This week’s Saturday Night Live was filled with mostly forgettable sketches as the show continues to find its footing after the departures of so many veteran performers. Still, we had an out host with Broadway experience in Jim Parsons, and a new Weekend Update host in Colin Jost, so on that basis it was a memorable episode.
The cold open this week was Kate McKinnon pulling out all the stops with her Ellen DeGeneres impersonation, expressing the host’s regret at ever starting that dancing thing before moving on to interview Parsons as NBC Olympic Correspondent Johnny Weir. She noted that Weir made waves with his ever changing outfits while in Sochi, while Weir claimed he was able to completely fade into the background while covering the games. Amusingly, with the jokes on the outfits, Weir tweeted that “I need Jim Parsons necklace from his Johnny Weir parody on @nbcsnl!” I really thought he’d go for the Muppet coat, but maybe he’s leaving that for Lady Gaga.
The monologue had Parsons trying to separate himself from his character of Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory that he’s become so identified with by parading out SNL castmembers as 80s icons Bill Cosby, Urkel, and more. Parsons has suffered at some awards shows by some saying he’s not really acting, he’s too like his own character, but as he notes, while he does have a male roommate like Sheldon, the arrangements could not be more different.
Weekend Update added Colin Jost offered up a few jokes about Jason Collins and Piers Morgan. Mostly the segment seemed to exist to parade out guests, like Charles Barkley and Shaq to discuss Collins. These really aren’t smart sketches, because Barkley has been nothing but supportive of Collins, and his bashing of the statistics and making fun of the Nets for even signing Collins to a 10-day contract rang hollow. Mostly it was an excuse for them to mug at the camera in bad caricatures. There was some territory to be mined with Collins, but this claim came up bare.
The highlight of the show might have been the return of Jebidiah Atkinson to review this year’s Oscar nominees, and the nominees throughout history since he’s seen every single Oscars presentation. Obviously, he hated everything from Dallas Buyers Club to Her, but threw some special shade at Citizen Kane, noting that if you wanted a movie about a sled, you could at least watch Cool Runnings. It did seem notable that despite the time period that Jebidiah comes from, he mostly stayed away from 12 Years a Slave. I guess there are some things that even Saturday Night Live is not willing to touch.
What did you think of Parsons’ outing? And is Saturday Night Live starting to find its legs again?