Saturday, September 7, 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 20 “Host: Emma Thompson” (B-)

I’m a big fan of Emma Thompson, and she’s had a great year with an intense dramatic role on HBO’s “Years and Years” and as a late-night host in the fantastic and very funny movie, “Late Night,” which was just released on Amazon Prime. She felt immediately comfortable and genuinely excited when she came out to do her monologue, and was generous right away by bringing Tina Fey and Amy Poehler up to join her for her Mother’s Day bit. While she’s undeniably great, the sketches were mostly slapstick and over-the-top, like her training Leslie Jones to be a civilized guest at the royal wedding and smacking her multiple tickets, competing with Kate McKinnon’s actress, and the costume-heavy “Beauty and the Beast” musical number. She’s great and likeable, but this isn’t her best work. I actually enjoyed other pieces of this episode more, like the opening with Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, and Susan Collins being asked what could possibly eventually make them not support Trump. This show has actually had an easier time with its political humor lately because of the state of our government, and it’s nice to see some creativity presented in conjunction with the Weekend Update featuring of straight Trump clips. Pete Davidson describing how his mom lives with him and then bringing her out was fun too. The closing parody of the infamous “Game of Thrones” coffee cup was most entertaining, with this being a great case of leaning extensively into exaggeration to make a point.

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