February 4, 2023 – Pedro Pascal / Coldplay (S48 E12)

Cold Opening – Katy Tur Reports

downed Chinese spy balloon (BOY) is irritated

  • Nothing that surprising with the cold opening addressing the incident with the Chinese spy balloon.
  • Chloe is solid as usual in her anchor role, but what’s with the applause to Kenan’s General Hamilton? Just because he stopped the balloon?
  • Kenan’s doing it a little too much with his stern looks and he looks like he was about to crack up at one point; the 3-D balloon bit was cute, but not a thing I would call sharp political satire
  • OH, GOD. No, no. NO! Here comes Bowen playing the Chinese spy balloon, just as I and a number of online fans predicted mere hours ago. This cold opening is pretty much bottoming out.
  • Showing how increasingly one-note he is becoming as the season continues, this Bowen showpiece is nothing that different from his goofy costume pieces just earlier this season behind the Update desk. I guess now that he has the show for his own taking, we need weekly reminders of FUNNEE & SILLEE he can be……
  • Man, the audience is practically asleep throughout this part of the open. Coldplay & Pedro Pascal fans I take it?
  • Christ, we are now returning to the typical existential crisis route with Bowen as he wears a goofy costume, alongside some modern-day pop culture references. Just end this cold opening before I start to crumble, SNL.

Rating: **


Game of Thrones, The Mandalorian, The Last of Us roles brought host fame

  • Pedro is already coming off charming & likable just from his enthusiastic demeanor as he is speaking about himself being part of many franchises.
  • Pedro’s bit about doing the Mandalorian voice to a kid in the street is funny, especially his talk about him sounding “porn-y” without the mask.
  • I love Pedro’s genuine love for being in this country and his message to his relatives in Chile is both funny & endearing.

Rating: ***1/2

The Big Hollywood Quiz

movies & shows from this decade do not register

  • Bowen as gameshow host again? Why not James or Andrew as both so far excelled more than him when playing such a role. Bowen also seems to be using that same faux British accent he uses when playing campy roles.
  • Decent laugh from the contestants’ confusion in getting a modern question correctly after easily answering questions about older decades of entertainment history.
  • As a person who’s not that much into modern entertainment, I’m getting decent laughs here and relating to the concept; Pedro’s “be more specific” was especially funny.
  • Despite my earlier bitching, Bowen is funny in this role and his underrated straight man reactions and responses are providing good laughs.
  • The “Name any three Movies from the last five years” part is a solid escalation; Pedro’s “Night… Man” answer to it is great as well as Bowen’s response to that.

Rating: ***1/2

Mario Kart

gritty version of Mario (host) Kart is a misguided video game adaptation

  • Oh, wow. I honestly thought this was a real ad at first before the reveal of Pedro playing Mario, of all people.
  • An absolutely priceless idea for a parody of those gritty remakes with a dystopian version of Mario Kart.
  • Chloe is perfect casting as Peach; Bowen’s Yoshi is perfect as well and his bi reveal is good dig at the usual sexuality changing in newer remakes of older franchises.
  • Great to see Marcello getting more airtime and his faux dramatic performance here as Toad is great and stealing this piece for me.
  • My personal copy of this episode seems to have fixed how Goomba looks, from the on-air grotesque look to the more lore-accurate one in the screencaps above. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the air vs. fixed versions, represented with screencaps:
  • I have yet to see The Last of Us but this piece did a great job parodying these needlessly gritty remakes. And, while I don’t think it is as strong as Bambi or Grouch as well as some of the latter ones, it is still very solid on its own.

Rating: ****

Waking Up

upon awakening from a coma, (host) has a mushy accent & personality

  • An alright laugh from Pedro’s post-accident voice sounding “LA-like.”
  • Bowen’s been surprisingly stumbling through his lines so far into the episode.
  • This is such a thin, dumb premise for a sketch, but Pedro is doing his best to mine laughs from it, his “let’s put a pen in that”-s are cracking me up.
  • Uh-oh, Pedro’s breaking near the end of his dramatic speech. I’ll admit at least that Heidi’s imitation of his speech impediment is cute, but could’ve done it without the others imitating it as well.
  • Overall, I can see this one getting some hate, and it was surely flimsy & dumb, but just the right amount to me and it helped that Pedro’s charm sold it for me.

Rating: ***

Next Host – February 25

  • Woody Harrelson!!!! I was just speaking about wanting him to come back and join the Five-Timers Club! You better not jinx this one, SNL!

Fancam Assembly

high schoolers make fancams of favorite teachers (host) & (Sarah Paulson)

  • Good casting of Pedro as the popular teacher at school. His first “I think,” was great.
  • Loved the fancam made of Pedro, especially them using SNL’s own “Big Boys,” just from a few months ago.
  • The increasingly ridiculous fancams of Pedro are cracking me up, as well as his solid straight man reactions towards the students’ weird fascination with him.
  • The absurd fancam of Molly’s lunch lady stole the sketch for me, as well as their reaction to it.
  • Sarah Paulson?! Talk about an unexpected but very welcomed cameo. The audience deservedly gave her quite the round of applause even though I didn’t recognize her at first due to her shorter hair.

Rating: ***

Wing Pit

Wing Pit’s specials send insane amounts of chicken to Super Bowl parties

  • It feels odd seeing Heidi in such a front-and-center role in a commercial piece. She’s doing a great job here trying to sell all these crazy offerings from Wing Pit.
  • Great that James is doing the voice-over work in this commercial. I figured he’d be perfect for voice-over roles as he sounds perfectly professional by just talking normally.
  • The “five ethnically-troubling sauces” bit and the pool filled with ranch are solid parts and the touch of absurdism with 600 wings being offered with a cheap price is also well-done.
  • I love the very fast-paced, graphics-filled presentation of all the insane Super Bowl offers presented in this commercial. So many to keep track of; the moment where the chicken juice is shown as well as Molly getting hit by that massive chunk of food were my biggest laughs.

Rating: ****

Musical Performance – “The Astronaut”

Weekend Update

checked-out Punxsutawney Phil (MIL) goes on about the absurdity of it all

Milly Pounds (JAJ) & Shirty (DEA) rap about British current events

  • Good opening joke about a gender reveal party regarding the Chinese spy balloon, and the audience’s reaction to the reveal of it being a girl is funny.
  • The “good ones” joke by Che about removed black authors from Florida schools is hilarious; the Green Goblin joke about MTG afterwards practically killed me even more.
  • Che’s joke about Trump needing Saudi oil for his ass as a photo of him playing Tennis is shown is excellent. Update has been on fire so far.
  • Colin’s very Che-esque joke about two “brothers” on the Super Bowl being the reason his grandfather won’t be watching is very Joke Swap-esque.
  • Michael’s groundhog reveal gave me a good laugh. Although, this feels like something Bowen would’ve done instead. I can see Michael nailing it with his deadpan delivery, though.
  • The running gag with the smoke coming out of Michael’s mouth, as well as the anti-comedy, deadpan feel of the piece, handled smoothly by Michael’s sheer charisma and likability, is making it better than it has any right to be.
  • The “beaver” response by Michael is excellent. While this commentary feels very Longfellow-esque instead of him playing a character, I still got my share of laughs here and Michael continues his solid debut season.
  • Colin & Che are generally on fire with this Update, as we’re getting lots of delightfully offensive jokes after Michael’s commentary.
  • Colin: “Kids should not join social media until they’re 16……when they’re hotter.”
  • James continues his hot streak of the last several episodes as he now gets an Update piece, being paired with fellow featured player Devon. I cannot be happier seeing him making more progress and not just being the impressionist in the cast.
  • Spot-on and funny British accent from James. Although, I shouldn’t be that surprised about that. Devon’s accent and general rapport with James here is decent as well. I’m enjoying this unexpected duo between them.
  • The various “rapping” portions here are very dead-on and funny imitation of those British Rapping teams; the “allergic to dairy” running bit is a nice touch too.
  • All-in-all, this Update was absolutely on FIRE, between two fun commentaries, tons of offensive and hilarious jokes, and fast-paced fun atmosphere.

Rating: ****1/2

Protective Mom

(MAH)’s mom (host) uses Spanish to critique his white girlfriend (CLF)

  • The beginning of this sketch reminds me of those Nuni sketches from the mid 00s. It is also very sweet seeing Marcello starring in a sketch, for the second show in a row.
  • A slice-of-life sketch! Thank goodness Pedro’s initial drag reveal wasn’t going to be the center of this sketch and we got lots of sweet interaction right out of the gate between him and Marcello; Chloe is doing very well in her role here too.
  • The part with Pedro throwing Chloe’s food in the trash and then folding the bag neatly is terrific; Pedro nailed it with total ease.
  • The various Spanish back-and-forth lines between Marcello and Pedro, without any translation at all, are adding also a sweet sense of realism to the sketch as a whole.
  • The part with Pedro’s mon character saying Marcello “likes to jump!”, as a reasoning to his A.D.D. condition is excellent. The sketch in general is wall-to-wall filled with great, relatable lines.
  • This is such a dead-on recreation of the typical mom/son interactions, especially the parts where the mom loses it at Marcello and then immediately returns to being motherly & loving.
  • Great ending. I don’t know how this sketch will be received, but from my two viewings of it right now, it feels like something where I realize I have an instant classic in front of me and a sketch that will easily fit in any SNL era, much like how I felt about the also-terrific Barbershop sketch earlier in the season. So, without further ado, I’m giving this sketch the rating I feel it deserves:

Rating: *****

Italian Waiters

in an Italian restaurant, (SRS) is humiliated by otherwise-flirty waiters

  • Pedro being cast an Italian waiter seems just perfect and he is coming off fun already.
  • The premise of one person at the table being given more oddball or different compliments by the waiters has been done before on the show, especially in that great Drag Brunch sketch with John Mulaney from season 43. This sketch, while fine so far, and Sarah is doing a good job in her role, feels like it could be stronger.
  • Ok, the bit where the light atop Sarah’s seat is switched off is great.
  • That’s how the sketch ends? With the typical tired commercial route? Talk about not knowing how to end sketches, SNL.

Rating: ***

Musical Performance – “Human Heart” & “Fix You”

Lisa From Temecula

Lisa from Temecula (EGN) convulses restaurant table by sawing her steak

  • Another restaurant-based sketch, for the second sketch in a row? And the THIRD sketch with delicious-looking food on the table? Oh, don’t make me hungry at this hour, SNL…
  • Bowen has been in pretty much every single sketch this episode. I wonder why he’s been used this heavily and without people like Mikey and Andrew sharing these roles with him.
  • A very chaotic, messy turn with Ego chopping the steak causing the table to get very shaky; this sketch immediately devolved into one of those chaotic breaking sketches, though it isn’t as derailed as some of those.
  • Pedro’s breaking is causing the others to start cracking up, even a pro like Bowen laughed briefly which is basically unheard of.
  • All-in-all, I got my share of laughs from this one, and Ego was great in the lead role, but I felt it was both trimmed a bit and rushed. I might’ve enjoyed this one a little more had it aired earlier in the night, but nothing terrible overall.

Rating: **1/2


Segments Ranked From Best to Worst

Protective Mom

Weekend Update

Wing Pit

Mario Kart


The Big Hollywood Quiz

Fancam Assembly

Waking Up

Italian Waiters

Lisa From Temecula

Katy Tur Reports

Final Thoughts:

  • Another solid episode. A good number of highly-rated sketches (including an instant classic), and barely anything coming off subpar. And, even though the show cooled down after peaking with Update and our first sketch afterwards, the night as whole was very fun. This season continues to be on fire as of late. Pedro Pascal also played a role in the fun vibes of the night, as he was a very fun, enthusiastic, and likable host that brought fun & energetic vibes to the episode and elevated some of the lesser sketches with his presence.

My Favorite Moments of the Episode, Represented with Screencaps:

Up Next:

  • Woody Harrelson enters the Five-Timers Club with musical guest Jack White. Talk about a banger host/musical guest combo!

My full set of screencaps from this episode is here

6 Replies to “February 4, 2023 – Pedro Pascal / Coldplay (S48 E12)”

  1. Great review, Blood. I haven’t even published mine yet (I will very soon) but I feel like you were a lot higher on this episode as a whole than I was. It looks like the only things we’re gonna see eye to eye on are the cold open, wing pit, protective mom and the commentaries on Update but keep up the good work!

  2. You make some great points I can only nod to, especially in my fatigue toward these Bowen pieces. The choice for this Bowen vamping to feature so heavily in the first half left me more sour toward sketches that I might have been less mixed on if not for seeing the same thing several times over (like the Gen Z Hospital speak in the otherwise decent fancam sketch). I can’t exactly criticize the show for not using Andrew after he was all over last week’s show, but seeing Punkie pop up for such thankless roles when some others just keep getting on is disheartening, especially since it’s not like Punkie has some of the performance issues other rarely used cast members have had.

    Overall I would call this a solid episode and I end up in nitpicking territory in saying I’m seeing too much/not enough of this person, or why is this sketch not better written – that’s just what the show has always been. But that doesn’t make these aspects any less annoying, especially in cases like the last two sketches where in one case I could see the attempt but the execution/casting got in the way, and in the second, where I had no idea what was going on (learning that that was co-written by Che was a real light bulb moment).

    I am going to rewatch the Mario piece as I am just so burnt out on these styles of pre-tapes that I can’t properly focus anymore.

    I did enjoy more of this episode than my mood indicates to myself (best correspondent run on Update so far this season, the mother sketch, the game show sketch, the monologue, even the ridiculous coma sketch that so heavily relied on Pedro being game and charming). I’m glad you were able to parse the good and not so good.

    I don’t want to go on a big tongue lashing with anyone in the cast, I just very very much hope that when we get back from the break a few people take a backseat, or at least get some new material.

    I’ve had my share of criticisms of Chloe, but she has gotten the memo (if there is one). Now others can too, ideally.

  3. Part 1
    Cold Open – This didn’t necessarily work for me. The tweets at the beginning gave me some chuckles. Kenan part sorta worked but also didn’t for me and based on the way he was acting in it, this seemed like a role he has played before. Bowen surprisingly I didn’t find annoying in this but still meh on his part.

    Monologue – A nice monologue Pedro story about moving to America was nice and throughout this gave me decent laughs but I still liked this.

    Hollywood Quiz – The comedic premise was just blah for me though a few of the contestants answers were funny but aside from that…. next please

    Mario – Snl has done better with sketches like this but I did love the tone of this. Could’ve done without the I’m bisexual part. One of the reviews saying “this ain’t it” cracked me up.

    Waking Up – I just groaned at this but like most sketches at this point in tonight’s show, there were a few funny moments to not make this godawful. I HATED everyone joining in a the end.

    Fancam – Like you mentioned fun seeing SNL big boy song. I actually loved this at first but quickly lost me the second time they showed the TikTok. Molly was their usual funny self in this and their brief moment here was my favorite of the sketch. For a split second I didn’t recognize Paulson and her part did nothing for me.

    Wings – The one and only sketch I was really crazy for. I didn’t even realize until one guy on Twitter mentioned it that based on the escalation of this it reminded them and now me of Taco Town. The constant amount of wings was excellent and kept getting better. James was terrific as the voiceover.

    Weekend Update – The usual solid jokes from the two anchors even if I can’t remember any ones that stuck out to me. Like you I thought this would seem like a role Bowen played in his sleep, but so happy it was Longfellow. Sadly though him commentary was ok for me the smoke thing was funny as well as the various news articles he kept show but still decent imo. James and Devon made an interesting pairing and I kinda hope we James paired with more cast members. Also I hope we will soon get a solo JAJ piece on Update. This commentary however was fun the knife thing James kept doing was hilarious. Devon was also good in this though I liked James a little bit more. I also like the constant mentioned of “allergic to dairy” and overall a solid commentary. In fact I wouldn’t even mind if they made this recurring though I hope they don’t and most likely won’t.

  4. Part 2
    Protective Mom – The moment I saw Pedro I was just annoyed. I didn’t mind his performance in this but still didn’t care for this. Marcello getting a lead in terrific though. The more it went on the less a liked it and more bored I got. The ending confused me as i thought the sketch would go on longer thank God it didn’t. Though I will say this is a relatable sketch.

    Waiters – Another sketch I laughed at first but then got annoyed with. Honestly this sketch just made me feel sorry for Sarah’s character in this. Weird seeing Mikey in a role like this. Not much else to say here but overall a pile of nothing.

    Lisa – I loved Ego’s wig in this but another sketch I didn’t love. However unlike almost all of the sketches tonight this did have me cracking up with the table keep shaking and Bowen laughing as you could tell you couldn’t keep it in. The “because we black line” had me howling. Overall much better than most tonight even if I didn’t care for it.

    Sad how this episode cuts the the surprisingly long streak of good to solid episodes we’ve been having.

    Also Coldplay was fun even if I saw some people hating their performances.

    Happy seeing Woody become of 5 timer and when I saw I even thought about how you wanted him to be one. Looks like you got your wish Blood!

  5. I think opinions for this episode are all over the place. I enjoyed bits that others didn’t at all, and was a little ‘meh’ on bits people loved.

    The things I liked…

    1. Bowen on Update.
    2. The mario Kart Sketch – Another solid pretape for Seiday
    3. The Hospital sketch. (Growing up in England, there was a local story of a woman waking from a coma with a jamaican accent, having lived in the North of England all her life)
    3. The Wings Accessories (Ranch, Ethnic Sauces)
    4. JAJ as a British Rapper.
    5. The 10-to-1 sketch. I really liked Ego’s character, and I’m a fan of the scene being so crazy that people can’t quite keep it together (Although Pedro did seem to be susceptible to major breaking)
    6. Fix You

    Not so hot on

    1. Keenans bit on the CO
    2. The Hollywood Game Show – Why’d Bowen have to sing at the start?
    3. The disappointed Mom sketch – I’m going to have to watch that again. I think I still prefer the Ego version from the Daniel Kaluuya episode)
    4. Whatever that Teacher TikTok thing was.
    5. Back to back Restaurant sketches.

  6. Love that last point you made in the cold open. Bowen has now hit a wall with the “object is misunderstood and references pop culture” premise. I felt it should’ve ended after Kenan’s bit—keep it as tight as possible.

    As for the Lisa From Temecula placement, I feel like it was good as the 10-to-1, but was also rushed. Had they maybe had three extra minutes to let it breathe, it would’ve been ok.

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