Cold Opening – Access Hollywood Oscars Red Carpet Edition
- Wow, it feels like ages since we last got a celebrity-centric cold opening. I believe the last one was the Depp vs. Heard cold opening during the homestretch of last season.
- Marcello & Heidi are barely even attempting to impersonate who they are supposedly playing, but it is working.
- The women’s feet bit was so random, but it did crack me up for that reason.
- Kenan’s Mike Tyson impression sucks. I cannot understand how he cannot do one of the easiest impressions to pull off. It reminds me of how Darrell Hammond could not do an Arnold impression.
- Chloe’s Jamie Lee Curtis impression sounds WAY off, which is odd considering the strong impressionist she generally is. She at least looks pretty dead-on to her, looks-wise.
- At least Andrew got a few lines to say in this cold opening, which is much more than what he did in the last several episodes combined. And, as no surprise, his bit about the surprise appearances at the Oscars gave me my biggest laughs here.
- Eesh, Mikey’s Colin Farrell impression is TERRIBLE. I love Mikey, but aside from a few impressions here and there, he never struck me as much of an impressionist. And the less said about Molly’s attempt at a Brendan Gleeson impression, the better.
- And we end the cold open at an overlong, hacky, self-indulgent bit with Bowen as George Santos? Really SNL?
- The cutaway to Michael at the end as Pinocchio fell flat with me.
- All-in-all, a bit of a mixed bag cold open. Although I’m happy we got a non-political cold open, and parts of this open worked for me, especially the Andrew/Devon part, but it started to trail off halfway through. So, a middle score seems fair.
- Jenna seems a bit nervous here, but is coming off likable in her opening lines and is doing a decent job with the jokes she’s given.
- Jenna’s first acting job clip is absolutely adorable, even when it’s much more cute than funny; the horror edit to it later on is a decent touch.
- At least the eventual “surprise” cameo from Fred Armisen is immediately addressed from the monologue, instead of getting him in a surprise sketch or two (which will probably happen either way). Him getting booted when he started to drone on about the Californians gave me a solid laugh.
- Jenna’s talk at the end about wanting to be on SNL is endearing, especially as she mentions her parents being in the audience tonight.
School vs. School
- An ok concept for a gameshow sketch, even when it is giving me flashbacks to Kids vs Grownups with the adults and students concept.
- Punkie is coming of solid & convincing as a school teacher; her natural likability is immediately shining through.
- The cutaway to Mikey as Professor Zander and Jenna & Molly as his superhuman students cracked me the hell up for how random it is. The oddball turn here is good & a solid change of pace. The concept of an X-Men-esque school competing against a normal school is hilarious to me. Also, the oddball, silly concept of this gameshow sketch, in contrast to how dull a lot of the premises these past few episodes have been, make this concept come off even funnier to me.
- Mikey’s yelling at Jenna’s character to keep it quiet absolutely slayed me, more the second time even. Mikey rarely goes over the top, but he always kills me when he does go there.
- Jenna & Mikey are doing an excellent job as their Rogue and Professor Xavier knockoff characters, especially the increasing tension between them. Mikey’s answers to simple science trivia questions with that overdramatic delivery of his is also a great detail.
- Great visual of a petrified Punkie with a nose bleed. Very impressive from her to keep herself still so well too.
Please Don’t Destroy – Road Trip
- Our THIRD PDD short in a row? This is probably the first time this happened so far into their tenure.
- Decent turn with John missing the entrance as they were so into their singing on the road.
- The tensions here are SO accurate to what happens when a group of people go on a road trip together; the loud slurping part with Jenna & Ben is especially funny and relatable.
- Great escalation with John running over a passerby; the ending with James as the billboard Jesus (continuing to show his strong Phil Hartman vibes) telling them he saw what happened is solid.
The Parent Trap
- I see we ARE getting our obligatory Fred Armisen-starring sketch of the night after all…
- Fred’s voice here seems to be his tired stock New York voice and the sketch so far feels like the usual tepid Fred vanity piece that we were bombarded by in his last four or five seasons.
- Bowen’s really not that convincing as the movie director, which is another example of how unfit he is in utility roles. I guess they are phasing Mikey from these roles, but why not have Michael or James here? Their dryness would work better in this role.
- There are a few chuckles here and there, and Jenna & Fred are at least a bit charming in their interactions. As a whole, this sketch is not that good, as the premise of it (movie shooting gone wrong) was done better on the show a few times before and not to mention the sluggish, overlong pacing of it.
- Mikey’s hip-hop bro performance is cracking me up, as he always endearingly goofy playing this type of a role.
- A good dark turn with Jenna’s story about her cousin getting decapitated after a wave hit their boat; Mikey’s reaction to it was funny. Although, it feels like something he did a lot before. A sign that he’s been on the show for a long time.
- This feels like such a Seiday premise, especially Jenna’s increasingly dark stories. I’m getting ok laughs, but this is getting a little old. Jenna’s performance is at least solid, in particular how she’s telling her dark stories.
- I’m already getting different vibes from this short, especially how dramatic Marcello & Jenna’s performance are.
- Ok, I’m now noticing the increasing background activities by Mikey, Heidi, Molly, and some others. That seems to be the conceit of this short.
- Mikey is stealing this short with his cornrow-sporting character, his activities in the background are hilarious; continuing this solid season of his; there are so many quick visual jokes in the background in general for me to catch on a first watch.
- The Marcello/Jenna scenes on their own could be a very solid, dramatic piece, but the wacky antics in the background are very funny on their own, especially that they are not being called out for how wacky they are, which is a huge pet peeve of mine with modern SNL.
- The contrast between Marcello & Jenna’s heartfelt conversation (solid acting by both, by the way) and the insane background activities is flawlessly pulled-off.
- The “Yes, and…” running gag and the plethora of quick background jokes are making this short one of those worthy of multiple rewatches to be assessed as fairly as possible, but I’m absolutely loving it so far.
- Is SNL kidding me having Andrew in a very brief walk-on as the cop? I guess it is not season 48 without Andrew being so underused and invisible.
- Ok, it appears this short is rapidly becoming a full-cast piece, although I cannot tell some of the cast members in the background; Ego’s actions & Mikey’s violent character are the funniest parts and Mikey continues to steal the short.
- Very solid quick gags with the kid stealing Andrew’s gun and Kenan randomly coming out of the bathroom pantless and holding a torch.
- Great ending reveal of Mikey as Jenna’s father; solid final line from him too.
- Good fake-out with Colin’s Trump/DeSantis joke turning out to be about the Oscars.
- Wait, is the Ukrainian president’s Oscars petition real? If so, wow.
- Meh at the “seen here” joke about Tucker Carlson. Way too greatest hits route for me to laugh at.
- Che’s Tucker/Trump joke being about him being friends with Colin was executed too awkwardly and felt a little old hat.
- Damn at the Meghan Markle maid joke in regards to her being invited to King Charles’ coronation.
- Good to see Molly finally make their first Update appearance. I hate to say this, but I’m starting to get a bit tired seeing Molly mostly cast as plus-sized male celebrities and characters. I think most of their appearances in tonight’s episode were as such, at least so far. I hope the show uses the other sides of their talent that were showcased so well in the two pretapes that starred them in the past & the nuns sketch from back in January instead of typecasting them in such roles. I’m very glad, however, seeing them get much-needed airtime this episode in general.
- Molly is executing this quite well and are coming off their likable self, but this commentary feels like a case of us getting a spoof that is not as funny as the incident it’s parodying.
- The ending spiel from Molly is decent and they did a good job handling their first Update commentary.
- The Love Actually crocodile joke was really funny, especially the accompanying graphic.
- Che’s “just like how I like em!” about half of the world’s population being overweight in 2035 is great.
- James! Awesome to see him doing a desk piece as himself. This has been an amazing couple of months for him in general. I believe this is his fourth desk piece this season and third this half alone.
- James is coming off his likable self, and his rapid-fire impressions in order to fill time are lots of fun. His brief Batman voice is especially funny.
- Good meta moment with James talking about being stuck doing his Trump to bartenders during the afterparties for them to notice him. This is coming off a little awkward to say now considering how James’ been proving himself this half as much, much more than just an impressionist.
- I wish we saw more of James’ Bob Dylan, considering how absolutely uncanny it is, in particular how he nails various eras of his voice. Still, this is a very fun way to end this edition of Update with.
- Good to see James cast in the utility role of the priest. Instead of some of the more expected choices from this cast. Also, nice seeing Andrew being actually used, despite this being another bit part for him this episode. Well, I guess it’s better than being shut out once again.
- An Exorcist parody? And in this year? At least Jenna is doing a solid job as the possessed child.
- I’m already getting tired of Ego’s character, even her entrance wearing her bedroom attire couldn’t get a laugh out of me. This sketch is now turning into an Ego/Kenan teamup with tired old married couple jokes while underused and/or better cast members like Andrew and James stand there staring at them being the “funny” ones.
- At least the goofy ending with Kenan being possessed now fit well with the rest of the sketch. Not that it made any better, though.
Donalds & Dominguez
- The opening of the sketch with Bowen and the host pitching a jingle reminds me of that terrible cut sketch he did with Kim Kardashian last season.
- Wow, this suddenly turned into an Andrew/JAJ sketch?! Talk about an unexpected, but a very welcome surprise. Considering how fantastic Andrew & James’ first sketch together was, I’m even more excited for this one.
- Great look on Andrew & James’ characters, I especially love how so in sync they are when working together. Frequent commenter Curly Joe made a great point about how James is obviously styled as Tom Petty here.
- The jingle pitched for the law firm randomly turning into a Ghostbusters rip-off is absolutely hilarious.
- Bowen’s excited reactions to the jingle is fitting the sketch’s silly, absurd premise perfectly instead of bugging me.
- There are so many little jokes hidden throughout this sketch, even the way the others are reacting to the song is adding to its silly, random vibes. This sketch in general seems to be a somewhat of a spiritual successor to Roundball Rock. This doesn’t surprise me, considering the many Andrew/Tim Robinson vibes I’ve always felt between both of them.
- Chloe helplessly cracking up after Bowen’s yelling is great. And, showing the utmost pros both are, Andrew & James are perfectly stone-faced throughout it.
- The increasingly complex singing of the phone number of the law firm is a great touch.
- The final “SIXTEEN TRILLION SEVEN HUNDRED…” jingle is both absolutely perfect absurdity and way too damn catchy.
- I love how Andrew & James immediately backed down from their 100k demand to get 40 Dollars each.
- All-in-all, I absolutely loved this sketch, even more on a second watch. The episode’s best highlight for me, a major season highlight as well and yet another example of the killer duo Andrew & James truly are. Only two pairings so far, and I’m getting massive Sudeikis/Forte vibes from them which make me even more excited for their eventual teamups soon.
In Memoriam – a photo of Erin Maroney Fraser marks her passing
Segments Ranked From Best to Worst
Donalds & Dominguez
School vs. School
Please Don’t Destroy – Road Trip
Access Hollywood Oscars Red Carpet Edition
The Parent Trap
- An overall pretty good & fun episode and a good way to end a shaky run of shows with. Although the episode was a little all over the place, consistency-wise, and there were a few things in this episode that did not work for me and continue to symbolize some of the issues I’ve been having with this season (e.g. “star” showcases, dullness, focus on pandering and/or weak humor, etc.), yet I personally found enough strong highlights throughout the night (certainly stronger & more memorable than those in the last two episodes combined) that thankfully made up for said lowlights. I also appreciated the refreshing, fun, and silly sketch concepts we got in this episode, especially Donalds & Dominguez, School vs. School, and the Waffle House pretape, as they sadly feel a bit rare as this season continues on. Jenna Ortega was a charming and likable host who tried her best with what she got & delivered committed performances throughout the night.
- Quinta Brunson / Lil Yachty.
7 Replies to “March 11, 2023 – Jenna Ortega / The 1975 (S48 E15)”
Really? I thought Chloe as Jamie Leigh was dead on plus Mikey’s Colin and Molly’s Gleeson were also really accurate. Exaggerated, but captured the element they were mocking and their vibe.
The biggest issue I had with the Mikey & Molly bit, beside being unfunny, is the tired “Irish people sound weird lol!” aspect which gave me unwanted flashbacks to the second Bill Hader episode with its overt reliance on tired stereotypes. Impressions of course can be exaggerated for comedic effect, but in both Chloe’s case, as well as Mikey & Molly’s, they just plain did not work for me.
Current cast members with update features as himself, Che,day,dismukes,fineman,punkie,kenan,Bowen,James,Marcelo,Michael,Devon,and Sarah, but overall this episode was good, the Waffle House sketch was awesome and the James piece gave massive Dana carvey vibes and congrats snl on a non politcs opening
Good review as usual this episode wasn’t bad but quite a big step down from the previous episode this was fine though nothing in this episode really stood out to me not even the 10 to 1 which on rewatch I already know I’ll like a lot more. Excited for Quinta hosting on April fools
Thanks for the shoutout and great review as always.
Surprisingly, I would say this was one of Kenan’s stronger nights in recent years. Normally, I wouldn’t like his Mike Tyson, but I don’t know, something about it worked for me.
Thanks as always for your reviews, among the earliest to arrive yet still among the best – basically, along with Casey’s, the only ‘new’ reviews I’m reading at this point. I am glad you were able to enjoy this one. If I ever rewatch I may get more out of it, but I’m not in any rush to do so. At least Andrew got a sketch on, and the pre-tapes have been stronger than usual (if only the live sketches were not at such a low in comparison).
Solid review as always. I haven’t published mine yet but while I think we can agree this was one of the seasons better episodes as a whole and Jenna was a strong host, there were a couple weak or just inconsistent segments in the first third of the show (parts of the cold open/SchoolVSchool/PDD/Parent Trap) and bottom third (Exorcism) that kept it from being better than the sum of its parts. Also, while I liked the idea of a JAJ/Dismukes musical pairing I felt Bowens’ over the top performance kind of bought down Donalds & Dominguez for me.