[Ed. Note: Jenny Nelson is a writer, student, and — most importantly — Videogum intern. She’ll be taking us through this season of Saturday Night Live.]
Two things I learned from Bruce Willis’s harMONicOLOGUE (n, a monologue in which speaker plays harmonica) are that a) Bruce Willis plays harmonica, and b) this week was the first time he’s hosted SNL since 1989. Wow! One more year and it could’ve been the 25th anniversary. Who planned this, because you done messed up! Kidding. I’m just kidding, it’s fine. Truly JK. Anyways, although Bruce Willis is an entertaining enough comedic performer (have you seen him in The Whole Nine Yards?) [Ed. Note: AND REMEMBER WHEN HE WAS ON FRIENDS?], the material in this episode was maybe too tailored to his sensibilities and action movie tropes, seeing as how the show turned into mostly boys being boys. We get it, boys! Some of it was funny though, just also some of it wasn’t. Here we go:
The Gravity/Government Shutdown cold open was alright. Kenan was in especially good form.
The “24-hour Energy for Dating Actresses” sketch seemed like a worse version of last season’s “Xanax for Gay Summer Weddings.” Yeah, I guess actresses can be difficult, but this commercial still makes me feel bad. You guys seem unhappy, maybe you should just break up, fake commercial characters!
I liked the next one, though, in which a troop (do they call them troops?) of Navy Seals plans out a mission and Bruce Willis imagines his role as an over-the-top war movie complete with kicking down doors, dramatic dialogue, and cinematic fades to black. This is also how I imagine Bruce Willis is in real life!
Next, although I think it’s cute that aging-star-of-action-movies Bruce Willis was in a sketch called “Boy Dance Party,” I also think that it’s the 2000s and a sketch about how some guys are into dancing but they have to keep it secret from their significant others and pretend they watch sports is weirdly outdated. “No homo,” says every guy in this sketch, pretty much.
Then came Weekend Update. This episode continued to be very Kenan, with him appearing as a chaplain with some particularly ireful prayers to say about Congress. Then, featured player Brooks Wheelan stopped by to talk about his tattoo #FAILs. I sometimes think about something Amy Poehler said (about something Lorne Michaels said) which is that hosting Weekend Update changes everything because you’re saying your real name and no longer hiding behind any characters. Yet look here, Brooks Wheelan’s full name! He also talks about his home state and decisions he made as a teen, how cool that we now know so much about this new guy! If it weren’t for this context, this bit would be mostly lame, but I bet my mom would like it because she thinks tattoos represent very terrible decisions!
Then there was an Armageddon spoof, a take on a different kind of Bruce Willis movie. Whereas the Navy Seal one was funny because it put action movie star Bruce Willis in a realistic situation, this one put cat-obsessed Bobby Moynihan in an action movie. I don’t recall having seen this one of Moynihan’s recurring characters before but I have so little interest in looking it up because I really didn’t like it.
“Centauri Vodka” and Taran Killam’s overprotective son were boring and too long for sketches based on just one little visual joke, and one play on words (?), respectively. Then, to make matters worse, I watched on Hulu this week so I didn’t get to see the Lady Gaga talk show, which I know definitely had female cast members in it. INSTEAD I saw a repeat of the “E-Meth” commercial from the season premiere, which I liked the first time, but why again?
Like last week, this episode had a Good Neighbor-type sketch towards the end, this time starring Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett as a pair of atypical frat brothers explaining rules for their version of beer pong. I particularly liked the pen pal part, baseball card, and lizards. I’m still not sure how well these sketches are fitting into the rest of the show, but I like them and maybe as they keep going they’ll become a more natural part of the show!