Somehow this is the fifth appearance Scarlett Johansson as the host of SNL. I would never have guessed. Despite having such a seasoned host, the episode got off to a bit of a slow start, which gave me pause as to whether the show was struggling with a 2017 funk. Luckily for me (and I guess for the show too, but mostly me), that wasn’t the case with Scar-Jo’s fifth time.
Perhaps her greatest quality as a host is that she just looks like she’s having a blast. It’s a novel idea, I know. Throughout the night, in character or not, she routinely flashed the hint of a smile and it was clear that she was having the best time. Sometimes that’s all it takes.
The Trump cold open was once again a dud, but the sketches got incrementally funnier as the night went on, before the floodgates opened with “Translator” (but more on that later). While the show is still wrestling with its Trump-problem, it was at its best when it sped toward the zany end of the spectrum, just having fun with big, crazy ideas. Saturday Night Live has felt a little stale lately, perhaps succumbing to the country’s malaise and fatigue with everything politics. Last night’s show felt like a step in the right direction, a good balance between biting, irreverent, and stupid fun. Let’s hope it continues.
This was just so good, you guys. The concept is simple: a sketch written by Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett featuring the entire female cast, to discuss important female issues of the day. It’s sweet, right?
But then the two guys go back and forth, not letting the women talk except for interjections to either agree with them or thank them for their help in fixing the world for women. It’s perfect. I want to see more of Mooney & Bennett: Champions for Women.
That said, it’s also a great reminder for all dudes out there: just shut up.
THE WORST SUPPLEMENTAL BEST
As mentioned above, the cold open featuring Trump trying to inspire the troops in the midst of an alien invasion was a miss (and it featured a concept we talked about on the last battle episode of Green v. Gold). But there was enough great stuff last night, where we don’t need to dwell on it.
Until “A Sketch for Women”, I was convinced that “Translator” would be my favorite sketch of the night. Three scientists develop a method to communicate with animals, only to find out that Johannson’s dog is a Trump supporter. Even the dog didn’t seem too enthused by its character, pawing off its helmet in protest and almost breaking Cecily Strong in the process. This is great stuff.
- The reaction shots of pleasure in the “Olive Garden” commercial really sold the entire sketch. It was dumb and crazy and over-the-top, and I loved it.
- Alex Moffat has a really great Al Franken impression, apparently. Wow.
- I’m not really into Kate McKinnon’s Jeff Sessions character. She looks just like him, and McKinnon is the best at everything she does, but somehow turning that guy into an aloof cartoon just doesn’t sit right with me for some reason.
- Holy hell the Ivanka sketch. A commercial for her new fragrance “Complicit” is one of the very best political sketches SNL has done this year.
LINES WITHOUT CONTEXT
- “How bad does something have to be for Trump not to want to put his name on it?” – Michael Che
- “President Trump introduced his revised travel ban this week, though it’s probably not great that it’s just a bunch of brown color swatches.” – Colin Jost
- “A little angler fish info: during mating, the male attaches to the female and then dies. You down for that?” – Scarlett Johansson
- “A feminist, an advocate, a champion for women. But, like, how?” – Cecily Strong
- “What do you know about black people, you haven’t brought one into our house once.” – Max, the dog