Saturday Night Live
Gal Gadot & Sam Smith
October 8, 2017
Look, Gal Gadot is gorgeous. This is not about me being insanely jealous of her beauty or her ridiculous height — which I totally am. She is gorgeous and she is charming and she is a real honest-to-God badass. But, you guys, she was not good last night as host of Saturday Night Live. I don’t know if it was a function of her not being a native English speaker or not having much experience with comedy, but her timing was dreadful — and the only thing worse was her delivery.
It wasn’t entirely Gal Gadot’s fault that this episode wasn’t great, however. The writing felt underdeveloped in most places — which was frustrating because the ideas for the sketches themselves weren’t terrible, the writing just needed some editing. On the plus side, there were a lot of bits in last night’s episode, which means they kept the sketch length down and we didn’t have to endure any one half-baked sketch for too long.
Oh, and we’re one week closer to Kumail Nanjiani hosting, so there’s that.
Jason Aldean, the country superstar who was performing when the Las Vegas shooter began his horrific attack on concertgoers, performed Tom Petty’s “Won’t Back Down” for the cold open. It was the highlight of the evening and a note-perfect tribute to the victims and Petty. And it served as a perhaps overly optimistic message of hope and unity for a country that seems more and more broken every day.
Gal Gadot’s opening monologue was our first hint that live television might not be Ms. Gadot’s strong suit. In her defense, live TV is incredibly difficult and English is not her first language. In fact the only time she seemed slightly comfortable was when she was speaking in Hebrew. The whole thing was awkward, not particularly funny, and at times made me uncomfortable.
After her monologue, I was concerned that Gal Gadot might not be able to do comedy, but she’s actually very funny in this taped bit, a promo for upcoming E! shows, in which she plays both Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid. And dare I say it, but she might inspire a little sympathy for the vapid Kendall Jenner? (Although my favorite faux show in here is “Where’s Kanye?”)
The first sketch of the night was one long O.J. joke, but a solid O.J. joke. In fact, this sketch is worth re-watching, because they keep the O.J. reveal for a solid uncomfortable minute where the audience isn’t sure what they are supposed to be laughing at exactly.
Hey, it’s Chad again. Last time we saw the dimwitted Chad, he was being hit on by an amorous professor. This time, he slips through some sort of portal to find himself in a fantasy universe where he is “the chosen one.” I didn’t care for the previous Chad sketch, but this one is a little more fleshed out with some solid gags.
In this bit, Kenan Thompson and Beck Bennett play two men lost in the desert and experiencing mirages, one considerably better than the other. Leslie Jones wins the MVP for this one.
In this Safelight spoof, the Safelight guy becomes a little too invested in his customers’ lives. It’s fine if a little predictable.
Hey! “Weekend Update” had some solid jokes this week! Their take on gun control is good! and funny! and good! Michael Che probably shouldn’t have been the one to talk about the birth control issue — Michael Che’s hot takes on any women’s issues are not required, thanks — but overall, pretty good!
Pete Davidson addresses being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder in this “Weekend Update” bit and despite the fact that he’s discussing his issues with depression, it’s still funnier than most of his other “Weekend Update” bits.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg is back with her Ginsburns for Neil Gorsuch and John Roberts.
“The Maiden and the Mice” sketch, a fairy tale princess is the recipient of a dress made by mice, which looks like a dress that was made by mice. It’s exactly what you think it is, and twice as long as it needs to be.
In this bit, an undercover operation is derailed when Cecily Strong and Aidy Bryant’s sexy webcam show hijacks the transmission feed between federal agents and a spy. Strong and Bryant are terrific, but they should have come up with a better ending than this.
Kate McKinnon clearly wrote this sketch in which she and a friend visit the island of Themyscira as an excuse to kiss Gal Gadot and I do not blame her. That said, I wanted to love this sketch — the idea behind it is solid and funny — but the writing was clunky and needed a lot editing.
The final sketch of the night was a spoof on that daytime talk show trope where they send out of control teens off to a boot camp to teach them some discipline. I won’t give away the punchline, but it made me a little sad, weirdly enough? It takes an absurdist turn but there’s a nugget of truth in there that kinda bummed me out. Oh, and Gal Gadot was terrible in this, by the way.
Final Grade: B-
But it seems like it should have been lower. You people really need to thank Jason Aldean.
Saturday Night Live airs at 10:30/11:30 p.m. Saturdays on NBC.