Cold Opening – Oval Office
- Boy, that if these walls could talk bit was freakin’ horrible. Cringeworthy. Who writes these opens?
- I’m not really caring about Jimmy’s Jared Kushner impression, as I recall reading about a piece that was cut around this episode’s time with Alex as Jared Kushner as some sort of worldwide secret agent that seemed to be very promising & fun. I guess Jimmy yanking the impression away from Alex is YET ANOTHER example of the cast being sidelined in favor of cameo orgies this season. Not the last time that this will happen in this era, though…
- Blah, not caring at all for the very lame reality show turn that this open took.
- This cold open is destroying my patience, between the lame premise, Trumpwin’s lines, and Jimmy’s cutesy, hacky “impression” of Kushner, there’s nothing to enjoy here.
- Why did they redo the visual gag of the small desk that Trumpwin sits at & the sphere toy?
- Ugh at Trumpwin calling Fallon’s Kushner a “twink.” This open has officially bottomed-out.
- Overall, I personally feel this was, no exaggeration, one of the absolute worst cold opens that I’ve EVER seen. And yes, that twink line should not be ignored as well. These opens seem to be gradually sinking lower and lower by each passing week. It’s going to be morbidly fascinating seeing how low can SNL’s political writing go these next few seasons.
Rating: * (if I could give out negative stars, I would for this cold open)
- As expected, very infectious energy from Jimmy early on, and as a person that never cared much for him as a cast member aside from few impressions and Boston Teens, I do enjoy & appreciate that he always tries to hype up the audience and lets them have fun.
- Our obligatory musical monologue, and also a good way for Jimmy to reprise his solid David Bowie impression, and “Let’s Dance” happens to me amongst my favorite songs by Bowie (in one of his last good albums, before his infamous slump in quality throughout most of the 80s & 90s, till he returned to form in the 00s/10s).
- A very fun, infectious, and very well-directed monologue so far, and the fun tour around the studio is a blast to watch.
- Great to see the cast & Harry Styles being used in this monologue, and the latter is showing early signs of the surprisingly solid host he’s going to be later in this era.
- Great ending shot with the incredible number of people at the homebase stage.
- Mercifully, this edition of Family Feud adds an oddball, fun time-traveling twist that will thankfully enhance the usual lethargic atmosphere of this sketch.
- Like when she impersonated Sarah Silverman in her very first episode, Melissa is not only doing a solid Gwen Stefani vocal impression, but also manages to look just like her.
- I always enjoy Sasheer’s Diana Ross impression.
- Pretty fun Mick Jagger impression from Harry Styles, who’s showing us, yet again tonight, early glimpses of the very fun host that he’s going to be in season 45.
- Good to see another recent host being impersonated by a cast member. And as a shock to no one, Kate’s doing a spot-on Kristen Stewart.
- Very fun idea of Jimmy’s John Travolta competing against himself between 1977 & 2017, Jimmy’s doing a solid job going back-and-forth here.
- Overall, one of the better installments of this tired recurring sketch. Sadly, I don’t recall the coming ones being an improvement over the usual tired formula, at least this was.
Before the Show
- Yet another “calm vs. chaotic scenes” short from this era.
- The performers are doing such an eerily convincing job in playing middle schoolers here, particularly Aidy, who’s really shining throughout this short.
- I’m really enjoying how more low-key & slice-of-life-esque this installment feels than the previous ones, as the contrast, while solid, is not that laugh out loud hilarious to me. Yet, I’m still enjoying this piece.
- Great chaotic sequence when Aidy’s being raised by wires, and the subtle escalation beforehand makes it even better to me.
Take Me Back
- The use of Jimmy’s fun singing skills seems perfect for this sketch, and his badly-sung rendition of “Truly Madly Deeply” is lots of fun.
- Unsurprisingly, Cecily is a great straight man here, and her reactions to Jimmy trying to win her back are providing solid laughs.
- Great escalation with the hilarious confessions that Jimmy’s making while trying to win Cecily back, the one about dragging a man off a plane was very funny.
- Brilliant continuity with Beck revealing that he directed a certain Pepsi commercial, which is a terrific callback to the great Pepsi Commercial piece last week where Beck played the director.
- A great sketch overall that was kept in the right length. It is also great that we get a second great Cecily Strong showcase, for the second episode in a row, considering how badly downhill she’ll go in the following seasons.
A Message From The White House Easter Bunny
- Good to see another Sean Spicer sketch with Melissa McCarthy’s killer impression.
- I recall reading that this sketch, while performed live, is not being done at 8H, and is being broadcast live from Los Angeles. You could tell from the slightly different visual quality.
- The usual funny lines & moments from Melissa’s Spicer, even though it is starting to feel a tad old hat by this point.
- Seeing Melissa’s Spicer using a vegetable to hilariously symbolize the Jewish people during Passover is reminding me of the legendary Religetables piece from season 28, which again makes me sad that this era never had a big animated recurring segment.
- While it feels a bit odd seeing Melissa’s Spicer not interacting with news reporters, Melissa is still very funny here & is carrying this sketch on her own like the utmost professional she is.
Musical Performance – “Sign of the Times”
- Jesse Nathan: Amusingly, Jimmy can briefly be seen rushing to his spot as soon the bumper photo fades in on him. I wonder what happened there.
- Harry’s voice still needs some work done. Granted, his vocals are audible, but from watching this, you can tell that he isn’t vocally prepared for a live stage at this point of his career. Thankfully, he has improved since then.
- I kinda like the instrumental during the pre-chorus.
- Harry’s vocals are kinda falling flat during this part, and I get a strong sense that his voice is being drowned by pre-recorded vocals.
- Okay, now that the chorus has fully kicked in, I can sense that this is not a strong chorus. It’s kinda dull, and I feel like they’re trying to add extra oomph to make you forget that.
- The guitars are tuned a little too high.
- Wait, are we still on the chorus? I honestly can’t tell, the verse has the exact same melody.
- The addition of the drums isn’t making Harry’s vocals during the pre-chorus any better.
- And now the bass is really audible during the second chorus.
- Not really loving this bridge.
- Okay, the end is starting to annoy me due to how repetitive it is.
- I’m surprised it’s over already.
- Michael’s response to Trump’s infamous chocolate cake comment is hilarious, and has always been one of my absolute favorite Michael moments throughout his tenure.
- Man, Colin’s commentary regarding that United Airlines passenger incident is really taking me back in time. Talk about a time capsule.
- While I would groan at the sight of another Jacob commentary, and yes I *get* that it is an accurate character, the long gap between his appearances, and the fact that this commentary was supposed to be Vanessa’s swan song due to an impending writer’s strike that was thankfully avoided will make me go into this one with more of an open mind.
- When Jacob is concluding his commentary he mentions friends & family members, who are actually the names of SNL writers that Vanessa has worked throughout her tenure, of the names mentioned are: Zach (Kanin), Seth (Meyers), Marika (Sawyer), and John (Mulaney?). This part is honestly making me choke up as I write this part of the review. It is good that the writer’s strike didn’t happen and we got several more episodes with Vanessa & Bobby, especially that the former will be debuting a beloved Update character of hers very soon.
- Yet another Bruce Chandling commentary, it’s been a while since the last one.
- The usual solid laughs from Kyle’s Bruce Chandling, and Kyle is honestly terrific here, per usual.
- Love Michael’s ad-libbing “Oh God” when Bruce is about to use another bad catchphrase before his mood swing to happiness.
Civil War Soldiers
- A fun-feeling & unusual premise to this sketch so far.
- Great energy so far, and the more and more additions being added to the traditional war song are adding to the humor as well.
- Good inclusion of our obligatory second sketch appearance by Harry Styles, and I absolutely love the audience slowly realizing that it is him under that beard.
- Very funny moment with Bobby.
- Love the visual of the backflipping dancer passing by during the final singalong as the sketch is ending.
- I recall this being a bit of a divisive commercial back when this season originally aired. Yet, I was one of those who were just baffled by it, instead of flat-out hating it or loving it.
- The idea of a shirt that you can hide in when you feel embarrassed is promising, yet the execution here is 1) repeating the gag way too many times, and 2) using that same damn song everytime (which is replaced by generic music on YouTube, IIRC).
- I would say that Jimmy is actually funny here for once, and I cannot think of any other performer doing this commercial beside him.
- Aside from my critique & praise above, this commercial is a decent piece of dumb humor that has a little bit of charm too it, if the visual of the turtle shirt & that damn song were cut down a bit, I might’ve rated this higher.
- RACHEL DRATCH!!!!
- A bit weird that our obligatory Boston Teens sketch was buried right after Weekend Update, as it was in a much earlier spot during its previous installments, being the cold open in Jimmy’s season 37 episode for example.
- I love the visual that we are watching the Boston Teens through an iPhone camera instead of a traditional camera. Nice subtle move from SNL.
- I really appreciate the continuity that SNL is attempting with these characters by making them more and more modernized with each newer installment, as this one is clearly building on the season 37 installment.
- Nice that they replaced the R-word that these characters always use with “intellectually disabled”.
- Did we need TWO Chipotle diarrhea jokes in the same episode? (The first was during Update.)
- While Kate seems a bit miscast as their daughter, she’s doing her usual solid job here, and this installment is perfectly fine. Also, Jimmy & Rachel still have it to this day, and their chemistry is as solid as ever.
Musical Performance – “Ever Since New York”
- Jesse Nathan: Did Jimmy just say “Harry Style”?
- Ah, looks like Harry’s playing a guitar this time. I kinda like that.
- Already off to a good start with the intro.
- The way Harry sings makes his words sound unintelligible here.
- In between each ending line, you can hear this slight electric guitar riff, which is nice to listen to.
- I like Harry’s facial expressions during the chorus.
- I feel like the backing vocalists’ mics shouldn’t be as high as they are. In fact, they kinda overshadow his vocals during the chorus.
- Boy, Harry’s vocals fell rather flat near the end.
- Overall, for Harry’s first solo outing after One Direction, this was kinda lackluster. You can sense a bit of greenness from him, in the sense that he has yet to figure out where his career is heading. Fortunately, both his career and his music hit their peak with his next album, and it’s for the best that he’s gotten better as an artist since this performance.
- Solid night for Alex, which makes me very happy. Sadly, the more his tenure progresses, the more rare it will be to see him dominating an episode, and by season 45, it officially hits a nadir where featured players get more airtime & exposure than him.
- Mikey’s fantastic first season continues with yet another short that showcases him & his humor style. I recall some SNL fans feeling that he burned himself too quickly in his first three years, with too many showcases and tons of airtime, as his later years seem more low-key. I don’t know if I could agree or disagree with that sentiment.
- A very silly & goofy short so far, with the sequence of interruptions by both Jimmy & Mikey, and they’re fitting perfectly with each other, and their humor style is shown well so far into this short.
- A hilarious bit where Jimmy & Mikey knock down the boom mic guy.
- Such a great, silly ending that is a perfect capper to a fun, energetic episode.
Segments Ranked From Best to Worst
Take Me Back / Basketball Scene (tie)
Before the Show
Civil War Soldiers
A Message From The White House Easter Bunny
- Another pretty good, fun season 42 episode, with several solid highlights throughout the night with good consistency, aside from that fucking wretched cold open. And while this episode doesn’t measure to Jimmy’s fantastic season 37 hosting stint, it is certainly better than his mediocre season 39 episode. Jimmy also added a very energetic & fun vibe to this episode that made it lots of fun to both watch & review.
- Chris Pine / LCD Soundsystem.
4 Replies to “April 15, 2017 – Jimmy Fallon / Harry Styles (S42 E18) ”
Another great review Blood! Though I largely agree with your statement on Bowie’s musical output (HUGE fan here), I highly recommend 1995’s Outside. He takes on industrial music of the time and produces some highly underrated songs like “Strangers When We Meet,” “I Have Not Been to Oxford Town,” and “Heart’s Filthy Lesson”. It’s flawed for sure but well worth a revisit.
Thanks for the comment! I’ll definitely give it a listen. Happy you’ve been enjoying these reviews.
Once again, there isn’t too much to add, as this is another episode that I saw in full. I’ll be honest, though: when this episode first aired, I thought that “Truly Madly Deeply” was a made-up song for the sketch. Three years later, when I found out it was a real song, I was horrified. That song is so friggin’ bad, and the 90s as a whole is an overrated era for music. I do recall enjoying the monologue and Civil War sketch when this aired, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I still find myself enjoying it today.
And as always, the averages:
Robbie – 7.7
Miranda – 6.3
Blunt – 7.1
Hanks – 8.1
Cumberbatch – 6.6
Chappelle – 8.0
Wiig – 6.5
Stone – 6.9
Cena – 6.7
Affleck – 5.2
Jones – 6.0
Ansari – 7.9
Stewart – 7.1
Baldwin – 6.5
Spencer – 6.2
Johansson – 6.2
C.K. – 7.4
Fallon – 6.7
Take Me Back ****
A short and sweet sketch great reveal and a great ending.
Civil War Soldiers ****
A VERY fun sketch Bobby was excellent in this
Turtle Shirt *****
Love the song to the silly premise. An overall great commericial
Basketball Scene ***½
Jimmy and Mikey were great in this, funny ending.