Saturday Night Live with Pedro Pascal: This Is The Way To Do SNL Right
Host Pedro Pascal, musical guest Coldplay & the entire Saturday Night Live family gave viewers a memorable show to head into the break with.
Okay, let me get my biggest problem with this weekend's Saturday Night Live out of the way. By the time the credits rolled on Pedro Pascal (The Last of Us, The Mandalorian) and musical guest Coldplay, we were faced with the reality that there won't be a new episode of SNL in our lives for three weeks (February 25th, with Woody Harrelson & Jack White). Because it's almost unfair to have an episode like last night's hit near-perfect and then have the show disappear on us. But if they're going to take a break, it doesn't hurt going out on a note so high that it's taken the top spot as best show this season – and set a pretty high bar for Harrelson and whoever follows to clear. The writing was on fire, the host gave himself over to the SNL experience completely, and the cast fed off of that in ways that resulted in some seriously buzzworthy performances. Of course, Michael Che and Colin Jost continued going "scorched earth" with "Weekend Update" while meeting every moan or groan from the audience with a defiant, "Oh, you thought that was rough? Check this one out…" response. And as for Chris Martin and the crew, "The Astronaut" and "Human Heart/Fix You" left us wondering if the band had found either a time machine or the secret to immortality because both performances looked and sounded like they were plucked out of time, yet with more than enough of the "new" them to not make it feel like we're just hitting "repeat" on a classic favorite.
Saturday Night Live w/ Pedro Pascal & Coldplay: Our Takeaways
From an opening monologue from Pascal that was both perfectly timed and a nice balance between the heartfelt & humous to the on-the-air "final bow" (before NBC cuts to local late-night programming), there was a lot to love & appreciate about this weekend's episode because every sketch hit and hit hard. So what follows are my one-line takeaways from what went down on Saturday Night- take a look:
"Spy Balloon Cold Open": From now on, Bowen Yang plays every single inanimate object that makes major headlines (whether it's the iceberg that sank the Titanic, George Santos, or the spy balloon from China that drifted over into U.S. airspace to captivate the nation until it was shot down not long before the show went live) because they've earned the right to that comedic lane.
"The Big Hollywood Quiz": SNL makes the excellent case that maybe (just maybe) we've become numb to wave after wave of new films & television shows… and they're right.
"Waking Up": Pascal & Heidi Gardner foreshadowed what was to come later that night in a sketch that works because Pascal is willing to "go silly" for the sake of a sketch with a vocal performance that you can't help but get caught up in.
"Fancam Assembly": While an appearance from Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story) automatically made this sketch great, it worked because of the way Pascal portrayed his teacher as a decent-at-heart man who desperately wants to connect with his students even if it comes across as a missionary trying to communicate with a new society of people.
"Protective Mom": While I found it funny, I'm going with how my Dominican friend reacted when she watched it, and considering she laughed out loud about four times and answered the screen in Spanish twice, it was pretty safe to say that a lot of families felt seen.
"Italian Waiters": As much as Yang deserves to play all headline-grabbing inanimate objects, Sarah Sherman is now our go-to cast member when it comes to shocked reactions, loud outrage, and righteously animated facial expressions.
"Lisa from Temecula": Otherwise known as "The Sketch That Broke Pascal," serious props to Ego Nwodim for keeping things moving even as everyone around her was understandably losing it over anal sex warnings, excessive meat cutting, and more.
"Wing Pit": Continuing its "excessive food theme" from its Arby's sketch from a few weeks back, SNL used the occasion of Super Bowl season to twist a satirically absurd knife in the side of all of those "big wings deals" we see popping up around this time every year.
"HBO Mario Kart Trailer": In what might end up being the best filmed parody sketch of the season (more on that here), SNL's reimagining of Mario Kart with a world-weary Mario (Pascal) needing to get Princess Peach (Chloe Fineman) through what was once Rainbow Road works because it takes itself seriously enough for us to wonder if Chris Pratt isn't taking notes as we speak.
FINAL EDITORIAL NOTE: Those last two sketches were the result of the hard work of the Saturday Night Live postproduction team, the folks who make those filmed segments look as great as they do. if anyone from NBC is reading this? Do right by them and give them some solid health benefits and seem decent time to breathe & decompress.