Saturday, August 29, 2020

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 fifth 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 45, Episode 10 “Host: Eddie Murphy” (B+)

This episode serves as the official Emmy submission for three different players. The first is of course host Eddie Murphy, making a return to the show that made him famous thirty-four years later. Like Adam Sandler last year, he was greeted enthusiastically by many fans and had an opportunity to reprise some of his roles to much excitement and laughter from the current players. Having Tracy Morgan, Chris Rock, and Dave Chappelle all stop by helped to amplify the significance of his return to the show, and he had the chance to completely steal the Weekend Update from Colin Jost and Michael Che by appearing as Gumby. His best performance was in Mister Robinson’s Neighborhood where he educated the audience about squatter’s rights, gentrification, and how to bail out the window when an apparent offspring shows up to meet his father. Cecily Strong earned her first Emmy bid this year as a member of this ensemble, and she got the chance in this episode to play two political figures, Tulsi Gabbard and Jeanine Pirro. The latter was most impressive, reminiscent of Kate McKinnon’s RBG pouring Emergen-C powder into her mouth when she kept vomiting up wine on Colin. It wasn’t the most formidable showcase overall, but it was still fun. And then we have Maya Rudolph, who earned a nomination for this show and for “The Good Place” in the same category, and who benefits from the best possible timing of Kamala Harris being announced as Joe Biden’s running mate right before final Emmy voting begins. She is pretty terrific, and she also gets to appear in a brief spot as Eddie’s wife in a “Home for the Holidays” sketch. Overall, this episode was punctuated by funny sketches but brought down by lackluster parodies of “Nailed It!” and “The Masked Singer,” two shows that don’t necessarily need to be mocked since they’re already not all that serious.

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