Cold Opening – The Presidential Debate
- A good Martha Raddatz impression from Cecily.
- It is also the debut of Alex’s Anderson Cooper impression, which is already FAR better than whatever the hell Jon Rudnitsky was attempting with his supposed impression.
- Funny entrance from Kate & Alec.
- UGH at the whole part with Bobby’s Ken Bone, talk about a time capsule. I never got him nor the media’s fascination with him, even though Bobby’s portrayal is very fun as expected.
- Hoo, boy at the smug portrayal of Kate’s Hillary, much like the previous two cold opens. This was not only SNL’s fault with how they thought that Hillary will easily win the election, but the so-called “comedy” talk shows like Colbert & co. which were more of an establishment propaganda than actual comedy or entertainment. Needless to say, all of these opens with the open smugness and mockery of the “hilarious” idea of Trump ever becoming president aged like milk, and don’t even get me started on how the media & SNL especially will cover the whole Mueller saga, as I still have to suffer through those opens as well.
- Another musical monologue? After we had the great one with Lin-Manuel Miranda last episode? I do recall this one being good, but it will be very hard for it to top Lin’s monologue for me.
- An ok conceit to this musical monologue, and Emily is coming off very well here.
- Oh, no. The Judy Garland song being sung by Emily reminds me of the wretched & eerily dead Cinema Channel sketch from last season, but hopefully the visuals will make me forget that notoriously dead dreck.
- Some funny moments with Emily giving out cookies, and the various acts by the cast members to make the audience feel happy & forget about the election for a moment.
- An ok visual with the adorable puppies, even when it might come off desperate & season 45-esque, it fits well with this monologue, and not to mention that I don’t mind seeing cute puppies on my screen.
- An overall good, energetic monologue.
- Leslie looks great in that getup.
- Holy hell, what just happened?! What was it with the very awkward, uncomfortable silence after the first few lines? I believe that Alex forgot & completely blanked out on his lines as Emily clearly reads them for him & ad-libs for him to relax after his obvious nervousness. Poor Alex, I feel so bad for him here. IIRC, the YouTube version of this sketch immediately cuts to Emily saying his lines, and avoids the awkward, dead air. This only shows two things, 1) what a consummate professional Emily truly is, and 2) that Alex surprisingly had some greenness early on in his tenure as cast member.
- Some funny, oddball acts by both Emily and Leslie, and they work surprisingly well as a duo in this sketch.
- This sketch feels just a bit slow for our lead-off of the night, much like the weak lead-off sketch from last episode, even though this one is better.
- The whole Stewie from Family Guy being the only voice Leslie can do during roleplay is hilarious.
- Good ending.
- Ugh, much like the previous episode’s A Day Off piece, this is another piece from this season that aged like milk, as well that it shows us SNL’s very confused & incoherent take on Melania Trump, which will continue till Trump’s presidency ends. And, unlike the previous short, this one is quite sympathetic to Melania Trump & the Trump family, and is one of the prime example of how absolutely confused SNL’s take will be when it comes to the future first family, and the First Lady in particular.
- Emily becomes the latest in the revolving door of Ivanka Trump impersonators on the show.
- A pretty well-shot & directed piece so far, but there are no laughs to be had here, and the whole conceit of this short makes it even less tolerable. Not horrible, and I’m not absolutely miserable while watching it, but just groaning and sighing at what I’m witnessing.
- Ok, the part with Beck’s Pence made me laugh out loud, from just the initial visual of him in that position.
- Ugh, I did not need that ending.
Short Film Festival
- Oh, here comes a sketch that I recall really enjoying back when this season originally aired.
- As an arthouse film buff, I must say that the short film is an absolutely DEAD-ON parody of these types of pretentious, “deep” movies.
- A big laugh from how ridiculously short this short film turned out to be.
- The big laughs continue as almost the entire “audience” turns out to be people who worked on the film, excluding Vanessa who sits in her place awkwardly; another absolutely hilarious, priceless visual in this sketch.
- Big laugh from Kyle’s answer mentioning The Holocaust, and how quickly the microphone gets yanked from him.
- I LOVE that Vanessa is the only person sitting in the audience, and is STILL awkwardly asking questions on her own. A great use of Vanessa’s underrated straight man abilities and her talent in selling her discomfort in awkward situations.
- Very funny how more and more Vanessa is getting frustrated with the many questions she’s forced to ask.
- Very funny how Aidy’s answer about what some of her influences were is the British Office, in contrast to how the others mentioned Charlie Kaufman and Richard Linklater.
- Very solid ending & and an excellent reveal that Emily was playing herself all along.
- An overall true hidden gem.
- Surprisingly, this is our first traditional fake ad this season. This has to be a recent record for the latest a new ad debuted in a currently-airing season.
- I was never that big on Cecily as SNL’s main voice-over performer, mainly due to how overused she is in that capacity at times, but the sudden blurting out of “CHONK!” made me laugh out loud with just how unexpected and random it was.
- Big laughs from the various “CHONK!” instances in this ad, and how the participants in it are starting to be both annoyed and disturbed by it.
- Great bit with Lil’ CHONK, before it was even said entirely, and Aidy running away with her daughter is a solid climax to the whole gag.
- I love the whole “Normal Clothes” section in this commercial, and it is a perfect contrast to the rest of the ad.
- Great ending, and also a perfect final reaction by Aidy.
Musical Performance – “24K Magic”
- Jesse Nathan: Oh, I absolutely LOVE the way this performance starts. First, we see rows of audience members all excited. Then, the camera goes into the studio hallway until it gets to Bruno’s door, and then it pans over to that door where we see his name on the sign, and the door opens and out comes Bruno and his backup band, who starts rapping. Absolutely epic, and it has always been my personal favorite start to a musical performance.
- “Are you readyyyyyy?” I most certainly am, Bruno.
- I love how the studio has lights moving around during Bruno’s rapping at the start.
- Fun dancing from Bruno and co.
- Kinda hard to hear Bruno’s vocals, sadly.
- Now this is getting even better as the audience joins in on Bruno and co’s dancing. Very fun and infectious, similar to aspects of his Season 38 episode. Don’t believe me? Just watch the monologue and Pandora sketch, and see for yourself.
- I feel like the bass guitar is turned up a tad bit higher than usual. Either that, or it’s a sound that the album version didn’t have.
- And now Bruno finally gets on the stage after 2 minutes. This is possibly the longest amount of time it’s ever taken for a musical guest to start performing on that stage.
- The synths actually sound great here, almost similar to that of the studio recording.
- Great drum work from Bruno’s brother.
- Overall, my God, such a fun, epic, and out-of-the-ordinary performance. I had a bit of a hard time debating my final grade, but for the sheer ambition of the performance, and for how unique and unordinary it is…I have to go all the way.
- Blood Meridian: One of the most elaborate, fun, and infectious musical performances in a very long time.
- Ah, it feels great to see the return of Kate’s Olya. This ends up being her final appearance behind the desk, as she only appears one more time in a cold open in a few episodes from now. Despite Kate being on the show for five more seasons.
- Good bit with Olya bringing up that her sisters died in a well.
- I’m still getting my good laughs from Kate’s Olya, and she is as energetic and likable as always, yet it is a good thing that this ends being her final Update appearance, as she’s starting to get a little bit old hat.
- Good ad-lib & interaction between Colin & Michael after the latter’s worst place joke.
- Great to see the return of Vanessa’s hilarious Laura Parsons character.
- Ugh, at the mention of Ken Bone.
- Vanessa’s delivery of her Jennifer Lawrence line had me HOWLING.
- Some guilty laughs from Laura, and her South Carolina clowns bit was especially funny.
- An overall solid Update, with two good commentaries. A much better Update than the last one with that god-awful Tina & Jimmy commentary that made my blood boil.
- A very fun and promising idea for an ensemble sketch.
- Solid characterization from Emily, as well the way her character acts in her brief scene.
- Bobby steals this entire sketch and gets a great audience reaction from both his voice & look, even when it feels a bit old hat due to how long he has been on SNL, he makes it work well.
- I love the very creepy, unsettling visual of both Kate and Cecily. Kate’s just a natural when it comes to playing scary characters, yet in the same time, adding some humor into them.
- Beck looks great as his own eccentric character, and I do hate to say this, but I already forgot about Taran this season, considering that Beck pretty much overshadowed him halfway through last season.
- An ok ending with our obligatory Bruno Mars sketch appearance.
- A fantastic, oddball concept that caters PERFECTLY to my comedic tastes.
- Very strong delivery from Emily of her monologue, and her questioning her existence, as a sink of all things, is both brilliantly written & the type of humor that is just perfectly silly in the all the right ways.
- I absolutely love the hilarious interruption with the sink suddenly being used by someone in the middle of its speech to us.
- Excellent ending & great touch with the very brief ending credit scroll.
- Overall, another Julio Torres winner. This man is having an absolutely killer first few episodes so far into his writing tenure.
- Mikey’s season continues to be solid so early on, as he gets yet another starring role.
- Man, SNL’s getting their money’s worth with their usage of the vocal modifier since last season, I’ve lost count with how many sketches it was used in.
- Emily is clearly trying to cause Kate to break character during their hilarious back-and-forth.
- And here comes the brief breaking from Kate. It used to be very rare for Kate to crack up around this time in her tenure, and she would cause others to break around her, not vice versa.
- Great & funny physical work from Mikey as his robot character starts to malfunction, which is an early display of his underrated physicality as a performer.
- Great to see the continuation of this excellent runner.
- I absolutely love Beck’s low-key, soft voice-over in this short, and these shorts always come to my mind when I think of how solid he generally was in that capacity.
- Great premise with Cecily’s Melania contemplating changing places with her lookalike maid, and possible eventual replacement as the short hints at. A great way to end an excellent, memorable run for these three pieces.
Musical Performance – “Chunky”
- Jesse Nathan: Nice synth intro.
- Bruno’s vocals aren’t very well-mixed.
- The bass is very audible throughout, and I find it to be very funky. It almost has me bumping along, which is further testament to how damn strong a producer Bruno is.
- Okay, Bruno’s vocals are getting more audible as this goes on.
- Good pre-chorus.
- I like the chorus to this song, though not as much as the last song. However, I do love the synth blips throughout it.
- The backing vocalists sound amazing.
- I should’ve mentioned this earlier, but just like before, Bruno and co’s dancing is very fun to watch.
- Nice addition of trumpets.
- I love the little synth sample in between the second chorus and the bridge.
- Ooh, I like the turn with Bruno and co in a sudden face-off (?) with the female singers.
- Great vocalizations from Bruno.
- Another fun performance from Bruno. It’s easy for me to see why he chose Anderson .Paak as his partner in Silk Sonic.
The Great British Bake Off
- Great & accurate English accents from both Emily & Cecily.
- I have no familiarity with Sue Perkins, but knowing Melissa, I’m sure her impression of hers is solid.
- Ok, this sketch is now devolving into a wackytown sketch, with Emily & Cecily’s characters blurting out insults at the other contestants. It is starting to lose me.
- Ah, we get an early display of Alex’s excellent English accent, and soon we’ll be getting several other British & Irish accents from him. A talent of his that I wish was more utilized.
- I’m not caring AT ALL for the rest of the sketch, as these Wacky Cecily sketches never work for me, nor do I get any shred of enjoyment from them.
- A pretty creative sketch concept, which makes me quite happy that the new season is even more conceptual in its writing style, as the variety in sketch concepts in tonight’s episode alone is a lot of fun.
- By the way, great set design, costumes, and makeup job on the performers.
- Ah, it feels so good to see Alex dominating the night with all of his appearances, and it just shows how easily & quickly he blended into the SNL format.
- Very good & tense acting between Beck and Kate here, with impressive and underrated chemistry between them that I wish we could’ve seen more of.
- Good ending, and an overall good way to end the episode on a solid note.
Segments Ranked From Best to Worst
Short Film Festival
The Presidential Debate
The Great British Bake Off
- A pretty strong episode, and a return to form for this season after the average preceding episode. Lots of fantastic pieces tonight, which were highly-rated by me, and aside from very few flops, the rest ranged between pretty good to phenomenal, including an all-time favorite short of mine (The Sink), and one of my personal favorite ads from the this era (CHONK). The variety of sketch concepts in tonight’s episode brought a great deal of energy & very fun vibes, which made this episode feel like a one from an earlier era, like the 95-02 SNL era (my personal favorite in SNL history) and contributed to the high-quality too.
- Emily Blunt was a solid, committed host who brought a good deal of energy and was utilized well throughout the night. And even in the weaker segments, she was as reliable and professional in her performances as one would expect. And also the great musical performances, as expected, by Bruno Mars (in particular his first), were absolutely outstanding and added to the aforementioned high-energy, fun vibes in this episode.
- Acting legend Tom Hanks returns to 8H for the ninth time after a 10-year absence with musical guest Lady Gaga.
4 Replies to “October 15, 2016 – Emily Blunt / Bruno Mars (S42 E3)”
Another solid review. Every sketch that you gave a high rating, I pretty much agree with. Everything that can be said about the Film Festival sketch has already been said. Same goes for Chonk.
And as always, the averages:
Robbie – 7.7
Miranda – 6.3
Blunt – 7.1
Julio Torres. His time at SNL was too short.
This was a solidly above-average one, no classics or garbage, but my sweet Lord is Emily Blunt a dazzling creature.
Cold Open: Debate **1/2
I still cringe at all the ironic Hillary/Trump stuff, and it definitely drags down my enjoyment of the era’s political material – even when it was solidly funny, like this one. It’s indeed hilarious to look back on Ken Bone in 2022, and Bobby (as usual) did great work impersonating him. Man, where would this cast have been without Bobby?
Charming enough, I guess, but that might only be because Emily is British and just scalding hot from all angles. Blah to the music and the hesitant energy here.
This one went a little heavy on Leslie, who didn’t make me laugh once. But Emily saved the day with a quiet coolness at the start (her rescue of Alex was professional and charming) and her absolute goddamn silliness thereafter. The milk gag was absolutely hilarious, and it was fun to see her break TWICE at the exact same line. I love to see these laughter breaks pretty much anytime they’re genuine, and I LOVE that Emily just couldn’t even handle that ridiculous line.
This deserves three stars on its technical merit alone – incredible art design, and great characterization from the ladies. Unfortunately, as Blood points out, SNL never had any clue as to how to treat the “innocent bystanders” of the Trump Era. Bottom line: there really weren’t any, so trying to make human turds like Melania, Ivanka, and Kellyanne into sympathetic victims didn’t work then and looks reprehensible now. Also with Blood on the fact that there are no laughs to be had here, just grunts of recognition at all the Trump references.
Short Film Festival *****
Love love love this one, such a great premise and such a clever way to roast this specific brand of theatre kid.
A great one, and a household favorite for us. LOVE the subtly offended reactions to lines like “Not every woman’s a supermodel!” and “…your UNIQUE body type!” Short, but truly great work from everyone.
Weekend Update ****
A VERY strong update with two really good correspondent pieces. Nothing earth-shattering, but I was always a sucker for Laura Parsons – Vanessa truly was at 100% effort all the time. And Olya killed as usual – her “well, well, well” line still makes me howl. (I know, because I rewatched this episode less than a week ago.)
Drive-Thru Window **1/2
These iterations are generally harmless, though they don’t produce more than chuckles for me.
This was solid even before the hand-washing interruption, which launched it to four stars. Not Julio’s best – and I actually like this type of sink – but very very strong. Man, Emily really was game for this whole episode.
Honda Robotics **1/2
Almost that entire rating goes to Emily’s balls-to-the-wall commitment, making seasoned nutjob Kate break MULTIPLE times as she goes absolutely all-in. Ultimately, though, that’s really all this one has. A mild laugh from Leslie’s storyline, though this one drags on wayyyyy too long. Winds up more annoying than anything as Emily’s part wraps up.
Melania Moments ****1/2
We needed more of these. Julio always managed to strike the right tone for Melania: not a monster, though she probably WOULD be as shitty a person as her husband if she were smarter.
Great British Bake-off **1/2
Filler, though I did really like the trashy chemistry between Emily & Cecily. Love seeing Emily play up her British accent even more, and to such ridiculous lengths. Have I mentioned she’s a f’in delightful host?
Great, creative structure here and a chance for Kate and Beck to mug in good, appropriate ways. Some solid lines here – “She ate our babies. All eight of them!” – and I was oddly charmed by the silly Aidy/Kyle storyline.
Cold Open ****
The bit with the shot at the beginning was funny and lot of great lines from Alec and Kate and a whole lot of fun in general.
Nothing noteworthy for me in this great ending at least
Despite this aging TERRIBLY I still liked this parody Beck is hilarious
Short Film Festival ***
A few funny lines here and there and the reveal was hilarious didn’t care for the ending and overall decent.
So many funny things in this and I will always love this no matter how many times I watch this.
Drive-Thru Window ****½
Everyone in this was hilarious especially Bobby and Kenan and a the ending with Melissa was amazing.
The credits were my only real laugh in this was the credits but this was far from being bad.
Honda Robotics ****
So many funny stuff in this my particular favorite was with Kate.
Great British Bake Off **
Pretty dull, nothing I really liked in this.