Let’s say you still have “Saturday Night Live 2/1″ on your DVR, either because you were too busy revisiting old episodes of Gilmore Girls with Melissa McCarthy last night or because you started pre-gaming for the Super Bowl at 5 p.m. and passed out at 8 p.m. OK, here’s some advice: after Weekend Update, fast-forward to the final sketch with Kyle Mooney and WATCH nothing in-between. McCarthy is a gifted, willing performer, someone with brilliant comedic timing who’s never said “no” to any idea, no matter how ridiculous, so she’s not to blame for last night’s up and down but mostly DOWN episode. Here’s where I’d usually fault Seth Meyers, but eh, it was his final episode, so I’ll play nice, and find content in a killer Weekend Update.
Because there wasn’t much else to like, despite McCarthy’s always-on performance.
What? I had high hopes when the premise was being explained, that the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Bruno Mars couldn’t perform at the Super Bowl halftime show and producers needed to book a new act ASAP, but that glee vanished the second sparkly Peyton Manning began singing about Richard Sherman, or whatever. Something so promising turned into “haha, it’s funny because manly men and pansy Broadway don’t mix,” a topic that was already kind of covered last week. One big womp-womp of a weirdly extravagant cold open.
Melissa McCarthy is a skilled physical comedian, but her undeniable talents could have been better used on the ground, not flipping around in the air, with support from some visually distracting wires. I’m not sure what the hell was going on here (a common complaint of this episode), but at least it continued SNL‘s long-running love of backstage llamas and Lincoln. (Giving Lorne Michaels a backstage llama is how Victoria Jackson got on SNL in the first place.)
Valentine’s Day Commercial
After two straight high-concept duds, SNL returned to what it does best: picking apart the smaller things in life. I still love their pair of returning home from college and for the holidays sketches, and I have an equal amount of admiration for this one, about Valentine’s Day shopping for your sweetie at a drug store. Who among us hasn’t bought some G-rated dice from CVS on February 14 at 5:59 p.m.?
You might remember Sheila Kelly from the last time she was on SNL. She was a basketball coach then and a congresswoman now. She still suffers from bouts of intense anger, though, and first takes it out on a cameraman, then some guy recording her on his iPhone, then a parking garage security camera, etc. “Delaware One” wasn’t anything special, but I liked the way the sketch followed the action through various sources. Plus, anything that ends with “I’M GONNA LIVE FOREVER” is OK in my book.
Probably the best sketch of the night. McCarthy is Inigo Montoya, looking to avenge her father’s death, by way of Kenny Powers’s hair. She so often plays wild and crazy characters that it was nice to see her restrained (minus the part where she jumps out the window), because she’s actually at her best when she lets her character’s weirdness do all the work. And P.J. was a weird one: I’m both glad and terribly disappointed she didn’t open her box of trophies. Also, I could totally see Melissa McCarthy on Justified, and now this needs to happen.
Guess That Phrase
BEAR DOWN FOR MIDTERMS > PASS THE MASH. Here’s an example of how McCarthy single-handedly can make an awful sketch watchable. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t think “Guess That Phrase” was good exactly, but McCarthy’s line readings were so bizarre and so unique that it wasn’t a total groiner, like it so easily could have been. Props also go to Vanessa Bayer and her miserable dancing dogs.
Well, at least we’ve found our worst sketch of this season. It honestly looked like it had put together sometime between Imagine Dragons first song and Weekend Update, as if another sketch fell apart so some poor intern had to run to the Garment District and buy the first outfit he/she saw. Then the writers worked backward, filling in the crummy wi-fi and Frida Kahlo premise later. What a hot piece of nothing.
Girlfriends Talk Show
I was so stunned by the astounding awfulness of “Art Exhibit” that I barely paid attention to the latest “Girlfriends Talk Show,” oddly buried late in the episode. I seem to remember something about a Hawaiian guy, or maybe it was a gay horse. I was still mentally stabbing the memory of “Art Exhibit” with my brain knife.
Summer of Diane
Summer of George, this ain’t.
The only real reason to watch past Weekend Update. This particular Kyle Mooney character was a little too mumbly, but he more than made up for it with the cheesy lo-fi transitions and interviews with random New Yorkers and tourists. The nice thing about Mooney being so not-famous is that he can still travel around NYC fairly anonymous for man-on-the-street interviews, something that someone like Seth Meyers might be too recognizable to do. OH WAIT HE’S GONE PARTY AT SETH’S HOUSE.