RecapReviewTV

LIVE FROM NEW YORK, IT’S . . . Burger King with Whopper-Sized Disappointment

A.J. Tierney ‘20 / Emertainment Monthly TV Section Contributor

Quote of the Night

“Trump and I disagree about a lot of things, but I do like how generous he is. Just last Friday, he gave me this election.”

Hillary Clinton (Kate McKinnon)

Political Sketch

Once again, Kate McKinnon and Alec Baldwin respectively reprise the roles of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump for the political cold open. Like many Americans, Anderson Cooper (Jon Rudnitsky) and Martha Raddatz (Cecily Strong) prepare for the “second and worst ever” debate by taking a shot. Round two commences with Trump and Clinton entering like professional wrestlers ready for a smack down. The moderators remind the viewers that the town hall debate includes audience members who are, “undecided, uncommitted, and not remotely camera ready.” Trump begins with a bang by revealing that the women who accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault are in the audience.

“Martha, she [Clinton] is trying to silence these women, but they need to be respected. They need their voices to be heard,” Baldwin’s Trump declares.

“What about all the women accusing you of sexual assault?” Strong’s Raddatz quips back.

“They need to shut the hell up.”

McKinnon’s Clinton responds to Trump’s tactics with, “Get real. I’m made of steal. This is nothing.” Other highlights of the sketch include the Jaws theme song underscoring Trump while he lurks behind Clinton, and Bobby Moynihan’s perfect portrayal of Ken Bone. The sketch follows Saturday Night Live’s (SNL) traditional political parody style, but no one’s complaining. As they say: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Although the cold open began the night with a bang, such is a given in this current political climate, and the sketches following lacked the same luster.

Host / Emily Blunt

In an attempt to combat this negative political season, Blunt continues the SNL tradition of singing during the opening monologue, performing “Come On, Get Happy.” The affair is complete with puppies, cake, and the casts’ mothers. Yet it lacks one vital aspect—humor. As the episode continues, it becomes clear the writers failed Blunt. She seems beyond capable of taking on out of the box roles, but instead she is handed characters like a British prostitute, a British film star, and a British sink. Overall, Blunt does the best she can with what she was dealt.

Bruno Mars performs on SNL. Photo Credit: Will Heath/NBC
Bruno Mars performs on SNL. Photo Credit: Will Heath/NBC

Musical Guest / Bruno Mars

The musical act is rarely one of Saturday Night Live’s highlights; however, this week Mars commands the stage with high-energy performances of “24K Magic” and “Chunky.” The songs give off an off-brand “Uptown Funk” vibe.  Bruno and company own the stage with their production value, as the spectacle includes over ten backup dancers and an energetic dance routine. Mars does not just sing—he performs, successfully making the musical act a fan-favorite of the night.

Weekend Update

Colin Jost and Michael Che begin the news by commenting on Donald Trump’s rape allegations. However, most of the jokes are more politically charged than humorous. Then, from a remote village in Russia, Olya Povlatsky (Kate McKinnon) makes a guest appearance. Per usual, Povlatsky provides the audience with valuable perspective. She says that she relates to Hillary Clinton because she, too, has “been attacked by a dog for ninety minutes.” While McKinnon’s village woman is always a fan-favorite, Vanessa Bayer steals the segment with her recurring character, Laura Parsons, a young girl who helps deliver the news. Bayer always cracks the audiences up by delivering depressing headlines with her chirpy, child-like voice; this week, she does not disappoint. Given the nature of this election cycle’s news, Che reminds Parsons not to use such bad language. “Why not?” Parson replies. “Billy Bush said bad things and my mom says he might get ten million dollars . . . FROM THIS NETWORK!”

Best Quote of the Segment:

“A new report shows the best place for young girls to live is Sweden; the worst place is on your hard drive.”

Michael Che

Best Sketch of the Night / CHONK Clothing

The commercial parody begins like any generic “pro-woman” advertisement. Women of all shapes and sizes are shown while a voiceover narrates a slew of positive adjectives. The punchline comes when the store’s name is revealed:  “You rule the world, that’s why you shop at CHONK [spoken with an aggressive, deep tone].” The sketch perfectly juxtaposes the fashion industry’s “pro-girl” marketing with its ridiculous standards for women.

Honorable Mention / The Great British Bake-Off

Emily Blunt and Cecily Strong play two girls from “the only city that exclusively voted for the Brexit,” who are competing on The Great British Bake-Off. The women’s cockney accents and unsophisticated personas are funny, but the sketch never meets its full potential. The plot seems thrown together haphazardly, and the sketch ultimately feels unfinished.

The cast of Saturday Night Live with host Emily Blunt. Photo Credit: Will Heath/NBC
The cast of Saturday Night Live with host Emily Blunt. Photo Credit: Will Heath/NBC

Worst Sketch of the Night / Burger King Sketch

In this sketch, a “pink Hummer limo filled with party people” goes through a Burger King drive-through. When one wacky character fails to order, the limo pulls up so that a new wacky character can take their turn. The problem is, the weird characters aren’t funny. In addition, the sketch is way too long, and lacks any additional plot. It leaves viewers feeling secondhand embarrassment for the actors.

MVP of the Night / Vanessa Bayer

Vanessa Bayer is the night’s one saving grace. She typically plays composed characters, while actresses like Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant steal scenes with more absurd characters. However, Bayer shines when she’s given the chance to step into the spotlight with characters like Rachel from Friends. Her portrayal of the young news reporter, Laura Parsons, is even more phenomenal than usual. Her ability to tackle tense topics exuberantly is simply hilarious, a feature overall lacking in this episode.

On the heels of last week’s record-breaking success, this episode of Saturday Night Live is a disappointment. Emily Blunt is charming; however, her comedic timing and remarkable accents could not save the show’s subpar writing. From the humorless opening monologue to the cringe-worthy Burger King sketch, SNL just was not funny, and execution was to blame. The musical sketch Melanianade, a satire of Beyonce’s song “Sorry” featuring women in Trump’s life, has potential. The concept is clever, but the song’s slow pace hinders the humor. There is also a sketch replicating the plot of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf—but with hamsters. Again, the concept is original and provides the actors lots of opportunity for weird humor; however, it never quite hits the mark, a recurring theme for this episode. Hopefully, the writers can turn things around next week with host Tom Hanks and musical guest Lady Gaga.

Overall Grade: D+

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