Selena Gomez sleepwalks on a listless Saturday Night Live (2023)

And your host...

As far as former child stars go, Selena Gomez has done well. she tagged her nameOnly murders in the buildingco-stars andSNLlegends Steve Martin and Martin Short in their monologue tonight, and got Martin (Steve) himself to appear, albeit on an earlier tape. Being a musical guest in the past and a credited actress in the present should have been experience enough for Gomez to do well in her first hosting gig.

And still.

A host, other than a catastrophically awful Steven Seagal or Paris Hilton, is rarely the one to sink a bad episode ofsaturday night live. The show took some real tough to passable shows. But that happens when everyone is on, the writing is crisp, and hey, an explosively talented musical performance or two doesn't hurt. Here, Gomez was mute to the point of drowsiness, the sketches were terrible, and Post Malone, well, I just don't understand Post Malone. After a series of solid matches,SNLit was due to a glitch I guess, although it's been a few seasons since I checked my notes and realized I don't remember writing "I hate this".

There were some bright spots. With 21 talented artists (24 if the Please Don't Destroy guys are thrown in the pile), someone has to get it right. Tonight it was mostly Sarah Sherman, who returned to Update as herself/Colin Jost's nemesis. Taking the cameras from backstage to Jost's dressing room, Sherman was relaxed, sassy and a lot of fun, turning even a fallen prop into one that only appears on stage.SNLLaughter that will stay in the memory. Sherman has carved out his niche. Or niches, like their characteristic penchant for the grotesque (I seethose meatball menin my dreams) and his turns teasing co-writer Jost on Update are routinely energetic and bizarre. Don't forget about the stranger. As this season ends next week, it's time to start assessing who's in and who's out. Sherman should be fine.

The best and the rest

The best:Continuing with Sherman, if anyone is going to play a creepy baby who interacts with huge props and generally scares everyone, it will be Sarah. Sherman brings the 10-to-1 spotlight with her, but this was the last real sketch tonight, with dolled-up Sherman and Bowen Yang, unruly baby hair and unnerving white eyes on the baby monitor fueling their party. the host sister (Gomez) reluctantly checks in. Shot in that black and white baby camera style designed forheebie jeebies horror film, the sketch scaled up nicely, as Yang and Sherman's kids go from sulking to somersaulting around their crib (thanks, stunt doubles), to staring into the camera with stark white raccoon eyes. Having Malone suddenly appear in her crib as another inexplicably tattooed baby at one point only makes Gomez shrug, as she assures her horrified friends, "Sometimes he's there and sometimes he's not." There's no ending to speak of, but I'm much more forgiving on the final draft, especially when everyone has worked so hard and successfully to get weird with it.

Worse:I tend to skip over the name of the various products and brands that are scanned in the program. (No one is payingto mefor product integration.) But the "Bratz Dolls Come To Life" sketch was so suitably repellent in its scathing summary of those "sexy teen dolls" that I'll make an exception. Sherman is here too, though she's not allowed to do much when she's a kid annoyed by her parents' announcement that they're getting a divorce. When Aidy, Gomez, and Bowen show up as their dolls come to a decidedly bland life, Aidy's overly sexual former American Girl Doll calls Sherman's mother a bitch, while the three lust after their cheating father.

(Video) 🌀💤What exactly IS hypnosis??! 💤🌀

I don't know what could have saved it, but Gomez's deadpan isn't, and Yang and Bryant make their living dolls unpleasant without making them funny. The joke is that Bratz dolls are bad models I guess, which is fair enough. But for the first sketch after the monologue, this one lacked all the commendable elements of a similar but more successful one."inanimate object comes to lifesketches. I hated it.

The rest:It was a close second, but that open chill was about as dismissive and irritating as it gets. Kate's framing as MSNBC's Nicole Wallace seemingly set the tone for tonight's politics-free episode, as Wallace explained that it's all about as awful as watching a couple of rich and famous people duke it out in highly regarded court cases. to need. right now. I'll go on and question this, as a show opening sketch about the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard libel trial tried hard to get me to give a shit about the entire sideshow.

Or should I say, "give me a boo", as the entire sketch was based on more CCTV footage, this time of Depp's home staff discovering human feces on Depp's bed that may or may not have been deposited there by.. .you know what , I'm out. I may be giving up my responsibility to dig deep enough into the news of the day to make an informed comment on a sketch comedy, but I do. I can tell you that the online discourse about this trial has proven to be awful and has attracted the worst people in the world to care (sorry, "boo-boo") about which side they prefer.

And, well, maybe there's a great sketch to be done here. You know, one that insightfully and originally dissects the ways in which our cultural obsession with celebrities and internet abuse has absorbed our existence as a species. But this, again, is not so. Kenan, as Depp's butler, always makes me laugh, and him saying "boo-boo" is about as funny as the old pro can make it. Kyle's Depp is nothing special, while Cecily's judge repeatedly stating that she will allow the filming, "because it looks like fun and this trial is for fun," is profoundly false as the sketch unfolds. I oppose

On the plus side, the filmed play about Mikey Day's boyfriend, who lives in Mikey Day's house, goes out to try his hand at acting in the big, scary adult world of acting. Seemingly coming off a real-life Japanese reality show about young children who are sent out on errands (which has been a hit in its home countryfor decades?), the American remake sees stunted male children in relationships who are tasked, in Day's case, with buying specific eye makeup and two shallots, all on their own. The scene where Kenan crosses paths with Day is something of an acting gem, with the two equally dazed and helpless sweethearts long looking at each other in man-baby confusion before reassuring themselves that they're doing it right. The same goes for Heidi Gardner as the Sephora saleswoman who coddles Day on her mission there. She's seen this before. By the premise, it's an excuse for bad boyfriend jokes, with an emphasis on those who'd rather make their Lego sets and play video games than have sex. (Gomez concludes they have to part ways after Day proudly hands over the wrong makeup and two five-pound bags of yellow onions.) Mikey had a great but disappointing show, but this was a solid turnaround.

each iteration ofSNLI need yoursbronx beat. You know, an ultra-local talk show where cast members can pull off campy regional accents and prove that not everyone should have their own talk show. Here it was Melissa's turn to present an outline, as she and Gomez presentedWatching the Pico, the two Mexican-Americans playing Latina friends whose responses to guests and the news alternate between a solemn "That's sad" and "That's good." This was the only sketch that seemed to wake Gomez up a bit from her usual monotony, as she and Melissa inhabited their thin but energetically funny caricatures very well. Mikey Day (who he'd like to remind everyone close to the sketch's premise) can't read his remote report at a local park, while Heidi's librarian and Chris Redd's rapper Li'l Hubcap can, too. It's no laughing matter, but I'm glad Villaseñor launched a fun franchise wannabe. That is good.

The sketch drama (in which the entire Covid-impacted cast was replaced, at the last minute, by woefully unprepared replacements) also introduced Mikey Day as a character he would like everyone to take notice of and understand that the show he's watching is no good. , and that the premise of the skit is that the play is going badly. I really have no idea if Day really likes these types of roles, if he's writing them for himself or if he's justSNLHe's the guy to turn to when someone is worried someone somewhere won't get the joke. I notice Day's penchant for playing this same guy a lot, but it's more about the show's dampening need to have a character in a sketch to point to and say, “Look! This person is behaving strangely and this situation is not progressing according to normal logic!” There are so many other sketch formulas. So many, so many.

Still, we had Kenan who, like the harried director feeding his defeated cast with every line, fanned the sparks of inspiration until we warmed up a bit. Still, Cecily and Gomez don't get much fun out of it.noise offeverything, and there's not much Kenan can do, even as he assures the packed room that, yes, this play will feature a live penis at some point. (Oh, they go there). Yang's untimely entry as the penis surrogate elicits the only genuine laugh. As he anxiously tells Kenan that it's now or never, penis-wise, and delivers the play's actual line, "It's time — Aawoooga!", there's the tiniest hint of the goofy fun it could have been.

Fifteen-time host Martin made an appearance in the pre-tape documentary Inventor hosted by Gomez, as the guy who invented the whoopie pad. And the bell of joy. Plus snakes in a can, electrified pen, and electrified bubble gum, all thanks to Aidy's perpetually gassy, ​​accident-prone Deena Beans inspiration. Yes, there are a lot of fart jokes out there, nobody says they can't be funny. And watching Aidy scream as he is repeatedly struck by lightning is also something I rarely get tired of. Martin is okay, if not as enthusiastic about the wacky inventor as you might expect, while Gomez's hostess needs a good comedic twist to kick off her brilliant performance. He is well.

Chris Redd was in another pre-tape musical, though not as a driving force for the play, which brought it down a bit. With Punkie Johnson and Post Malone looming like angels/demons on the shoulders of suspicious lovers Redd and Gomez, the musical part of the skit never really gets involved the way it often does when Redd is on the mic. Punkie has some middling roles tonight that, like Melissa's, were long overdue. And there's nothing wrong with that, as both Redd and Gomez succumb to their ghost advisers' pleas to snoop around and occasionally break things, before agreeing to post-fight angry sex.

Ego Nwodim could also win, but the school assembly skit was another one from that night that just... existed. Ego and Bowen play advisers who are obsessed with getting their grad students into modeling, with Gomez emerging as the only graduate who actually took their advice. All the fashionable speed and absurd determination of purpose should have been a lot funnier, but nobody involved seems to be behind the wheel, and it was another sketch that simply fell apart with the kind of uncertain audience reaction elicited by the 'applause'. sign instead of anything that looks like a payment.

There were some visibly funny lines throughout the episode, the kind of flashy writers' room that comes when people feel like the list of actual sketches isn't enough. The sketch of the three princesses and a suitor began with the King of Kenan proclaiming, "Ah, Prince Edmund, welcome to our great cold castle in Europe." Might as well laugh somewhere. I actually didn't mind the sketch, wait, Mikey Day's dragon-slaying prince spends all of his time in the throne room making sure no one gets lost in the setup. (Present with three seemingly normal princesses to choose from for his bride, Edmund explains the whole rule of the three-comedy premise. And then repeats it. Four times.)

Kate saves the day, but her third blonde princess responds to the prince's questions with a normality so spontaneous and smooth that Day's boyfriend-to-be simply can't understand. The fact that Kate ends up with a big exposed butt that vomits bubbles is a fun payoff, the patriarchal bullshit of her father's kingdom undone with a sly wink and a bubble-shaped ass.

update weekend update

After pushing harder than usual this past week, the Update duo has largely slipped through some middling material here. Jost nodded at the general national horror, at least agreeing with how much the news sounds like the opening narration of a Mad Max movie. ("Women forced to reproduce" is as direct as it gets.) And Che did the same, mocking the five (countable, five) newly elected Republican representatives on the committee investigating this whole "attempt to overthrow American democracy." thing, quoting them as complaining, "You can't make us do anything, we're not pregnant!"

Che's joke about a misguided lottery announcement that forced him to shyly leave Lorne's office this week was the most telling detail. Che and Jost have been making noise about leaving the show (where they are head writers and update leads) toa while now, and they have been on the desktop for a long time. Its weird friend vibe has grown on me over the years, but the self-satisfied, too-cool version of fake news is proving increasingly inappropriate for what is shaping up to be unprecedentedly big time. For political comedy, if not for the whole country.

"I just came ina big pile of cheeky!—Recurring draft report

Baby Yoda, huh? If that makes Kyle happy and you've already paid for the prosthetics and accessories, I find it very funny to hear Michael Che, the great Michael Che of Hollywood Grogu, and threaten his rival Baby Groot. The initial conception (so long ago, it seems) got a crazy shake-up, particularly in the way Mooney channels a certain kind of pretty-boy self-absorption. (Baby Yoda turns out to be in a cult with Jared Leto.) And Mooney can imbue a character (including "Kyle Mooney," as in tonight's monologue) with a specific brand of clueless idiocy that's all his own. But every time Che throws in another Grogu, it's a long, steep climb to anything resembling an original laugh.

“Look, look, we have a very important deficit reduction package to talk about. Is there any way we can get out of this slave sex thing?—Political Comedy Report

Well, it's not like there's anything going on in the world right now or anything. But I play with a show with 90 minutes of live broadcast on the network and aWidely overrated reputationfor political satire. Jost and Che made a few jokes recalling the energized anger of last week's material about the Republican Supreme Court's stated intent to return American women to forced pregnancies on pain of mandatory state incarceration, so it will have to work, I guess. .

Not ready for primetime power ratings

Sherman planted an inspirational post-it note in Colin Jost's dressing room that read, "I am the true King of Staten Island," but with Pete Davidson missing another show, it's like Pete relinquishing the county crown to his off-duty partner.ferry ownership. There's also no sign of Alex Moffat, who is new and may or may not have seen Aristotle at the farewells.

Mikey Day has had more airtime, but mostly as a boring, straight guy. Bowen got his, although the Bratz thing was a drag. It's nice to see Melissa and Punkie spend some time on stage (and Punkie had a lot of fun flirting with the smitten Gomez in the monologue). But I'll give first place to Sarah Sherman, whose 8H update play was a hit and whose turn alongside Bowen as a baby was equally creepy and hilarious.

"Well, what if you reallywanted that cheese, although?"—10 for a report

You drink. Scary, scary babies.

parting shots

I'd like to give Post Malone credit for juxtaposing the sentiment, "You're the reason I got my ass kicked" with a full choir and two drummers on their feet, all dressed in black for a kind of self-awareness. But I just wasn't feeling that vibe.

I appreciate how Che continues to pursueSNLsponsor Apple for its use of child labor.

For the second consecutive week,saturday night livefailed to acknowledge the short-lived star player's recent deathso vital. not good

Next week: Season 47 comes to an end, with the exciting booking of Natasha Lyonne and Japanese Breakfast.

Dennis Perkins is an entertainment writer who lives in Maine with his wife, writer Emily L. Stephens, and their cat, (Special Agent Dale) Cooper. His work has appeared in places likeEl AV Clube,ultimate classic rock, it's himPortland, Maine Press Herald. You can find it atGore, where he will annoy you with opinions, andInstagram, where the images of Special Agent Dale Cooper will win you over.

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