Emma Thompson is a natural on ‘Saturday Night Live’

Saturday Night Live
Emma Thompson and The Jonas Brothers
May 11, 2019

Emma Thompson is a very funny woman. Because her international fame began after she appeared in movies like Henry V, Howard’s End and Remains of the Day, I have her stuck in my head as a Very Serious Actress of a Particular British Type, no matter how many interviews I’ve seen where she is charming and hilarious, no matter how many award ceremony speeches where she puts her full “fuck it” attitude on display. It turns out despite what my broken brain might think, Thompson got her start in comedy — in fact, her first acting awards, BAFTAS even, were for her work in two different British comedy series. And I guess what I’m getting at here is why the hell is this the first time she’s hosted Saturday Night Live? Emma Thompson is a God damned hoot, and needs to be back sooner rather than later.

This week’s cold open tackles an impossible question: what would it take to make the Republicans abandon Donald Trump? Collusion with a hostile foreign power? Leaving Melania for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? Gay marrying the head of ISIS while wearing the original Constitution as diapers?

Honestly, this is one of the best — if not THE best — political cold open in a while. It tackles a very real issue — the Republicans’ pathetic subservience to Trump, it makes fun of Chuck Todd’s terrible hair and Alec Baldwin is nowhere to be found.

Grade: A

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler join Emma Thompson for the only cold open of the entire season worth your time.

Grade: A+

Thompson is an etiquette teacher determined to teach Meghan Markle’s American cousin some manners in this sketch. Things become violent. I’m not a slapstick person, but even I have to admit, the unexpectedness of this Nanny McPhee-esque character going hardcore had me laughing out loud.

Grade: B+

The digital sketch of the night is about the lie of the “perfect” mom, and how parenthood is a pretty much one blown-out diaper after another. I feel seen.

Grade: A+

I’m sure someone must love these old-timey movie sketches, but that person is not me. Actresses overact and try to have the last word in a scene and it lost my attention by minute two. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s just eh.

Grade: B-

True fact: I’ve never seen an episode of Chopped. What I know about Chopped: it’s been on forever, the contestants are given weird ingredients, and there used to be a Chihuahua involved. Somehow. What I’m saying is that this sketch very well could be a real episode of Chopped for all I know.

Grade: A-

What made me mad about this “Judge Court” sketch is that it had potential and then just squandered it. I love the idea of three dumb TV judges having a show together and these three very much look like TV judges, but the punchlines are weak and it all seems like a way to squeeze the Jonas Brothers into a sketch. SKETCH DISMISSED. <insert Tina Fey high-fiving herself gif>

Grade: C+

“Weekend Update” covers Trump’s finances, his dumb China tariffs, a crazy rally in Florida, and Mother’s Day among other things. It’s fine. There’s a good R. Kelly joke in there.

Grade: B+

Bailey Gismert, teen movie critic, has a crush on Pikachu. The thing about this character is that as the mother of teenagers, she is TOO REAL. The thing where she refuses to make eye-contact? That was a solid three years of my life.

Grade: B+

Pete Davidson pays tribute to his mother by having her on the show and talking about her walking in on him masturbating. Happy Mother’s Day, Mrs. Davidson!

Grade: B-

See, the premise of this sketch is that the Beast from Beauty and the Beast works out a lot and is a douchebag. Also, he fucks teapots. Methinks that some writer’s girlfriend has a little crush on the Beast from Beauty and the Beast.

Grade: C-

A Curb Your Enthusiasm episode once opened with Larry watching a daytime talk show and being fascinated with a “bad” teenager who was screaming at the audience, “YOU DON’T KNOW ME! YOU DON’T KNOW ME! FUCK YOU!” which he then repeated, amused.

In this sketch, a “bad” teen goes on a talk show where she yells at the audience, “YOU DON’T KNOW ME!” and then the audience proceeds to identify with her in very specific ways. The joke, in case you missed it, is that they do, indeed, know her.

Curb Your Enthusiasm was funnier.

Grade: B-

The episode ends with this sketch making fun of the Game of Thrones coffee cup. See, because a Slurpee has no place in Roots. Get it?

Grade: B-

Cut for time: This ad for a very English sports drink. This is so much better than “Beauty and the Beast.”

Final Grade: B+. That feels right. 

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

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