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SNL Love It/Keep It/Leave It: Donald Glover/Childish Gambino

CREDIT: Rosalind O’Connor/NBC

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.

Love It

Jurassic Park Courtroom – Is this the first time a Jurassic Park parody has ever centered around the titular land of amusement being sued for wrongful death liability? It seems unlikely that it should take this long, but whatever, I’m not complaining. Maybe a lesser-known previous example exists, but the one we have now is simply incredible. I didn’t used to know that Donald Glover needed to adopt a ridiculously over-the-top Southern affectation to play JP’s lawyer, but now I have seen the light. This is the goofy, nerdy Glover so many of us fell in love with during his Community days, and thank heavens he is still willing to deploy it.

Barbie Instagram – In certain great episodes, you get the requisite satisfying sketches whose subject matter you can predict based on the host, but then the very best sketch turns out to be something that comes out of nowhere. And so it is with Donald Glover, who busts out the expected Star Wars sketch, as well as other bits based on nerd and/or hip-hop culture, and then he delivers a singular milestone, wherein he plays an aspiring Mattel marketing specialist who reveals the dark soul that has been lurking underneath Barbie this whole time. And alongside him are equally legendary performances from Heidi Gardner and Pete Davidson as the vapidity-baiting marketers, plus Kenan and Cecily as the frustrated and erudite supervisors.

So apparently “The Night I Watched You” by Raz P. Berry is specifically a parody of the (truly disturbing) 1986 music video of “The Rain” by Oran “Juice” Jones, but even for the uninitiated, this works brilliantly as a takedown of the mini-genre of R&B videos of crooners keeping tabs on the objects of their affection (nearby) from afar…I don’t remember Melissa Villaseñor’s Dirty Talk character (first seen in last year’s Aziz Ansari episode) being this hilarious before, but that reference to Cosby (i.e., “a different kind of criminal”) is something else…Michael and Colin have a blast with the surplus of Trump/Cohen/Giuliani material and wisely choose to pass on all the Kanye shenanigans…Pete Davidson is mad that Michael and Colin have been named the next Emmy hosts, but I’m most amused by him confusing the Emmy ceremony with a high school graduation.

Keep It

Galactic Summit for All Black Humans – Indeed, there are relatively very few black human characters in the Star Wars galaxy. It is probably not due to any vindictiveness on anyone’s part, but it is still absolutely worthwhile that this fact be pointed out in the context of SNL by a black (near-future) Star Wars vet like Donald Glover. The result is fairly amusing, but it could have been more ambitious and longer, especially Donald’s song at the end. After all, this isn’t the first time this show has displayed some memorable Star Wars-based crooning.

The Michael Cohen Wiretap phone tag is just as reliant on cameos as the rest of this political SNL era, but at least this one is a little more unique and has the feel of a party…Donald Glover apparently uses his Monologue as a continuation of his many-years-ago SNL audition, and you gotta love him for that…Friendos places a Migos-esque trio in therapy, and it is a bona fide breakthrough…The monsters of A Quiet Place are now stalking A Kanye Place, and apparently the midterm elections are still happening in this world?…Leslie Jones just has an endless supply of love gone wrong (or never really starting in the first place)…The Prison Customer Service closer provides an interesting example of wearing different faces for different situations.

Leave It

This is one of the best episodes in a while, and accordingly there are no terrible sketches.

Donald Glover

CREDIT: Will Heath/NBC

Donglover comes bursting with ideas for his SNL debut. I bet he’s been saving them up ever since he auditioned for the show and also many years before that during his childhood. He makes some big, bold, and wonderful character choices, and if he wants to, he can keep coming back as much as he pleases and become one of the best hosts of all time.

Childish Gambino

Now on to Donald Glover’s music. Under his Childish Gambino moniker, he has thus far in his career established quite the versatile soundscape, and his new tunes in this go-round portend a promising future still to come. “Saturday” is like a tropical beat on the porch (and who is that girl on the bongos?), while “This is America” is some combination of subversive and/or reflective of the black American experience.

I’ll be back next week to let you know what I’m loving, keeping, and leaving from host Amy Schumer and musical guest Kacey Musgraves!

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