Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Emmy Episodes: Saturday Night Live

It’s always my policy to watch every Emmy-nominated episode each year, which leads me to sample a handful of shows that I don’t tune in to on a regular basis. This year, I’m making a special effort to spotlight each of those installments to offer my perspective on shows that I don’t review each week.

Saturday Night Live: Season 41, Episode 3 “Tracy Morgan/Demi Lovato” (B)
Nominated for Best Guest Actor in a Comedy Series (Tracy Morgan)

This can be explained as one type of nomination, one that shouldn’t be underestimated: a hearty welcome back for an actor who many thought wouldn’t make it back to such a functional state. Tracy Morgan was injured in a very serious car accident in June 2014, and this nomination represents a recovery story more than anything. Prior to his accident, Morgan wasn’t a terribly reliable or consistent player, usually portraying wild and untethered characters. It’s worth noting that both of his past Emmy nominations were for “30 Rock,” a show that ran on NBC and which gets its own little reunion as his costars, in character, celebrate his unlikely return. As usual, he’s pretty crazy in just about every scene, always portraying an over-the-top caricature who’s hard to reign in. I would say that Morgan embodies the irreverence of this show that many often cite as a negative, and it’s on full display in each of his sketches, as he brings in animals for his childish show, spews inappropriate things during a historical reenactment, and wants to tango instead of fight with a man who has insulted him. I enjoyed the absurd “Where’s Jackie Chan” bit towards the end, but I think that if Morgan were to win, it would be simply be because people are happy that he’s okay. In this episode, both Larry David and Tina Fey, nominated for their own hosting gigs this year, appear, and they do a far better job of offer more sophisticated parody in just a scene or two. I’m happy that Morgan is okay too, but I wouldn’t give him an Emmy for this.

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