NewsCult Entertainment Editor Jeffrey Malone watches every new episode of Saturday Night Live and then organizes the sketches into the following categories: “Love It” (potentially Best of the Season-worthy), “Keep It” (perfectly adequate), or “Leave It” (in need of a rewrite, to say the least). Then he concludes with assessments of the host and musical guest.
James Madison High School Graduation – In a spiritual successor to the St. Joseph’s Christmas Mass Spectacular, Beck Bennett gets into the intense voice-over detailing the foibles and high points of a common American ritual. There are the typical goofs: butchering names, falling off the stage, microphone troubles. And then it goes to another, all-time level with the lasers shooting out of the eyes of the kids looking at different cameras.
Wake Up Denver has the story on “Lil’ Rent,” and this sketch is absolutely a winner by keeping it simple with a foundation of the “Find and Replace” feature.
Mother’s Day Message From the Cast of SNL – How sweet and welcome to spend the cold opening with the Moms of SNL. But I do have some questions. Are these moms really pro-Trump? How come we don’t see Michael, Heidi, Alex, Kate, Cecily, or Leslie’s mom? And most importantly, why don’t they do Wayne’s World anymore?
Amy Schumer’s Monologue doesn’t feature her best material, but I do appreciate her insights into the rituals around loaning tampons (and now I’m wondering, who bought the first tampon ever so that nobody else would subsequently have to pay for them?)…Mother Knows Best is acceptable insofar as it is another showcase for a weird Kate McKinnon character…Handmaids in the City is a rather superficial mashup of two zeitgeisty shows, but I do appreciate the summation of “this could be me and my friends … with the way things are going”…Michael and Colin’s best jokes come via references to George Costanza and Vin Diesel’s understanding of degrees…Heidi Gardner should probably add more depth to awkward teen movie reviewer Bailey Gismert, but there is something kind of sweet about what she’s doing…Yet another Last Call, and this time we’re finally going Sapphic, but mostly I love the wordplay involving seals and clubs.
The Day You Were Born – The audience was just lapping up this filmed piece about a lovely Mother’s Day morning interspersed with flashbacks to a highly stressful birth, so I guess it is satisfactory for some tastes. But as far as I can tell, this is a fairly typical dramatization about how motherhood is not always as much of a blessing as society likes to insist it is.
Gospel Brunch coins the phrase “sextuple bypass,” but otherwise, it’s just a presentation of unhealthy food…Melissa McCarthy stops by the Update desk as Che’s Stepmom, which is fun, I suppose, but there’s not really any concept to this cameo.
On a scale of “brave” to “controversial,” Amy Schumer keeps it kind of toned down in her second hosting gig. She is hardly bad or tentative, but she does not stick out all that much, nor are her unique talents utilized very well (save for the weirdly conservative child actor in Lil’ Rent). I think I would be happy to have her back again, and I do not lay the blame too much on her for this episode playing it so safe, but, yeah, if she does return, somebody will have to step it up.
I do not keep too up-to-date on the country scene, but I have heard that Kacey Musgraves does diverge in subversive ways from mainstream country. But while “High Horse” and “Slow Burn” feature some solid storytelling, they cannot be her most groundbreaking material, can they? At least we can celebrate the ’60s Cher vibes she is giving off with her long black hair and bright blue pants.
I’ll be back next week to let you know what I’m loving, keeping, and leaving from the season finale with host Tina Fey and musical guest Nicki Minaj!