Martin Freeman shines in his Saturday Night Live debut with our favorite episode of the season so far.
A big thing that keeps getting tossed around when discussing this season of Saturday Night Live is that it’s a “rebuilding year”, which can often be a way to say the show isn’t as “good” overall1 as it has been recently. That said, I think this particular cast is starting to figure out its footing and voice, if this week’s episode is any indication.
Martin Freeman is one of my favorite British actors working today, so I may have been a little biased from the start with this episode, but this was definitely my favorite episode of the season so far. You can tell when the host and cast had a lot of fun working together from the sketches, and that definitely seemed to be the case here. There was a surprisingly high number of pre-filmed bits in tonight’s episode, but so much of the material was great that I can’t complain too much.
What You Missed:
Cold Open: Charlie Rose
This was a nice twist on the horrifying details that came out this week about torture. Simply done, effective.
“There’s more than one way to skin a cat. In fact, we know the exact number. It’s 19.”
Martin Freeman is super charming, you guys. And he’s been in close to everything the past 10 years2, as that one guy. You know, that one. This was a nice play on how we tend to think all British celebrities know one another.
SNL led strong out of the gate with this video clip featuring Keenan as a Claus for those of us who have been knocked off Santa’s nice list, but aren’t all that naughty. I would not mind an envelope of cash from Sump’n Claus. Aidy’s Nasty Mrs. Claus makes a welcome background appearance.
I loved this sketch. Loved loved loved. Martin and Leslie make a perfect odd couple (she’s a WNBA player, he’s English), and the variety of protests against their marriage (including Kate breaking Leslie) were hilarious.
The Office: Middle Earth
The internet LOVES this sketch, you guys, if Twitter was any indication. I thought it was just okay. I never loved The Office, which may be part of it, but it also seemed like no super-fresh jokes were made.
Right Side of the Bed
Martin was great as the slightly confused local morning show guest, and Taran Killiam did a great job of channeling the main guy from Chrisley Knows Best3
This took the same approach as the Visit To Your Hometown sketch from a few years ago (with a more “extreme” twist) and was basically perfect in its execution.
“It’s like church, but on a Thursday!”
Charli XCX: “Boom Clap”/”Break the Rules”
I’ve been a fan of Charli’s take on pop (which manages to straddle the line between the indie/Pitchfork crowd’s critical favor and top 40/earworm stuff) since 20104 and I’m so excited other people are starting to notice after her album last year mostly stayed on the critical adoration side of things. Sucker is sounding much more pop-focused, but everything I’ve heard from it is great, and these SNL performances are really helping gain more footing. “Boom Clap” sounds like it should be tracking a John Hughes movie.
- Michael Che nailed his delivery of that Cheney joke
- Sasheer talking about diverse emojis was great (and a nice way to mention the events going on this week w/r/t protests)
- Cecily as One-Dimensional Character was fantastic. “I’m not going to Aruba with Tom. I’m staying here with you at the record store.”
- Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy! Interaction with the various anchors has been great.
Martin Freeman’s Upper-Midwest accent here was PERFECT.
“she also kept mentioning the Doritos Clown, which I don’t think is a thing”
Web Exclusive: Santa Traps
WHY WAS THIS NOT IN THE SHOW – this was perfectly weird and nails what it’s going for. Plus, we could have been eating Santa meat for months!
What You Didn’t Miss:
- The Assembly Line sketch sort of went nowhere for me, although it was nice to see a non-British accent from Martin.
- Pine River Lodge also ended up going nowhere, although it was great to see that Martin Freeman can not mime playing a saxophone
- although the common complaint is that the show isn’t as good as it was 5 years ago, which always seems to be the review ↵
- says someone who went to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy movie opening night ↵
- which, had you told me about the show, I would not have thought was a real program, except that I have seen multiple segments before episodes of Benched ↵
- yep, going to go all hipster music snob here for a moment ↵