Friday, September 6, 2019

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 fourth 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 44, Episode 9 “Host: Matt Damon” (B+)

Watching countless episodes of SNL each year isn’t my favorite part of my Emmy catch-up, but this episode actually felt pretty fun. I liked the introductory segment that showed Trump seeing what life would be like if he hadn’t won the election in “It’s a Wonderful Life” fashion, something that I’m sure many viewers were eager to see given the political leanings of most of this show’s audience. I thought that Matt Damon, who is Emmy-nominated in the guest actor category for hosting this episode, would appear as Brett Kavanaugh during his hearings, but apparently that happened during the season premiere, so he just reprised the role here in a world where Merrick Garland was appointed by Clinton instead. Damon was an enthusiastic player in all of the skits, and aside from the piano player and the chatty Bostonian in a bar, I thought they worked pretty well. Damon is comfortable, to be sure, but more than that he’s up for anything and feels totally committed to it, something that I don’t always find to be true about the hosts. His opening monologue felt very genuine and heartwarming, and I think that, though his characters aren’t always likeable, he’s turning into the Tom Hanks of his generation. His work in the Westminster Daddy Show sketch opposite Kate McKinnon was very funny, especially when he got called up to suddenly be a contestant. I’m not sure that Damon will be able to take home the Emmy, but I would be very happy if he did since this was an excellent, exemplary performance by a host.

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