Devika Syal ‘18 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
The episode had a strong beginning, featuring a cold open based on the popular and very well known Schoolhouse Rock song “I’m Just A Bill,” that is used to educate young people on how the government works and how laws are made. Transposed into a live action sketch, Kenan Thompson played the bill and Kyle Mooney played the young boy being educated. The sketch took a twist when President Obama, excellently played by Jay Pharaoh, appeared and pushed the bill down the steps to Capitol Hill, introducing an executive order to Mooney’s character and applying it to the immigration laws President Obama is now focusing on. This cold open was an improvement over the previous ones this season, seeing as it was memorable, funny, and had a direct reference to something that nearly the entire audience was familiar with. Normally when dealing with a recent political event, Saturday Night Live will stage a sketch on a news set or at a press conference, so this original idea was fresh and funny. Kyle Mooney’s inclusion in both the cold open and a later sketch showcased his talent and how it is readily being accepted into many sketches. He will most likely become a main cast member next season.
Cameron Diaz first entered the episode during her monologue, which was incredibly short. Running at about three minutes in length, it was half the length of Woody Harrelson’s monologue during the last episode, and a good five minutes shorter than Chris Rock’s monologue two episodes ago. Giving that Diaz is a charismatic, talented, and experienced actress, her monologue–or lack thereof–was a wasted opportunity. It relied more on the cast members providing the comedy, posing as audience members and asking her random, unrelated, and not even very funny questions after she initially expresses how tired she is after all the interviews she’d been doing to promote a new film. There seemed to be no heart or personal connection in the monologue, which is a shame.
Even though Diaz was the host of the episode and therefore the primary actor there, she was not the primary character of most sketches. In every sketch Diaz was in, she was either part of an ensemble that got equal attention or was overshadowed completely by another character. The only reason she seemed to stand out in those sketches was because people knew she was the host and therefore expected the unfamiliar face.
Regardless, many of the sketches in this episode were original and hilarious. Following a trend, Saturday Night Live’s pre-recorded sketches always seem to be the biggest hits. This week featured an unexpected yet readily accepted sequel to the sketch “Twin Beds” featuring the female cast members overdressed in costumes and singing a catchy song sampling the Pussycat Dolls’ “Buttons” about visiting their parents for the holidays and having to share their childhood bedrooms with their current boyfriends. This week’s sequel, “Back Home Ballers,” told a tale in song about these women visiting home for Thanksgiving and being treated like queens by their parents. Not only was it an adventure to watch, it was also relatable, and the female cast members are so completely different from the characters that it made it funnier.
Another pre-recorded sketch that stood out was an advertisement for a product called Nest-Spresso, parodying the coffee maker Nespresso that is known for making a quick cup of coffee. The sketch featured Taran Killam and Kate McKinnon upset because they can’t hatch any chicks, only to be told by Vanessa Bayer about the product Nest-Spresso, where one can stick an egg in the place where a K-Cup may go and hatch a chick in less than a minute. It was outrageous and made the audience shake their heads at the things people would probably try to do or invent. This, of course, made it very funny.
It is impossible to properly review this week’s episode without showering Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson’s performance with praise. Proving that he is an excellent live performer at the most recent Super Bowl, Mars lived up to his talent. His performance was upbeat, catchy, and fun. The fast paced choreography gave the performance some edge and originality without getting weird. The blending of all the voices onstage created the feel of an acapella group. His performance was sure to put anyone watching in a better mood.
While there were a few hitches, this week’s episode was definitely one that flowed throughout the entire thing, upholding a standard of comedy and talent that was carried out during the entire episode.
Overall Episode Grade: A-