that it is difficult to make Donald Trump more absurd than he actually is. While most believe that a Trump presidency is a boon for comedians and comedy writers, the truth of the matter is he is often so ridiculous that it’s hard to amplify his ridiculousness for comic effect. Saturday Night Live all but admitted this last night and built an entire sketch around Trump’s actual behavior on Twitter, including the time he retweeted a 16-year-old boy. Our President-elect, when he is not busily working on creating international incidents, is retweeting high school sophomores:

This is an actual thing. There is no way to make this funnier than it actually is.

Grade: A-

BUT WE’RE NOT DONE HERE. Because after Saturday Night Live broadcast a sketch mocking Donald Trump’s behavior on Twitter, Donald Trump took to Twitter to complain about the SNL sketch about his behavior on Twitter.

I’m fairly certain Trump’s handlers would like to be able to talk to Bill Gates about shutting down Twitter right about now. We are through the orange looking-glass, people.

THE NEXT FOUR YEARS.
THE NEXT FOUR YEARS.

Emma Stone’s monologue was something or other about how being on Saturday Night Live was sort of going to a high school reunion for her. I don’t know, all I took away from this is that Emma Stone and Aidy Bryant were high school classmates for a year.

Grade: B-

I am not sure that I have anything new to say about the recurring “High School Theater” bit at this point, except that maybe that the children are our future.

Grade: B

It’s the holiday season, which means we’re all about to wander into a complicated labyrinth of unexpected social obligations regarding gifts. Fortunately, somewhere in a closet or a guest bathroom you have that peach candle that someone gave you — you don’t even remember who at this point — and that peach candle will get you out of a tight spot. Rejoice.

Grade: A-

All I want to say about this awful sketch where a teenage boy’s posters come to life to help him with his math homework, except that ha-ha, the sexy blond is no help at all, is that I know the writers think they offset the inherent sexism of this sketch by having Kate McKinnon play a bad-ass female video game character, I know they thought they could brush away criticism by having her be the character who directly confronts the blond’s idiocy, but I’m here to say: NOPE. DIDN’T WORK, ASSHOLES.

Grade: F

“The Hunt for Hill,” a spoof of paranormal reality series like Destination Truth, except of searching for Bigfoot, the crew is hunting down the elusive Hillary Clinton, was one of the better bits of the night. Between the actual execution — which looks remarkably like those low-budget paranormal series — to the punchline itself, that Hillary Clinton is an allusive creature hiding in the woods, it came together. If only it had stuck the landing.

Grade: A-

Here’s your “Weekend Update.” It was fine. It’s almost always fine. Never great. Just fine.

Grade: B+

Also in the video below is Leslie Jones’ commentary on how men need to learn how to sexually satisfy women and be honest about their penis size. It is pretty terrific. “Do not promise me a rack of ribs, and then show up with a little penis.”

Grade: A

Vanessa Bayer does her Rachel from Friends impersonation, Jennifer Aniston actually shows up, that’s the entire joke.

Grade: B-

In this misguided sketch, a cleaning crew performs a bunch of inappropriate songs about a very rapey Santa for some office workers. No.

Grade: D

Look who’s back: Debette Goldry, the actress from the early days of cinema, reminding other actresses just how good they have it, like Little Miss Picks-Her-Own-Boyfriends over here, who has never been forced to eat arsenic to keep her skin pale. Watch as the other actresses try desperately to not break.

Grade: A-

The commercial spoof of the episode is for Fisher-Price Wishing Wells for Sensitive Little Boys. A sketch like this could easily veer into some rough homophobic territory if not handled carefully, but the writers and actors manage to thread the needle and come up with a bit that is much more nuanced than that. I genuinely loved this sketch.

Grade: A

The final sketch of the night featured one very exhausted Mother of God, who just gave birth in a barn, being asked to entertain visitors. This sketch wasn’t hilarious, exactly, but as someone who has experienced the “miracle” of childbirth a couple of times, I found myself deeply sympathetic. LEAVE MARY ALONE. Also, this happens to remind me of a friend who, after giving birth at home, was expected to get up and make her not-mother-in-law breakfast the next morning. How about no. How about you get your Frankincense and get out of here.

Grade: B+

Final grade: C+

kate-mckinnon-snl-candle-song-crazy-eyes

What did you think?

Next week: John Cena & Maren Morris

Saturday Night Live airs at 10:30/11:30 p.m. Saturdays on NBC.

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