Saturday Night Live
Kristen Stewart & Alessia Cara
February 4, 2017
Kristen Stewart, blah blah blah, let’s get to what everyone is talking about already:
Last night’s episode of Saturday Night Live featured what might just be the best political sketch of the season in a season that has been particularly strong on political sketches — and it was not the cold open. As you certainly know by now having had your facebook and twitter feeds blown up by the sketch, Melissa McCarthy swung by Saturday Night Live last night to not just do an impersonation of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer — she became him. McCarthy looked into Spicer’s soul and she saw, she understood the willfully ignorant, pugnacious lying bridge troll that spirits it, and became one with the creature. She screams, she lies, she obfuscates, she literally attacks the press, she manages to make an already ridiculous man somehow more ridiculous. My only criticism is that the suit fits too well.
And while McCarthy is a genius here, while she deserves all of the accolades she is receiving, whomever it was that came up with the idea that McCarthy should be brought in to play this role, that person deserves all the Emmys and promotions and a MacArthur Grant, because they are a motherfucking genius. Not only was McCarthy the perfect person to take on this role, for the rest of time no one will be able to look at Spicer and not think of this impersonation which will drive him insane. Just IMAGINE how tomorrow’s press briefing is going to go. JUST IMAGINE WHAT SEAN SPICER AND EVERYONE IN THAT ROOM WILL BE THINKING ABOUT:
Saturday Night Live directly addressed the Administration’s travel ban with this edited DHS welcome video that is both biting and depressingly accurate:
The Totino’s Lady is one of those recurring sketches that is easy to forget is a recurring sketch. In part this is because there’s no actual catch line, but mostly because they use the Totino’s Lady who just wants to feed her “hungry guys” as a way to play with genre, and so the gag is different every time. Here, for instance, she finds herself in a steamy French lesbian love story, and for once might find happiness. Subversive and smart. (See the other two instances of the Totino’s Lady below. The last one is my favorite: a hilarious feminist commentary on the reactionary nature of advertising.)
In this sketch, Kristen Stewart plays a college student who maybe parties a little too hard. It’s one of those mediocre sketches that might give you a chuckle or two but which you will definitely not remember in a week.
I don’t hate the Celebrity Family Feud bits, I don’t even dislike them, but I do think they are lazy. For instance, while Kate McKinnon’s Justin Bieber is, as we have established, brilliant, what is the logic that he would be an Atlanta Falcon’s fan? HE’S FROM CANADA. Similarly, why would Lady Gaga be a Patriot’s fan? SHE IS FROM NEW YORK CITY, GUYS. NEW YORK CITY. Y’ALL LIVE THERE AND YOU KNOW PERFECTLY WELL THAT EVERYONE IN NEW YORK CITY HATES BOSTON. IT’S THE LAW.
The cold open in which Trump calls world leaders and reveals who the “real” President is (Steve Bannon, duh) wasn’t terrific. Here’s the problem: at this point, Saturday Night Live knows that Donald Trump is watching at least the cold open if nothing else, and now they are just using the spot to try to goad him into overreacting on Twitter. It’s transparent — probably even to Trump — and it’s why the Spicer sketch wasn’t the cold open, even though by all rights it should have been. And so the “punchline” of the sketch, that Bannon is the true power in the White House, isn’t so much funny as it is the acting out of a political cartoon that they think will wound Trump’s ego. (Although the phone call with the President of Mexico was pretty funny, I’ll give them that.)
Here’s Kristen Stewart’s opening monologue where she reminds us that Donald Trump was weirdly obsessed with her relationship with Robert Pattinson (seriously, what was that even about, y’all?) and mentions that she is “so gay, dude.” She also totally drops an F-bomb which was heard loud and clear on the national broadcast which might have been last night’s big story, had Melissa McCarthy not shown up and rendered everything else in this episode moot. The monologue is not terrible — points for it not involving a song — but it feels like the bit about Trump and his tweets about her was a wasted opportunity that could have been a bit sharper.
In this digital sketch, “Meet Cute,” two strangers agree to go on a date, only to forget to exchange information, thereby ruining the date. Get it? It’s a spoof of a romantic comedy, but boring and pointless.
Oof, this week’s “Weekend Update.” What a damn mess. Michael Che butchers his lines and Colin Jost literally tries to end the sketch halfway through it. Serious question: Did they not have rehearsals this week? Did they spend so much time rehearsing the Spicer bit to make it perfect, that they literally didn’t rehearse anything else? Because it’s not just “Weekend Update”: there were line fumbles in the cold open, the college drinking sketch, the Celebrity Family Feud bit, and we all know what happened in the opening monologue. What was going on this week, guys? Were y’all as distracted by the news as everyone else that you weren’t able to do your jobs? Because if so, I get it.
I know exactly how this dumb “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” sketch was conceived: someone (probably Pete Davidson) was high and was like, “Wait, so that grandfather who was previously bedridden suddenly can walk all over a huge factory? And no one is like, ‘What? I thought you were bedridden?’ That would be a hilarious sketch if Charlie was like, ‘Dude, you’ve been lying to me my entire life!’ Have Charlie say ‘balls’ and ‘scissoring’ and we’ve got comedy gold!”
Final Grade: B- And only because I gave bonus points for the Spicer sketch.
Next week: Alec Baldwin & Ed Sheeran
Saturday Night Live airs at 10:30/11:30 p.m. Saturdays on NBC.