Sunday, August 30, 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 17 “SNL at Home #2” (B-)

This is one of three installments of this show produced during the pandemic, originally aired at the end of April. While being in the same room is of course valuable to variety players, this format actually shows which of them are most talented and which just can’t quite communicate their abilities as well when they’re the only ones on camera. Kate McKinnon, for instance, is fantastic, delivering tremendously as the standout of this episode in the cat sketch and also with Aidy Bryant, who did fine in the lackluster journal bit, in the supermarket commercial where they were trying to sell overstocked items that were absolutely ridiculous. Kenan Thompson chose this episode as his Emmy submission for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, and he knows how to work with the material he’s given, doing better with the Dominican lunch cooking class and as O.J. Simpson than the overlong song he sang towards the beginning of the episode. Brad Pitt is also an Emmy nominee for his very brief appearance in the cold open as Dr. Fauci, and while it’s a decent impersonation, it’s hardly worthy of that praise both for its depth and its (lack of) length. Adam Sandler was a welcome guest in Pete Davidson’s musical sketch, while it wasn’t nearly as clear why Charles Barkley or DJ Khaled needed to appear rather than one of the other cast members playing them. It was also strange to see Paul Rudd, even if he tends to usually be endearing. The forgetting-name sketch wasn’t a slam dunk by any stretch, but Kyle Mooney also demonstrated his ability to act opposite himself and others.

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