‘Saturday Night Live’ review: Monster Pets, Blue River Dog Food, Taylor Swift, James Franco, and Seth Rogen

Saturday Night Live -Seth Rogen had a challenge with “Saturday Night Live” this weekend. It was the third show in three weeks, and typically when that happens, it means that the show typically doesn’t have the same sort of material left.

As with every other review for the show, we’ll be going through every piece of this episode sketch by sketch, telling you what rocked, and telling you what needs work. We’ll have our full grade at the end, and then videos up in the morning. Let’s dive in!

The good

Seth Rogen monologue – The only reason that this was great was because of all the great cameos. We saw the James Franco one coming a mile away, mostly because we know they’re pals and Rogen couldn’t wait to mock Franco’s recent PR disaster. But the Zooey Deschanel and Taylor Swift ones? Brilliant. Swift’s line of about appearing whenever a guy gets emotional was hilarious.

CNN pregnancy test – An awesome, eviscerating spoof of CNN’s coverage of a certain plane disaster in the Indian Ocean. Remember when people used to respect the network?

Dinner party – Rogen and Aidy Bryant straight-up sold this one with their hilarious chemistry as he helped her have a steak dinner wearing two casts on her arms. It was a lot like the classic “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” game “Helping Hands,” but these two played it perfectly and never broke.

Monster Pals – This was one of those sketches that wasn’t funny, but was still completely brilliant. There was just so much heart in the idea of a monster trying to find another monster, and while the plastic surgery message wasn’t exactly our favorite way to end it, it was a good laugh to see one of them end up looking like James Franco, while the other was Mike O’Brien.

Blue River Dog Food – We’ve all seen these commercials a dozen times, so that’s what made this bit with Seth and Cecily Strong funny. She completely owned it, melting down and screaming at Rogen at one point about something that was way more important than dog food. Such a random, hilarious idea.

Weekend Update – The problem with the David Ortiz part of this was that we have no way of knowing whether or not Kenan Thompson’s impression was actually good or not, as someone who doesn’t watch baseball at all. However, we can at least say that this may have been the funniest Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy ever thanks to the attempts from Cecily to get Vanessa Bayer to breath character. There were some pretty funny jokes in here, including one about Katherine Heigl working at Duane Reade that literally made us yell “oh, snap” out loud.

Herman & Sons – For a sketch at the tail end of this show, we really loved this. It was so random, but we loved the idea of a “going out of business” sale for sperm so they could open a TCBYs in its place.

The bad

Coachella cold open – Oh boy. If you are going to do some sort of political cold open, at least make the impressions good. The jokes were flat, and Coachella was just too obvious a setting. “SNL” has done so many of these political spoofs over the years, they need something extra in order to make us care.

Shallon – Anytime Shallon appears, we wonder what we’ve done in order to deserve this. Did Nasim Pedrad’s absence force us to be subjected to more of this character tonight? It’s the worst recurring sketch the show has done since bringing Gilly into the fold.

The Toast – Ugh. Usually, Cecily can do no wrong, but this entire sketch was weak at best, and ended very badly. The less that we say about it, even if Rogen tried to hold it together, the better.

Undercover Sharpton – We’ll give you that it wasn’t terrible, and Kenan still got laughs despite doing no actual impression at all. But is wrong to want something a little bit more from this beyond just Kenan being Kenan?

420 – This was just … weird. Like most of the Kyle Mooney sketches were. But like at least the past few sketches we’ve listed here, it wasn’t terrible. It’s just that the earlier sketches created a high standard, and the challenge is trying to find a way to live up to that if you can.

Overall, this wasn’t a bad show at all. It wasn’t perfect, but there were some genuinely hilarious and charming sketches. Rogen was also great through and through, and had there not been a couple of clunkers, this may have been in the “Best of the Season” category. Not bad for coming on at a time when there is typically weak material. Grade: B.

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Photo: NBC


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