Kate McKinnon’s Oddball Saturday Night Live Gets A Boost From Billie Eilish And Special Guests

REVIEWS

Tampon Farm – Seemingly following in the footsteps of “Fully Naked in New York,” this episode of “Saturday Night Live” has a music video that feels like it comes totally out of left field. Honestly, I’m not even sure what’s happening, other than showcasing a farm that somehow harvests tampons. Strangely enough, the nonsensical nature of such a farm actually takes over the sketch, as it’s unable to sustain itself. However, the farm doesn’t fail because they’re harvesting tampons, but because the women who are supposed to be farming tampons are singing a song about the tampon farm instead. It’s kind of the “Inception” of sketches about tampon farms, and having Maya Rudolph, Kristen Wiig, and Billie Eilish popping up certainly helped bring it home. Strange but fun!

Gifts from Mom – Here’s a perfect example of a sketch that was amusing, but something just felt off. I don’t know if it was McKinnon’s delivery and timing of her self-deprecating dialogue with her family, or that what she was saying felt a little too mean-spirited for the Christmas episode, but it didn’t feel like this worked nearly as well as it could have. It’s a bit of a mystery too, because the idea of a mother downplaying the gifts she got for her family is something we’ve all experienced, but the elevation of these instances didn’t seem to hit with the audience. Personally, I wish the sketch would have elevated the bad gifts side of things, following in suit with James Austin Johnson’s father character buying those terrible gifts for his daughters’ significant others. 

Whiskers R We with Billie Eilish – When Kate McKinnon was an “SNL” cast member, Whiskers R We sketches were a great opportunity to pair her with the host and some adorable cats. But since McKinnon was the host, they brought in Billie Eilish to play Barbara DeDrew’s new co-host, with a familial twist. Eilish continues to show her penchant for being a solid participant in sketch comedy, even if she loses the voice a little bit towards the end of the sketch. However, this sketch had a bit of a hiccup in that it felt like they kept reusing the same cat, even if they were actually different. I’m not sure if this is a result of the ease with which certain cats could be grabbed by McKinnon and Eilish, but it was too distracting to overcome, and it kinda dulled the great reveal of Eilish likely being Barbara DeDrew’s daughter. But even so, there was plenty to like here. 

Yankee Swap – All right, you can see the punchline of this sketch coming from a mile away, but Kenan Thompson sells it so well that you can’t help but enjoy it. When handed the touching gift of a cure for his sickle cell anemia, Thompson’s character immediately swaps it for that Boogie Woogie Santa that plays some jazz and shakes his jolly body. Andrew Dismukes’ reaction when he has to keep the sickle cell anemia cure is perfect, and even though this is a one-note gag that could have used some kind of escalation or variation, I still enjoyed it. 

As for the rest of the sketches, they all landed somewhere in the middle with smatterings of awkward laughter. Whether it was the North Pole News alert about killer whales attacking, which didn’t come close to being as funny as Eddie Murphy’s rendition of a similar premise, or the “Meet Me in St. Louis” installment of Cinema Classics that had some flubbed physical cues that made for missed laughs, something just felt off. Even the intentionally bizarre “Pongo” sketch with a peculiar holiday pet felt like it didn’t live up to the potential. But perhaps the most awkward was the Christmas Awards cold open, which felt like it had more polite laughter than genuine snickers.

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