Friday, September 7, 2018

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. For the third year in a row, 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 43, Episode 19 “Host: Donald Glover” (B-)

Here we have an episode that serves as the submission for three different nominees, host Donald Glover, returning nominee Leslie Jones, and last year’s winner Alec Baldwin. I’ll start with the latter, who only appeared in eight episodes of this show this season, two of which I watched. Opening this episode with the party line phone calls with the FBI listening and Scarlett Johansson and Jimmy Fallon making cameos as Ivanka and Jared was entertaining, and Baldwin taking over as Trump tried to talk to the real Stormy Daniels on the phone was pretty funny. I don’t think it’s quite enough to win him an Emmy, but somehow I imagine he still might. Jones, as with last year, just gets a chance to be herself and talk uninterrupted on Weekend Update about the many men that she’s dated. If you like Jones, then this is the best way to see her, but again, it’s not nearly as substantial as other players, even though she also gets to play one of the few black “Star Wars” characters in a sketch later as well as a couple other appearances. This show is all about Glover, who is contending for an additional three individual awards for writing, directing, and starring in “Atlanta.” I noted about Bill Hader, who faces off against him in all four categories, that the way he acts on this show is completely different than on “Barry,” and that’s doubly true for Glover, who has the added advantage of being the musical guest, Childish Gambino, in this episode. Some of his material is funny, but he’s not nearly as comfortable or hilarious as Hader. Playing the lawyer representing Jurassic Park and the guy really not into his girlfriend’s dirty talk were far funnier to me than his audition story, Frendo, Raz P. Berry, and the prisoner customer service sketch at the end. “A Kanye Place” was entertaining, and the bit with Glover as Lando Calrissian was decent. Overall, this wasn’t my favorite episode, and I sort of prefer subdued Glover on his FX hit show.

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