Saturday Night Live got 50 shades greyer this week.
Confession time: I watched 50 Shades of Grey opening night. Excuse time: my Bachelor’s is in film. Point is, I had a weird suspicion that 50 Shades starlet Dakota Johnson would make a good SNL host. I guess it’s that “up for anything” mentality that landed her the role in the first place. Was I right? Sort of.
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: 2/28/15
Host: Dakota Johnson
Musical Guest: Alabama Shakes
Giuliani Cold Open
It’s ironic that a show hosted by the star of a bad 2015 movie opened with a parody of a great 2014 movie. Anyway, this is easily one of the best cold opens of the season, completely turning the tables on the expected political sketch. This is the one you’ll be posting on your film buff friends’ Facebook walls. 1 point + bonus point
Johnson seemed incredibly nervous during this monologue. Maybe it’s because the writers went for all the easy jokes? Oh well, at least the ending cameo was decent. 1/2 point
Father Daughter Ad
This is the subversion you want from SNL. This is a genuinely funny sketch made that much more commendable because of the tough subject matter. 1 point
This is a recurring character for Cecily Strong, but I appreciate the fantastical setting they gave her. There weren’t many strong punch lines (no pun intended), but enough to make this passable. 1/2 point
Say What You Wanna Say
Maybe not the best punch lines here either, but the repetition of Sara Bareilles’ “Brave” was great. Shame the sketch went far too long. 1/2 point
After Strong’s mumbler, we get another character — this one played by Kyle Mooney. He plays the kiddy parts better than anyone, and the cringe humor here definitely hits. 1 point
And another recurring character here with Aidy Bryant’s double broken arms. She’s always great, but her lines were made even funnier by the office douche bags surrounding her in the sketch. 1 point
Colin Jost and Michael Che had some good ones this week, but my ears perked up as soon as I heard “Ruth Bader Ginsburg” — I just knew it would be Kate McKinnon playing the part, and she killed it. And although it was a bit overdone with the song, it was nice to hear Jay Pharoah’s Kanye West again. But the highlight (just like the first time he appeared) was Bobby Moynihan’s Riblet. Although he seems to be positioned as a sort of followup to Stefan (and this episode as already overflowing with recurring characters), Riblet was certainly the highlight here. 1 point
I completely understand the inclusion of this sketch (rest in peace, Leonard Nimoy), but the post-Update sketches are still largely weak. I’ll give it a pass for having a wonderfully goofy premise, though. 1/2 point
Unlike “Emergency Room,” this sketch had nothing to say. It was all over the place, and there were very few decent jokes until near the ending. 1/2 point
Mr. Riot Films
It’s not the best Good Neighbor video, but I love the Candid Camera nature of this one. Mooney and Beck Bennett portrayed self-righteous YouTubers to perfection too. 1 point
Total: 9.5/11 possible points
I had a suspicion that Dakota Johnson would make a good host. While she didn’t reach Jon Hamm levels of excellence, she fairly strong sketches pushing her through. At the very least, it’s more worth watching than 50 Shades.