Selena Gomez is saddled with maybe the worst ‘Saturday Night Live’ episode of the season

Saturday Night Live
Selena Gomez and Post Malone
May 14, 2022

I didn’t realize I was a fan of Selena Gomez until her absolute star turn in Only Murders in the Building (although her 2017 song “Bad Liar” is fantastic; strongly recommend). In that series, she is the third, paired with comedy superstars Martin Short and Steve Martin, and she not only does she hold her own, she is the magic that makes the series work as well as it does. So I was hopeful that she would command a strong Saturday Night Live this week — after all, she has the comedy chops, she just needs the right material to make it all work.

Sadly, friends, she was not given such material, but instead was burdened with perhaps — and I say this hesitantly because it just wasn’t all that long ago that the disastrous Paul Rudd episode happened — the worst episode of the season? Maybe the worst episode of the season! I mean, we still have an episode to go, but this episode is a strong contender for the worst episode of the season. It’s not just that the cold open is terrible or that Baby Yoda makes another appearance, it’s that there are sketches in this episode that feel half-written, or worse, not written at all, just glimmers of an idea jotted down on a cocktail napkin. It just feels like there was very little episode put forward this week.

Anyway, I’m mad at this episode and think Selena Gomez deserves a do-over.

The cold open chooses to make fun of the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard defamation trial because “the trial is for fun.” (OK, but no?) The focus of the bit is the allegation that Heard shit in Depp’s bed, a salacious detail whose discovery by Depp’s staff is re-enacted in this sketch. I don’t know where to begin with this one, except to say that maybe mocking a situation that involves domestic violence, sexual abuse, mental illness, substance abuse, and emotional trauma is not “fun.” But also, it’s just not funny? This was a big miss.

Grade: F

Selena Gomez’s monologue is fine: she talks about her Only Murders in the Building co-stars; does a Miley Cyrus impersonation for no good reason; reminds everyone that she was on Barney and Friends; and pokes fun at all the romantic connections starlets like herself have made on the show. It’s fine. It’s fine!

Grade: B

If you like those sketches with Aidy Bryant and Bowen Yang as the pop “stars” that come up with songs for Costco, you’ll love this sketch in which they play essentially the same characters, but this time they’re Bratz Dolls come to life to offer a young girl bad advice. I, for one, am not a fan.

Grade: C

Easily the best sketch of the night is a spoof of the addictive Japanese Netflix series, Old Enough, in which toddlers are sent out on their own to run errands. Noting that Americans would never send toddlers out into the world alone, the American version has to find an equally helpless group, and they land on 30-something boyfriends.

The most surprising thing about this sketch is that it was not written by Amy Poehler and Tina Fey who snuck into the writers’ room to help out, but by two dudes: Streeter Seidell and Mikey Day.

Grade: A+

SNL relies on an old stand-by for this bit, the public access television show. This one, “A Peek at Pico” is hosted by Gomez and Melissa Villaseñor as what can only be described as Chicana stereotypes, who just say, “that’s sad,” to everything. It’s terrible. It’s truly, truly terrible.

Grade: D-

Saturday Night Live clearly wanted to do a sketch about the Jesse Williams … situation. (For those of you who don’t know, somehow, photos of a nude Jesse Williams from his Broadway performance in Take Me Out, leaked on the intertoobs, and there was a whole conversation about privacy and consent, and whether the leaks constituted a sexual assault and ohmygoddidyouseenakedjessewilliams?) The result is this sketch in which a play that features male nudity goes off the rails when the entire cast is replaced by understudies. The understudies don’t know their lines and utilize terrible accents and the entire thing is a disaster involving loose Irish Wolfhounds and a penis that is on its own timeline. Y’all, it’s much funnier than it has any business being. I would have cut the commentary from the audience, but otherwise …

Grade: A-

Steve Martin swings by to support his Only Murders castmate in this documentary about the man who invented the Whoopee Cushion, and the woman who inspired him, Dina Beans, the most unlucky woman in the world. Martin is always a delight, even in this very goofy, very juvenile bit. It’s about Whoopee Cushions, y’all, it’s gonna be juvenile.

Grade: B

“Weekend Update” does a good job with a lot of bad news, Colin Jost comparing our current situation to living in a Mad Max film. And y’all, he’s not wrong.

Grade: A-

OH HEY, IT’S EVERYONE’S FAVORITE, BABY YODA.

Grade: D-

Sarah “Squirm” Sherman is very much in the vein of Kyle Mooney in the sense that she has a very specific sense of humor that will sharply divide audiences. You’ll love her, or you’ll hate here and there’s not a lot of in between. I’ll admit, I’m not a huge fan of her surreal humor, but I LOVE her appearances on “Weekend Update” in which she trashes Colin Jost. It’s a recurring bit that escalates in every iteration, and this week was terrific, mistake and all.

Grade: A

A prince who has killed a dragon is invited by the king to choose between his three daughters to take as a bride. However, the prince knows that there’s got to be a twist, that one of the three women is supposed to be weird, and is skeptical when each of them comes off as normal. The “joke” at the end is really — and I can not stress this enough — really not worthy of five and a half minutes of setup.

Grade: C-

In another taped piece, Gomez and Chris Redd play a couple whose “intuition” — as played by Punkie Johnson and Post Malone respectively — cause them to jump to bad conclusions regarding the other’s faithfulness. It’s funny enough, but not going to go down as a digital classic or anything.

Grade: B

I just … WAS EVERYONE DRUNK ALL WEEK WHEN THEY WERE WRITING THIS EPISODE?

Alright, so in this very bad sketch, a pair of guidance counselors played by Ego Nwodim and Bowen Yang encourage high school seniors to all become models, using a former student, Gomez as an example. Gomez is gorgeous, but this is just not funny. This is the opposite of funny.

Grade: D-

Remember how I said the Sarah Sherman sketches are “surreal?” Yeah, so in this one, she and Bowen Yang play twin babies whose older sister, Selena Gomez, is looking after them while she has friends over. The friends become obsessed with the video from the baby monitor which shows the babies being … very weird. Post Malone also gets involved, fucks up his line, and breaks. I don’t even know what’s going on here, honestly.

Grade: B-

You said it.

Final Grade: C+. Woof.


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

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