The Wither is no stranger to Saturday Night Live, and she returned to host this season’s Mother’s Day episode. I bet Mr. T would be proud.
Here to promote the appropriately titled Hot Pursuit, Reese Witherspoon is of course a popular, skilled actress. Usually that means good things. And hey, Florence and her machine of a band certainly make sweet tunes. This episode was set up for success…but did it achieve it?
So let’s break this down. People like numbered scores, so I’ve chosen to rate every sketch at 0, 1/2, or 1 point. A sketch not worth watching at all receives a 0, a sketch that doesn’t stand out but didn’t totally flop gets a 1/2, and a sketch that does its job of entertaining and delivering a few laughs will earn 1 point. A standout sketch that goes above and beyond will receive the normal point plus 1 bonus point. Cool? Cool. Let’s talk about it!
Air Date: 5/9/15
Host: Reese Witherspoon
Musical Guest: Florence and the Machine
2016 Republicans Cold Open
Of course the show had to open up with politics, but at least this was an interesting way to get through the many (read: unnecessary) 2016 GOP candidates. I can appreciate this much more than the usual political humor rut the show falls into. 1 point
How can you not like this? It’s real, heartfelt comedy. Call your mother! 1 point
The L.A. Scene
Los Angeles cougars, incompetent sound board guys, and mic issues — this sketch was all over the place. There were enough funny lines, but the ending was just odd. A weird first sketch for sure. 1/2 point
A great early twist on a simple premise. The writers were smart to make this a shorter sketch too; the one-note joke didn’t overstay its welcome. 1 point
The escalation to Beck Bennett’s lines was perfectly executed. The fact this is all happening at Hallmark, of all places, is even funnier. 1 point
Colin Jost and Michael Che had solid jokes this week, but the whole Update hit Seth Meyers levels of being too long again. Leslie Jones’ bit was funny enough, but not her best. We’ve seen Cecily Strong’s Girl… several times, and she’s still never evolved — not even with a friend played by Witherspoon. At this point we’ve seen Keenan Thompson’s Willie (heh) a bit much too. Just a weird split between the Update jokes and guests this week. 1/2 point
High School Theatre Show
This sketch aired earlier in the season, and nothing’s changed. It’s a perfect satire of pretentious experimental theatre kids, but still not very funny. 1/2 point
While I like the idea of these proper Southern ladies having bizarre private lives, this was nothing more than a “list weird stuff” sketch. The twist ending was pretty great though. 1/2 point
We haven’t really seen a sketch in a setting like this, and Bennett and Kyle Mooney’s characters were perfectly goofy. Sadly, the jokes fell totally flat. 0 points
Whiskers R We with Reese Witherspoon
Kate McKinnon’s cat lady has closed the show several times now, but she still gets in a few good punch lines every time. Apparently she’s based on a real lady too…? 1/2 point
Total: 6.5/10 possible points
This episode had a lot going for it, but overall fell pretty flat, especially after Update. Here’s hoping the finale ends things on a high note!