Monday, January 20, 2014
Saturday Night Live: Drake
Despite being the first episode back from the holiday break, the majority of the enthusiasm and energy in this episode came from the host. I had no idea Drake was such a comfortable performer (then again, I know very little about Drake, including, until now, his turn on Degrassi), and his energy helped lift some otherwise middling sketches on a night that otherwise fit the mold of the season: consistently solid, with neither very high highs or low lows.
This was the debut episode of Sasheer Zamata, the first female African-American the show has had in its cast for years, who was hired during the break as part of an audition specifically geared towards finding a female African-American cast member. Now that she's here, all the shows problems with diversity are solved, right? Right.
Hosts popping up in the cold open are a rare thing. Drake's A-Rod was pretty solid, and though Kate McKinnon's Bieber was a scene stealer, I really enjoyed the A-Rod material (easy mark, granted). That said, they really didn't know how to end this, as it just sort of fizzled into the "live from New York" declaration.
So we got another monologue song, which, given that the host is primarily a musician is fine, but the fact that the song came in the midst of a monologue sketch was just weird. I assume they've done that kind of thing before, but I sure can't remember the last time I've seen it (an actual sketch, that is, and not just the host walking off stage to another set, ala the Five Timers Club).
I would love to see more of Keenan's Reginald VelJohnson. Heck, let's see an entire Family Matters sketch.
Noel Wells' Nancy Grace was fun, and a decent impersonation thereof (granted, what I know of Nancy Grace I know from The Soup). As a framework for building a sketch around the issue-du-jour in a given week, I wouldn't mind seeing it again, certainly moreso than Piers Morgan.
"The Resolution" was an okay pre-recorded sketch, kind of the night in microcosm in that it was neither exceptional nor awful (though I loved the larping bit towards the end).
We got a pair of recurring sketches that I don't object to seeing again: Vanessa Bayer's poetry teacher (on the same set as the Shallon sketches) and "Mornin' Miami". I enjoyed the later more, as while the structure remains the same, the specific subjects the hosts are teasing remain variable, thus making each iteration of the sketch a little different.
Least Favorite Sketch: The final sketch of the night ("I Know"), mainly because, not only was it not very funny, it didn't even seem to be trying to be funny.
Favorite Sketch: Probably the slumber party one, just on the strength of the performances from Aidy Bryant and Drake, who played a surprisingly-effective and funny straight-laced dad. That said, you could probably make a case for several other sketches deserving this title, since nothing really knocked my socks off.
Chris Christie: I’d like to apologize to the people of New Jersey for this entire incident and also it’s over so shut up.
A-Rod: I’m also suing steroids for being inside of me.
Melanie: Kyle is a whisper of a boy. Mr. Gorman is a shout of a man.
Lena: Actress Jeanne Tripplehorn is back from the dead to tell us how we were wrong and she never died.
Episodes Featuring a Game Show: 3/11
Episodes Featuring a Talk Show: 8/11
Episodes with a Monologue Featuring a Song: 6/11
Episodes with a Monologue Technically Featuring a Song That Is Not a Song for the Purposes of "Episodes with a Monologue Featuring a Song": 1/11