Going into the holiday, we’re continuing a pretty good streak for Saturday Night Live. It’s been a minute since Cameron Diaz was on, and it’s a fair guarantee it’ll be a fun show. This past week’s was no exception. Let’s dive in.
Cold Open / Best Sketch of the Week: While I enjoyed a number of the sketches, the Schoolhouse Rock bit for Capitol Hill was pretty perfect. A well timed, satirical joke, with great performances from all participants. Kyle Mooney continues to shine, Kenan actually made a great sing-songy Bill, Jay Pharaoh took his Obama to a new level that made it way more interesting, and Bobby Moynihan was perfect as the aloof gives-no-eff’s Executive Order. Well played, writers.
Monologue: This was actually kinda weak. We basically just set up that Cameron Diaz is actually in a movie coming out. The Q&A’s work best when there’s more chemistry, or more of an on-going thing. This felt kinda slapped together. And Cameron Diaz is funnier than this for a monologue.
Best Digital Sketch: Back Home Ballers. This was a lot of fun, and we got amazing moments from each of the women. It’s rare that we see all of them at once, or often in a show if ever, and we can see the fun and comedic genius of each (although I do feel Vanessa Bayer was mildly underplayed) Anyway, Aidy Bryant made a fun lead-in to this, and the off-beat moment where she awkwardly walks away from her neighbor is amazing. I’m glad this was more at-home centric than last year’s coming home for the holidays song.
Honorable Mentions for Sketches: I may be alone in this, but I actually really enjoyed the purposely-bad writing of the high school experimental theater sketch. Punctuated by Kenan Thompson’s flabbergasted reactions – and a shameful, deadpan Vanessa Bayer – the overwrought poetics of the theater bits were really funny to me. Maybe it’s because I’m a theater nerd. Maybe because I went to an artsy college and supported black box theater performances by my peers. It ended on a weird note, but it was still fun.
Night Murmurs was also a fun, weird sketch showcasing desperate women moonlighting on a phone sex hotline for different purposes. This escalated in fun ways for each of the women in this sketch.
Even though I wasn’t sure where the Poetry Class sketch was going, Vanessa Bayer’s super weird substitute teacher character and the ridiculously oversexualized poem by Cameron Diaz’s character were great. The sketch really picked up steam when they both were on screen together bouncing off each other.
Least Memorable Sketch: None of the sketches were outright awful. However, I’d say the New Annie and the animal show bit were the most so-so. There were strong performances across both – Leslie Jones finally had a shining lead role in a sketch as the black Annie – but they were just not as strong as the other sketches.
Player of the Week: I wanna give it up to Vanessa Bayer and Aidy Bryant. Both women churned out pretty strong performances. The way these two dive into different characters is great, and they both had pretty good comedic timing. Also, Kenan.
Weekend Update Moment of the Week: I didn’t really enjoy either of the guest moments, but Michael Che and Colin Jost actually carried on just fine with their usual reporting this time around.
Another Honorable Mention for this Episode: Bruno Mars’ performances were actually really killer. What’s up, Mystikal?
Overall, a pretty silly episode with many more good moments than bad. Way to herlad in the holidays, SNL!