‘SNL’ Recap: Charlize Theron Cannot Sing (Or Host)

charlize

NBC

There are things Charlize Theron can and cannot do. For instance, she cannot sing. She also cannot make characters best described as “pretty” interesting. But what she can do is play “weird,” and when SNL asked her to play oddballs, like a feline adoption clinic employee with a crush on a co-worker or the friend of a motivational speaker, she was surprisingly good. (That’s also why I enjoyed her stint as Rita on Arrested Development. Maybe the material wasn’t as good as in seasons one or two, but Michael not realizing the obviousness because of Charlize’s beauty was a nice spin.) Unfortunately, there wasn’t nearly enough of that, and the “that” was buried in the second half of the episode. If you tuned out after “Girlfriends Talk Show,” I don’t blame you, but you missed some hot bikini action.

Cold Open

One of the better cold opens of the season has Sasheer Zamata and Vanessa Bayer playing Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton, possibly for the first time. (The last Hillary appearance was when she was being played by Amy Poehler.) Sasheer and Vanessa have marvelous chemistry as they throw barbs back and forth about who gets more done, who settles nuclear crises, who tells fat kids not to eat cake, etc. At the very least, the tension increased the energy, which is all we can ask for from our cold opens this season.

Monologue

Compared to Charlize Theron, you’re a walking garbage bag of spoiled meat and milk. Ha?

hot potato

Mother’s Day Game Show

She’d eventually loosen up, but in the monologue and “Mother’s Day Game Show,” Charlize was as stiff as a Charlize Theron statue, because haven’t you heard, she’s the greatest human there ever was or ever will be (but at least she can’t dance!). Everyone around her worked well, including Kate McKinnon’s tireless mom and Bobby Moynihan’s I’m-too-tired-for-this dad, so I would have liked to see this sketch with someone who wasn’t a split-second late in her delivery.

Girlfriends Talk Show

At this point, you know what you’re going to get with every new Girlfriends Talk Show installment: a whole lotta nothing, except for some Aidy Bryant. It’s a little tiring seeing that poor girl get demoralized every time, but Bryant sells the character admirably, making sure every last syllable she utters is loaded with confused teenage sexuality. Still, it’s time for this one to go. Or make it Girlfriend Talk Show.

Dragon Babies

Was the most expensive sketch in SNL history (I’m assuming) worth it? Eh. The idea of a retired wheezing Chicago cop voicing a baby dragon is an amusing premise, and the framing device of an HBO First Look special was inspired. But “Dragon Babies” was weirdly schizophrenic, bouncing around from one idea to another idea, and it ran for about a minute longer than it should have. So, in conclusion: WHERE ARE MY DRAGON BABIES?

Heshy

With Mulaney picked up by Fox, this could have been Nasim Pedrad’s penultimate episode (NOOOOOOOO), and her final starring sketch. I enjoy “Heshy,” not because it’s especially hilarious, but because I appreciate Nasim’s on-point physical comedy. People thrusting to the sounds of cash registers and gun shots will never not be funny. This may have been Charlize’s best moment of the night, too — she was only late a few times.

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Weekend Update: Barbara Walters

We all agree that Breaking Nudes never happened, right? Right.

Weekend Update: Drunk Uncle

Now I’m really sad Bobby didn’t do last week’s Donald Sterling cold open as Drunk Uncle.

Pet Rescue

Oh, SNL, you crafty bastards: don’t think we won’t pay attention when there are adorable kittens on-stAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWW. LOOK AT HIS LITTLE PAWS. Ahem. Anyway, “Pet Rescue” was the perfect sketch for Charlize because she had to play “off,” which suits her much better than “beautiful.” Though the real star here was Damian, that feline sociopath.

Tourists

Very nice. What at first seems like your standard “what’s the deal with tourists?” turns into an unexpectedly lovely hidden-camera short film about out-of-towners who give directions, think they’re in Chicago, and walk away from their camera. I like Kyle Mooney a lot, but having the entire cast get involved was the right call, if only to see Charlize go full Norbit.

The Black Keys, “Bullet In the Brain”

I wish the Black Keys had appeared in one of the sketches. They’re noted jokesters.

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