Cold Opening – First Warm Day Of The Year Arrivals Show
- Interesting to see a non-political, New York-centric cold opening parodying the usual Central Park characters.
- James’ pervert look, with that fake third arm, is hilarious. Seeing him, of all cast members, playing such a very non-James role already made me laugh.
- This surprisingly turns out to be James’ only appearance all night long, same with Andrew’s scene. To not use the two best current cast members, and in a potential finale to boot, is absolutely inexcusable to me.
- It feels that most of Sarah’s roles in this half were playing old ladies, which tells you about the noticeable decrease in airtime and prominence she’s been experiencing this half.
- Good, brief LFNY fakeout with Ego’s character interrupting Heidi & Bowen as they are about to say it.
- Surprised how short and sweet this cold open was, which is good as I feared it would go on for three or four minutes more and start getting old and tired for me.
- Right from her entrance, Ana is coming off genuinely enthusiastic, charming, and likable. You can tell she’s so excited to be hosting, which makes me root for her to succeed even more.
- Decent joke from Ana about learning English from watching Friends.
- I barely saw Ana outside of a few movie roles, so I do not know if she’s nervous or this is her usual demeanor, but her demeanor is very endearing throughout this monologue; her story about her dad is especially sweet.
- Yet another short-and-sweet segment, for the second time in a row. Ana came off endearing and game here.
- After getting the very solid James Austin Johnson playing the gameshow host last time in such a perfect, throwback way, it will certainly be odd seeing the out-of-date, one-note Kenan Thompson returning to this role for the billionth time.
- We are reprising Mikey’s Matt Schatt? For the first time since season 45? Between the return of David S. Pumpkins earlier in the year and now Matt Schatt, it feels that Mikey is on his way out and reprising some of his hit roles from his incredible early episodes.
- I’ll admit, as much as I am sick of him this season, Kenan’s brief walkout in protest had me laughing out loud.
- And just after praising him, for the first time in forever, Kenan had to screech and make that tired face when he tries not to laugh.
- I do like the turn with the gameshow now revolving around Matt and how he ended up with Ana.
- A disgusting-but-funny visual of Matt’s many nipples.
American Girl Land
- I honestly thought this was a real commercial for the first few seconds.
- I am really enjoying the darker turn with Ego’s historically accurate doll being a runaway slave, in contrast to the others’ more Barbie-esque ones. This is one of Ego’s funnier performances of the season for me, and it also feels good seeing such an offbeat pretape so early in the night.
- Great dark turn with Sarah’s character immediately dying of Cholera; the very quick cutaway to the others covering her with sheets had me laughing out loud.
- Ego continues to steal this short for me; her scene about not wanting to have a sleepover with the girls, due to her lack of trust in them, was great, as well as her delivery and facial expression during it.
- The Steve Higgins-voiced critic reviews feels a tad tacked-on here, but the offbeat premise is working very well for me, and Ego’s performance alone is making me enjoy the short more than I could’ve otherwise.
Album Recording Session
- SNL always uses the exact same Blizzard Man setting for all of their record studio sketches.
- Ana’s look, especially the colored glasses, reminds me of a certain singer, but I really cannot remember right now. She is also making for a surprisingly good duo with Ego.
- The increasingly “sexy”, baby-referencing terms by Ana & Ego are making me laugh, and, despite how a bit one-note the premise is, it’s still working fine for me. Between the previous pretape and now this sketch, I feel this is one of Ego’s better episodes in a so far shaky season.
- I know I’ve been saying this a lot in this review, but I am surprised by how short-and-sweet this sketch turned out to be.
- This utility role for Mikey feels a bit rare for him, considering how much James seems to be getting more of his roles as this second half has been going on.
- I loved Mikey’s reaction to Ana’s response to him in perfect Spanish. This is the type of endearing goofiness Mikey can sell so easily.
- Marcello is coming off solid playing off Ana, and I am loving how much this sketch is being almost entirely performed in Spanish, much to Mikey’s teacher character detriment.
- This has been such a great season for Mikey, and his increasingly stressed, almost freaking-out reactions when getting his Spanish skills tested by actual native speakers is a very fun premise that’s being executed very well.
- Fitting use of Karol G, and yet another sketch that felt shorter than it was.
Please Don’t Destroy – Hangxiety
- It is a good thing I am not sick of these guys yet, as this is the sixth freakin’ time they have appeared in a row.
- Odd use of Michael playing himself, though I won’t be shocked if his scene with Ben is used in some fancams soon.
- The more this short continues on, it feels that it’s hands-down the most we’ve seen the cast getting involved in one of these shorts.
- The anxiety-filled flashbacks aren’t anything that special for me, but they remain decent enough; Chloe’s open-mouthed facial expression while shooting from her gun stole the entire short for me.
- Mikey’s brief ending appearance, and, considering how heavily used he is so far tonight in comparison to how invisible he has been, is making me think SNL feels this could be the finale before the strike, and, by extension, Mikey Day’s final episode.
- Colin’s opening joke about the CIA leaker, especially the Discord bit, was pretty funny.
- The montage of Trump talking about people supposedly crying around him is funnier than it had any right to be.
- Boy, the visual of Kenan as Donkey Kong’s relative from the Mario franchise is something else. Not in a good way, either.
- Considering that fucking wretched Wario sketch from a few seasons ago, I am very worried of how this piece will turn out to be.
- Yeah, I am about a minute or so into this and it’s been absolutely unwatchable so far. This piece epitomizes so much of what’s wrong with Kenan this season: the hamminess, self-amusement, loudness, etc. As if I needed this potential finale to remind me of the absolute bane that Kenan has been for me this year.
- Feels very refreshing seeing Sarah playing a character behind the desk for the first time since her Peppa Pig piece. Considering also how much I loved said piece, I’m so excited to see where this one will go.
- Much like Ana’s look in the recording sketch, Sarah’s look here feels oddly specific to me.
- Fun character work from Sarah, although the turn with her roasting Colin in character feels a tad old hat, but Sarah is still making it come off fun, though not as usual. This second half hasn’t been going the way I had hoped for Sarah, so seeing her do an old favorite of hers for airtime, and this time in character, feels a bit sad to see, though understandable.
- This is another segment tonight that feels like a potential goodbye, and this time for Colin by Sarah through her roasting him for one more time.
- I’ll admit the Colin Jost/Hitler quote mixup at the end was very funny, especially how it ended the piece on a different note than I expected.
- Great, dark ashes joke from Che, and it is so infectiously fun hearing the audience’s taken aback reaction to it.
- I absolutely love Molly’s unique entrance and introduction as themself. These last few episodes have been very good for them in terms of carving their niche on the show.
- I am only nodding alongside Molly’s points here about trans rights, though this piece seems to be alternating between genuine comedy and pointed critique. It is doing a good job doing so, enhanced especially by Molly’s natural charm.
- Great ending visual of a floating Molly above Che & Colin as they sign off Update.
Lisa from Temecula: Wedding
- I was dreading the return of this character of Ego’s ever since the first sketch blew up, though it only did so due to Pedro Pascal’s breaking, and not due to the scant, thin material. Words cannot express how disappointed I was seeing that sketch originally going viral, and seeing so many trying to claim it as a classic, despite none of them praising its material, or lack thereof.
- Knowing Lorne desperately wants recurring characters back, why not use James & Devon’s rappers or Bowen & Sarah’s babies? These two duos have the potential of being fun, funny, and original characters that can be used in different settings over different seasons. Instead, we are getting a second attempt at going viral with a sketch that died horribly in dress before the allegedly fake breaking that made it a hit, which is why it has now returned.
- Oh, and now we are replacing the steak with a salad. Give yourself a round of applause for this creative change of pace Ego and her writers! And I had to praise Ego earlier in this review of mine….
- Aaaaaaaand here comes the giggling, although it is nowhere near as prominent as the first installment.
- The cook our meat line, which is a sad attempt by Ego and SNL to create a memorable catchphrase, isn’t making any sense here, as Lisa is eating a salad, not a steak like the first installment.
- The “Cause we are gay?” response by Ego’s Lisa is such a blatant rewrite of her also-unfunny “cause we are black?” response from the first sketch.
- Much like some of us predicted, this is completely BOMBING with the audience, and in such a horrible way. Without the “giggaling,” the formula of this scant, laughless piece is getting exposed, and exposed badly.
- The last minute or so of this piece are the pathetic dying gasps of a failed recurring character. Such a desperate new low from SNL trying to make this their new Debbie Downer.
Dog Acting School
- A dog-centric sketch? Is this a rerun of a season 45 episode? Between that disaster I just sat through and this so far cutesy sketch, I sure hope the episode isn’t in a slump post-Update.
- Chloe is so lost to me as a performer that she’s now aping Cecily’s look and demeanor doing these types of pieces. She is not doing as good a job.
- Christ at the Lady and the Tramp attempt failing hard. And by the way, has every single episode this half of the season had a character breaking moment? The hell is going with this season? Attempts at going viral or performers getting too comfortable?
- Punkie’s testimony is the most I laughed so far. Much like the previous segment, this is simply relying on gimmicks, now with the cute dogs and puppies, instead of any actual material.
- Good gross visual of Bowen’s very long nails.
- Blah, this feels like the usual Bowen Vamp piece, especially as he’s screeching his way through his lines, complete with pop culture references, which is something I’m beyond sick of seeing him do endlessly these last two seasons.
- (*sigh*) You know, I really hate being so harsh on Bowen this season, in particular this half, and I know I shouldn’t judge sketches by their first half minute or so, but his showpieces always have the feeling of coming off so D.O.A. right from the motherfucking jumpstart.
- Ana is pretty solid in her faux-dramatic performance, which is the best thing happening in this sketch.
- And now Bowen just briefly cracked up at himself as Ana was taking off the ring. Please don’t tell me Bowen is going to be one of those performers who would constantly crack up at himself.
- Man, even for Bowen’s standards this season, this feels even worse than his usual output; the lethargic, suffocating dullness his work has been displaying this half, his energy-killing, his self-awareness, the over-the-top hamminess, are all turned up to 11 here.
- The Bowen/Chloe scene at the woods was fucking terrible.
- Man, did this pretty fun episode die off horribly, and I mean HORRIBLY post-Update. I guess it is fitting all three sketches this half starred our designated “stars” of the season.
Segments Ranked From Best to Worst
American Girl Land
First Warm Day Of The Year Arrivals Show
Album Recording Session
Please Don’t Destroy – Hangxiety
Dog Acting School
Lisa from Temecula: Wedding
- This episode had a pretty solid first half with a good number of strong highlights and fun premises. With that being said, immediately after Weekend Update ended, the episode crashed and burned HARD. The three post-Update sketches were dreadful and unwatchable. Some pathetic attempts at going viral were in that post-Update half alone, with hollow, D.O.A. feel and lack of energy in contrast to the more fun, comfortable first half. Despite all of that, I’d say the episode as a whole is average, and that’s due to the long string of good-to-great segments that dominated the night before it crashed hard as soon as Update ended. Ana de Armas was a pretty likable and charming host who came off so endearing throughout the night, especially her sweet goodnights speech. I had hoped she would’ve been utilized more, but she did her best with what she was given.
- Pete Davidson / Lil Uzi Vert.
4 Replies to “April 15, 2023 – Ana de Armas / Karol G (S48 E18)”
No Bennett Bauer reference for Molly? No Whiskers R We for Chloe? I expect better from you. LOL
I actually liked the Squirm Update bit. Probably the only Squirm sketch I’ve liked this season (Not a high bar at all)
Twilight? How long ago was this sketch written?
Personally, I’d have Replaced: Matt Shatt with War in Words, Dog Acting School with Celeb School, and Nails with Change of Name, Course then the post update would’ve been full of recurring sketches
Another great review, for an episode that didn’t really deserve much effort.
I want to say I was more surprised at just how bad the quality was once we got to Update, but unfortunately most of what went on tonight has been too much of a constant this season – the self-indulgence, the paper-thin writing, the shockingly sloppy level of performance, the lack of respect for viewers. A perfect storm of dross.
This season continually reverts to the lowest common denominator in trying to force a star system. It was obvious what would happen if they tried to bring back that Lisa sketch, just as it’s obvious what happens every time Chloe is pushed into these Kate/Cecily dregs, or Bowen gets the umpteenth egomania piece with anyone else lucky to get a look in. Yet we keep getting them anyway. On top of that we get one of Kenan’s worst nights in a rough season, and yet another host who, like a number of hosts this season, is completely stranded by the show in an awkward manner.
I think I have finally just come to the conclusion that Update social awareness pieces are not going to work for me, and generally never have. I have tried to be supportive of the pieces because I agree with the points being made, but having two of these in a row just cemented my problems with them. The line-straddling between comedy and message felt very strained here, with Molly shifting between serious and comedy voice so many times that the audience repeatedly seemed confused about how they were even meant to react. I also don’t think it helped that so much of this felt like a Farley homage. I still have little to no idea what Molly’s actual comedic voice is. I’d rather they try to figure out what that is rather than these preaching-to-the-choir moments that mostly just exist to get approving headlines. I don’t know why they can’t try some of these pieces in live sketches instead of on Update. If they did I might see the pieces as less incoherent and interchangeable.
Good review to an episode I wouldn’t call bad at all. Like in Woody’s episode to the sketches that were bad you gave a VERY low one star rating as I wouldn’t be that low on it. I LOVED Molly’s commentary. We need a break from PDD but this one they did was a lot better than last week. Nothing really else to say here but you did your usual solid job on the review. As for Pete I actually like him much more than you (and probably others) do so seeing him host will be interesting.
So, I don’t think I disliked it as much as others. I thought the show was better than last week’s show, and I think that maybe down to the host being charming.
I want to pretend I’m clever and predicted that Matt Shatt would be back this episode, but I think most people predicted it. I enjoyed the new setting. The part where Mikey announced he was just volunteering at the dog food tasting plant was Funny!
Sarah’s roast of Colin was funny also, with a departure from the “this just in…” enjoyed that.
Lisa. I always if Colleen Rafferty would’ve returned had it not been for Ryan Gosling breaking so dramatically. Same question here.
I don’t mind the character of Lisa, but the shaking table shouldn’t be the hook (Too late now!). More putdowns, or more old person speaking their mind in awkward situations could work.
What else. Oh, for the second time in 3 weeks, the PDD sketch has come off like a Beck and Kyle short. I don’t mind it at all. Maybe just a Kyle short, even.
Is Bowen missing Aidy and Cecily too much?
Why are there not more Andrew Dismukes written sketches making it to air?
Thats it. I know other stuff happened, but those are my immedare responses. Ana can come back to the show.