Wow. That was a packed episode of Saturday Night Live. As if Bad Bunny, a human charisma machine, wasn’t enough, the show added multiple appearances from Pedro Pascal and Mick Jagger, tossing in Lady Gaga and Fred Armisen to top things off.
Was it too much, though? SNL’s been on a hot streak when it comes to keeping its entire cast involved in an episode, a trend that goes back to last season. The show failed to live up to that mark with this episode. If you weren’t Mikey Day or Punkie Johnson, odds are you barely got any screentime this weekend.
The good news is that while Lorne Michaels called in a few celebrity cameos this weekend, it wasn’t the same as when he insisted on giving key roles to Alec Baldwin and Jim Carrey. The Jagger appearances were bit roles. The return of Pascal as Marcello Hernandez’s mom only works with him. But all of it together definitely demonstrates how quickly it can feel like the cast is being pushed into the background in favor of a few cameos.
After skipping politics altogether in last week’s season premiere, SNL opened this week’s episode by spoofing Republicans’ current inability to select a speaker of the House.
- “All I want to do is get Congress back to work so I can shut it down again”: I’m pretty sure this is the first time that we’ve seen Day as Jim Jordan. SNL’s costume and makeup departments nailed the congressman’s look when it came to Jordan’s thinning hair, yellow tie and lack of a suit jacket.
- What’d we miss? This sketch was also a chance for SNL to touch on a few political stories they’d missed over the past few months, including giving us Bowen Yang as George Santos (with a baby!) and Chloe Fineman as Lauren Boebert (with a boob squeeze!).
- Trump returns: There should be no argument at this point when it comes to James Austin Johnson being SNL’s best Donald Trump. The look, the voice, the non sequiturs. “You’re no fun. I’m hilarious. I’m a creep, I’m a weirdo. What the hell is he doing here?”
Bad Bunny should go down as one of SNL’s most confident hosts. He kicked his hosting gig off with a monologue that effortlessly switched between English and Spanish.
“I can host this show in English, I can order McDonald’s in English, I can have sex in English,” Bad Bunny said during the monologue. “But I prefer sex in Spanish …”
- “I did host last season, thank you very much”: Pascal was one of last season’s best hosts. If SNL has to bring anyone back to cameo, I’ll take him over someone like Armisen.
SKETCH OF THE WEEK
Protective Mom 2
This sketch was so great when we first saw it during Pascal’s episode last season. While Ego Nwodim’s Lisa From Temecula was the obvious pick from that episode to become a recurring character, seeing a character played by a non-castmember become a repeat bit is always a surprise. (Who else had this honor? John Goodman as Linda Tripp? A bunch of Justin Timberlake’s characters?)
- (Not even) a close shave: I love that this sketch puts zero effort into concealing that Pascal and Bad Bunny have beards.
- Troast of the sketch: Chloe Troast is still so new to SNL that I spent the first few seconds of seeing her in this sketch trying to figure out what celebrity I didn’t recognize was playing the part. Nope, it was just SNL’s lone freshman player.
This sketch was the classic case of SNL not being sure what to do with its host/not being sure what its host can do. With the exception of a few responses, Bad Bunny didn’t have to do anything here. It was all Day.
The Age of Discovery
Is this the first SNL sketch to have dialogue fully in languages other than English? The quality of this pretape was pretty high. Great costumes, fruit props, live animals including a “horse but worse.”
- Can’t stay away: I’m so tired of seeing Fred Armisen on SNL. It’s been a decade since he left the show. I don’t have the stats, but I have to imagine he’s near the top — if not at the top — of the list of cameos from former castmembers. The thing that kills me about Armisen being on SNL again and again and again is that his appearances are rarely, if even, roles that only he can play. Someone else could’ve been the Christopher Columbus-esque character in this sketch. Someone else could’ve been the older actor in last season’s Parent Trap sketch with Jenna Ortega. Give us a break, dude.
Is Bad Bunny a big guy or is Marcello Hernandez a small guy? Bad Bunny’s superhero movie may have fallen apart, but I can see why Sony thought he had the stature and presence to play one.
- You just got slapped: Wow, Bad Bunny and Hernandez really sold those stage slaps (and a punch to the gut). Mick Jagger, though, was hilariously lazy when it came to slapping the duo.
Please Don’t Destroy: Bad Bunny Is Shrek
I’d love to see how this one came together. Is Bad Bunny a big Shrek fan? No matter how this sketch came to life, we can now thank it for the line “Brother, you’re in a full-ass Shrek costume right now.”
- Credit due: The episode’s opening credits once again teased a sketch from Please Don’t Destroy. I’m still trying to figure out why Please Don’t Destroy is getting this treatment when the Lonely Island never did. Is it to credit Please Don’t Destroy’s Ben Marshall, John Higgins and Martin Herlihy since they’re not in the credits? Maybe, but Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer weren’t featured in the opening credits either.
Weekend Update: Jada Pinkett Smith on Her Marriage to Will Smith
Jada Pinkett Smith has been everywhere the past few weeks as she promotes her book and spills story after story about Will Smith and Tupac.
“Nothing makes me feel stronger than publicly cucking my millionaire husband,” Ego Nwodim said as she delivered a stellar portrayal of Pinkett Smith during Weekend Update.
- Only one Update guest: We usually get two guest spots during Weekend Update, but Nwodim as Pinkett Smith was the sole guest segment this week.
I wouldn’t call this a recurring sketch since the castmembers and location are different, but we basically saw this sketch during Ortega’s episode last season as she and Hernandez tried to have a serious conversation in front of a Waffle House that was descending into insanity.
This time, we got Devon Walker and James Austin Johnson talking about a life-changing opportunity at an investment firm while a subway train in the background went crazy.
- Oh hey, Kenan: Kenan Thompson has been everywhere during SNL’s recent hot streak, but he barely appeared in this episode. I guess you can say that this appearance was a flash …
Nice to finally see castmembers like Molly Kearney show up in this one. I’ve really gotten used to see these episodes being full-cast efforts, which makes an off week like this especially stand out.
- “You found my Cain and Abel fanfic?” Forget the Infancy Gospel of Thomas. Let’s hear more about this one.
- Sorry, Whoopie: Sister Act 3: Kevin Gone Wild! would go straight to Peacock.
Honestly, this was my favorite performance from Bad Bunny. It went against his persona, playing a soft-spoken dad who was really proud about his daughter getting engaged and wanted to talk about her fiancé. (He works at Google!)
- “We grind up bees and turn it into chapstick”: Burt’s Bees can’t be happy about SNL giving away their corporate secret.
GUEST STAR WATCH
- Pedro Pascal (“Monologue,” “Protective Mom 2”)
- Fred Armisen (“Age of Discovery”)
- Mick Jagger (“Telenovela,” “Convent Meeting”)
- Lady Gaga (Bad Bunny performance introduction)
WHO’S HOSTING NEXT?
Nate Bargatze hosts SNL on Oct. 28 with Foo Fighters as the musical guest.