Another week, another pretty unmemorable episode of Saturday Night Live. I saw on Twitter someone recap the current season of SNL with a simple shoulder shrug emoji, and I laughed and thought that was pretty apt. This week, Claire Foy hosted with Anderson .Paak performing new singles for his album Oxnard, which released a couple weeks ago. To be fair, this is a duo I was pretty hyped for, more so than most. Foy has had an astonishing year, starring in the hit Netflix series The Crown, along with headlining major films this fall in First Man and The Girl in the Spider’s Web. Anderson .Paak has been a budding superstar musician the last couple years since the success of Malibu, though his new album has received significantly less praise. Unfortunately, I found their presence on this format to be pretty unremarkable, and they kind of just faded into the background of the night.
This “Netflix Commercial” embedded above was a really clever clip, however. It plays on Netflix throwing money around to produce as much content as possible, riffing on the absurd selection on their service. It is an incredibly prevalent observation, and one that a vast majority of people can relate to as they scroll through the seemingly millions of programs looking for something to watch. What’s scary is knowing that in 2019 Apple, Warner Bros. and Disney will all be coming out with their own services, making the overwhelming barrage of content even more daunting.
All right so watching this again, I realize maybe I was underselling Anderson .Paak’s performance of his hit single from this year, “Tints,” specifically. It starts out with us seeing him behind the drumset where he is famously very comfortable. He remained there for the entirety of the song, hammering away while also belting out those smooth lyrics he does so well. In addition, Kendrick Lamar came out to perform his verse, an unexpected and admittedly excellent surprise. Seeing the two of them on stage together in their element performing one of the Fall’s biggest hits was pretty great and a great showcase of what the SNL platform should be for musicians.
My favorite moment of the night was undoubtedly when the “Ladies of SNL” came out to give a heartfelt rendition of “All I Want for Christmas,” pleading with Robert Mueller to build his case against President Trump and provide us all a happy holiday. Normally, the show’s overtly political moments have been a snooze fest as of late, but this really worked for me. When they cobble together something creative with a level of presentation like this it makes for much better entertainment than their usual cold open with Alec Baldwin as Trump, as was the case once again in this episode. This musical performance reminded me of a year or two ago when Cecily and Sasheer Zamata sang a touching farewell to President Obama on center stage. These are the types of moments that can stick with you on the show, and I wish they would try to integrate more. I’m not sure why they haven’t uploaded this performance to YouTube, but I’m sure you can find it online somewhere.
So yes, I know I have been sounding more positive than I originally was at the beginning, but I specifically pulled the highlights of the episode to talk about. Largely what we had in this episode was the writers not knowing how to properly integrate Foy into showcases that could make the best of her acting talents, and she unfortunately faded to the background of the episode. Overall the sketches were pretty subpar, with a few funny moments brought on by the charisma of Pete Davidson and Kate McKinnon. Still, at the end of the episode, I was left wanting more.
Saturday Night Live continues Saturday, December 8th at 11:30/10:30ct on NBC
with Jason Mamoa / Mumford & Sons