‘Saturday Night Live’ Review: “Melissa McCarthy”
On tonight's all-new episode of 'SNL,' Melissa McCarthy returns to the 30 Rock stage for her third time hosting the show. We're pretty excited to see what the star of 'Bridesmaids' and 'The Heat' has in store, given that her last two appearances were quite charming. It's also Seth Meyers' last night on 'SNL,' as he'll be leaving to take over for Jimmy Fallon on 'Late Night,' so we're betting there's at least a couple of fun surprises in store. Read on for our review of tonight's episode!
Super Bowl Cold Open
Jay Pharaoh, Bobby Moynihan, and Beck Bennett play the commentators for Sunday's big game, and bad news: Red Hot Chili Peppers and Bruno Mars had to cancel their halftime show, so they've been replaced by Broadway stars doing a football-themed show. Aidy Bryant's little off-beat pop-in as a fancy lady is great, and quickly followed by Melissa McCarthy's first appearance of the night, as a brassy football coach. I hope this means 'SNL' isn't shuffling Bryant off to the side just because McCarthy is on deck tonight, which is what they did last time. Anyway! The opening is cute and all, but drags on a bit too long -- I'm not a huge fan of the 'SNL' musical stuff, but everyone is having fun and I like Pharaoh's Michael Strahan and how much he's into it when his fellow commentators are bewildered. Shrug.
And we're off with a good Richard Sherman joke! McCarthy is interrupted by Moynihan, planted in the audience to boo her for being rude to him the last time she hosted. (She also took off with a llama.) The two engage in some wire-work aerial fighting on the stage, which is pretty delightful and refereed by Taran Killam as a classic Kung Fu master type. McCarthy wins by beating Moynihan with a bat! Yay!
Some Dumb Little Thing From CVS
'SNL' nails it again with this fake commercial for Valentine's Day -- you know that thing of when you need a last minute gift for V-day, and you're at CVS, and there's all that lame, cheap holiday stuff? Yup. Tiny heart-shaped boxes of chocolate with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a heart-shaped pendant for just $1.99 (highly recommended by the weirdo employee, played to perfect effect by Kyle Mooney), or a Mylar balloon that plays "Mambo No. 5." CVS has all the lame, thoughtless gifts you need. My favorite has to be the reference to their G-rated sex stuff, like playful dice or furry handcuffs -- and I don't even want to think about who thinks those things are a good idea. Aidy Bryant's "You have hurt me today" is a moment I need in GIF form, ASAP.
Delaware News Special Report
Killam plays local newsman David LaPierre, reporting on McCarthy's returning Sheila Kelly congresswoman character, who threatened a reporter (Milhiser) on camera. And even when she realizes the camera is still on, she keeps going, and then a passerby catches the action on his cellphone, and so on. Yes, we've seen McCarthy do the profane, rage-y stuff before, but she's really wonderful at it. She's just so imposing and gruff!
The ladies of 'SNL' meet for a Women's Group to discuss their lives and goals and drink wine and stuff. It's the basic satire of middle-class women, who want to diet and rekindle love with their husbands, and de-stress their lives and what not. But then McCarthy's character chimes in wanting to avenge the murder of her father, so this is taking a dark turn. And they have vision boards! McCarthy's "Before and After" set-up is amazing -- there's all this gruesome imagery, but also there's a photo of yogurt because she's a lady. I love the clash of these women and their shallow, familiar desires and goals and McCarthy representing a satirical idea of a more complex woman with serious problems. I'm also happy to see Aidy Bryant sharing so much time on stage with McCarthy tonight. Thank you, 'SNL.'
Guess That Phrase!
Beck Bennett hosts the game show "Guess That Phrase," where contestants must guess a phrase based on filling in missing letters on a board. McCarthy plays a sort of weird and socially awkward woman, and it's good to see her playing someone a little more subdued and not her usual type. It's almost like she's doing a character Kristen Wiig might play. She's joined by an eager Vanessa Bayer and a more laid back Kenan Thompson. It's also great to have Bennett play the game show host -- his inflection and tone are perfect, and it's a nice break from Thompson always playing these roles. It's a fun sketch, but we still haven't seen a real standout yet besides the CVS commercial.
Thompson, Pharaoh, and Sasheer Zamata give us this awesome music video for Black History Month in which they play high school students performing a song to explain the 28 reasons why black people deserve a hug this month. The first one is that they're awesome and you should give them a chance, and numbers two through 28: slavery. I don't know how they made this so funny. It's a great video, and I love this trio. Zamata has really been shining since her debut and has fit right in with Pharaoh's musical efforts.
The first guest tonight is Atlanta resident Buford Calloway (Killam), to comment on the horrible snow storm. He's totally melodramatic, calling Seth "Sethory," and referring to the snow as "New England Clam Powder," or "New Hampshire Cocaine." I also love how he pronounces "Escalade" as "Escalahhhde." FYI: Dixie champagne = Coca Cola.
Before Seth can leave tonight, of course he has a couple of friends who want to stop by and help bid him farewell for his last show: Amy Poehler and Stefon! And Stefon revives one of his best club names: "Kevin?" Stefon and Amy are here to help Seth go to the "other side," and I love how jealous and catty Stefon gets with Cecily. "You barely know him!" Even Amy can hardly keep herself from laughing at Stefon's description of a Human DVR. But that's not all because Andy Samberg stops by to sing a little Boyz II Men and Fred Armisen pops into the camera at the last minute to act silly. So adorable and so sweet, and Seth's goodbye is very moving -- he can hardly keep from crying. We're going to miss you, Seth.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Kyle Mooney leads a tour through the museum with a special live exhibit featuring actors recreating famous paintings. McCarthy plays a technician, intruding on the presentation and acting inappropriate in front of everyone -- typical McCarthy. Don't get me wrong: she's good at doing the tough, candid lady thing. She just taps into so many shades of a very specific sort of woman. She's weird, and unnerving, and says things you should never say. I really like when she starts beating up on Nasim Pedrad, dressed as Frida Kahlo, whom she keeps referring to as "Latino Bert."
Girlfriends Talk Show
Yay! Morgan (Bryant) and Kyra (Strong) are back to host their little tween talk show. Their guest is Donna Ruth Baker (McCarthy) a sassy divorcee whom Morgan likes a lot. But of course Kyra has already stolen her new friend, taking her for hair cuts and to the mall behind Morgan's back. Poor, sweet Morgan is so lost while Kyra and Donna talk about dating and Donna's latest fling, but that's okay because Morgan is dating the woman she's becoming inside of herself -- amazing. I love Bryant's particular blend of maturity and naivete with Morgan and how it rubs up against Strong's own more experienced Kyra, who is still pretty oblivious when it comes to how her boyfriend is kind of ridiculous. All in all, this is probably my least favorite Girlfriends Talk Show in a while. Just not enough awesome Morgan catchphrases.
The Summer of Diane
Moynihan plays a guy reminiscing on the best summer of his life: the summer he met Diane (McCarthy), a homely, frumpy woman with crimped hair who sloppily eats ribs from a to-go container on a park bench. Moynihan is instantly enamored with her as she bats away flies ("Oh God, she could dance!"), and is sad when he misses his chance with her. Also: did 'SNL' just get away with a "sh--" on TV, totally uncensored?? I like this weirdo Diane character. I wish they had extended this sketch more and maybe lost a minute or two on the art exhibit one.
Super Champions with Kyle
Kyle Mooney hits the streets to play a more awkward version of himself, interviewing average New Yorkers to ask what they love about the Super Bowl. Mooney doesn't even really know what he's talking about (or plays it that way), which makes it even better, and I love the stranger who randomly throws in that he loves to watch porn because why not? But really I love Kyle Mooney so much and I'm glad he's getting a lot to do and a bunch of freedom in his first season, even though he's still a featured player. It's a bummer that HBO canceled 'Hello Ladies.' His work on that show was hilarious and really similar to the character he's doing in this bit.