Saturday Night Live review: Jeff Sessions – Forrest Gump parody can’t save Octavia Spencer show (videos)

Jeff Sessions - Forrest Gump -Tonight’s Octavia Spencer episode of Saturday Night Live had a lot of hype going into it, and there was one reason why: Donald Trump. We have this mental imagine of the writers throwing everything into the dumpster come this morning, when they learned what the President had to say in his latest conspiracy theory all about Barack Obama wire-tapping his phone at Trump Tower.

We knew that this would almost certainly be addressed on the show at some point — but when? Would they torment us / make us wait until Weekend Update in order to get it? Much of that depended on if Alec Baldwin was in the building. We hoped that he would be, almost as if a Trump tweet is sending a Bat-signal into the sky.

However, that didn’t happen tonight … but the show came up with something equally brilliant courtesy of a Jeff Sessions – Forrest Gump parody that was both predictable and surprising. Kate McKinnon’s version of the Attorney General is fantastic both in terms of capturing his sleaziness and that layer of southern charm that hides much of said sleaziness. This was so inspired and SO SO funny. The best thing about it was just that they really just gave McKinnon the reigns to do whatever she wanted here. Therefore, she ran with it.

We thought going into this episode that without Baldwin as Trump, there was no way that there would be a great show. Yet, at the same time this proved to be just about as great, especially when we did throw out the Beck Bennett / shirtless Vladimir Putin at the very end. Also, wonderful reference to Minny from The Help — we certainly didn’t see an appearance from the host coming in the cold open!

It’s too bad the show falls apart from here…

Octavia Spencer monologue – This was cute. It wasn’t altogether hilarious, but it was nice to see Spencer make a little bit of fun of the fact that she has played a nurse sixteen times. She’s just one of those people who makes you smile regardless of what she does.

TBD – This was the story of the man who stood up to Donald Trump, and managed to figure out how to save the Republican establishment. The joke was that they didn’t have anyone to play the part, so they just stamped “TBD” on the screen any time that his face was supposed to be shown. Dear SNL, we get the joke. This got old after about the second utterance of “TBD” and they said it a hundred more times.

Pharmaceuticals – This was, once again, funny for a few seconds and that was it. Here’s the joke: Apparently black people have similar names to prescription drugs.

Girl at a Bar – What’s with the writers tonight? They come up with an idea, and then they BEAT THE IDEA INTO THE GROUND. We had a series of encounters featuring Cecily Strong, where the majority of the guys she ran into pretended to be pro-women before saying something demeaning to her when she didn’t want to do anything with her. The final joke with Aidy Bryant was something we saw coming a MILE away. Seriously.

Animated Voices – Basically, this was just a chance to see Melissa Villasenor completely kill it when it comes to some of her impressions. Octavia’s were decent, but we’d say that Melissa’s Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon were fantastic. This was her finally getting to show more of what she can do.

Young Blood – This was one of the weird movie spoofs that wasn’t a precise spoof of anything that we’ve seen. The joke here, once again, was pretty predictable. Kenan played some sort of movie sage who tried to give Young Blood (Pete Davidson) some advice while in the midst of a chess battle. However, at the same time it became increasingly clear that he was incompetent at chess. Kenan’s performance made this slightly better than some of the predictable ones that came before it.

Music Click here to read our take on Father John Misty.

Weekend Update – The segment featuring “Donald and Eric Trump” was pretty fantastic, especially the part in which we got to see Eric be effectively turned into the Brick Tamland character from Anchorman. As for the rest of it … some of the individual jokes worked. Unfortunately, Laura Parsons is a character we just don’t get and will never understand.

Sticky-Bun – Maybe the rest of the show has let us down to the point where we’re cynical about everything. This was just the premise of “bad employees” played a dozen times. the cold open was the last thing that was good on this show, and that was more than 55 minutes ago.

At the bar – What was this? It feels like we’ve done basically the same song before as we saw Strong’s character try to make it seem like her new friend (Octavia) was edgy. This was really painful to get through, mostly because you could see the joke (that she wasn’t) once again coming.

Chocolate man – Terrible. Honestly, this was painful and you could feel it with the lack of a response from the audience. We don’t know why Beck had to come play some creepy co-worker coming back to the office that removed him from the premises, but it happened.

Spencer Gifts presentation – How do you keep this weird gift-store alive? This is what this sketch was all about. Oh, and that Octavia’s last name is Spencer.

Overall – This was an edition of the show that could’ve been great, given that they had a wonderful host and plenty of potential. Unfortunately, beyond the cold open and a few impressions this show was a bonafide disaster, and one of the few we legitimately wanted to mute by the time we made it near the end.

We would give this a D, but we’ll up it slightly just because of the funny Kate McKinnon runner of her kneeling in various places as Kellyanne Conway throughout the show. Grade: D+.

Let us know throughout the night, and after the show, what you think about the episode in the comments! As always, visit our SNL archive for further news, reviews, and much more. (Photo: NBC.)

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