As Saturday Night Live’s season nears the end, it’s clear that this is a transition year. There’s a sprawling cast and a mild lack of direction. And at this point in the season it’d clear that the show really won’t find it’s footing until it returns in the Fall.
Still, having Charlize Theron hosting SNL is something to look forward to. She’s incredibly talented and she’s stunningly beautiful. But the talent is the most important thing. The question is; what will she bring to the episode?
Let’s find out.
First, our obligatory rating system
Phil Hartman – Comedic gold
Chris Farley – Definitely funny, but kinda messy
Norm MacDonald – Funny, but not for everyone
Kristen Wiig – So-so premise saved by performer.
Tim Meadows – Didn’t hate it, didn’t love it, dripping with adequatulence
Darrell Hammond – Funny, but overstayed it’s welcome
Jim Breuer- Crowd pleaser, but a bit obvious
Robert Downey Jr – Brilliant performer, not a lot to work with
David Spade – Trying too hard
Janeane Garofalo – Weird weird, not weird funny
Mother’s Day Message – This is the rare cold open that actually has momentum and builds. The simmering and growing animosity and competition between Obama and Clinton plays pretty well. The only flaw in this sketch is Bayer’s “y’know.” I don’t know if it’s a tic or what, but it’s distracting and hammers home that it’s Bayer playing Clinton. It feels like she didn’t even work on a Clinton impression.
Rating: Darrell Hammond
Monologue – Because they’ve been used to sparingly this season, this musical monologue feels like a treat. I like how it toes the line between self-deprecating and one long humblebrag. Not particularly funny though.
Rating: Tim Meadows
Come Do A Game Show With Your Mom, I’ll Be Fun, Yes It Will – I was shocked to see Brooks in a sketch and with actual dialogue. Wow. I like Joanne Pendak. I like that she’s quizzing her kids and that they completely know her. I like this sketch. I’m mildly
Rating: Kristen Wiig
Girlfriends Talk Show – It’s Morgan and Kyra; what more could you ask for? Well, for starters you could ask for Charlize to look comfortable during the sketch, which is something she never really manages to pull off. Charlize is the weakest part of this sketch, but to be fair it’s a pretty weak outing for Girlfriends Talk Show. Normally the demands of Kyra’s boyfriend have a component that seems slightly sexual and weird enough to be true. But filming yourself drinking wonton soup from a Styrofoam cup with the backdrop being the worst neighborhood in town is just weird. Now if she were wearing pigtails and rollerskates…
Rating: Jim Breuer
Dragon Babies – First off, this was clearly written and begun months in advance right? The idea of Rick Shoulders as Bibbo is great, but the reality doesn’t quite live up to the potential. It could have been about a retired Chicago cop who finally realized his dream of being a voiceover actor, after being hindered by his accent, albeit via a favor from a friend. Or even having him be a fish out of water. But bringing in his wife dilutes that. And maybe it’s because I share attributes with unarmed people who tend to be shot by cops, but that bit didn’t strike me as funny.
Rating: Darrell Hammond
The Man Plan – Wow, Heshy makes another appearance? Either SNL is making a bid for Nasim to stay on the show or they’re trying to give her something memorable to do before she departs. Either way, kind of surprised that Heshy is back (though not too much because she was always designed to be a reoccurring character.) I really wish the joke-to-pelvic thrust ratio on this sketch were more balanced, in either direction. Ultimately Nasim sells this sketch with her energy, but that’s about it. Charlize does adequately with the material she’s given. I will say that I’m totally stealing “a complex network of flaws” as a description of something or someone. For instance The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was a complex network of flaws.
Rating: Kristen Wiig
The Black Keys Performance #1 – I like this song. But then again, I dig The Black Keys. You can clearly hear the influence of Danger Mouse on this track. His fingerprints are all over it. This song definitely makes me pissed that I missed out on seeing them in concert.
Weekend Update – Very nice of SNL to pay tribute to Barbara Walters, considering how much material she’s provided for them during the run of the show. That said, the segment dragged on and on. There were some good jokes this week, some even delivered by Colin. “Dropped by 12% to 130%” and “Florida; where working at Hooters is a happy ending” were two of the best. Breaking Nude was…interesting. Drunk Uncle felt off, though I’m glad he didn’t have a guest with him.
Bikini Beach Party – Leave it to SNL to answer the age-old question; when is a dead whale funny? The answer of course is when you’re waiting for it to explode. There’s some awkward staging at the beginning of the sketch, complete with someone partially blocking the shot. Then there’s the plastic bag that falls on Taran’s ukulele. But I enjoyed this sketch. It feels like something I should apologize for, but I won’t. Also, that scene with the women dancing, good gravy there are a ton of women in the cast. Plus you’ve got Kenan to close things out. Nice.
Rating: Chris Farley
The Black Keys Performance #2 – Another performance so soon? (Charlize needs to clean up from the last sketch.) Again, another good song. The organ in this song reminds me of Tame Impala’s sound, which is a good thing. It’s really sort of dope to hear how this band’s sound has evolved over the years.
Whiskers R We – This totally feels like a five-to-one sketch. It’s got weird characters and performance, but the writing is also there. Damien’s back-story is amazing. A feline sociopath? Cats with lingering kisses. Equally funny, Kate almost breaking from Charlize’s caress.
Rating: Norm MacDonald
Tourists – So, this is Jay Pharoah’s sole appearance in the episode? I actually loved this. What I liked the most was seeing how the various cast members all approached the concept of “tourists” differently. It was really dope to see the different takes they used.
Rating: Phil Hartman
Final Thoughts – Charlize did a decent job. She played a couple interesting characters and didn’t embarrass herself. The episode wasn’t a homerun, but at this point in the season who is expecting a homerun?
Next week is the season finale with Andy Samberg and St. Vincent. Expect guest-stars galore.