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‘SNL’ Scorecard: Charlize Theron And The Exploding Whales

Save for a few moments (basically when whales weren’t exploding), last night’s Charlize Theron-hosted ‘SNL’ was … not great. Something just felt off for almost the entire show. Perhaps it’s the realization that this long season is almost finally over, but, for the most part, everyone just looked tired. There certainly was an energy missing in the studio last night. And Theron seemed to be genuinely trying, but, for whatever reason, not a lot was working. And there were times it almost seemed like the show was trying to kill time – I can’t remember the last time I watched a member of the band give a guitar solo while precious time clicked away (and, not surprisingly, there are THREE unaired sketches from dress on Hulu this morning). Hold on tight, as we fly off to the penultimate Scorecard of the season…

Sketch of the Night

‘Dragon Babies’ (O’Brien, Killam, Wells, Theron, Pedrad, Strong) Again, somehow Mike O’Brien has the ability to make something funny, weird and touching all at the same time. I can’t help but wonder how most other people would make him loud and obnoxious, yet O’Brien makes him sympathetic! I found myself wanting to give Rick Shoulders a hug. This is O’Brien’s true talent: Creating funny, interesting characters while somehow avoiding the trap that these people have to be crazy or vulgar. (Also, Taran Killam really nails the “director filming a promo spot who is trying to be positive about his movie that he knows is bad” character.)

Score: 9.0

The Good

‘Bikini Beach Party’ (Killam, Theron, Bayer, Zamata, McKinnon, Pedrad, Strong, Bryant, Wells, Thompson) Okay, this was just the dumbest thing but, good grief, I couldn’t stop laughing after that f—ing whale exploded. And then another whale exploded. It was so dumb, I expected Big Joe to show up and try to lift the whale and say “I can’t do it,” which would have made me laugh even harder. Part of me feels ashamed for laughing as hard as I did during this sketch. And part of me feels ashamed for giving this such a high score.

Score: 8.0

‘Tourists’ (Mooney, McKinnon, Bennett, Theron, Pharoah, Moynihan) This was almost sad. Like, not in a bad way sad, but all of the “people on the street” that the disguised cast interacted with seemed so nice and so friendly. See! New York isn’t mean. It made me happy to live here. It made me happy to be watching this sketch. I mean, that older gentleman really wanted to help poor Kyle Mooney.

Score: 7.5

‘Pet Rescue Commercial’ (Theron, McKinnon) I am a sucker for cute cats, so I guess that’s that here. Though! The exchanges between McKinnon and Theron were pretty great, especially while there were kittens involved. Also, Theron called a cat a “dumbass.”

Score: 6.5

‘Weekend Update’ (Strong, Jost, Walters, Moynihan) Okay, fine Breaking Nudes made me laugh. The jokes were good! Both Jost and Strong had some really solid deliveries. Moynihan’s Drunk Uncle was, well, Drunk Uncle, but he does lose a bit of his charm without a beaming Seth Meyers sitting next to him. Instead, Jost just looks a little disgusted. The Barbara Walters tribute was nice. (I’m not sure there’s much more to say about it other than that it was “nice.”)

Score: 6.0

The Bad

‘Heshy: Dating Seminar’ (Pedrad, Bayer, Theron) I am convinced that only Nasim Pedrad could make Heshy funny. But, this just felt bloated and the laughs seemed to come far too infrequently in what felt like a long sketch. (This seemed to be the theme of the evening.) Though, again, I do like Heshy as a character (which is what I wrote last time this aired, too) but I just wish there was more there.

Score: 5.3

‘Cold Open: Michelle/Hillary Address’ (Zamata, Bayer) Well, first of all, it appears that Vanessa Bayer has won the Hillary Clinton sweepstakes as we gear up for another election season. Amy Poehler’s Clinton is of course the best known, but Bayer did play Clinton twice before: Way back in 2010 during the ‘WikiLeaks: TMZ’ sketch and then once earlier this season when Bayer, McKinnon and Miley Cyrus all played Clinton in the same sketch. And it was also nice to see Sasheer Zamata get some serious airtime as Michelle Obama, but a lot of the jokes seemed to fall flat. Do Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama not like each other? Is that a thing? There’s always been tension between President Obama and former President Clinton, but are we to assume that’s the case here, too? Perhaps I’m nitpicking but with everything going on politically, this concept just seems like a bit of a stretch.

Score: 4.8

‘Mother’s Day Game Show’ (McKinnon, Theron, Bryant, Wheelan, Mooney, Moynihan) When I wrote about the energy levels being off, this is the perfect example. There were just too many moments of silence for a game show sketch that followed the monologue. And a lot of the jokes seemed at least similar to that of Kristen Wiig’s ‘Mom Translator.’

Score: 4.5

‘Charlize Theron Monologue’ (Theron, Killam, Strong, Zamata, Bennett, Thompson, McKinnon) In the process of performing the duties for what I call “my job,” I have interviewed Charlize Theron — and she’s honestly very funny, in an almost boisterously crass, yet self-deprecating way. Now, I mention this because I think she was going for that here, but that’s not what happened. Instead, this performance seemed to be less about her inability to sing and more about a list of what makes her great. I’m fairly sure that wasn’t the intent, but it was the result.

Score: 3.0

The Ugly

‘Girlfriends Talk Show’ (Strong, Bryant, Theron) These really need a rest. Aidy Bryant has always carried these in the past with her deft earnestness, but this offering just seemed ill conceived – with Theron playing an eccentric teacher with a weird voice – from the start. And by the look on everyone’s faces while this was being performed, I get the feeling that they knew it, too. This really did feel like there just weren’t any better ideas, so, “Let’s just do a ‘Girlfriends Talk Show’ again.”

Score: 2.5

Average Score for this Show: 5.71

· Anna Kendrick 6.21
· Lady Gaga 6.06
· Melissa McCarthy 6.03
· Louis C.K. 5.93
· Edward Norton 5.91
· Paul Rudd 5.90
· Andrew Garfield 5.88
· Drake 5.82
· Jimmy Fallon 5.80
· Lena Dunham 5.77
· John Goodman 5.76
· Josh Hutcherson 5.75
· Jonah Hill 5.73
· Charlize Theron 5.71
· Seth Rogen 5.68
· Bruce Willis 5.68
· Kerry Washington 5.60
· Jim Parsons 5.51
· Tina Fey 5.35
· Miley Cyrus 5.20

Mike Ryan is senior editor of Screencrush. You can contact him directly on Twitter. Click below for this week’s “SNL,” Not Ready For Primetime Podcast featuring Mike Ryan and Hitfix’s Ryan McGee.

If you would like to subscribe to the podcast, you can do that here.

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