Saturday Night Live review: Carmen Sandiego, Morning Joe, Star Trek, Chris Pine (video)

Morning JoeBefore going into this weekend’s new episode of Saturday Night Live hosted by Chris Pine, all indications were that we were not going to be seeing Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump. Did that pattern hold? Well, it seemed to as the show started off with a Morning Joe spoof as opposed to anything with Baldwin front and center … though somehow, Baldwin managed to get in there eventually in a different form than usual.

Before we got to that, the show seemed to get most of its mileage off of the relationship with Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, who recently got engaged after many years of working together. Was this really that funny of a thing to mock? It’s an interesting story, but we’re not sure how many viewers were even aware of this.

Now, back to Baldwin. Alec’s Trump actually showed up in the form of media spokesman “John Miller,” a reference to a name that he may have used in presenting himself as his own publicist in the past. This was ridiculous, but perfectly in line with Baldwin-as-Trump so far this season.

Overall, a pleasant opening to the show tonight, even if it’s not something that we’ll probably remember down the road. Given that we’re not a big Morning Joe viewer, we don’t have the same level of enthusiasm about this as some other people may have. (This is a recurring theme tonight — we don’t get a lot of the references that are being thrown in the show, and that hurt our overall enjoyment.)

Be sure to refresh for more updates throughout the show tonight!

Chris Pine monologue – Yep, this was the return of the “actor wants to sing” monologue that we’ve seen so many times over the course of the show’s run. This was funny enough, mostly because it was very self-deprecating. Ultimately, Pine realized that nobody really had much of any idea who he was and he had to live with that. Also, the fact that his song was set up “Uptown Girls” was random and hilarious.

Carmen Sandiego spoof – This was a really short sketch that was entitled “Where in the World Is Kellyanne Conway,” with the twist being that nobody on the show was really all that interested in finding her. Perfect nostalgia as someone who grew up watching the original show.

A Song for Peace – This was … weird. Just like the majority of the sketches featuring Beck Bennett and Kyle Mooney are, we’re not entire sure what the point of much of this was. We probably need to see it a couple more times in order to figure out if we really could enjoy it or not.

Since watching the show, we’ve learned that this is meant to spoof a video from the mid-2000’s that is actually very similar. Here’s the big question — why now?

Stakeout – We enjoyed this a whole lot more than we should have, given that the majority of it revolved around seeing two police officers watch some suspects only to get distracted by some goofballs having a silly, child-like party in the next-door apartment that they eventually decided to join.

The Boy is Mine – Who thought we’d be getting this on the show tonight? We won’t deny that it made us laugh to see Vanessa Bayer and Aidy Bryant sing to a guy they’re interested in. We actually kind of like the fact that this is the second straight non-political sketch of the night.

The House – Who figured we’d be getting another awkward sketch after “A Song for Peace” earlier? While this was actually a pretty accurate depiction of reality TV, the jokes didn’t really land other than seeing grown men arguing about drinks.

Weekend Update – This was a hot-and-cold update if there ever was one. We had something close to a runner in the terrible meteorologist played by Vanessa Bayer, which was mostly a better version of Laura Parsons offensively reading the news. This plus some of the jokes were really funny; the big surprise was that Leslie Jones probably fared worse than we’ve ever seen her on the show. What in the world went wrong here? It just felt like something was off with the delivery.

RuPaul’s Drag Race mechanic fans – There were so many things that were great about this, with the biggest one being the whole play on masculinity and dudes who claim that they don’t watch shows like now-on-VH1 series. Whoever felt that we would be getting an Erika Jayne shoutout on SNL, as well?

The Handmaid’s Tale spoof – There were a couple of laughs here, but we’ll be honest — we haven’t seen the show yet, and as a result of that we were incredibly distracted by what this was supposed to be. For people who do know the show, we figured that they probably found this hilarious.

Star Trek spoof – Apparently, Spock has a half-brother! Who knew? Interestingly Pine wasn’t the star on this sketch at all. Instead, it was all about Bobby Moynihan as “Spocko,” an offensive guy from Queens who just so happened to be good at his job … or good enough that the crew put up with him.

Now, what can we saw about Kenan Thompson sitting here pretending to be Neil deGrasse Tyson introducing the sketch? This was almost ZERO impression and all just him putting on a mustache and a vest.

Game Night – There was a LOT of music over the course of this episode! We don’t know why that was, but this was a good sketch for when it aired at the end of the night. It didn’t make a whole lot of sense other than one of the weirdest games of Charades that we’ve ever seen and some miscommunication on the word “Frasier.”

Overall – This was an odd show — a funny show at times, but a wildly inconsistent one. Kudos to Pine for being fairly game to go along with ridiculous ideas. Above all else, we’re glad that the politics were kept to a relative minimum for much of the show since we’ll be getting a lot of that most likely over the final two episodes of the season. Grade: B.

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