Saturday Night Live S48E01 Review: Can We Get a Do-Over? Please?

Last night brought us the Season 48 opener to Lorne Michaels & NBC's Saturday Night Live, after a summer that saw the long-running series deal with the fallout from Pete Davidson, Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, Kyle Mooney, Alex Moffat, Melissa Villaseñor, Aristotle Athari & Chris Redd's departures. One way they did that was by bringing in new featured players,  Marcello Hernandez, Molly Kearney, Michael Longfellow, and Devon Walker. And then they announced that Top Gun: Maverick star Miles Teller and musical guest Kendrick Lamar would be kicking things off. So with all of that in mind, how was SNL's return? Pretty bad, actually. And it had nothing to do with the departures or the recent additions (with Walker and Longfellow making strong first impressions). It just felt like it was something that the show "needed" to get through so that the real season could start next week. It was an odd mix of sketch selections, most of which went on way too long. Teller tried his best but was leaning way too hard on cue cards for support, and it got painful at times. I'm genuinely surprised they didn't go with someone "friendly" to the show to host or who's familiar with working live. Lamar performed but even didn't come across any more special than if he was going late-night on Fallon, Kimmel, or Colbert. Not even Kenan Thompson or Colin Jost & Michael Che's "Weekend Update" could save the day. So here are some quick bullet points on why things didn't quite hit as they needed to and the two bright spots from the night.

saturday night live
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE (Image: NBC Screencaps)

Saturday Night Live S48E01 Brought the Pain… Just Not in a Good Way

"Manningcast": Strong start that turned a little too "inside baseball," going from funny & self-deprecating to what would turn out to be foreshadowing of a lackluster season opener. But bonus positive points for Sarah Sherman's perfect appearance.

"Monologue": The rare moment when a personal video featuring the host didn't help the segment. It all just felt… off.

"Send Something Normal": Was that Adam Levine that Mikey Day was supposed to be impersonating? Bowen Yang with the "Dua Lipa save" at the end, though.

"Rooftop Bar": OhDearLordPleaseNeverRepeatThisEverAgain.

"Grimace": Again, a funny premise that needed a stronger lead than Teller and about a minute shaved off from it.

"Caribbean Queens": I have to separate Ego Nwodim & Heidi Gardner from the sketch because they killed it. It just never seemed to end, and having Teller and Thompson in the sketch felt unnecessarily "extra." Shave a minute and let Nwodim & Gardner take the wheel.

"Charmin Bears": It didn't go where I was expecting, and this was that rare moment when that wasn't a good thing. But what really surprised me was how early into the show it was run. It vibed like an "after 12:45 am" sketch, and maybe it would've worked better there because it was about a five-minute sketch that felt like ten minutes.

"Weekend Update": Bowen Yang: This felt like an attempt at another "Titanic Iceberg" moment, but all it did was come across as trying too hard. However, it did remind me of just how great Yang's iceberg sketch truly was.

Saturday Night Live S48E01 Wasn't All Bad

Which isn't to say that there weren't a few bright spots to highlight… two, to be exact. And interestingly enough, they both ran with the themes of "cults." In the first sketch, Chloe Fineman takes those AMC Theaters/Nicole Kidman ads to their absurdly logical conclusion. And speaking of multimedia cults, Teller and Day play two bank robbers whose bank job is interrupted by BeReal… and one of them just can't resist.

Saturday Night Live Season 48 Episode 1 Miles Teller/Kendrick Lamar

saturday night live
Review by Ray Flook

5/10
Last night brought us the Season 48 opener to Lorne Michaels & NBC's Saturday Night Live, after a summer that saw the long-running series deal with the fallout from Pete Davidson, Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, Kyle Mooney, Alex Moffat, Melissa Villaseñor, Aristotle Athari & Chris Redd's departures. So how was SNL's return? Pretty bad, actually. It felt like it was something that the show "needed" to get through so that the real season could start next week. So here are some quick bullet points on why things didn't quite hit as they needed to and the two bright spots from the night. Yes, there were bright spots.

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About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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