Cold Opening – Vice Presidential Debate
- Good meta comment from Melissa early on, as this cold open begins.
- The debut of Beck’s Mike Pence impression, which is also one of the very few impressions in the Trumpwin era that I can tolerate, even though SNL would have it surrounded with DOZENS of homophobic, outdated jibes. I guess Beck’s charisma is the one that made me tolerate it.
- As expected, a solid vocal impression of Mike Pence from Beck, and his characterization feels already well-defined, much like Alex & Mikey’s Don Jr. and Eric Trump impressions from the season premiere.
- Solid Tim Kaine impression from Mikey, who’s yet again proving how much of a natural he is on SNL in his second episode alone. Very impressive.
- A big laugh from Alec’s Trump saying “Grab them by the pu**y” without any second thoughts, Alec’s delivery was also very solid.
- Huge, yet guilty laughs from Alec’s Trump’s saying that he’ll “bop it, twist it and pull it.”
- Oof at the poorly-aged cutaway to a celebrating Hillary Clinton.
- Ok, here comes the part that always kills me in this open, and never fails to make me laugh: Alec’s Trump saying that he wished that he was that hurricane in Florida, tearing through all that (you know what).
- Funny cold open overall that managed to capture and parody Trump perfectly.
- Very energetic presence from Lin early on, which shouldn’t come as a surprise due to his celebrated career on Broadway.
- Very endearing, excited comments from Lin about wanting to host SNL many years before it finally happened.
- A musical monologue, which is expected with Lin as our host.
- Man, Lin’s spitting bars here, he’s absolutely fantastic and is holding himself well.
- Backstage showgirls & Lincoln!
- No comment about that “Never gonna be president” moment about a certain individual…
- Pretty funny moment between Lorne & Lin.
- I love that Vanessa is mentioned alongside other SNL legends during Lin’s rapping; a nice sign of respect due to her being the most senior female cast member in the cast back then.
Pine Ridge Campground
- Jesus Christ, is this Vanessa’s FIRST appearance of the whole season?! And missing the big season premiere of all episodes?! To not use this seven-year veteran in the season premiere, of all episodes, is absolutely inexcusable to me!
- This sketch feels a bit low-energy so far, which is always an indicator that we’re in for a very rough night (think of Steve Carell’s infamous season 44 episode as an example), but knowing tonight’s episode in general, this is thankfully just a bluff.
- I’m not really caring where the sketch is going so far, as the whole rambling & singing here is giving me more of a headache than actual amusement.
- A pretty groanworthy, pointless incest subplot.
- What a weak way to start the actual episode, after two consecutive solid segments.
Crucible Cast Party
- I’m loving the color-grading & direction of this short early on.
- Nice to see Melissa performing next to the female vets in the cast, and so early into her tenure.
- I see that this short is turning into our obligatory musical short with Lin-Manuel Miranda. No complaints from me AT ALL.
- Very funny, yet endearing quiet scene between Aidy and Kyle. The awkwardness is sold to perfection here, in contrast how Aidy behaves in the rest of the short.
- Holy hell at Lin’s “Everybody comes, but nobody nuts” verse, that caught me so off-guard that it is having me practically on the floor just now.
- Very catchy & impressive rapping from Lin in his highly-anticipated solo, a rapping so smooth & quick that I’m sure I’m missing some really strong lines from it.
- Wow at Melissa’s high-note just now. I always forget how incredible of a voice she has.
- Why is Leslie shouting all of her lines early on in this sketch? I sure don’t want my eardrums abused so early into the episode.
- A promising concept that feels like a good showcase of Lin’s talents.
- Kenan Freakin’ Thompson as a student?! This isn’t season 31 SNL!
- Ok, this sketch is starting to lose me a bit, with the whole comments by the students. I was expecting this to be similar to the great Plagiarism sketch with Chris Parnell, or the classic WWII sketch with Jerry Seinfeld, but something is quite off with how the sketch is written in general. It is not bad at all so far to me, just feels a bit off.
- Kenan Thompson’s hamminess & loudness here are both annoying the HELL out of me, and making me contemplate just skipping this sketch in frustration. This feels like a performance from one of his earlier seasons, when he was a kiddie show, hammy performer, instead of the reliable, professional, and beloved veteran that he is today.
- And now we end the sketch with a very random & loud to the point of REALLY abusing my eardrums appearance of Leslie Shout?!
A Day Off
- Ok, I can look at this short without having to endure how poorly aged it feels now, as it is a good showcase for Kate at this point in her tenure.
- Nothing much to say here, aside that Kate’s performance is very solid, as per usual with her. And that this short thankfully is not that sympathetic to Kellyanne, and in the same time is not too negative.
- Ok, the whole scene with Kate’s Kellyanne and her husband, played her by Alex, being interview while taking a shower is fairly funny.
- Good ending.
Musical Performance – “Heathens”
- Jesse Nathan: Now, unless you were living under a rock in 2016, you may remember a time when these guys, Twenty One Pilots, were kinda everywhere, as the two songs they performed tonight, along with “Stressed Out”, were heavily played on the radio that year, particularly during the summer, especially seeing as how this song was made for the Suicide Squad soundtrack, which, oddly enough, was the movie Margot Robbie was promoting when she hosted the preceding premiere. And just saying all these things is giving me flashbacks.
- And to even further take me back to 2016, we have Lin-Manuel Miranda introducing them, in a time when Hamilton pretty much blew up and became a phenomenon. In fact, it’s still a phenomenon today, 6 years later.
- Nice piano intro.
- I like the use of green lighting behind Tyler.
- Not loving Tyler’s vocals.
- Boy, this chorus is falling very flat right now. Not only is Tyler very quiet, but he’s being overshadowed by the instruments.
- Boy, Josh Dun sure is going crazy on the drums. Not sure what his deal is, but it doesn’t really match the tone of the song.
- Why are they using a chipmunked vocal while Tyler is singing? It can actually be heard in the far back, for anyone who doesn’t have ears.
- I actually love the use of a string orchestra, especially seeing as how the studio version didn’t really have any strings, IIRC.
- What’s with the weird marks on Tyler’s hands?
- I like how the stage starts flashing green lights during the instrumental bridge.
- Why the hell is Tyler moving weirdly during the chipmunked “all my friends are heathens, etc.” part?
- Solid long-form breakdown from Colin & Michael in reaction to Trump’s infamous “Grab em by the pu**y” Access Hollywood clip that resurfaced just before the vice presidential debate.
- A big, cheap laugh from the new Tic Tac motto, as a companion bit to the aforementioned breakdown.
- Interesting to see another Pete Davidson commentary.
- Pete calling attention to Colin’s “wall of hair” is quite funny, and as a person with a pretty thick, wavy dark hair, I used to be jokingly called that a lot back in my childhood/teen years.
- Wow, this commentary is now over? Aside from the aforementioned comment, barely anything else stood to me. Not a bad commentary though.
- A VERY random Tina Fey & Jimmy Fallon Update appearance, and by Jimmy’s look, I’m already dreading what kind of a commentary awaits me here.
- Jesus Christ, this applause is going on FOREVER and is starting to annoy me.
- Jimmy’s characterization here reeks of utter desperation, and he’s trying to milk laughs from the audience with his pauses, and as a person who was never a fan of him & his comedy, I bet you could all imagine my face as I’m watching this commentary droning on and on and on and on…
- This commentary, by the way, can be also seen as an attempt to rehabilitate Jimmy’s image after how he deservedly got teared into shreds by both the press & the audience for his softball, dick-sucking Trump interview around the time of this episode. Clearly, this commentary is making him even more UNWATCHABLE.
- Are those clapping seals in the audience?? Why are they clapping for literally EVERY SINGLE FUCKING THING that Tina & Jimmy blurt out here?! It is starting to get on my nerves.
- It feels like I’m watching this commentary for 10 fucking minutes! This is going on for far too long & is fucking INSUFFERABLE!!!
- Aaaaand here comes the halting pauses, line flubs, and obligatory breaking from Jimmy. He finds himself FAR funnier than he actually is, which always made me dislike him even more.
- As I’ve not been shitting all over Jimmy enough in this commentary, now he giggles halfway through his lines and CONTINUES to flub his lines left and right, how did this man even find success with such uneducated, limited, and unprofessional personality?!
- This feels like it’s going on for 30 minutes! Just fucking end this commentary already!
- Mercifully, this commentary is now finally over, after about 3,383 years of it droning on and on to thunderous applause from the clapping seals in the audience, which slowly made my soul die a bit each time.
- Man, that was a rough, rough commentary, no wonder my mind blocked it for so long. What was the point of this mess?! I bet a newer cast member was cut for this overlong, laughless, insufferable dreck. Fucking UGH.
Rating: *** (the insufferable & overlong Tina & Jimmy commentary from hell made me dock a full star from this Update edition)
The Music Man
- Kyle in that blonde wig for the billionth time in his tenure.
- No comment about the whole opening scene between Kyle, Bobby, and Aidy. I’ll only say that I didn’t laugh a single time during it.
- Big night for Melissa, probably the biggest of her entire tenure, which only happened in her SECOND episode on the show. Obviously because we have a Hispanic host who probably pushed for her to get airtime.
- A solid musical number by the cast, and as someone who’s greatly interested in theater and wants to learn more about musicals, I appreciate how this one feels like an old-school musical piece.
- A slow sketch so far, despite Lin’s very solid commitment. The conceit of this sketch revolving around Wells Fargo is pretty flimsy to base this entire sketch on.
- A good laugh from Kate’s delivery of “That’s a mailbox!”.
- Where the hell is the joke supposed to be in this sketch? I’m more than halfway through this sketch and I’m still confused about where the humor is supposed to be coming from. Is it from Lin’s character’s desperation to sell the others bank accounts? If so, this is not a funny enough premise to base an entire sketch on.
- Ugh at Kenan’s hamminess here after being slapped, he’s clearly trying to make Lin break, but like the consummate, committed professional that he is, Lin doesn’t even flinch for a second.
- Holy hell, I just realized that I critiqued Kenan TWICE in tonight’s episode alone. I guess it shows you how annoying he generally is tonight.
- Aside from Lin’s performance, the costumes & the cast’s commitment, nothing worked for me here.
Diego Calls His Mom
- One of my all-time favorite SNL shorts, and one of Julio Torres’ finest pieces, which is certainly saying something.
- I absolutely LOVE how warm, slice-of-life, and genuinely funny this short is, reminding of the feelings I had while watching the upcoming classic Peter, Paula & Murray sketch with David Harbour in season 45.
- So many great visuals throughout this short, and the direction, as well as Lin’s lines are adding further more to the warm & sentimental atmosphere that this short is surrounded by.
- Alex looks fantastic in that letterman jacket, and the moments with him and Lin in the cornfield are putting such a big smile on my face.
- I love the overhead shot as Vanessa, Lin, and Alex are resting atop the car.
- Such a sweet, sweet ending that honestly made me choke up just now.
- I never watched Stranger Things, and from what I’ve been hearing from those whose opinions I trust, I’m not missing that much.
- Much like the lead-off sketch, and The Music Man, this sketch feels a bit low-energy and slow for my liking, and the supposed parody here is not working for me in the slightest.
- Ah, God bless Kate, whose mere look alone as Eleven gave my first (and so far) only laugh in this entire sketch.
- I didn’t need the very unnecessary part with Kenan and Leslie, complete with some Leslie Shout, which feels quite tacked-on in this sketch.
- Blah at the whole scene with Beck as the police chief, and this sketch’s turn with some cheap racial jokes also feels very tacked-on and unnecessary.
Musical Performance – “Ride”
- Jesse Nathan: Ah, another song that got a lot of radioplay back in 2016.
- Not loving the synth playing during the verses.
- Tyler’s vocals during the chorus fell pretty flat, and I can’t help but feel that he’s a tad bit off-key.
- The spotlights feel a bit too excessive, and are pretty unnecessary for this performance.
- Why use the string orchestra when the strings are barely audible throughout? In fact, this song doesn’t even need strings, unlike the last song, where they fit perfectly.
- I just now realized that the hat Tyler’s wearing is also the same hat he wore in the video for “Stressed Out”.
- Huh, the piano actually sounded beautiful when Tyler first started playing it.
- Mixed feelings on how the “I’ve been thinking too much” part is being executed.
- It’s over already? I don’t think it was supposed to end when it did.
- Ah, glad to see these become recurring.
- Man, God bless Julio, who’s been injecting the lethargic atmosphere that this episode has been in since that wretched Tina & Jimmy commentary with much needed energy with his brilliant pieces.
- An absolutely hilarious premise to this edition of these pieces, with Melania suddenly waking up and thinking of the possibility that her eventual replacement was just born in the rural part of Latvia.
- Overall, these pieces continue to be absolutely hilarious & brilliant.
A Degree of Valor
- The setting of the sketch is reminding me of the legendary Quit Judging My Dreams sketch from Ray Romano’s classic season 24 hosting stint.
- Oh, no. I don’t like where this sketch is suddenly going.
- UGH at the butt plug reveal, I could sense that the sketch will just sink lower and lower for me. What a waste of such a well-designed set.
- I’m REALLY getting tired of the other soldiers played by Bobby, Kenan, and Mikey REACTING & EXPLAINING the whole sketch for me, as they make the already weak material even more insufferable.
- Man, this episode died a horrible death post-Update, as this sketch is very dull & unfunny, despite the good performances from everyone involved.
- Weak ending, and what a poor way to end this episode.
Segments Ranked From Best to Worst
Diego Calls His Mom
Crucible Cast Party
Vice Presidential Debate
A Day Off
The Music Man
A Degree of Valor
Pine Ridge Campground
- An average episode, but not bad at all, aside from the very shaky portions in particular in the post-Update half. And a particularly frustrating & exceptionally BRUTAL Tina & Jimmy commentary on Update that made my blood boil in a way that it never had in a LONG time. The episode also suffered from wasted potential in several sketches and also having some questionable sketch concepts make it on the air, mainly the lead-off sketch of the night and Stranger Things.
- Lin-Manuel Miranda was a pretty fantastic host who brought a great deal of energy & solid performances all night long, which shouldn’t come as a surprise, as theatre-trained hosts always make for fantastic hosts, much like Nathan Lane, Alan Cumming, and more recently Ariana DeBose. I’m actually floored how never returned at least one or two more times during the 14-22 SNL era, considering his rising status & this era’s focus on theater-based pieces.
- Emily Blunt is our host with Bruno Mars as the musical guest.
5 Replies to “October 8, 2016 – Lin-Manuel Miranda / Twenty One Pilots (S42 E2)”
I’ll be honest: when this episode first aired, I had no idea who LMM was, except for the fact that he reminded me of Justin Willman (the host of Cupcake Wars). 6 years later, I’m more familiar with his work as he became a rising star, particularly Hamilton and The Electric Company (!). This and Blunt are the only two episodes from this season that I haven’t watched in full, but I am kinda shocked that you hear you’re not missing much by not watching ST. I remember loving that show when it first debuted at the time.
And yes, Melissa has such a strong singing voice. Here’s a tip: when you’re done reading this, go and listen to Melissa’s song “Dreamin’ You Up”. It’s such a good track.
And as always, the averages:
Robbie – 7.7
Miranda – 6.3
God, do those Twenty One Pilots songs bring nostalgia which for me at least is weird to say 2016 was 6 years ago, freakin crazy.
That’s not weird to say at all. Shit, I feel the same way. In fact, I actually said that in this review.
Wow that was a fast response lol.
A Day Off ***
Perfectly fine good Performance from Kate
The Music Man ***
What I said before but replace Kate with Kyle
Stranger Things ****
Many funny lines from Kenan and Leslie and like you I haven’t seen much of the show but I didn’t effect my thoughts of this
A Degree of Valor **½
Only remember seeing this once but from what I remember it could have been alot better.