[Ed. Note: Jenny Nelson is a writer and student living in New York City. She'll be taking us through this season of Saturday Night Live.]
I like when the SNL host is talented enough comedically — perhaps because she has a successful career starring in major comedy movies, I don’t know — that she holds her own against the show’s cast members. Melissa McCarthy was certainly doing that this weekend, but since her hosting gig coincided with Seth Meyers leaving, the show had a sort of distracted feel to it. The episode took a while to pick up, spiked up for a couple really excellent sketches and a great final Update for Seth before lagging a bit more and then finishing off all right. Real rollecoaster ride, which happens sometimes, nothing out of the ordinary.
My roommate remarked while watching with me that he doesn’t like seeing Melissa McCarthy play all of the same characters over and over again, and I got that vibe a couple times, but enjoyed when she stepped out of the box a bit. Melissa McCarthy and I go way back to her Gilmore Girls days, so I know she can do an adorably wacky supporting character in addition to the sort of cruder ones she’s become famous for in her film career. My familiarity with Gilmore Girls also means I’ve already seen her in a show where people create living paintings so I did not need to see it again in a sketch this weekend! (JK, Sookie was having her baby at home with Jackson during that episode while Lorelai and Rory starred in the paintings, but still, even though she never saw the art show, how can you not make that connection?) Other sketches I liked though, let’s just talk about those!
The Broadway Super Bowl half time show seemed like a good idea for the cold open, and Kyle Mooney has a good Jersey Boys impression, and the Cats cat at the end was excellent. But, this cold open ran pretty long, and I don’t care to watch it again! I liked Jay Pharaoh’s Michael Strahan, though, so I’d recommend it for a one-time watch, if you’d like!
Since the cold open was a song, the monologue could not be a song, or that would be repetitive! So it was a fight monologue, and a llama monologue, instead. Like the cold open, this overzealous opening seemed like a good idea but was not too enjoyable. Melissa McCarthy does SO many flips though, which is a cool secret talent to have.
The Valentine’s Day commercial was great. CVS does sell that type of thing! This prerecorded sketch looked good, stylistically, and I’m pleased to see Sasheer as part of these commercial parody couples. *One of us!* (But the “us” here is them!)
Then there was “Delaware One,” which I guess Melissa McCarthy has done before but I hadn’t seen it! The sketch was alright this time, and a good use of every freshman male cast member, count them, they are all in here!
“Women’s Group” was funny, if a bit predictable. Melissa McCarthy does her most Bridesmaids-type character of the night, a pretty scary murder lady looking for revenge, and although I enjoy her vision board and the vision boards of the other women, I didn’t really like the sketch and thought it trailed off towards the ending.
“Guess That Phrase” was a sketch that I liked. McCarthy played a confused lady instead of just a gross or scary lady, but she was also kind of gross, too, and that can be scary for some people. Anyways, Beck Bennett made a very good game show host. Great!
The Black History Month sketch was great: super simple, and looked awesome. This was my favorite sketch of the night.
Then came the “heart of the show” as Amy Poehler put it very sweetly when talking to Seth which I’ll get to in a second! First, Weekend Update featured a top-notch Taran Killam character named Buford Calloway, who had a very good accent and knew so many synonyms for snow.
At the end of Weekend Update we all said goodbye to Seth, joined by Amy Poehler, Stefon, Andy Samberg, and for a second there Fred Armisen. The best! This was an excellent farewell, even if it was sad, too.
Although distracted from being sad about Update, I was excited to see the return of “Girlfriends Talk Show,” which is one of my favorite recurring sketches right now. Melissa McCarthy plays Aidy Bryant’s sassy divorcee friend, which is different and cool.
Then there were the living painting sketch and one depicting a park bench romance, and I didn’t care for either! This lull made the evening’s final, Kyle Mooney-starring sketch all the more special, even though it was already very special to me! I loved this man on the street bit from Kyle’s Good Neighbor days, and although he and Beck Bennett have been bringing some of their original characters like standup comedian Bruce Chandling and the “Inside SoCal” boys to SNL, I somehow never imagined they’d bring these Kyle videos, too, and was therefore completely thrown! But in a pleasant way, like thrown into a cloud or something comfortable. I am delighted this was on the show and honestly don’t even remember how good this particular instance of the sketch was because I was just so excited to see it.
Imagine Dragons I thought were pretty boring, but then Kendrick was there and I liked those parts better!