[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.]
Something cool about how SNL is a live, weekly show is that it can quickly respond to media criticism. What I’m talking about, of course, is Nasim Pedrad. (Did you think I was talking about the cold open? Nope! JK hold on. I will talk about it. Just a second!) Since the start of this season, every time I’ve seen anything about SNL on the Internet it’s almost always (and this is only a slight exaggeration) been a complaint about Nasim Pedrad not being in enough sketches. Here is SNL being like, “We heard you!” because in the past two weeks she’s been the focal point of a lot of sketches, which is cool because she’s great!
Okay but the other (more political, important) frequent complaint is about the lack of cast diversity, specifically how there are no black females in the cast. SNL addresses this in the cold open, and when I say “addresses this” I mean they pretty much say, “Yup, you are right,” and then continue as normal.
And I will talk about that in a minute but first let me just say the one Internet thing SNL does not get is that “What Does The Fox Say” is a viral video from TWO [MILLION] MONTHS AGO, and no amount of accuracy or kind-of funny jokes in that parody will make it not the worst. And on that note we can look at this episode now.
So I missed the episode on Saturday, and by the time I was watching on Sunday I had seen the text apologizing to Kerry Washington from the cold open and so naturally thought, “Very funny but now I won’t even enjoy it when i see it because it’s lost the surprise factor!” BUT this sketch had some other surprises in it and I’m choosing not to repeat them all so you can enjoy if you haven’t seen it yet! I thought it was very funny but then every time I’ve thought about it since I’ve felt a little empty, so yayyyy.
The good (?) news is that pretty much every sketch after this was very weird or silly or something, starting with Pedrad’s motivational speaker from Yemen, who just says nonsense like, “Heshi sewage fires success!” between thrusts accompanied by big sound effects. IDK. Also I had so much to tackle in those intro paragraphs that I forgot to mention Kerry Washington is lovely. She shines in this scene and gets to say, “Respect my ability to assess a bucket, Heshi,” which is nice.
As previously mentioned, there was a “What Does The Fox Say” video, which: ugh.
Then there is a sketch that is just, “White people are like this/black people are like this,” which is a very tired premise but I did like Kerry Washington’s character and there’s a funny bit about what would make these guests lose their support for Obama and the answer is nothing.
The “Miss Universe” sketch was full of very talented ladieesss but was strange and not funny. I did not understand Kerry Washington’s character, did I miss something? Please let me know if I missed something, I’d like to know.
Weekend Update was fine? Kate McKinnon was German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Jay Pharaoh and Kenan were good as Shaq and Charles Barkley. Here is the second of those:
The most genuinely embarrassing thing is that my favorite sketch of this episode was “Cartoon Catchphrase.” This very dumb sketch really catered to me the tired viewer watching TV while doing her dishes. Aidy Bryant is very talented. Also the ridiculous cheating husband story weaved into a game/reality show reminded me of the “Chews to Lose” sketch on Comedy Bang Bang from a couple weeks ago but no worries. I will watch these sketches forever and will be more forgiving if I’m doing my dishes.
Jay Pharaoh was in a lot of sketches this week in which he played people other than Obama! Here he is being principal. I really like Jay Pharaoh and this silly character but this sketch was not great.
“MTV Date or Diss” was a very strange sketch disguised as a normal sketch! This whole episode, you guys. I am getting worn out remembering it. Whew.
The show closed with another Good Neighbor prerecorded bit, in which Kyle Mooney and Taran Killam play ice cream scoopers who don’t get Beck Bennet’s cheesy joke. This sketch was so strange and I wanted to like it because I like strange things but if I’m being honest (which I am because #honesty) it made me a little mad!
Since I watched on Hulu, I missed Eminem’s performance but you can check it out on Stereogum. He brought out Rick Rubin and maybe lip-synced; even if he wasn’t lip-syncing he managed to be super boring. There was also a Lou Reed tribute that I missed and can’t find online but I think it’s just a clip from his 1986 appearance.