This was a very weird episode of SNL, to which we say: good! A show that’s been on since before Star Wars existed should get weird occasionally, to break up the mediocrity that’s inevitably going to creep in after four decades, especially when its got a host as talented and willing to take awkward chances as Louis C.K. He’s not exactly the world’s greatest actor, but he doesn’t have to be; he plays “dejected man in a suit that’s one size too big” and “period piece cop” really well, and SNL got a lot of mileage out of that archetype.
Even sketches that didn’t work, like “Doctors Appointment,” a.k.a. the one with the Darth Vaders up the bum, were fascinating failures, though I can understand why you might have loved it, too. And hated everything I enjoyed. It was that kind of episode. Reactions are going to be all over the place, and I’ll take that every time over everyone agreeing, “Yeah, what the hell was SNL thinking with Jim Parsons?”
I actually enjoyed this cold open, in which President Obama’s pandering social media team try to get the YOUTH to sign up for Obamacare by tweeting increasingly staged photos. But didn’t it feel like it was heading toward something bigger than the ending we got? Kate McKinnon as Justin Bieber is never not funny, but Obama and the Beebs (my favorite Elton John song) kissing wasn’t much of a punchline. I half-hoped/fully-wanted for Obama himself to show up, if only to round up the reactions to our president kissing a lesbian dressed as a Canadian pop-douche.
Randy Marsh would have killed at “Rap Songs That Begin with the Letter N.” Anyway, it’s always risky for SNL to return to the Jeopardy! well, considering THIS, but “Black Jeopardy” was clever enough that it didn’t make me pine for Turd Ferguson more than I already do. The Michael Vick/Sarah McLachlan misdirection was inspired, and the audience’s awkward laughter over whether it was OK for them to laugh at “Who is unemployed fellow…black?” made it an episode highlight.
Office Baby Boss
It was inevitable Baby Boss was coming back. I’m happy Beck Bennett waited until he could smear cake all over Louis C.K.’s face for it to happen.
Weekend Update: Stephen A. Smith
A mercy killing of a Weekend Update that didn’t kill. Only one guest, not a single memorable joke: I want to like Colin Jost, I really do, but he doesn’t seem right for the job. His delivery remains stilted and he’s apparently physically unable to conduct a one-on-one-interview like a normal human being, which is a shame, because Cecily Strong continues to do solid work. How many more trial weeks should he get?
Mr. Big Stuff
“Your Love” is my favorite sketch of the season, so it’s no surprise that I really liked “Mr. Big Stuff,” too. The women circling Louis while singing the Jean Knight classic was funny enough as is, but when it began to build, with Louis listing all the reasons he DOESN’T think he’s Mr. Big Stuff before accusing the ladies of projecting all their insecurities onto him, it became something special. Plus, LOUIS DANCE.
Now’s when things get weird. “Doctors Appointment” never got much funnier than the sentence “Darth Vader action figure up my butt,” although, to be fair, that’s pretty funny. But next time I’m outside, I won’t be able to NOT look at everyone’s butt, wondering if they’ve got a Vader (or General Grievous!) stuck up there.
I’m not sure if I hated this sketch, or loved it. It’s definitely one or the other, but I feel like I’m going to need a week to process what happened. There’s pajamas…and foreplay…and Louis breaking…and I don’t know.
Chris for President
YES. Chris Fitzpatrick for high school president…and PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 2016 (we’re gonna need someone to clean up the “kissing Bieber” mess that Obama left behind — it smells like stale maple syrup and magazine cologne). The latest Kyle Mooney lowercase-digital short appealed to a very certain group of people, of which I consider myself a member, mostly because the only thing I love more than Getty Image watermarks is Temporary Flawed. They’re totally twisted.
The fact that Louis was clearly reading the cue cards the entire time somehow helped the joyfully stilted “Romantic Speech.” Louis wants Aidy Bryant back, except no, he wants to stop an increasingly angry Baby Jessica before she takes out her revenge on the world, except no, he wants her to hide his bags, except no, he’s unable to say the word “man” correctly, except no, “shhhhhut up.” Oh Louis, you had me at LoboLand.
“Stay with Me” by Sam Smith
Are we sure Sam Smith isn’t British Finch from American Pie?