CREDIT: Rosalind O’Connor/NBC

For episode number dos of Season 45, we’ve got host Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who’s here to promote the fact that she’s a funny person, and musical guest Taylor Swift, who’s here to promote the news that she would like to have a long, decades-spanning career, thank you very much. I watched a couple of episodes of Fleabag this week, because it just felt right. Let’s get into the sketches!

For the cold opening, I made myself a plate of pancakes. I was finished with them before the end of the monologue! Anyway, as is so often the case, the opening sketch took place in Washington D.C., that kooky town. It’s in the Office of the Vice President (Grade: 2.5/5 Cabinet Members), and I guess the headline is that Matthew Broderick stopped by to play Mike Pompeo, but I’m most intrigued to know that Ben Carson is still employed by the White House. Then as promised, Phoebe Waller-Bridge strutted on stage to recite her Monologue (Grade: 3/5 Psychopaths), and it’s one of those “a lot of of you probably don’t know me, so here’s who I am” monologues, but based on the level of applause she received, I think a lot of people do know her. And on we go to the first of several recurring bits this episode that very, very closely repeat their original formula. Goofy game show What’s Wrong With This Picture (Grade: Infinity IGetTheJokes!) starts ridiculous, and remains ridiculous, then keeps being ridiculous! Sidenote: Kenan’s host character name, Elliott Pants, sounds like something that would have been right at home on All That.

Confession: I’m not a fan of trashy reality TV, whether it be American or British. It’s just not my thing! But someone, or someones, at SNL really has a soft spot for them. So my biggest takeaway from Love Island (Grade: One Personatalies) is that I can barely understand what anyone’s saying, even when I’m supposed to. I like it when SNL gets as rambunctious as they do in WANU Mid-Day News (Grade: 3.5/5 Hurricane Chets) and would like to see it more often. The War in Words (Grade: 3.5/5 Two-Handers) is probably Mikey Day’s signature SNL bit, and it dates back to the short-lived Maya & Marty, which is to say: I know what’s generally coming (i.e., a series of ditzy comical misunderstandings), but there’s still fun to be had in the details.

I enjoyed Taylor Swift the most from 2014-2015 when her 1989 songs were hitting the airwaves. Now I usually find her presence generally acceptable. Her performance of “Lover” (Grade: 3/5 Lovers) is very green. I love primary colors! If you’re wondering, yes indeed, now it’s time for Weekend Update, and Michael and Colin seem to be most successful in this outing when stating the obvious. Our guests behind the desk are a couple of old friends and one new. Kate’s Elizabeth Warren (Grade: 3.5 BDSM’s) is just reliable and pleasant to have around. Bowen Yang’s Chinese trade representative Chen Biao (Grade: 3/5 Catty Zingers) proves that drag queen-style insult comedy is now our international cultural lingua franca. And as for supercentenarian Mort Fellner (Grade: 3.5/5 Dead Friends), I know the expiration-based puns are coming at the end of each anecdote, but somehow they keep being delivered so perfectly.

The Royal Romance mini-doc (Grade: 2.5/5 Blaxploitation Throwbacks) must be the millionth time Kenan’s said “dooky.” I love when Kenan says “dooky,” but he’s done it better in other contexts before. When I first started watching SNL yonder over 20 years ago, I never would’ve predicted that Taylor Swift would one day perform a song on the Studio 8H stage entitled “False God” (3/5 Lovers), but I also wouldn’t have anti-predicted it. Everyone loves a sexy saxophone. Is it really already time now for the last sketch? At Buddy’s State Line Bar (Grade: 2 Random Hookups), I can barely understand anybody. My last big thought of the episode: “Is there a tag on Phoebe’s shirt?”

Next week we’ve got David Harbour and Camila Cabello making their SNL debuts. I promise to get plenty of rest in the meantime!

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