Saturday Night Live: Natalie Portman, Dua Lipa
February 4, 2018 4:42 AM - Season 43, Episode 15 - Subscribe

Host: Natalie Portman, Musical Guest: Dua Lipa

  • Fox & Friends - Alex Moffat, Beck Bennett, Heidi Gardner, Cecily Strong, Chris Redd, Alec Baldwin
  • Opening Monologue - Natalie Portman
  • Continental Congress - Beck Bennett, Kyle Mooney, Pete Davidson, Rachel Dratch, Alex Moffat, Natalie Portman, Heidi Gardner, Luke Null, Chris Redd, Tina Fey, Mikey Day, Kennan Thompson
  • Stranger Things 3 - Natalie Portman, Mikey Day, Beck Bennett, Cecily Strong, Pete Davidson, Luke Null, Aidy Bryant, Leslie Jones, Kennan Thompson
  • Port Man - Beck Bennett, Natalie Portman, Kennan Thompson, Alex Moffat, Andy Samberg
  • Dua Lipa - New Rules
  • Weekend Update - Michael Che, Colin Jost
    • Bridget Bardot & Catherine Deneuve - Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong
    • Pete Davidson
    • Neighbor Willy - Kennan Thompson

  • Alien Lover - Beck Bennett, Natalie Portman

  • Kids' Choice Awards - Mikey Day, Natalie Portman, Pete Davidson, Kate McKinnon, Chris Redd

  • First Lady - Melissa Villaseñor, Cecily Strong, Natalie Portman, Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, Leslie Jones

  • Dua Lipa - Homesick

  • Bunny - Natalie Portman, Cecily Strong, Heidi Gardner, Aidy Bryant, Beck Bennett, Kyle Mooney

posted by DizzyOnBugSpray (26 comments total)
Cold Open: Well, I liked it okay until Trumpwin showed up. The Minister Farrakhan thing could have been taken a lot farther and funnier and knife-twistier, but oh well.

Monologue: Meh. I know it's tradition but can't we just ditch the monologue? It's been over 40 years and it's all been done. All of it.

I know that the hosts are there to promote shit, but jeez just throw up a screen saying HEY GO WATCH *HOST* IN *MOVIE* IN THEATRES ON *DATE*.

Continental Congress: I love that Pete had to hide behind a piece of "parchment" to hide that he was breaking. Also nice to see Tina and Rachel in a sketch. I giggled through most of it.

ST3: Eh. Also it's a shame they used Natalie Portman as Eleven, because she looked a lot more like Winona Ryder. Also Leslie and Kenan. <3

Port Man: I liked it a lot more than a probably should have? Miss Portman actually has some flow. Also I think the drink in Andy Samberg's hand was a Zima.

Dua Lipa: Not bad, but not my thing. Kinda reminded me if Amy Winehouse had a baby who was raised by Shakira. I dunno about the backup singers in satin bathrobes though. Weird.

Weekend Update:
So I've had a crush on Colin Jost for a long time and I've never really understood it, but today I realized that Jost would totally be my type if he gained some weight, grew some facial hair, and wore glasses. Also look how cute he and Rashida Jones were back in 2013.

Also I love Pete Davidson. And he seems like he's doing a lot better, which makes me happy, especially since I also have mental problems.

Also Kenan. <3

Alien Lover: Alien Beck Bennett was *shudder*. Good gluteus control though? I need that spring-shaped lamp that was in the background.

Kids' Choice: Meh. Although if there was a category for "Favorite Funny Lesbian" it would be Kate McKinnon, not Ellen Degeneres. Also why was it so long?

First Lady: I love Cecily's Melania. "That lady look how I feel."

Also I love that Leslie finally got to be Michelle. (IIRC Sasheer usually did Michelle Obama before she left - I DO miss Sasheer a lot though. And Vanessa Bayer. And Jay Pharoah.)

Bunny: Another meh. But I'll take anything with Aidy Bryant.

Bonus Luke Null count: He was in two sketches and got a line in each one!
posted by elsietheeel at 9:14 AM on February 4, 2018

The thing about the monologue is that it used to be so much more casual. Maybe hosts had more brains back then, I don't know, but now that the monologue has to be A Thing every week, it takes the bloom off every one.

The Farrakhan thing should have been expanded to be the whole opener.

Port Man was well done! So was Continental Congress. Rachel was great, but Tina seemed like maybe she got drowned out a little?

First Lady was good, and so was Bunny (though not as good as First Lady).

Better than last week, and above average for the season I think.
posted by rhizome at 11:24 AM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

Oh, and the Bardot/Deneuve in WU was way better than it had a right to be, but this week's WU seemed especially good/cutting in general.
posted by rhizome at 11:26 AM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

I really loved Kate and Cecily as Briget and Catherine. It was so wrong and yet so right.
posted by Stanczyk at 11:30 AM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

They should have found a way to bring back Null's beatboxing in the Continental Congress sketch.
posted by emelenjr at 12:04 PM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

At this point, I'm wishing they'd just give up on doing Trump.

In a long history of mediocre SNL monologues, this one stands out as particularly lazy.

I do not like broad accent jokes, and am not really a fan of thinly-veiled sports references either.

So anyway this episode had a terrible start. Got better after that but the only thing I really liked was Natalie's follow-up rap.

posted by ckape at 12:50 PM on February 4, 2018

I was bummed they didn't bring back Vanessa Bayer for more Totinos..
posted by guiseroom at 1:10 PM on February 4, 2018 [4 favorites]

A pretty mediocre outing. I keep hearing people say they're tired of Baldwin's Trump, but I don't think Baldwin is the problem. He plays the hell out of what he's given, but the scripts aren't great. That 1776 Super Bowl thing was never gonna be a favorite for me because I just could not care less about football stuff and I didn't get much nostalgic charge out of the return on Tina Fey and Rachel Dratch. (Dratch's many, many hollering Boston boozer sketches with Jimmy Fallon always bored the snot of me.) The reprise of the rapping Portman bit also seemed to be counting on nostalgia I didn't have. I've never seen Stranger Things, but that bit was funny enough to work OK anyhow. There was a lot of stuff that felt a little desperate and undercooked, like everybody was just straining to get a show on the air.

I admired the risk-taking of the butt alien, a dumb but potentially hilarious premise. If anything was gonna be the smash hit weirdo sketch this week, it was that. Sadly, it kind of tanked. It seemed like they gave it their all, the writing and performances were solid and Bennet's makeup was amazing for a live show, but the bit just didn't click. It looked like Bennet had a wet spot on his butt BEFORE he spilled the drink on it, and that was distracting. Was that a spill they didn't manage to dry out from dress rehearsal?

Michael Che got in another little dig about white women. It was fairly innocuous this time, but jeez, every week with the whitebitchesamirite.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:35 PM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

Another really great 'Weekend Update.'

I was way too distracted by the stains on the alien's pants (pre-'eating').

Chris Red's completely won me over. Always nice to see more Gardner.
posted by porpoise at 6:45 PM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

I would watch a show with just Gardner, Redd, Moffatt, and Day.

I mean don't get me wrong, I absolutely adore Kate McKinnon and Cecily Strong! But they were there when I finally got old enough to start watching SNL on Saturdays (instead of being out partying or whatever) and I'm ready for them to have long and lucrative film and/or television careers outside of SNL and for there to be a complete changing of the guard.

except for Keenan. He needs to stay forever.
posted by komara at 8:13 PM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

I enjoyed most of this episode, except for the Kids' Choice Awards sketch, which I thought was kind of lame (except for Kate McKinnon's Ellen DeGeneres). I even thought it was cute when they gave the band leader a bit to do in the monologue.

Natalie Portman killed it in the Port Man sketch, and that would have been a hard one to pull off.

I find the Melania Trump SNL sketches to be rather sympathetic to her. They're funny, and at the same time they painfully point up just how awful her life must be.
posted by orange swan at 8:43 PM on February 4, 2018

Just saw the Revolutionary War/Super Bowl mashup.

The only reason I think I didn't laugh more at the guy from the New England side who kept saying "and Connecticut too!" is that....I kind of think I may have done that myself in the past.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:04 PM on February 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

Thought it was best show of season.

As a skating aficionado, SNL's Olympic-year sendups of the sport will never not be OK with me. (Tho jealous Jones gets to live my still unfulfilled dream of attending a Winter Games.)

Enjoyed Strong /Mckinnon together on WU, even if Kate is going to the "daffy older woman" well once too often. Cecily seems to have her groove back this season.

Glad they did another Portman rap, tho I need some of its references explained.

1st Ladies bit was decent, but that Jackie costume reminding me of when JFK was shot put a damper on iit.

It seems like they've done better for female hosts this season.
posted by NorthernLite at 3:17 PM on February 5, 2018

cut sketch:

“My Little Stepchildren"

posted by bluecore at 2:43 PM on February 6, 2018

I keep hearing people say they're tired of Baldwin's Trump, but I don't think Baldwin is the problem.

It's not a Baldwin problem, or even really a SNL problem. Nobody has figured out any better way to respond to things Trump does beyond saying approximately the same thing he just said approximately the same way he just said it, which doesn't accomplish anything other than raising my blood pressure.
posted by ckape at 2:56 PM on February 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

“My Little Stepchildren"

That was beautiful.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 4:31 PM on February 6, 2018

Everything up to Port Man was great—great cameos, good timing, fun ensemble pieces. The Update was awkward but funny, especially Pete's statement about Miami not being there in 20 years. Everything after that was just way too long and stupid and lazily-written, though I did admire Beck's butt endurance.

Even the Fart Jokes in the first half were funnier than the Fart Jokes in the second half.

I blame this on that pattern SNL has built up: the last show during a long run (four or more weeks in a row) of live shows is always dodgy. Like trying to fill the last 45 minutes by polishing all the turd-sketches that didn't make it during the rest of the previous shows.
posted by not_on_display at 8:14 PM on February 6, 2018

Continental Congress: I love that Pete had to hide behind a piece of "parchment" to hide that he was breaking. Also nice to see Tina and Rachel in a sketch. I giggled through most of it.

I had a ton of fun watching this, well listening actually. Tina & I grew up in rival school districts so I love it when she claims her heritage & broadens up her accent for a bit. I know she's been trying to teach it to others but they all fail miserably. Mikey tried his best & Kenan reached out to tap him on the arm to encourage him; when it was his turn Kenan sounded more British than Philluffian.

Port Man: I liked it a lot more than a probably should have? Miss Portman actually has some flow. Also I think the drink in Andy Samberg's hand was a Zima.

I liked Port Man well enough but it doesn't hold a candle to the original from 2006.
posted by scalefree at 11:03 PM on February 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

I liked it up til Weekend Update and then did not like it and I've been pretty forgiving with the last few seasons of adjusting. But Portman just seemed not quite into it, and I always cringe when someone says "And hey I am a parent now!" because to my mind that always means they lose their edge for a while. Monologue was funny but she seemed to just be phoning it in (cue card reading, and I swear I've seen her as Jackie O before) in a lot of places. I appreciate her generally, just didn't like her much in this (tho Port Man was lovely)

Continental Congress made me laugh just because we've been swept up in Superbowl nonsense and I love Dratch and most ensemble pieces. "Fusty colonial dude" is the role Moffat was made to play. Other than Dratch, everyone's New England accents were awful, but yay Null, you got to say something.

I always appreciate that Bennett is willing to do funny physicality stuff (Putin notably) despite having a pretty normal/average body but oh man did I not get/like that whole Beck's Butt sketch. Same with Kid's Choice, just did not quite get what the joke part was? Bunny was another one of those "I forget, do the writers hate women or not, I definitely can't tell from this sketch..." bits though Aidy did her damned best.

Dua Lipa, not my thing but she seems talented?

In short, I very much like this cast generally but this show was a stinker for me.
posted by jessamyn at 1:58 PM on February 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

“My Little Stepchildren"

That was fantastic. But once again, they cut the funniest bit of the night. I don't know, maybe it was a little too "girl"? It feels like the show is trending bro-y and I get the feeling we're going to be seeing a lot less of the kind of sketches that were lighting up Buzzfeed and Jezebel the next morning.

"I forget, do the writers hate women or not, I definitely can't tell from this sketch..."

I know that feeling, but I didn't get a misogynistic vibe from this sketch. It seemed like Cecily Strong and Aidy Bryant were at two extremes, with Strong being kind of old-fashioned and priggish and Bryant being super horny and sleazy, and the other two women were just ditzes who could be easily swayed either way. Admittedly SNL does seem to be visiting the "ditzy woman" well a lot lately, but I think that Strong and Bryant were the two main players here and neither was 100% good or bad.

I missed the First Ladies sketch, but I still feel confident calling this show a middling effort that sorely needed the little Evil Stepmother girl. (And the Evil Stepmother boy, oh my lord!)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:00 PM on February 8, 2018

I think the Stepchildren sketch was cut because they thought it was a half-assed rehash (re-assed?) of Wells for Boys, which I would agree with, but that doesn't mean they couldn't have replaced the Alien Butt sketch with it. I mean really, that was not great.

Interestingly, this brings up that they didn't have a commercial at all this episode. That seems kind of rare.
posted by rhizome at 5:46 PM on February 8, 2018

I also love Rachel Dratch, and she's the only one who can do that Boston Dope bit with any comedy. She should have curbed Fallon on it so it wouldn't have been identified so much with him and done her own blowhard character. Ideally without lampshading it to the gills like they did with Debbie Downer.
posted by rhizome at 5:50 PM on February 8, 2018

I don't get calling the Stepchildren thing a rehash of the Wells for Boys. Maybe a kind of sequel at most. I think they were both about true but under-explored aspects of childhood, the melancholy of some kids and the rather gothic playtime drama of other kids. In both cases I thought it was really cute how the moms were fully on board with it, snappishly defending their little misfits.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 7:03 PM on February 8, 2018

That's true, my phrasing was bad. I thought the repetitive harping on "drama" made it less sympathetic than Wells, though.
posted by rhizome at 7:46 PM on February 8, 2018

Really the only thing wrong with the alien butt/face sketch was they didn't give him a new pair of pants after the rehearsal. I think we're all left in in awe over his awesome ass control.
posted by Stanczyk at 8:53 PM on February 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

I kind of want a My Little Stepchild doll now.
posted by orange swan at 2:43 PM on February 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

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