Cold Opening: Frankly, I think that the cold opening’s length was a disservice. They could have done so much more with the premise. I’ve never seen Breaking Bad, but the concept was amusing, provided you excuse a couple of really forced references to the show. Still, I want to know more. How would the other members of Trump’s cabinet react to Walter White? Would he start threatening them? Is it all a front so he can take over?
Monologue: A crab-walking Bobby Moynihan, Leslie Jones, and Kenan Thompson creeping up behind John Cena with a folding chair. Okay, so far, I'm understanding most of the jokes without having to ask someone for help. Pretty good monologue, but I could have done with more slapstick. You can watch it here.
Dating Show: Aww, why can't we see Teen Wolf Mom? That sounds like the perfect combination of a supernatural show and a hokey sitcom. A standard game show sketch quickly tosses out the format and goes from a contestant infatuated with the host to a dark romance in an action movie. Meanwhile, some of the other contestants also find love. It's a clever twist on the typical game show sketch format.
The Karate Teen: A genre parody worthy of last season's "Farewell, Mr. Bunting!". Something about this feels like a standard Kyle Mooney short to me. I suspect that if SNL started to make feature film spinoffs again, then they would do well to get Kyle as a writer. He knows how to balance the realistic and the surreal for maximum effect.
Science Presentation: Sometimes you just need a sketch filled with complete idiocy to make you giggle. Why not? It’s funny and, as the sketch proves, it works. Just the obvious bias of the judges towards Cena’s slackjawed athlete is great, amplified by his ever-increasing stupidity. He just nails a banana to a plank as a science fair and he’s doing his English final on The Very Hungry Caterpillar. As a silly sketch, it works, particularly with the scathing commentary on the educational system.
Dyke & Fats Save Christmas: YES, they’re doing this again! First appearing as a one-off short, “Dyke And Fats’ was praised for its surprisingly diversity, even though you might not see it at first. The joke comes from its subversive nature. They can say the disparaging terms because they’re friends, but if someone uses it maliciously, they’re in the wrong. That’s actually similar to how it came about. According to Vulture, it’s based on a joke that Aidy and Kate came up with for each other. For the context, here's a link to the first sketch.
Maren Morris Performance #1- “My Church”: It made for calming background music. You can watch it here.
Weekend Update: Colin’s extended joke comparing Trump’s impending presidency to a high school student reminds me of Parks And Recreation’s mayoral election storyline. Leslie is the nerd and Bobby Newport is the rich idiot. Unfortunately, real life did not imitate art, in this case. Update was very Trump-focused this week, to great effect. Che’s delivery reminded me of his brief tenure on The Daily Show at some points, but that might be because I’ve been reading a new book on the show. Cecily and Kate’s guest pieces were great, with special points going towards “Angela Merkel”’s joke about German’s nationalism. You can watch it here and here.
Where'd Your Money Go?: It’s no Celebrity Jeopardy, by far, but the sheer absurdity makes up for the similar premise. Just the sheer delight on Kenan and John’s faces makes it great. You can watch it here.
Joanne & The Tree: Poor, poor Joanne. You just wanted to be in the spotlight, but it cost you your life. At least the Christmas tree was saved. Seriously, the sketch was a little mean-spirited, but not enough to ruin it. That, after all, was the joke, that her jerkish coworkers only cared about saving the Christmas tree. You can watch it here.
Through Donald’s Eyes: That was a masterful short, going from dopely delusional to positively chilling in the span of a few seconds. Looking back, it is slightly odd that Cena portrayed Trump instead of Alec Baldwin, but then it hit me. Apart from Alec possibly wanting a break, that’s probably how the in-universe version of Trump views himself. You can watch it here.
Maren Morris Performance #2- “80s Mercedes”: I thought it was catchy. You can watch it here.
Romance Bookstore: I find it unintentionally funny that John Cena’s character keeps referring to his hands right after portraying Trump in a short. The sketch was okay. I like the concept of a romance bookstore having a stereotypical literary romance, but it could been better. You can watch it here.
Talent Competition: John Cena’s delivery reminded me of Will Ferrell. I could see him doing something like this back in the nineties. On a similar note, I bet that Will Forte’s The Falconer could have done it. You can watch it here.
Overall Thoughts: Similar to the Dave Chappelle-hosted episode, I’ve had a long week and it was nice to just relax with a goofy episode. It wasn’t too gross, save for the pooping owl sketch, and it was fairly friendly to audience members with no knowledge of wrestling. Apart from a few possible line flubs, John Cena did a fine job of hosting. He seemed to be having fun with the roles and not too nervous.
Zachary Krishef is an evil genius. Do not question his knowledge of Saturday Night Live trivia or Harry Potter books.