So it's public knowledge by now that I found last night's episode of SNL to be actually bad. And I'm never the person saying that SNL was bad. AND I'm never the person who's like "I never think blah but tonight I thought blah." Well, sometimes I am but not so much that you shouldn't take this really seriously.
I've been a fan for so long, for so many punishing years of Nancy Walls and Finesse Mitchell and Melanie Hutsell, and I don't think I've ever been driven to declare an episode totally useless. The cast is usually enough to save the night from total disaster, and if you're lucky there could be an oddball digital short that could turn out to be amazing. But what happened last night? Scarlett Johansson slipped gracelessly between her go-to deadpan-without-any-actual-humor ScarJo persona and a "Millionaire Matchmaker" (but not really at all, since the Millionaire Matchmaker actually sounds like something) fake miserable "New York" "accent." But we all knew she was going to be the lame part of the episode. That's not a surprise. What's a surprise is that the writers apparently let her come up with all the sketches. "Broken Knee Middle School" and "Ceramic Busts" were barely even recognizable as snl sketches (well, the ceramic busts thing is basically on every week, but this time it lacked that certain quality of having funny lines occasionally). Vanessa Bayer managed to be hilarious during "Stars of Tomorrow," even though it was clearly brought in because the writers realized that ScarJo could really only do that little-girl-bad-actress act in the first place (badly). The monologue was delivered so miserably, I could hear John Mulaney writing the lines and then crying them out into the toilet at the same time. God, what a shit show. Oh how horrible.
Other recent SNL topics I wanted to talk about:
1. The return of Shy Ronnie: I TOLD YOU! In January I had declared that watching the evolution of the Shy Ronnie character was similar to reading John Irving novels. He's getting there...Samberg's got his main character worked out...he knows vaguely what he wants the guy to be doing...he's going to Vienna again...wrestling...Exeter...and there's a dancing bear ok we're done.
To talk more about Shy Ronnie 2.0, I'd say that I enjoyed seeing Ronnie try out a new situation - in this case, bank robbing. It's how he learns to utilize that mouse-quiet-then-gangsta-screamin rap talent. Next it will be him babysitting some children. Mark my words? Either way, it's very exciting to be watching this happen as we watch. Usually these things come into the world fully-formed, but this time we get to watch it find its way. I think that is very good.
2. Hmm, what else has been going on? Let's see, I loved Emma Stone - especially in the "Ta Douleur" French sketch - but was not that "I Broke My Arm" thing the exact same as "Broken Knee Dork Kids?" I still need to finish watching the Jon Hamm episode and I don't think I saw any of the Jane Lynch one. I remember liking Bryan Cranston, and Vanessa Bayer's Miley impression really grew on me throughout the sketch.
3. I'm glad Snooki (and thus Bobby Moynihan) is still around. My roommates and I just added her to our pencil height-chart on the post next to our door. She's a proud 3'6" but the poof brings her just over 5'. T-shirt time!
It's hard for me to write such a negative post about SNL because I can't imagine what I would have done with Scarlett Reynolds if it were me in that writers room. It would be pretty unfair to complain without also offering up new ideas, so here's the best I can do:
a. have Scarlett Johansson play the legs in some sort of magician's act sketch
b. have Scarlett Johansson just open and close her mouth while someone speaks her lines for an entire sketch (that way it can serve some different set-ups - like a marionette or a woman who lost her voice - but also it will be a little bit meta)
c. have Scarlett Johansson try to dance something
d. have Scarlett Johansson play a wax figurine
e. have Scarlett Johansson play a femme fatale in a noir sketch
f. have Scarlett Johansson stuff her face with food for an entire sketch
Oh man that was exhausting. And if you're Scarlett Johansson reading this, I'm sorry I just did all that in public. That's not really fair either. Here, tell you what - I don't brush my teeth as often as I should. That's something about me that's not great.