Apparently with SNL, it’s all about managing expectations (I guess the same is true about life, if you want to get really deep on it). Several times this season I’ve been excited by the host, or to see how different current events are handled by the show, and the delivery has just fallen flat. Coming into last night’s episode, I had low, low expectations.
I think Jimmy Fallon is very ok. He’s charming yet safe, and I never really warmed up to him as a cast member or conquering hero when he returned to host. His classic recurring characters were never my cup of tea. Whether it was “Jaret’s Room”, “Sully and Diane”, or “Barry Gibb”, I always found myself fast forwarding or flipping the channel. His calling card as a cast member was never being able to keep a straight face. It’s a great trait for a late night host, but a pretty terrible one for an SNL cast member.
Having said that, I really liked last night’s episode. And dare I say, I enjoyed Fallon. He started out hot with a Jared Kushner impression, (complete with blazer and flak jacket) and never looked back. I even usually dread the often lazy musical monologue, however Fallon took a detour. Instead of coming up with a song last-minute in the Writer’s Room, he basically covered Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” as he strolled through Studio 8H. It was pretty cool.
The lesson, as always: lower expectations.
Let’s get into it.
I think it’s no secret that when it comes to SNL sketches, I like the ones that are a little, well, out there. In this one, Fallon shows up to try to rekindle his relationship with Cecily Strong, complete with backup dancers and matching t-shirts. It’s weird, you guys.
What pushed it over the top for me, was the finish. The reason for the couple’s breakup was perfect, and the button at the end of the scene was perfect-er (I know that’s not a word, shut up). I love call-backs, especially subtle ones and if you watched last week’s show, and enjoyed Beck Bennett’s Pepsi commercial, this one will stand out even more.
Look, I could give this to the Cold Open just about every week, but I think that’s a personal preference thing, and I’m going to try to branch out and expand my horizons a little.
I telegraphed this one in the intro, but for me it’s “Sully and Denise”. It was Fallon’s only recurring character that made an appearance last night, and while nostalgia is fun, this one is not for me. I will say that I was pretty pleased that this was the only recycled sketch of the night, and I think that made for a stronger overall show.
- Kate McKinnon didn’t have a lot to do last night, but her Kristen Stewart (of all people!?) impression on “Celebrity Family Feud” may have been my favorite part of the entire show. McKinnon is the greatest and she needs to do everything.
- I’ve never been a huge fan of Vanessa Bayer’s Jacob the Bar Mitzvah boy in the past, but she’s just so damn good at it, I think it has worn me down and I’m all in.
- The Turtle Shirt. It will help you escape from awkward situations, and I think we all should have one in our closet.
- It goes without saying at this point, but Melissa McCarthy is a national treasure and this week’s iteration of Sean Spicer, complete with bunny suit, was lovely.
- More Leslie Jones, please.
LINES WITHOUT CONTEXT
- “Kim Jong Un is a bad, bad guy. He’s a war monger, he’s quick to anger, he’s a huge narcissist, he’s got a stupid haircut. I mean why would they let a guy like that run a country?” – Alec Baldwin
- “Solo? Why would anyone in a successful band go solo? That is insane.” – Harry Styles
- “You all got your wish, Spicy finally made a mistake.” – Melissa McCarthy
- “I’ll say, after all this I will never fly United ever again, unless they have a cheap flight wherever I’m going, in which case, I’ll definitely fly United.” – Colin Jost
- “First of all, YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT CAKES I’VE SEEN.” – Michael Che