Saturday Night Live
“Amy Adams/One Direction”
Season 40, Episode 10
Cold Open: I’m all for nonpolitical cold opens for SNL. Tonight’s strays the line between preachy and satire as Dr. Evil interrupts “A Very Somber Christmas with Sam Smith” that was starring Taran as the titular singer. It seemed like a funny concept and then someone probably said “hey, we can get Mike Myers” and everyone said let’s do that instead. Either way, we get jokes about Sony, North Korea, and The Interview.
Monologue: Amy comes out as excited as ever. She seems nervous but she manages to read her lines. Calling for holiday cheer, she begins a song that with all of the necessary accoutrements. Bobby, Kate, Sasheer, Taran and Kenan join in on the fun. No one’s into it until Kristen Wiig is brought in on four muscular reindeer. This marks the second time Wiig stopped by her old stomping grounds this season. I’m not complaining.
Front Nine: A pretaped sketch about Barbie dolls begins the show. They introduce an Asian American doll to the product line. Vanessa Bayer plays the girls’ mother. As the announcer is quick to say, the company was forced to make the toy after releasing a very sensible Native American doll named Flying Eagle.
The famous Serial podcast is lampooned in the next pretaped sketch. Cecily Strong plays Sarah Koenig chronicling the plight of a boy finding gifts on Christmas morning. Amy plays the mother of the young boy. Kenan is a UPS driver and Kate is the producer of the podcast. Santa (or Kris Kringle) is Kyle Mooney. Jay Pharaoh is Jingle, an elf that helped deliver the gifts. To my surprise, this sketch is just as well done as the podcast. If the podcast had a video element, this is how it would be done. Archive footage, dollying shots of Strong in her studio and transcripts of the conversation make this one of the best directed sketches of the year. I wouldn’t be adverse to a series of these.
“Girlfriends Talk Show” returns with Aidy and Cecily just as perky as the last time we saw them. And Aidy is just as depressively funny. Amy plays Aidy’s dance squad leader that is passively aggressive. This marks the first time when Aidy stands up to one of Cecily’s surprise guest too. She called Amy a bitch sandwich! One Direction stops by as the guys from the dance team that Aidy seizes up over. They each have two lines. One thing that worries me about Cecily’s character is how her dating life is going. Her boyfriend watches her stand on a shrimp cage in a lake for crying out loud. Where is her family and why do they not care about her?!
A Christmas Office Party with most of the cast there kicks off a third unprecedented prerecorded sketch. Jay and Pete Davidson enter after Bobby makes an offhand wish that the party would be better. The screen aspect ratio stretches to 16:9 and things look to be epic but the music is kind of lacking. They’re good hype men though.
Weekend Update: Michael and Colin punch jokes in Sony, North Korea and Obama’s direction. Speaking of dictators (in North Korea’s name), Bobby stops by the desk as Kim Jong Un. Colin tells him it’s a bad idea to do the character to which the actor says “it’s okay man. I got this.” Red lazer dots lined Bobby’s chest to which he finally dropped character and left. It was funny and quick. Kenan stops by as Michael’s cheery neighbor Willie. He’s garnished in a Christmas tie. He also says some pretty dark stuff. Maybe Willie is suffering on the inside. The guy doesn’t even have kidneys. Poor Willie. And poor Kim Jong Un. Fred Armisen joins Kristen Wiig as the two return as Garth and Kat as the two have a new Hanukkah album. Classic missinging and stepped on lines abound this segment. And the couple even looks cute in their Christmas themed vests.
Back Nine: “A Very Cuban Christmas” begins the final half of SNL as Cecily plays Gloria Esteban and Taran dons the bald cap as Pitbull. Bobby plays Hurley from lost and Kyle is Scarface. Amy plays Scarface’s girlfriend. These are just one off jokes that do nothing for the audience. Kenan is Cuba Gooding Jr. and Fred Armisen is the youngest Castro son. Jay Pharaoh plays Obama. It may seem like I’m just listing names but this is really what the sketch is distilled into. It doesn’t bode well for the rest of the episode when three pretaped sketches lead the charge and a musical performance immediately follows WU and the first back nine sketch.
The next sketch called “A Magical Christmas” starring Taran, Bobby, Kyle, Kate, Amy, and Cecily set in 1947 (specifically) comes next. The ladies are strange and want to do weird things like chew on trash if they guess their drinks wrong. They don’t seem to be humans as they keep asking how they looked and if they were moving. And my suspicions were right because they were raccoons.
The next sketch is Kate’s “Whiskers Are We” with Amy as her new girlfriend (but cats don’t need to know their business). Light flirting follows some introductions of cats on holiday cat give away weekend. Amy really likes Kate. Even though they’re old ladies, I think the relationship could work if Kate accepted being in public with her lover.