Coming off one of the highest rated, and most critically acclaimed seasons in the show’s history, Saturday Night Live entered its 43rd season last night, poised to build on the adulation and buzz. Early reports have the season premiere as a huge ratings success, but as a whole, the show is still a little uneven, and, stop me if you’ve heard this before, there’s a bit of a Trump Problem (TM).
On any given day, Donald Trump producing any number of insane headlines, stemming from rambling tweets (which have been decreed as Official White House statements, for some reason), self-congratulatory speeches* (*rallies), or the cast of nefarious henchmen orbiting the president’s atmosphere. It’s hard to keep track of everything and it’s really hard to process all these things that the actual president is saying.
At first glance, this might seem like a positive for a comedy show, providing countless opportunities for jokes and satire. The problem, once again, is that you can’t really write anything more outrageous than real life. In addition, a lot of the current problems are really hard to joke about. Trump playing golf while criticizing Puerto Ricans for being victims of a deadly hurricane and needing help? Not inherently funny. The cold open hit on the tragic events, and it just didn’t seem like something to joke about.
Like it or not (not…most definitely not), we’re living in the darkest timeline. We’re all adapting, SNL included. I love this show, but they’re going to have to figure out how to strike a better balance. They’re going to need to solve their Trump Problem. Just like the rest of us.
Gosling is funny, make no mistake. But Gosling is best when he’s acting with a capital “A”. This digital gives him a chance to show his chops as a troubled suburban man, obsessed with the use of the titular papyrus font for the movie Avatar. The premise is certainly as dumb as it sounds, and it’s fantastic.
In “Henrietta & The Fugitive”, Gosling and Aidy Bryant present an old-timey love story, a tale as old as time. A man evading the law hides out in a barn, and ends up falling in love with a hen. Typically I love this weird stuff, but this one just missed, taking a little too long and playing a little too straight. I definitely applaud the effort, however.
- Well, Kate McKinnon is still the greatest. She reprises her role as Mrs. Rafferty in the first sketch after the monologue, and I was skeptical. Silly me. McKinnon is a star (she brings back Angela Merkel in Weekend Update and it’s the best), and SNL is really going to miss her when she decides to be a movie star full-time.
- I loved “Italian Restaurant” where Gosling and Cecily Strong freak out after the fancy Italian meal they loved turned out to be from Pizza Hut. It’s especially disheartening because Strong is “half Italian, so she knows what real Italian food should taste like.”
- Fired up Michael Che is the best Michael Che.
- Really cool scene in Jay-Z’s first musical performance with the performer wearing a Colin Kaepernick jersey complete with “Colin X” on the back.
LINES WITHOUT CONTEXT
- “I actually love football, I could’ve played. People say I remind them of an NFL player because I’m combative, I like to win, and I might have a degenerative brain disease.” – Alec Baldwin
- “Me? Ryan Gosling? A white kid from Canada? I guess I can try and save jazz. So I did.” – Ryan Gosling
- “How is the President of the United States worse at being humanitarian than Pitbull?” – Colin Jost
- “Ok, the NBA is what 130-140% black? What exactly are you gonna do if they all decide to kneel? Have a game between the New York Porzingis against the San Antonio Ginobili?” – Michael Che
- “Thank you for calling it a rock and roll flute, it’s much deeper than that.” – Ryan Gosling