CREDIT: Will Heath/NBC

Jeffrey Malone watches every new episode of Saturday Night Live and then organizes the sketches into the following categories: “Love It” (potentially Best of the Season-worthy), “Keep It” (perfectly adequate), or “Leave It” (in need of a rewrite, to say the least). Then he concludes with assessments of the host and musical guest.

Love It

Toilet Death Ejector – I’m going to say it, folks. I’m walking on hallowed ground here, but I believe it’s warranted: Toilet Death Ejector is on the same level as Old Glory Insurance. It took nearly 25 years, but SNL finally innovated another bona fide solution for what ails today’s seniors. There is a strong chance that this fake product will enter the cultural lexicon as shorthand for the embarrassing death that we all want to avoid.

The Unknown Caller – Is Chad the most versatile among SNL‘s current crop of recurring characters? This parody of Scream‘s opening scene (and other “the killer is in inside the house” scenarios) certainly makes a strong case. And his previous appearances already made a strong case, what with their mix of soap opera, melodrama, and fantasy. Chad works in this specific context because it’s always a fire idea to have a character refuse to play along with horror movie rules. Also, the nonchalant bottomlessness.

John Mulaney’s Monologue covers such important, laughter-inducing topics as French bulldog breathlessness, new funky police sirens that sound like two people talking to each other, and old police sirens that sound like a gay cat dying…I thought we didn’t have anywhere new to go with What’s That Name? after Lady Gaga stopped by, but even if we didn’t, the original flavor is still hilarious…The Wedding Reception sketch finally brings some new moves to the “Cha Cha Slide,” while also demonstrating the delight of people getting perfectly by in situations where at first glance they would seem to be out of place.

Keep It

Bodega Bathroom – A spiritual sequel to Lobster Diner from John Mulaney’s last hosting appearance, Bodega Bathroom is even more ambitious, perhaps to a fault. Whereas last year’s musical number took inspiration from Les Miserables, this edition draws from Willy Wonka, Little Shop of Horrors, and Rent. The result is a little busier and a little sweatier. Still, the sheer imagination is stunning and worth applauding on production value alone.

SNL‘s inevitable spoof of the Cohen Hearing is most valuable for Kyle Mooney’s mumbly-mouthed version of Rep. Paul Gosar…Shark Tank Legal Edition is a garish parade of various forms of monster attorneys…Michael and Colin‘s highlights include an analogy about a fake ID at a Nickelback concert, and a Norm MacDonald-style joke from Che about a murderer who misses murdering…Kate and Aidy get a case of the sillies as meat purveyors Vaneta and Wylene Starkie because their meat plate prop is apparently very stinky. The routine itself is worth a few laughs, and not quite as over-the-top as their big hair would suggest…The “Cinema Classics” edition of To Have and Have Not is just an excuse for Kate to goof off, which is a mostly acceptable way for SNL to be.

Leave It

Hey, when a legendary SNL scribe like John Mulaney is hosting, you’re not going to have any poorly written sketches, are you?

The Host

CREDIT: Katie McGowan/NBC

If there was any doubt, and there shouldn’t have been, John Mulaney just re-confirmed that he is a great SNL host. If he stops by a few more times, he might just become one of the best alumnus hosts of all time. He might already be at that level. He stuck to his strengths, but that is no knock, as his specialties are wide-ranging and unique.

The MG

Thomas Rhett’s brand of clean-enough-for-the-whole-family style of country-pop isn’t really my jam, but everyone on stage appears to be having a good time. Nobody’s getting hurt, the beat is comfy, I can live with that.

And now for some letter grades:

Cohen Hearing – B
John Mulaney’s Monologue – A-
What’s That Name? – B+
Toilet Death Ejector (BEST OF THE NIGHT) – A-
Shark Tank Legal Edition – B-
The Unknown Caller – B+
Wedding Reception – B+
Thomas Rhett performs “Look What God Gave Her” – B-
Weekend Update
The Jokes – B-
Vaneta and Wylene Starkie – B-
Big Nick’s Bodega – B
To Have and Have Not – B-
Thomas Rhett perform “Don’t Threaten Me with a Good Time” – B-

I’ll be back next week to let you know what I’m loving, keeping, and leaving from host Idris Elba and musical guest Khalid!

Advertisements