Saoirse Ronan is given not much to do in an otherwise fairly solid ‘Saturday Night Live’

Saturday Night Live
“Saoirse Ronan & U2”
December 2, 2017

Saoirse Ronan is the young actress who made a name for herself about 10 years ago in the film Atonement and is now receiving All of the Praise for her performance in the indie film, Lady Bird. Saoirse is talented, she is beautiful, she is likable and funny and Saturday Night Live gave her fuck all to do last night.

With the exception of the final sketch, Saoirse was stuck mostly in background roles and characters that a nameless extra could have just as easily and just as memorably performed. Which is a shame, because as evidenced by EVERYTHING SHE HAS EVER DONE EVER she is perfectly capable of delivering.

That said, it wasn’t a bad episode. It wasn’t a GREAT! episode or anything, but aside from a sketch or two that didn’t land, there was nothing in this episode that was so terrible that it made me want to throw something through my television. So we’ll count this as a win. Good job, guys! Except for the part where you snubbed your host. Don’t snub your host.

In this week’s cold open, Trump is visited by ghosts of his past in a clever-enough spoof of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Mike Flynn is Trump’s Jacob Marley; Billy Bush his Ghost of Christmas Past; Vladimir Putin his Ghost of Christmas Present; and I won’t spoil the Ghost of Christmas Future punchline, but it is not Steve Bannon as he first assumes. BE AFRAID, DONNY JOHNNY. BE VERY AFRAID.

Grade: A

Our hostess for the evening, the lovely Irish actress Saoirse Ronan, teaches us how to say her weird-ass Celtic name in a sung cold open that I didn’t hate.

Grade: A-

Because 2017, MTV has revived the bloated rum-and-tanning-oil-soaked corpse of Jersey Shore as something called Floribama Shore which takes place — saints preserve me — in Panama City, Florida, and Saturday Night Live parodied it, despite being fruit so low-hanging, it is rotting on the ground.  Still, I’m not mad at it. Points for being mercifully brief. Also “Quartney.”

Grade: B+

The entire joke in this sketch is that this adult man likes to hang out in an American Girl doll shop because he’s a weirdo who is really into his American Girl doll.

Grade: B

The best sketch of the night was this amazing bubblegum girl pop song about the horrors of sexual harassment. Welcome to our world, gentlemen, it sucks.

Grade: A+

This sketch is a rapid-fire succession of wacky characters trying to return things at Kmart. While it’s not the funniest or smartest bit of the night, it works for the same reason those collections of celebrity impersonations work: no one character overstays their welcome, no one joke is played overly long, no one seems to be angling to become a recurring character — with maybe the exception of Kate McKinnon’s Ethel, but then there isn’t single McKinnon character that isn’t at risk for becoming a recurring character.

Grade: B

And then there’s “The Race.” In this digital video that I think is supposed to be a send-up of 80s movies? maybe? Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett are office workers who compete to see who is the fastest. It is not funny, it is overly long, and it is stupefyingly self-indulgent.

Grade: C-

This week’s “Weekend Update” was fine. It was fine! It was fine.

Grade: B+

Kate McKinnon unveils her Teresa May and, you know. She’s no Angela Merkle, either on the show or in real life, amirite?

Grade: B-

So this is going to be a recurring bit? ~sigh~ Look, it’s difficult to make jokes about sexual consent and violence, but it can be done (in fact, scroll back up about 6 videos). This is expressly how you don’t it. ALSO, MAYBE NOW IS NOT THE TIME, GUYS.

Grade: D

Hey, it’s Pete Davidson’s “Chad” again.

Ok.

Grade: C+

So, everyone, meet Luke Null, your new white guy Saturday Night Live cast member.

Grade: C

Finally, the only sketch in which Saoirse had a role that couldn’t have been filled by a random extra. See how good she was in this, guys? Couldn’t you have maybe given her something more to do? Guys?

Grade: B+

All in all, a fine, steady episode. Not great! But not terrible, either. And bonus: I now know how to spell “Saoirse.”

Final grade: B

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

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