Cold Opening: Baldwin's Trump returned for a question and answer session with citizens of Kentucky in this week's cold opening. Sadly, it wasn't very funny. To put it in serialized television terms, it felt like filler. The Trump character is slowly starting to realize that he's losing respect from some of his supporters and he doesn't know what to do. Some jokes were worth a chuckle, such as the chili reference, but most of it fell flat.
Monologue: Louis C.K. is a stand-up comedian, so he played to his strengths with a stand-up comedy monologue. I do have a weird relationship with his comedy. I like the way he goes from topic to topic and the segues that he uses to flow between segments. On occasion, I also like the different voices that he uses.
Even if I don't like what he's saying, I can appreciate the way he says it. Still, there's just something that rubs me the wrong way. I don't know precisely why. Still, his monologue had a few amusing bits, including the ending bit on white privilege and a brief riff on what it must be like to be a moose.
The Lawyer: I love Seinfeld-style observational humor, and this sketch had a lot of it. It takes place in a court case, where Louis's character distracts and manipulates the jury and the judge by batting his eyelashes. It's a great piece, filled with amusing visual gags. Based on the final punchline, it most likely also serves as another positive example of a branded content sketch, similar to the recent Olive Garden comedy sketch.
Thank You, Scott: Yes, you too can fix the world's issues simply by sharing something on social media. This felt like a classic Lonely Island music video, despite the fact that they had nothing to do with the video, as far as I know. Combining a catchy song and some potent satire, it's definitely one of the highlights of the episode.
Soda Shop: My God, it's the Riverdale effect, taking a happy environment and quickly revealing the horrors behind it. In this case, a nice gathering at the malt shop turns into a really creepy sketch. The soda jerk, played by Louis, hits on one of the teenagers, as played by Cecily Strong. It gets even weirder when she reveals that she knows about his crush and deliberately baits him into doing stupid things of that nature. Surprisingly, I actually really liked it.
Pepsi Commercial: You knew something would happen about this. However, instead of doing what you might expect and just making a flat-out parody or exaggeration of the trailer, the writers chose a more introspective approach. The backstory of the director was revealed, showing a surprisingly sympathetic point of view.
I really appreciate how instead of just making a blanket statement about everyone involved in the production, it shows the mindset of the main person in charge. He's so excited about the commercial and really hopes that it will change society, but an increasing amount of distressing phone calls prove otherwise. With nothing else to do, he sighs and begins work on the shoot again, knowing that he made a huge mistake.
The Chainsmokers Musical Performance #1- "Paris": I enjoyed the peacefulness of the song.
Weekend Update: I can't believe it, but Weekend Update made me slightly dislike The Three Stooges. Don't get me wrong, comparing the current political administration to the comedy trio was funny, but I'm not going to be able to forget that whenever I watch them. After that, Kate McKinnon appeared as her recurring loony artist character, this time commenting on a bizarre statue of a soccer player.
The O'Reilly Factor with Donald Trump: I actually didn't realize that Alec Baldwin was playing Bill O'Reilly in the sketch until I saw a comment about it a few minutes in. Personally, I prefer his O'Reilly impersonation to his Trump character. The absurdity of a live Baldwin-O'Reilly interacting with a pre-recorded Baldwin-as-Trump elevated the sketch and made it funnier. The absence of Louis C.K. was slightly off-putting, but maybe he needed to get some intensive makeup on for a sketch.
Birthday Clown: Wow, this is awkward. Judging from what I know of Louis's tv show, this could also easily appear as an episode. It doesn't end there, as Bobby Moynihan's birthday clown character nervously performs for his grossly age-inappropriate solo audience. It just doesn't go well, and the ending joke of Louis telling the clown that he's going to chop him up and put him in the fridge only slightly elevates the gloomy tone.
Sectionals: It's an incredibly theatrical infomercial for sectional couches. In between frenetic descriptions of the couches, Louis's character sadly talks about the loss of his family. That's really all you need to know. It's about as dark as the previous sketches in the episode, but as more of a twist at the end. Thankfully, it wasn't as draining as the previous short film.
The Chainsmokers Musical Performance #2- "Break Up Every Night": I enjoyed the visuals.
Tenement Museum: SNL mocks the romanticization of history by showing that people were just as racist in the past as they are now, if not more so. I think that Louis really liked the accent that he did in the sketch because he broke character a few times to giggle and even gave the standard thanks yous in it during the good nights. Personally, I didn't really like it.
Final Thoughts: I think that the episode needed more of the other cast members. It felt very focused on only a select few, and a little variety goes a long way. Next, the episode's increasingly morbid tone started to wear on me. Then again, I probably should have expected something like that, seeing as all things dark and disturbing seem to be Louis's bread and butter. I did appreciate the Don Rickles tribute at the end. Here's hoping that Jimmy Fallon can bring some of his trademark charm to the show next week!