Saturday Night Live recap: Selena Gomez has fun in her hosting debut
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Penultimate episodes always hit different, don't they? Well, at least in the current (post-Wire and Sopranos) television/binge landscape, it's always where the most dramatic or noteworthy moments happen. So, let's hold our 8H overlords to that fun, impossible standard for SNL 47's penultimate episode. Welcome, Conehead nation, to SNL in Review. The sun is setting — and change, as always, lurks in the air.
Former Disney darling Selena Gomez makes her Saturday Night Live hosting debut tonight. Next month, she stars in season 2 of Hulu's Only Murders in the Building. If you haven't seen it yet, the first season — costarring Steve Martin and Martin Short — was extremely watchable. (It also has a great penultimate episode!) Other Disney alums who have hosted SNL include Lindsay Lohan, Miley Cyrus, Jodie Foster, as well as MMC members Ryan Gosling, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Justin Timberlake.
Meanwhile, Post Malone will perform as the musical guest for his first time. He's an extremely popular, if divisive artist due to frequent critiques that he is a culture vulture. (Hey, at least his collaboration with Ozzy Osbourne was a cool effort!) I am joined this evening by the illustrious Gary Kroeger, who was on SNL for three seasons. So he is quite familiar with how seasons wind down, and can speak to the current cast mood: "By May, I'm thinking: 'Thank God the season is almost over, summer will have reruns, and I'll get paid for doing nothing for a few months.'" Fair enough! Three-2-1...initiate.
It's an MSNBC special report with Nicole Wallace (Kate McKinnon) — we watch as it's the only place to direct our anger. There's a lot going on in the world, but the first segment is about the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial. Paul Brittain used to play Depp, but here Kyle Mooney (?!) portrays him. Cecily Strong is the judge; she loves how funny and amusing this trial is. Heidi Gardner and Aidy Bryant serve as the attorneys.
Kroeger confirms Strong is the cast member he would miss the most if she left the show. He says she is "a true actor, a brilliant impressionist, a master of timing and nuance."
They cut to the video of Depp's employees finding Heard's excrement in Depp's bed. This was an interesting effort, but it's flat and ends abruptly. Surely there was a more inspired take on this insane trial/pop culture moment?! SNL in Review verdict: Don't click on this.
Growing up, Gomez used to watch SNL every Saturday with her mom. She shares that she started acting when she was 7, and has worked with some greats including Barney, Steve Martin, and Martin Short. She jokes that when she was cast in Only Murders in the Building, she had to Google her two costars to find out who they were. The two SNL legends both gave her advice on hosting, as did her friend Miley Cyrus. Doing her best Miley impression, Gomez reveals she told her to: "Just be yourself and have fun."
One reason she's really excited to host SNL is that she's single, and she's heard SNL is a great place to find romance. "Emma Stone found her husband here," she said. "[There's] Scarlett Johansson and Colin Jost, and Pete [Davidson] and… Machine Gun Kelly." Gomez says she's looking for her soulmate, but at this point she'll take anyone. Of course, Kyle Mooney volunteers. Uh, what? "Be with you, like you said," Mooney explains. She declines. Same with James Austin Johnson (a.ka. Jeff). Plus, they're both married. When Punkie Johnson throws her hat in the ring, Gomez doesn't say no!
She ends the monologue by leading the audience in a sing-a-long to the Barney theme song. The monologue was fine/mediocre. I get the sense Gomez has one of those Stan followings, so fans will enjoy this no matter what. She's charming. (I would've preferred a call back to Spring Breakers, but fine!)
Sarah Sherman's parents are getting divorced. (Her dad loves a woman named Julia.) In her grief, she says she wishes her Bratz dolls were alive. Suddenly, they are! So we get to see vacuous, mean dolls played by Bowen Yang, Selena Gomez, and Aidy Bryant. They're vain and give Sherman advice about "being a bitch" to waiters. Love Yang and Bryant vibing together, hurling insults. And Gomez does well too.
Old Enough! Longterm Boyfriends!
It's the Americanized version of the hit Japanese show. In this version, 34-year-old Matt (Mikey Day) is sent out by his girlfriend Kelsey (Selena Gomez) to pick her up some eyeliner at Sephora and some shallots at the grocery store. He's helpless while running his errands, bumping into fellow boyfriend, Kenan Thompson.
"We're basically roommates," Chelsea realizes when Matt returns having failed to do what she asked. He's so absorbed in his video games, he won't even have sex with her. (It's daytime, after all.)
This goes on for longer than I would've imagined.
A Peek at Pico
Melissa Villaseñor and Selena Gomez cohost a local public access show. Guests include a librarian (Heidi Gardner) and the rapper Lil Hubcap (Chris Redd). He performs his latest song: "That's sad." Villaseñor and Gomez have a fun chemistry.
The Donnelly Theater group is putting on a preview performance of A Storm Within by acclaimed Irish playwright Rory McFaddin. Everyone in the show has COVID, so the entire cast for this performance is comprised of understudies who rehearsed for only a half hour. "Line!" shouts Cecily Strong, who has forgotten her very first line in the play. Meanwhile, Selena Gomez can't do an Irish accent, so she's adopted an Australian drawl. No one knows their lines here, much to the director's chagrin. A few penis jokes are thrown in for good measure. And dogs!
In the audience, Mikey Day realizes how terrible this show is, while his partner (Melissa Villaseñor) seems into it. Another slow, shoulder shrug sketch.
Steve Martin cameo alert! He is playing Archie Gizmo, the inventor of the whoopie cushion. He tells the origin story, via Dina Beans (Aidy Bryant), who he fell in love with. "I saw her from afar, her energy was magnetic, her eyes were endless, and every time she sat down... gas." Dina Beans became his muse, and was behind every good idea she had. "Because she wasn't just a chronic gas passer, she was the most viciously unlucky woman he ever met," says Archie. She got struck by lightning multiple times (inspiring the hand buzzer), then her eyes popped out of her sockets, inspiring googly-eyed slinky glasses. "She was God's perfect fool."
I love the old images of Steve Martin here. Fun short film! SNL in Review verdict: Watch this one!
Post Malone performs 'Cooped Up'
"Cooped Up" is the second single from Post Malone's latest project. It marks Post's second joint with Roddy Ricch since the remix of Post's song "Wow," released back in 2019. His new album, Twelve Carat Toothache, is set to be released June 3. I am not a fan.
Kroeger has "been going through a retro phase lately and I'm not yet up to 1970… I apologize profusely to anyone who may have been under the impression that this middle-aged man keeps up with music. There are a lot of contemporary artists I like, and in every genre I can think of, but I must admit that I don't know Post Malone."
Our reluctant heroes are back, and they're tackling the decline of Bitcoin and the baby formula shortage.
Oh man, I can't believe they brought back Baby Yoda (Kyle Mooney). Brutal. Everything about this is unpleasant. Do not click, please. Don't encourage them.
Like last week, the show did not shy away from joking about Republican hypocrisy and overturning Roe v. Wade. Kroeger approves, saying the show "is best when it is topical to the second and is unafraid of being controversial. The show is as good as it is relevant."
Colin Jost notes it's the end of the season, and welcomes field correspondent Sarah Sherman to take us on a backstage tour. This is cute if messy. I like the movement and playfulness here.
As they've done previously, Sherman seeks to embarrass our golden boy host. Examples of her placing incriminating items in his dressing room, a la Jost having Post-its in his dressing room with daily affirmations: "You are the REAL King of Staten Island." There are also curiously lots of pictures of Sherman on the wall. This leads to a hilarious live TV moment where she drops a prop and has to recover the bit as Jost laughs. And finally, there's a surprise hiding in a cage. Good stuff.
Kenan Thompson is a king, offering his three daughters to Prince Edmund (Mikey Day), who has slayed a dragon. I like that Edmund calls out the tropes here — usually two of the princesses will be normal, and the third will be weird a la The Lawrence Welk Show sketches. But Edmund can't figure it out. He's vexed. He requests they all laugh. They all feel pre-judged and share that trope was a metaphor historically for being ugly or different or even gay. A good insight.
Edmund selects Blondelia (Kate McKinnon) and we discover the disturbing truth. Watch to find out what her interesting trait is.
Intuition Music Video
Wow, another short film! Selena Gomez is dating Chris Redd. They are hanging out at the apartment one night when he suddenly, suspiciously leaves to buy paper towels. While e's gone, Punkie Johnson appears as Gomez's bad angel/her intuition. They collude against Redd — he must be cheating! The audience is not a fan of this, even when Post Malone appears, rapping about "Dude Nudes." Paranoia gets the best of them. Meh! (Though I like them giving Punkie a chance to star.)
It's a graduation assembly, so the guidance counselors Mr. and Mrs. Barbizar (Bowen Yang and Ego Nwodim) come out to share some words of wisdom for the class of 2022. Their advice for matriculating students: Get into modeling. You're young, so do it now! They bring out Selena Gomez from the class of 2017. This is brief and goofy. Yang and Gomez have now appeared in two sketches tonight opposite a female cast member in which they give vain advice to impressionable youth.
Post Malone performs 'Love/Hate Letter to Alcohol'
Another auto-tuned performance. "Love/Hate Letter to Alcohol" is at least one reason why Malone gets his ass kicked. Just listen to Kendrick Lamar's "Swimming Pools (Drank)."
Selena Gomez is home alone while her parents are enjoying their anniversary. Her friends are ready to rage! Wait a minute, there's a catch. She's actually babysitting her siblings (Bowen Yang and Sarah Sherman). They watch in horror on the baby monitor as the pinheads Yang and Sherman fight and do somersaults. I love the silly Twilight Zone twist here.
Post Malone nearly ruins this sketch, laughing about milk and bread.
—Thanks again to Gary Kroeger! Check out his podcast "The Gary & Kenny Show." Their latest episode features fellow ex-SNL cast member, Jeff Richards. Kroeger shares: "When SNL guests come onto my podcast, it's great. We do like to dip into that well, but there are so many SNL fan sites and our numbers go up! For me, personally, it's fun to chat about an intense period of my life that was long ago. Very few people know the actual Monday thru to Sunday morning experience and to share the similar feelings and excitement is rewarding. Jeff and I were dark horses who both loved doing it, but didn't catch on except for some very memorable moments. I got the feeling that he, like me, wishes he could go back and do it again, knowing what we know now."
—Who else is loving this new season of Kids in the Hall on Amazon Prime? While it was fun to see Pete Davidson and Kenan Thompson, I think their cameos weren't necessary, honestly. KITH handle it just fine on their own! (I note in a recent interview Michael Che lamented that SNL is designed mostly for a young audience; KITH prove you can do it all! The show doesn't have to suck!)
—So, what did you all think? Weigh in below or vote here! Felt a little padded without our man Dismukes, no?
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