What is the name of the intermediate point between greedy viewing for entertainment and viewing with hatred? That’s where I’m from Saturday night lifewhile it squirms through those peculiar years. But this weekend’s episode was downright funny, I can’t remember the show being in years. And especially when Pokémon showed up to give away free Xboxes to all Americans.
It seems pretty certain to say that SNLThe show’s best recurring feature so far are the “Please Don’t Destroy” videos created by the show’s group of young writers. (Hell, the show doesn’t have a recurring significant character right now, so there isn’t much competition.) This week was their best week, during which the trio learned about a new variant of covid-19, but this Okay. Well, just take a look:
Being British SNL was not something I grew up with and only in recent years have begun to piece together its undulating history of quality. But having become a regular viewer right at the latest peak, it’s fair to say that the show is currently in something of an abyss. Even though there are some absolutely excellent comedians in the current line-up, there is a real sense of doldrums that set in before all the lockdown measures started to seriously spoil the program.
This Saturday’s edition didn’t get off to a good start, with a misfire at the cold opening when Kate McKinnon and Cecily Strong grimly stepped out to present an (overwhelmingly impressive) Ukrainian choir duma from New York performing “A Prayer for Ukraine.” It probably looked like a nice gesture, but it turned out to be an inadequate sop, not least when it ended with McKinnon and Strong clapping back in awkward silence, grimly mumbling the show’s opening line, and then the camera tilted clumsily to show some some clumsily arranged IKEA candles almost in the shape of the word “Kyiv”.
Well no. A well-written poignant satire, ideally bringing Beck Bennett back to repeat his Putin, would be much more respect for Ukraine. Then it all seemed even more out of place when fifth host John Mulaney stepped out to give a stormy opening monologue about his recent stint in rehab, setting up what turned out to be the most consistently powerful (and frankly bizarre) episode since Kristen Wiig. and the rise of Bill Hader.
This “Please Don’t Destroy” sketch was the perfect accompaniment to what seemed like a really bold piece of writing in the Covid dinner discussion (above), in which the people in the restaurant dared to speak out loud the unspeakable words of the past two years. A positive covid option seemed like such an incredibly beautiful dream, not least with all the new set of legitimate terror we are now feeling with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and I swear to you when it was announced that Pokemon were real I almost cried . Oh God, why can’t Pokémon be real right now when the whole world is fucking shit?
Monkey Trial was supposed to be terrible, but Mulaney made it fun. Blue River VT dog food was so weird it all came together. The Five-Timers sketch was a guest star bonanza with lots of laughs. Even in the strong sketch about the family reunion, there were quite a few jokes. And this musical Subway Churro? I mean, it was spectacular and horrific, and damn it, I adored it. Of course, Nickelodeon’s slime sketch was still there, but it was hard to get excited after LCD Soundsystem delivered two stellar renditions of such incredibly non-mainstream songs.
But most of all, I was pleased with the positive covid, the twinkling eyes of Paul Rudd and the Pokémon in the White House, which brought me real joy in a week when everything seems too scary.