Oscar Isaac charms his way through ‘Saturday Night Live’

Saturday Night Live
Oscar Isaac & Charli XCX
March 5, 2021

It’s kinda hard to believe, but this is the first time Oscar Isaac has graced the Studio 8H stage with his magnetic presence (I’m going to do my best to not be too gross in my drooling over Isaac through this recap, but I’m only human). Isaac is one of those Very Serious Actors who is also incredibly charismatic and clearly has a sense of humor — have you seen the red carpet video with Jessica Chastain? So it is somewhat surprising that it took us this long — nearly 10 years after his breakthrough role in Inside Llewyn Davis (which, admittedly, no one saw) — for him to grace the stage he is so natural on. It’s not a perfect episode by any means, but Oscar Isaac is a comfortable fit, and I hope will be back soon.

The cold open is, like last week, about Ukraine, except this time they come for Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, and other right-wing figures who just a week ago were Putin’s biggest fans. Here, they host a fundraiser from Mar-A-Lago to raise money for all those poor oligarchs who are losing their yachts and Italian villas through sanctions. A little long, but on point.

Grade: A-

Oscar Isaac’s monologue is largely clips of a movie he made when he was a kid, with the message that it’s important to encourage kids to be weirdos. It’s delightful. We also learn that his full name is Óscar Isaac Hernández Estrada, and that he passes for General Ethnic, which is the exact same race my sister and I are, so, welcome to the family, Oscar!

Grade: A

In this sketch, Isaac plays a city council member for Adventure Bay, running against Mayor Goodway on the platform that six PAW Patrol dogs can not protect the entire city. As someone whose kids (thankfully) grew up before PAW Patrol and therefore has never seen an episode of PAW Patrol, I’m here to report that the sketch still works (if, again, it could have been edited a slight bit).

Grade: B+

Chloe Fineman discovers that by using Inventing Anna‘s subject Anna Delvey’s techniques and weird-ass accent, she can get people to do her bidding in this entertaining digital bit.

Grade: A-

Oscar Isaac and Cecily Strong are HR managers giving a seminar on sexual harassment, except they’re terrible and give awful advice. The phrase “raw intercourse” is used several times. The sketch makes the curious choice to have two reveals, the second of which is completely unnecessary, and feels like the result of a writers’ room that didn’t know how to end the sketch.

Grade: B-

New cast member Sarah Sherman has built her career on being a weirdo, and this digital sketch feels like the first time she’s really leaned into it on the show. It starts as a take on the classic kid’s horror story, “The Green Ribbon,” but instead of her SPOILER ALERT FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE NEVER BEEN 8-YEARS-OLD head falling off when she removes the ribbon, she reveals a tiny singing meatball with Oscar Isaac’s face is attached to her neck, and, in fact, she has tiny singing meatballs all over her body.

This is one of those bits that you are either going to love or you’re going to hate, and I have to be honest, it just wasn’t for me.

Grade: C (But if you’re a Sarah Squirm fan, you’ll probably rate this an A)

“Weekend Update” returns to form with jokes about Ukraine, Ron DeSantis, and our dying planet. Fun!

Grade: B+

Kate McKinnon tackles Florida’s terrible “Don’t Say Gay” bill, and it’s alright, though lacking the same teeth that Cecily Strong’s confessional abortion bit had earlier this season.

Grade: A-

Ego Nwodim, is “Pauline, a Weary Mother in Her Darkest Hour,” who can’t identify with Rihanna’s glamorous, sexy, lingerie-clad pregnancy. Girl, no one can.

Grade: B+

Aidy Bryant explains in a pretaped bit that after having played 150 moms and teachers, she was given permission to write her own sketch. The result is this live sketch where she objectifies Oscar Isaac, having told him that she’s playing a recurring character called “The Sexual Woman” whose catchphrase is, “Hey, you get your fat ass on my lap, bitch.” I loved it? Please actually make “The Sexual Woman” a recurring character? I don’t even like recurring characters, BUT I NEED MORE OF THE SEXUAL WOMAN IN MY LIFE IMMEDIATELY.

Grade: A

“In Over Your Head” is a home improvement series in which homeowners who don’t know what they’re doing describe their home improvement fails. It’s fine, I guess.

But more importantly, it also is historic:

Grade: B-

The final sketch of the night finds Isaac playing a janitor who crashes a fiction workshop to read his creepy Dua Lipa erotica. The funniest “joke” here is how the women all immediately recognize the writing for being gross and knowing where it’s headed while the men seem genuinely curious to hear more. It’s something, I guess.

Grade: C+

Cut for time is this “Aerotoilet” commercial spoof — like an air bed, but it’s a toilet. It is exactly as juvenile and gross (and still kinda funny) as it sounds.

Final Grade: B+. That’s fair.

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

One thought on “Oscar Isaac charms his way through ‘Saturday Night Live’

  1. Michael Che just immediately saying “Alright, bet.” and getting up with fully packed luggage when Chloe said she was the new Weekend Update anchor in the Inventing Anna sketch made me laugh out loud both times I saw it.

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