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Deep SNL Thoughts: Thanks to Jenna Ortega, we’ll never forget what a ‘cat ball’ is
The ‘Wednesday’ star was a fun host, ‘Please Don’t Destroy’ continues their hot streak, and Fred Armisen can’t stay away from ‘SNL.’
Jenna Ortega may be the youngest person to host Saturday Night Live this season, but it didn’t show during her episode. The Wednesday star effortlessly jumped into a variety of sketches.
Another episode where SNL got the entire cast involved, which is such a relief to see after years of celebrity cameos. (GQ had a fantastic profile on the new cast last week.) That said, one of the more notorious SNL cameo hogs showed up during this episode. Fred Armisen, Ortega’s Wednesday costar, popped up during her monologue and for “The Parent Trap” sketch. Not sure if anyone tracks this kind of thing, but I think Armisen may have returned to the show more times than anyone else after leaving.
The big question looming for SNL now is what its next episode will look like. The show announced that Quinta Brunson will host on April 1, which is the same date that its post-production staff is set to strike without progress on a deal. I can’t imagine Brunson would cross a strike line, and SNL castmembers have voiced their support for the post-production crew. Andrew Dismukes was wearing a “Contract Now” shirt during goodnights.
Oscars Red Carpet
This is the second week in a row where SNL has basically asked Kenan Thompson, “hey, is there an impression you want to do for this sketch?” Last week, his version of OJ Simpson popped up for the cold open. This week it was Mike Tyson as security for the Oscars.
We also saw the return of Bowen Yang’s George Santos with “Oscars Red Carpet,” with the congressman claiming to be Tom Cruise, or more specifically, “Thomas Q. Cruise.”
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Basically a textbook perfect monologue from Ortega. She told some jokes. She showed a clip from a Colgate commercial she was in as a kid. Armisen showed up, and she sent him back to his seat.
This was the final sketch of the night, and it definitely had that “it’s 12:55 a.m.” energy. The duo of Dismukes and James Austin Johnson as Soul Booth, two musicians tasked with turning a law firm’s unmemorable phone number into a classic jingle, reminded me of “Roundball Rock” from Jason Sudeikis and Tim Robinson. The only thing getting hammered in this sketch, though, was Yang thanks to those daiquiris at Lucciano’s.
School vs. School
Going with two sketches for this honor this week. How could I not highlight “School vs. School,” a game show between a normal high school and Professor Zander’s Academy for Extraordinary Children?
The costumes. The effects. A ton of effort was put into making this sketch as close to an X-Men sketch as possible. (I think part of the humor was in it not being the X-Men, but instead a so-close knockoff.) Mikey Day and Ortega were a great duo during this one.
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Please Don’t Destroy — Road Trip
Please Don’t Destroy continues their hot streak. This is the third episode in a row where the group’s sketch has jumped to the front of the show, ending a period where they were getting buried late in the night or even sent to YouTube.
Those “You’re going to Hell” billboards? I’ve driven enough through rural Pennsylvania to go between the D.C. area and Rochester to know they’re very real.
The Parent Trap
This was a good sketch. It was a fun concept. But there’s zero reason for Armisen to be in it. Any member of SNL’s cast could’ve played this character. The only thing Armisen being in this sketch accomplished was making sure someone on the cast had one less opportunity to appear in this weekend’s episode.
I had to look up whether Ridiculousness was a real show or something that SNL dreamed up. Apparently it’s a real show on MTV.
Thanks to this sketch, the concept of a “cat ball” now exists in my imagination.
I thought about adding “Waffle House” to my best sketches of the week, but in the end, it just missed the cut. I loved this sketch, though. While Ortega and Marcello Hernandez anchored the foreground of the sketch, the rest of the cast got to parade a bizarre roster of characters in the background.
A dog on the counter. Dismukes as a cop who has his gun stolen by a kid. Molly Kearney and Heidi Gardner as a patron and an employee getting into a fight. Thompson running around with a roll of toilet paper on fire.
Tennessee Lt. Gov. Randy McNally on Gay Instagram Thirst Traps
Lots of Kearney in this episode. They continue to be one of my favorite new castmembers.
James Austin Johnson’s Random Celebrity Impressions
Johnson’s ability to do impressions, especially his Donald Trump, is what made him an online favorite before he landed his SNL gig. I hope popping in during Weekend Update to unleash a bunch of quick, random celebrity impressions becomes a regualr think for Johnson.
“Jay-Z and he’s downstairs” should win an Emmy.
It was quiet night for Ego Nwodim, but she got a chance to shine in the “Exorcism” sketch, playing Ms. Shaw, the upstairs neighbor of family trying to perform an exorcism on their daughter.
Was the Thompson dummy stand-in created for this sketch or was it from a previous SNL bit?
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Fred Armisen (“Monologue,” “ The Parent Trap”)
Quinta Brunson hosts SNL on April with Lil Yachty as the musical guest.
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