February 8, 2023

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Saturday Night Live: Aubrey Plaza hosts an episode full of cameos | Saturday Night Live

sSaturday Night Live returns from the holiday hiatus with NFL roundtable discussion on Fox postgame. Hosts Kurt Minvey (Kenan Thompson), Howie Long (Mickey Day), Jimmy Johnson (James Austin Johnson), Michael Strahan (Devon Walker), Terry Bradshaw (Molly Kearney), and their new dancing robot mascot welcome their new star reporter, “Heisman Trophy winner Jorge Santos (Buen Yang).

The New York roving rep tries to take credit for the Philadelphia Eagles’ victory, running back “36 completions… 12 touchdowns, 17 rebounds and 10 rebounds,” while also denying reports that he used to not draw when he lived in Florida. Once the hosts realize every word out of his mouth is a lie, they cut him off, but he soon reappears as his drag queen alter ego, Kitara Ravachi.

As a skewer of Santos — which, let’s face it, is beyond ironic — he’s not particularly blunt, but by focusing exclusively on the congressman, he makes the cold open much more powerful than the standard news show model trying to cram a week’s worth of headlines into its duration sketch. five minutes.

Hosting Aubrey Plaza for the first time. Memorable new turns in the new season of HBO’s The White Lotus and popular indie thriller Emily the Criminal, as the actress celebrates after being recently voted the most popular celebrity from her home state of Delaware. She even managed to outsmart President Biden, who showed up — via pre-recorded message — to congratulate her.

Then she reminisces about her time working as an NBC page, dons her old page jacket, and leads us on a behind-the-scenes tour of Studio 8H, where she is engaged to the former Parks and Recreation star. Amy Poehler. An actual victory lap, and a well-deserved one at that, Plaza feels right at home both backstage and front of the stage.

In the Miss Universe pageant—“one of the many shows still on the air where we rank women”—the seven contestants remind viewers of the country they represent by shouting its name at the top of their lungs (Plaza plays the French contestant from viral video The drawing is a parody). What threatens to be just one joke is replaced by the whimsical energy of Plaza, Kearney’s hilarious non-sequitur about dying in a skydiving accident, and surprising cameos from both the Property Brothers and a very excited Tony Hawk.

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Finally, SNL beat a notable trend of dismissive parody of the host’s latest venture with a commercial for the new HBO series, Black Lotus (“All the decadence, all the intrigue, none of the foolishness”). The spoiled rich tourists of the White Lotus—including the characters played by Jennifer Coolidge (Chloe Fineman) and Michael Imperioli (Johnson)—find themselves up against a rubbish, all Black team (save for the fiery Plaza team) who refuse to indulge in their business. Nonsense.

Then, on cul-de-sac game night, a group of neighbors welcome the new couple who’ve been moved next door. But a friendly game of “Taboo” reveals that they are violent psychos. There is no real escalation and all of this will vanish in no time.

At a Catholic high school, Superior Sisters Sister Clarence and Sister Cecilia (Kearney and Plaza) welcome students after the three-day MLK Day recess. Usually eccentric, Cecelia is a jittery nerve, eventually revealing that over the weekend “a hair dryer accidentally fell into the bathtub when I was in it. I’ve been dead for two minutes and now I’m questioning everything.” She desperately renounces her faith and embraces sin, before Sister Clarence gets her back with a shallow Lady Gaga rendition (a callback to an earlier joke). The premise is strong enough, but the writers can’t figure out how to approach it, nor how to wrap it up.

A trailer for M3gan 2.0 embraces the iconic neo-horror villain’s status as the new queer icon by setting the sequel in a gay club. M3gan star Allison Williams shows up to put an end to things, only to change course and embrace the fun after all the clubgoers snub her because she “ate it” on girls.

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George Santos reappears, this time snooping into Weekend Update pretending to be a nuclear fusion expert. Colin Jost doesn’t buy it, grills Santos about his lies about working at Goldman Sacks (“I filled man’s gold bags”), his mother dying on 9/11 (“I think I said 7-11”), and being Jewish (“I said Jew-ishwhich is frankly a symbol-JimSantos never hides the truth, and it ends up adding to his list of concoctions. Possibly Yang’s best role on the show yet, it’s also a welcome case of SNL letting in a bit over the course of half an episode.

Later, Plaza joins The Office as the moody, witty, and theme parks character April Ludgate. There to talk about the job market, she can’t be bothered by Ghost’s questions, so she hands things over to her boss, Leslie Knope. But sunny Knob would rather pick Ghost’s mind about his job (Poehler laughs a lot when she talks about watching the update “When Seth Meyers Did It Himself With No One Else”). She took control briefly, and gave a groan about a dog bus service. Fun return of the characters, as well as Poehler’s update.

We then find ourselves in the world of Pandora, as a group of Navi sympathize with rumors of humans living among their tribe disguised as avatars. It is very clear to all but Commander Jake Sully (Day) that the two spies are members of what are clearly “ladies from Arizona” (Heidi Gardner and Plaza).

This is followed by Sam Smith’s performance of a number of Gregorian chants, which they perform with the help of a full choir in robes and dramatically recumbent (and silent) Sharon Stone for everyone. It’s as close to a piece of performance art as any SNL musical number has been in recent memory (if not ever). wild stuff.

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Next, Plaza plays a TV director shooting a commercial for Lovato’s HIV cure. Things go awry when an actor keeps blaming his lines to make it clear that he’s not gay (“Fact: You can get HIV from a girl — that’s how I did it”). It’s another instance where a good, sharp setting is hampered by a lack of narrative focus, with this one notably fraying during its conclusion.

Thankfully, the show comes out on a much stronger note with a scene from an old black-and-white mystery movie that sees Johnson’s PI accusing Plaza’s widow of murdering several elderly couples. As it turns out, they all died of natural causes, and it has a thing for the kind old guy who “never uses his turn signal and yells at raccoons in his yards.” Johnson and Plaza are both highly skilled at delivering rapid-fire noir dialogue, while adding a cameo stone to the over-the-top fun of it all.

Between the sheer star wattage displayed in this episode, Smith’s stellar performance, and Ace Plaza’s hosting – she wasn’t just a natural character, she made it look like she’d done this dozens of times before – this turned out to be a surprisingly excellent comeback, the best episode of the season. So far, by a large margin. But more than that, it was also the most almost SNL-feeling in years, thanks to the use of George Santos as a line, as well as a dominant focus on quirky humor. Hopefully, this speaks to a new sense of focus in the show.