A Special Christmas Message From The White House
- Even around Christmas time, we cannot escape a Trumpwin cold open. Lovely.
- This seems to be the very first of many overlong, tedious checklist/meme cold opens from this era, with padded material and worn out pace.
- Not caring for Trumpwin’s opening spiel here, which feels even more checklist than usual.
- Really, a “Tree of Shame”?? This is the cold open they chose to go with?
- I think we’ve now reached the point where SNL is officially spearheading the so-called “Resist!” movement against Trump. This open is only the first of MANY embarrassing, pathetic attempts from SNL to sustain media attention & ratings. The cameo orgies, which will only get worse the following seasons, are also a part of their attempt to stay relevant.
- Did you know you guys that Mike Pence is gay?! LOL!!
- This is AWFUL so far.
- Not even Leslie could steal the cold open. Her role in particular feels so tacked-on, not to mention that she looks nothing like Omarosa. It is unfair due to being the only black female on the cast at the moment. I could easily see Ego Nwodim playing her role if she was on the show this season.
- Sadly, Luke is wasted yet again in another useless, non-comedic role in another hellscape cold open.
- Bah, cue the applause for Scarlett Johansson’s walk-on.
- This cold open feels a little too quiet & slow so far. Already a sign that we are maybe in for a pretty rough night.
- Even the usual funny Don Jr. & Eric Trump bit here fell flat for me.
- And now we get an “adorable” turn with Kate’s Sessions as an Elf on the Shelf rambling on and on. Just end this cold open already SNL.
- Good to see another stand-up monologue yet again this season, even when I was never a big fan of Kevin’s stand-up style.
- Great that Kevin is trying to hype up the audience after that particularly lethargic cold opening.
- I recall this monologue causing controversy, in particular the parent-centric material in it, which always struck me as weird. I’m not a parent myself, yet, but there is some decent laughs to be found here, and not to mention that Kevin is trying to inject some energy into this episode after that awful cold open.
- While I’m enjoying this set, some of the bits Kevin is speaking of aren’t that relatable, or in a better sense not as common as he thinks it is.
- Oh, now here comes the bit that I believe caused the controversy in the first place, where Kevin talks about young women causing older men to have babies, which is not only unfunny, but needlessly hostile. I’ve been enjoying this set before this bit came on.
- Ok, I do enjoy Kevin’s whole talk about being a fun dad. As an uncle myself, one that was called fun, this bit kinda speaks to me.
- An overall pretty good stand-up set, beside one or two needlessly hostile bits.
- The premise of this commercial is reminding me of the classic “Teddy Bear Holding a Heart” commercial from season 31. One of my personal favorite ads from the previous SNL era.
- Great visual quality & direction, which captures the feel & look of these commercials accurately.
- Beck steals this commercial for me with his facial reaction when realizing that the pink ribbon stands for breast cancer.
- Some good laughs from the various charms, I do especially love the drinking & dog ones in particular.
- Pretty solid commercial overall, even when it doesn’t match to the aforementioned classic.
- I remember this sketch being one of the few to pull off bathroom humor well. At least to me personally.
- A fairly silly premise with Kevin’s trying to make up excuses for him to go to the bathroom, without stating it plainly.
- Kevin’s killing it here with all of his physical actions while wanting to leave the room.
- Funny visual with the sweat all over Kevin’s face.
- Good bit with everyone pretending to call Kevin’s grandma to save his face after he pooped his pants.
- Could’ve chosen a better ending, but the rest of this was fine enough for me.
Captain Shadow and The Cardinal
- I love the fun opening sequence. The visuals, as well, are fairly accurate & capture the old-school comic book feel very well.
- An interesting turn with the black crimefighters being pulled over by the police.
- Alex is quite believable here as a no-nonsense cop.
- Okaaaay, the weird turn with Captain Shadow having cocaine on him is confusing me. Is he supposed to be a good guy or a bad guy? And the whole setup beforehand with the cops pulling over even black crimefighters, was it supposed to be a commentary on racial injustice in America? That even black heroes are being pulled over for their skin tone? If so, this piece very muddy & in a way, disrespectful to those who suffer racial injustice as it frankly doesn’t know which side it is on.
- The whole bit with Chris demonstrating his skills with the little kick gave me a decent laugh.
- Overall, lots of potential wasted for a very muddy, unfocused, and ill-directed piece of social “commentary”.
Inside The NBA
- As I disclosed a billion times before, I’m not a sports guy, but I always enjoyed SNL’s sports-centric sketches in the past.
- I’m familiar, however, with Shaq’s voice & demeanor, and Kevin is doing a killer job impersonating him here.
- Kevin’s Shaq’s constant rambling here is cracking me up, even when I don’t feel that there are lines that stand out to me.
- Love the reveal of Kevin being on stilts while playing Shaq.
Musical Performance – “The Sky Is A Neighborhood”
- Jesse Nathan: If this episode is as bad as Blood and Anthony have made it out to be (I haven’t seen it yet as of this writing), then let me just say in advance: Dave Grohl, save me from this episode!
- I love the use of searchlights at the start.
- Great guitar intro.
- Dave sounds great here. His voice might be a little raspy for some, but it always works for me.
- I love the guitar riff, and it’s being executed perfectly.
- Kinda wish the backup singers’ mics were turned up more.
- Now that’s a chorus!
- The guitars all sound amazing together, and the drums accompany them perfectly.
- I like Dave’s interaction with another guitarist.
- Genius touch with the lights all dropping except for the one on Dave during the last verse.
- Ooh, I love the move of having the backup singers do the final chorus instead of Dave.
- Dave’s final “sky is a neighborhood” fell kinda flat.
- The usual strong Foo Fighters performance.
- Good time capsule with the whole Moore/Jones senate election in Alabama. As I stated previously, these feel more and more like a history lesson than actual timeless entertainment.
- Oh, you know with the mention of Omarosa that we would get Leslie back behind the desk as her.
- And I was right. Leslie looks gorgeous here, but she doesn’t look or sound like Omarosa at all. This is what happens when SNL only has one black female on the cast, which is unfair to Leslie (yes, comedy is not about being fair, but still), she is at least doing a good job with her quick bit here.
- The return of Alex’s Guy Who Just Bought a Boat. I’m always a sucker for this character’s routine, as the non-sequitur, random line deliveries of his are one of my favorite forms of comedy.
- Some good, but cheap laughs from the various puns in Alex’s Guy Who Just Bought a Boat’s commentary, even when some of them fly over the audience’s head.
- Ok, that “moist certainly” pun was so groanworthy, yet I got a solid laugh from it.
- Did we really need this long setup early on in the sketch? It felt so redundant, which is making me worried of what kind of a sketch awaits me.
- This sketch is not working so far, as the concept of the performers being scared from a wild llama would work better if the llama was indeed on the offense, but she is very calm here, and adorably so. It makes the various nervous reactions by Kevin, Kyle, and Mikey look utterly pointless and time-wasting.
- Leslie’s line just now bombed pretty hard with the audience, further adding to the hollow feel that this sketch has been having so far into it.
- Oh, and now we’re getting juvenile and desperate, with the whole bit about the llama getting a boner that needs to be hidden from the audience.
- An overall waste of time.
- Oh, boy. I recall this being a notorious, absolutely dreadful sketch from this season. I’m morbidly fascinated in rewatching this again.
- We now get our comedic conceit with Kevin as the weak husband and Leslie as the abusive wife. This is a very hard premise to pull off well in a live sketch comedy show. So far, I hope I’m wrong and this sketch turns out well.
- The back-and-forth between Leslie and Kevin is comedy poison, which is played out so straight that it is honestly UNSETTLING to sit through. The eerie silence in the studio that has begun right now is adding to the very hollow, quiet and uncomfortable feel that this sketch has been having already.
- And now the sketch devolves into a full-on Leslie Shout at Kevin to passionately make out with the large teddy bear to a very uncomfortable and quiet studio audience???
- It is absolutely morbidly fascinating to witness how this sketch is dying right now, especially with the whole stripping of the teddy bear sequence. You can practically hear a pin drop in the studio. The audience is completely DEAD.
- Solid reveal that the people at the party are all employees of Kevin’s. This reveal finally awakens the very dead audience, and brings some energy into this dire, dreary, and quiet sketch. Yet, it is FAR too late for that.
- This is how we’re ending this sketch, after all that buildup??? This sketch is not only very tough to sit through, but is also very hard to understand as well.
- And now, this sketch is mercifully over. Jesus Christ, this was as rough as I recall. Now, after sitting through this confusing trainwreck of a sketch, I only have to wonder what the fuck did whomever wrote this sketch intended with it and whatever the hell were they even going for with this concept.
- Tonight’s episode is dying an absolutely long, painful, and utterly miserable death. This sketch is so boringly one-note; a note this isn’t even funny to begin with in the very first place.
- This sketch was originally supposed to air in the Bruno Mars episode from season 38, but it got cut. I could’ve imagined Bruno in Kevin’s role here, with his usual energetic presence and charisma.
- The audience is barely laughing at this parade of tired old people jokes. Keeping the hollow, notoriously quiet feel of the post-Update half alive.
- Aaaaaaand we now get a farting joke. It’s official: I’m in hell.
- Man, this episode is starting to get BRUTAL with all of these terrible sketches back-to-back.
Musical Performance – “Everlong”, “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”, “Linus and Lucy”
- Jesse Nathan: Kinda weird that Alec Baldwin is introducing Foo Fighters instead of Kevin, but apparently, he’s getting ready to skate on the 30 Rock skating rink.
- Nice Christmas sweater that Dave’s wearing.
- I like the way this starts, with Dave front and center under a blue spotlight with the rest of the band being covered in darkness. Granted, that sounds like Dave being the center of the stage, but knowing in hindsight what this leads to, I can see why they started the performance like this.
- Dave’s “doo doo doo”s fell kinda flat.
- I like the guitar riff after the second verse.
- Great transition to the second song, with the lights on the band immediately going up as soon as we hear the first bell chime.
- I love how the stage has red-and-green lights now.
- I also like the usage of fake snow to give it more of a Christmas feeling.
- Genius how the second song is being sung by the backup singers instead of Dave.
- I also love how each verse is sung by a different backup singer. And they all sound great.
- I love how we’re now hearing a rock version of “Linus and Lucy”, further adding to the Christmas-y vibe of this performance.
- This whole rock version of “Linus and Lucy” sounds great, and I never thought I’d find myself headbanging to this song, but here we are.
- Great drum work from the late Taylor Hawkins.
- An overall fantastic performance from Foo Fighters with a great Christmas vibe, and one that provided a strong sense of energy.
Cut For Time: New Year Kiss
- It’s so frustrating that this is the THIRD Good Neighbor short being cut in the first half of the season alone.
- Good quick pacing & direction so far into this short. It also feels a bit different than the usual output by Good Neighbor.
- I’m enjoying the pretty confusing directions that Kyle is giving Beck here, in particular the one regarding the manhole & the bodega.
- Oh, and now we’re getting full-on absurdist with Beck finding himself in a white void & that wolf guard protecting a crystal.
- Love the fun sequence with Beck returning to his original place, which Beck performed in a fun way.
- Solid ending.
- Overall, another great Good Neighbor short, which is of course gets cut in favor of some of the wretched material that got on air in the post-Update half. This short would’ve helped the episode a lot.
Segments Ranked From Best to Worst
CFT: New Year Kiss
Inside The NBA
Captain Shadow and The Cardinal
A Special Christmas Message From The White House
- Man, what a rough night. Actually, this episode was surprisingly better early on than I remember, leaving the cold open, as almost everything from the monologue to Weekend Update was between good to solid. It is only with the Post-Update half that this episode turned out to be downright unwatchable, with one painful, laughless dud after another. That second half was pretty much a wasteland of one-joke, one-note, and sketches that were just D.O.A. As I mentioned several times in the review, that half of the show had an eerily hollow, quiet feel and the uncomfortable lack of audience reaction further added to that hollow feel.
- This episode also serves, much like the awful Casey Affleck show last year, as a very disappointing end to a strong half, especially with the string of great shows from Kumail Nanjiani to James Franco. I see that Colin Jost & Michael Che’s tenures as headwriters started out with a misfire of an episode; a precursor to many of their horrible decisions as headwriters which will sadly continue to not let this era to not reach the potential it could’ve till it ended,
- We enter the year 2018 with host Sam Rockwell and musical guest Halsey. This is an interesting year to revisit, as I’m of the popular opinion that this is the calendar year where this SNL era truly bottoms out in many aspects. Let’s see if my opinion will change.