Jason Momoa arrived this week as a much needed injection of energy and vibrancy to Saturday Night Live. The show has been receiving its fair share of negative buzz this season, screeching to a crawl in terms of creative writing and sketches, instead trading them in for uninspired guest appearances and cold opens and overall failing to find any new people or ideas they can build on for the remainder of the season and beyond.
Judging from the promotion during the week preceding the show and right when he took the stage for his monologue, it was clear from the jump that Momoa was fired up to be hosting SNL. His smile is radiant and it never seemed to leave his face for the duration of the show. The monologue wasn’t insanely memorable or anything, but it worked as a low key introduction to the episode. A couple cast members came out to interact with Momoa, but it was kept to a minimum and instead we were able to share his enthusiasm for the occasion.
My favorite sketch of the night was undoubtedly “Day of the Dorks.” In this sketch, it sets up a fraternity of boys who are seeking to hunt out the “dorks” and play pranks on them. Momoa plays one of the members of the fraternity, but he appears to be a bloodthirsty demon whose only mission in life is to find and kill DOORRKKKS. It’s a simple premise, but it worked oh so well, featuring a fully committed-to-the-bit Momoa. It makes excellent use of his brooding appearance that made him famous as Khal Drogo in Game of Thrones and was significantly better than the sketch from earlier in the episode where he actually reprises that role.
The remainder of the episode had varying amounts of success. With a cold open that was once again a complete disaster, sketches that were incredibly hit and miss, and performances from Mumford & Sons that were admittedly pretty fantastic, it is tough to hammer down an impression of the episode as a whole. There were moments of utter delight and moments of painful eye rolls. My main takeaway would be that it was fun to have a host who was able to inject excitement into the show, however most of the problems that have plagued Saturday Night Live this season remained.
Saturday Night Live airs its mid-season finale Saturday, December 15th at 11:30/10:30ct on NBC with Matt Damon / Mark Ronson and Miley Cyrus