SNL Weekly Review: December 10 by Dylan Zsigray ’18

John Cena seemed like a natural during last night’s episode of Saturday Night Live.  However, this does not mean that the episode was good.  I went into last night’s episode hoping that my expectations would be surpassed.  I have seen so many non-actor and non-musician hosts try a hand at hosting SNL and it never works out.  Although John Cena was natural and comfortable on stage, last night’s whole episode felt a little forced and facetious, to be frank.  There were a couple funny moments but the overall show just had a weird vibe attached to it, making it hard to sit through.  The episode just was not good.  I was half tempted at times to fast-forward through sketches, but I forced myself to watch the majority of them.  Anyways, below is my review of last night’s episode of SNL.

“SUPERSTAR!” (The Best Sketch of the Night)

“Weekend Update”: Weekend Update last night was fantastic.  Michael Che and Colin Jost had terrific chemistry and exchanged funny banter between themselves.  The Trump-related political humor was incredibly well written and delivered sharply by either Che or Jost.  Kate McKinnon’s Angela Merkel was fantastic and I still quite don’t understand Cecily Strong’s creepy neighbor character, so that was a bit off-putting for me.  But, in terms of all the Weekend Update segments this season thus far, last night’s was probably the best that I’ve seen.  Of course, I think I’ve said that before in past reviews, so maybe each week is better than the last.

“I gotta have more cowbell!” (Good Sketches)

“Dyke and Fats Save Christmas”: This is the second time that us SNL viewers have been treated to the Dyke and Fats duo and boy was it a treat last night.  Honestly, I really only find the B-roll footage of Dyke and Fats fighting crime to be entertaining.  Everything else (eg. their chat with the police chief) I never find funny.  However, it’s digital shorts like this that show how many of the SNL players have good chemistry together.  I wouldn’t mind seeing more of Dyke and Fats in the future.  Maybe another short could be called, “Dyke and Fats Save Trump.”  

“Joanne and The Tree”: You have to feel bad for Joanne.  She was just trying to show initiative and ended up falling to her death out of a window.  I’d like to know who had the genius idea of keeping a window unlocked in a skyscraper.  That’s a good question to have answered.  I honestly felt bad that I was laughing during this sketch. It’s just terrible that her coworkers chose the Christmas tree over her.  Plus, when Joanne eventually fell, SANTA chose the Christmas tree over her as well.  How sad.  This sketch was well written and did not really have an underlying point to it, but maybe that was a good thing since it was so funny.

“Well, isn’t that special” (Hit or Miss Sketches)

“Romance Book Store”: Cena here reminded me of Fabio for some reason.  I don’t know why, but he did.  This sketch was funny at first but it got old since the same thing was happening over and over and over and over again.  This feeling that I got from watching this sketch was sort of the feeling that I got from watching the entirety of last night’s episode.   

“Through Donald’s Eyes”: What a unique idea for a sketch!  Some people and critics absolutely adored this sketch.  I was okay with it.  For my own tastes, it dragged on for too long.  I get it that the show was trying to poke fun at Trump’s own ego but perhaps if this was a tad shorter and did not have all those weird filters it may have been better.

“Buh-bye” (Bad Sketches)

“Dating Show”: Oh my goodness this sketch was horrible.  And, the showrunners put it in the first part of the show (where the better sketches should be and usually are!). What was the purpose of this sketch?  All I got from it was that John Cena and Strong’s character fell for each other and carried those feelings through all four minutes of the sketch.  It was just hard to watch.  Even Beck Bennett and the other male contestants seemed done with it as well.  This sketch kind of reminded me of the disastrous Burger King sketch from a few episodes ago.

“John Cena Monologue”: John Cena’s monologue was horrendous.  I mean, he seemed natural on stage and all but there was absolutely nothing gained from the acting he did.  It was boring to watch, not funny, and dragged on for way too long.  Unfortunately, as I’ve seen before, the monologue can set the tone for the entire episode.  The negative tone gained from this cold open certainly weaved its way through the rest of the sketch.  

“Science Presentation”: I get it. This stuff probably happens at all the big football colleges all across the country and the dialogue here was good.  I just didn’t see how this sketch fit in with the common trend or themes of sketches throughout last night’s episode.  It felt like an outlier.  It also felt forced, mostly on the part of the teachers judging the students’ work.

“Talent Competition”: This was the sketch that was only added in the show because they needed something to push it to 90 minutes.  It did that, but it was accomplished through a pointless sketch with a mediocre plot.  I fast forwarded through this one, an action which I dread doing but only ever do if a sketch is just awful.

“The Karate Teen”: Okay so Mikey Day can survive being punched through five walls.  Great.  Glad I wasted three minutes to watch this sketch.  This sketch is just another unfortunate example of how each sketch missed its mark.  This sketch could have been something more had it been written and acted out better.  I don’t need to see a half-hearted fight between Cena and Day.  No thank you.

“The Lead With Jake Tapper Cold Open”: It seems like the quality of the Trump satirical sketches changes week to week.  Some weeks, they’re really good (ie. last week’s Tweet-centric one).  Other weeks (eg. last night’s), they’re not good.  Everyone was just off in this sketch.  I did not see a point to it and I felt that the writers could have chosen an alternative path to make fun of Trump’s cabinet appointees.  I mean, what was the purpose of bringing Bryan Cranston on (except to fulfill a possible request of his to make a cameo appearance).  Plus, Kellyanne Conway’s portrayal by Kate McKinnon was really awkward and uncomfortable to watch.  I think that that had a lot to do with her dialogue and the overall quality of the writing. This sketch just did not hit the mark last night.

“Where’d Your Money Go”: If only the contestants had actually listened and said “no’ to every single question.  Had they done this, the sketch would have been over five minutes sooner.  However, since the writers wanted to weave the same unfunny joke through each question, this sketch dragged on for over six minutes.  Plus, why did they pick the celebrities to portray that they did.  And, why Charles Barkley as host?  These are all good questions that could have changed the quality of the sketch for the better.

It was a tough episode for John Cena and the rest of the cast last night.  SNL will look to rebound next week with host Casey Affleck.

Dylan’s Ranking of the Episodes:

  1. Dave Chappelle
  2. Emma Stone
  3. Tom Hanks
  4. Kristen Wiig
  5. Lin-Manuel Miranda
  6. Margot Robbie
  7. John Cena
  8. Benedict Cumberbatch
  9. Emily Blunt

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