This week, Reese Witherspoon flexed her comedy muscles in her second hosting gig on Saturday Night Live. With her new comedy, Hot Pursuit, now in theaters, she obviously wanted to show off her chops and get people excited for the movie. Sadly, the episode didn’t not hit as well as previous ones we’ve seen in the 40th season of the weekly sketch show. This doesn’t mean everything was a miss, though. Below we will take a look at some of the highlights of the episode.
Southern Republican Candidate Conference Cold Open
The show kicked off poking fun at the Republican presidential candidates. Of course everyone knows how out of touch the Republican candidates seem with modern life and culture. So, who wouldn’t expect them to throw a conference that included bass guitar solos, skateboards, and motorcycles to prove how hip and “with it” they are? Cecily Strong’s work as the MC is a standout, but of course Kate McKinnon steals the scene as Carly Fiorina with her Harley and flame cannons.
Since it is the show before Mother’s Day, Reese Witherspoon and the cast each invited their mothers up on stage to apologize for something awful they actually did in their youth. They were all quite fun and enjoyable, but the real treat was when their moms got revenge. Each mom brought a home video to embarrass the cast. Well, except for Keenan’s mom, who just brought a clip from D2: The Mighty Ducks!
This sketch is a prime example of a great joke that doesn’t overstay it’s welcome. Two couples, and their celebrity guests, battle it out in a game show very much like Pictionary to win $1,000,000. One couple (Bobby Moynihan and Reese Witherspoon) gets in a bind when the clue for their turn is “The Prophet Muhammad.” While neither of the celebrity impressions are too stunning, the writing and Moynihan’s panic are what sell this sketch.
A group working at a Hallmark make fun of their boss, Mr. Westerberg, only to discover he is sexually harassing Louis (Beck Bennett). This sketch is one that catches you off guard, but once it starts the awkward comedy keeps piling on, and Bennett’s delivery is a real stand out.
Weekend Update was a little more up and down with jokes this week, and sadly was one of the weaker outings by Colin Jost and Michael Che this season. It seemed extended longer than Weekend Update usually is, and still had some great jokes, but the guest gags really fell short. Leslie Jones’s letters to a booty call didn’t live up to her previous relationship bits, and adding Witherspoon into Cecily Strong’s “Girl You Wish You Didn’t Start A Conversation With” gag dragged it down more than usual. Thankfully Keenan’s “Willy the Optimist” was a real gem to end the Update.
Whiskers R We
The show closer was a real reprieve, and that is honestly a sad thing to say. Not to drag down the sketch at all, but because it meant most of the sketches in the second half of the show were not up to the standard season 40 has really been keeping to. Whiskers R We, which has appeared before on the show, stuck to a formula that is just about fool proof; put Kate McKinnon in front of the camera and let her go. Kate and Reese play two volunteers at a cat shelter advertising the cats they have for adoption. The names and stories for each cat get funnier than the last, and it makes me wonder how much was just McKinnon riffing and how much was scripted.
Sadly, this week held fewer gems than previous episodes this season. Some sketches really did shine, but stood out even more compared to some that did not go over well at all. Some times, a weekly comedy show is going to turn out a dud or two, but creating a whole new show every week will not always turn out as one hopes. Here’s to looking forward to what the SNL crew has prepared for the season finale next week.
What’d you think of this week’s episode? What was your biggest highlight? Let us know in the comments below.