This season of Saturday Night Live is unstoppable. Bolstered by a handful of freshman castmembers and an impressive string of hosts, the show has found new life. Ana de Armas gave us the latest fantastic episode in a string of great episodes that now stretches back into 2022.
What’s been most impressive about this season is how effortless the cast has made it seem. They’re all clicking. There are relatively few dud sketches. And the show may have found its first real recurring character in a long time.
This is what SNL can be when the pressure to deliver celebrity cameos and the weight of Alec Baldwin’s Donald Trump is gone.
First Warm Day of the Year Red Carpet
Speaking of Trump, SNL skipped politics this week (with the usual exception of Weekend Update). James Austin Johnson didn’t portray Trump or Joe Biden. The show continues to opt out of the Ron DeSantis pudding fingers saga.
Instead, this episode kicked off with a very New York City-centric sketch, rolling out a series of bizarre characters taking to Central Park on the first warm day of the year. An older man doing an aggressive power walk, a rich woman who lost her son, several varieties of perverts.
Making jokes about Friends during your monologue is now a trend for SNL hosts. Quinta Brunson did it when she hosted a few weeks ago, and now de Armas did too, commenting on how she learned English by watching Friends and asking, “could I be any better at English?”
Despite not being known for comedic roles, de Armas delivered a pretty tight monologue. It’s only a matter of time before a major franchise like the Marvel Cinematic Universe or Star Wars comes calling for de Armas. Hopefully Ghosted, her Apple TV+ movie with Chris Evans, gives her a chance to show off her comedy skills.
Lisa from Temecula: Wedding
SNL wasted little time in turning Ego Nwodim’s Lisa from Temecula into a recurring character. After Nwodim stole the show with the character’s debut during Pedro Pascal’s episode, she returned to do the same this week.
Part of the fun of Lisa from Temecula is watching the host and other castmembers break around Nwodim. These sketches remind me of Will Ferrell and Rachel Dratch as the hot tub love-ahs or Dratch as Debby Downer. The appeal of this character is watching her make other people (looking at you, Bowen Yang) break.
Molly Kearney on Anti-LGBTQ Bills in the United States
Was I expecting Molly Kearney to be lowered from the rafters during Weekend Update? Nope. But it was a great showcase for them during their freshman season.
“What’s happenings, kids, is wrong,” Kearney said during their appearance. “And you don’t need to be scared.”
Kearney was able to channel Chris Farley energy and Cecily Strong Update commentary into this appearance.
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Matt Schatt Game Show
When I realized that SNL had brought back Mikey Day’s Matt Schatt character, who you may remember from when Jennifer Lopez hosted, I was worried that this episode was going to focus on de Armas’ attractiveness instead of writing more creative jokes beyond that.
The reveal that Matt Schatt’s torso was covered in nipples — “every couple of years, a new one pops up!” — was an unexpected turn for the character.
American Girl Doll Movie Trailer
“Did all their family members die of vague, old timey diseases?”
Seriously, whoever’s behind these sketches definitely knows their stuff when it comes to the world of American Girl dolls, especially the lineup from the 1990s.
Album Recording Session
This is a simple sketch. De Armas and Nwodim play singers who take turns insulting Devon Walker’s Young Spicy in increasingly personal ways.
“Ooo, Spicy can’t read.”
“Hey Spicy, you need to drive me to the hospital in your 2001 Corolla.”
“I don’t usually sweat like this. I’m scared.”
“Spicy needs to be on a watch list.”
I wouldn’t be shocked if SNL considers bringing this one back with future hosts.
De Armas and Marcello Hernández appeared together during her promo for the episode, and I’m surprised SNL didn’t pair the duo up more than once during this episode.
Turns out most of what we were taught in middle and high school Spanish classes probably didn’t have a real-world application. Using “asi asi” to tell people that you were feeling “so so” was the foundation of everything I learned in Spanish.
Please Don’t Destroy: Hanxiety
I had never heard the term hanxiety until this Please Don’t Destroy sketch, but a quick Google search tells me that it’s been around for awhile. Thanks, Please Don’t Destroy guys, for teaching me about it.
If you’re Michael Longfellow, how much do you hate these guys for introducing “I wanna see that long fellow” to the world? Or is that something he’s had to put up with his entire life?
Please Don’t Destroy has also picked up the art of having a female host belittle you from The Lonely Island’s Digital Shorts and perfected it, making the digs cut just a bit harder, whether it’s de Armas commenting that one of them smells like a dead tooth or Taylor Swift singing about how they’re three sad virgins.
Funky Kong on The Super Mario Bros. Movie
Is there anything Kenan Thompson can’t do? The man has basically done a Weekend Update character an episode for two decades. It’s just a given that he’s going to nail a character — any character — and fans of the show hopefully realize how unprecedented his run is.
And points to this sketch for making Colin Jost do a Princess Peach voice.
Guru Genesis Fry on Mental Health
I love Sarah Sherman and Jost together, and I love that SNL sees that chemistry too. While Sherman often appears during Weekend Update as herself (while still needling Jost), this week she was a guru leading the co-anchor on a guided meditation.
The Jost era of Update has come so far since he first got the gig. Those first seasons of him and Michael Che together were rough. If and when Che leaves (there were rumors before this season), is Sherman the person who should take his place?
Dog Acting School Commercial
These dogs did not want to cooperate with de Armas and Chloe Fineman. Whether it was rampaging through a miniature version of Seattle or eating spaghetti with Fineman Lady and the Tramp style, the dogs in this sketch were unwilling to play along.
I did not see the reveal coming that Yang’s character was the Guinness World Record holder for the longest fingernails. Here’s to the SNL props department for creating truly disgusting fake nails for Yang.
“You promised me you were cut your nails, learn ‘Wonderwall’ on the guitar, and do hand stuff to me for the first time.”
Why did this sketch end with a Twilight joke? It’s 2023, right?
No guest stars this week.
Pete Davidson hosts SNL on May 6 with Lil Uzi Vert as the musical guest.