Saturday Night Live, Sunday Night or Later: Episode 12


General Overview:
“It’s great to be back in New York. This is where I started; I moved here when I was 21, had no money and rented an apartment on 10th and Avenue A for 200 bucks a month. That was where I learned how to act. For example, I had to act like I enjoyed having a bathtub in my kitchen.”
—Willem Dafoe, 1/29/22

In the words of her royal highness Princess Unikitty of Cloud Cuckoo Land, “there’s also no consistency.” The writers of SNL must have taken this advice to heart, as it sums up episode 12 far more concisely than this review could ever dream of doing. I may have already lost to a pink LEGO cat with a horn, but I want to talk about this episode more, so I’ll write about it anyway.

Normally, there are good sketches and bad sketches; the good sketches are good and the bad sketches are bad. This week, however, was a lesson in the scientific concept of entropy: it seemed like all the sketches’ inherent funninesses were blended together in a cosmic food processor, leaving chunks of each all over the place with barely any discernible regions. All sketches were legitimately funny at least once, but the cost was that even the best ones stalled at times.

The quality of the night was spread like a thin layer of cottage cheese on a slice of bread: there are little nuggets of good stuff all over the place, but it’s not well-distributed. And besides, why are you even putting cottage cheese on bread in the first place?

Nonsensical similes aside, the highlights in this episode were always there, but they were spread so far apart that they became largely unmemorable. There were exceptions to that, like Peyton Manning’s surprise entrance and even-more-surprising topic choice, but over half of the sketches aren’t really worth watching just for one or two solid jokes. Even the cold open and “Weekend Update,” which are almost always quite strong, were kind of meh.

Not one, not two, but three sketches were entirely devoted to a mediocre sex joke that went on for way too long. I can handle about one a night (and there usually is at least one), but this was egregious. Again, all of them were funny at times, but a sketch shouldn’t be three minutes of hoping at least one joke lands. Also, their frequent attempts to use Gen Z humor were, if you’ll pardon the expression, pretty mid.

Best Sketch:
“Tenant Meeting.” Without any doubt, this was the best sketch of the night. The style of “people lining up to complain” is one of the ones that they have completely nailed, and thankfully this was no exception. Even this sketch was not immune to this episode’s proverbial food processor, but each new character was better than the last, so the little mediocreness it ended up with was mostly concentrated at the beginning where it was easily forgotten. The satisfying buildup to this sketch’s high point (which nearly made me fall off the couch) led to one of the best parts of this entire season.

Best Joke:
“Dogs. They’re just like us: some of them bite kids.”—Aidy Bryant

Overall Score: 6/10
This episode always felt barely above water, but in the end the mixing kept any of the sketches from sinking too far down. There is something good in every sketch, and it deserves a solid amount of credit for making me laugh so hard when it got it right. And besides, there are far worse things than cottage cheese on bread.