Saturday Night Live: Rachel Brosnahan / Greta Van Fleet
January 20, 2019 10:25 AM - Season 44, Episode 10 - Subscribe

First episode of the year.

  • Deal or No Deal: Government Shutdown Edition - Kenan Thompson, Alec Baldwin, Alex Moffatt, Kate McKinnon, Beck Bennett, Leslie Jones, Melissa Villaseñor, Chris Redd, Mikey Day, Ego Nwodim, Pete Davidson
  • Monologue - Rachel Brosnahan, Cecily Strong, Kenan Thompson, Kyle Mooney, Aidy Bryant
  • Earthquake at the Name Change Office - Kate McKinnon, Mikey Day, Kenan Thompson, Kyle Mooney, Rachel Brosnahan, Aidy Bryant, Pete Davidson, Beck Bennett, Leslie Jones, Heidi Gardner
  • Leave Me Alurn (commercial) - Beck Bennett, Rachel Brosnahan, Kenan Thompson, Kate McKinnon, Melissa Villaseñor, Alex Moffatt, Ego Nwodim, Pete Davidson
  • Millenial Millions - Kenan Thompson, Rachel Brosnahan, Pete Davidson, Aidy Bryant, Cecily Strong, Kyle Mooney, Beck Bennett
  • The Raunchiest Miss Rita - Rachel Brosnahan, Leslie Jones, Mikey Day, Aidy Bryant, Kyle Mooney, Kenan Thompson
  • Greta Van Fleet - Black Smoke Rising
  • Weekend Update - Colin Jost, Michael Che
    • Elizabeth Warren - Kate McKinnon
    • The Mule - Pete Davidson, John Mulaney
  • Tabitha - Leslie Jones, Kenan Thompson, Rachel Brosnahan, Cecily Strong, Kyle Mooney, Mikey Day, Beck Bennett
  • Kool-Aid Man - Kyle Mooney, Chris Redd, Heidi Gardner, Beck Bennett, Colin Jost, Ego Nwodim, Michael Che, Alex Moffatt
  • Greta Van Fleet - You're The One
  • Barbie Interns - Cecily Strong, Kenan Thompson, Heidi Gardner, Rachel Brosnahan, Pete Davidson
posted by rhizome (23 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
So that's Greta Van Fleet. Well, I can't say I wasn't warned
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:07 AM on January 20, 2019 [5 favorites]

So, I know it's Pitchfork and that this is their shtick, but I wasn't aware of Van Fleet before the show and I just had to google because... WTH, but anyway, I was actually laughing out loud at "dressed by a problematic Santa Fe palm-reader with a gift certificate to Chico’s."

I didn't see all the episode, and only saw part of Alurn with no sound, but I totally see the lower back spike belt as a real accessory.
posted by dawg-proud at 11:58 AM on January 20, 2019 [7 favorites]

Kind of a mediocre episode. A lot of it felt half-written and some of the timing was way off.

Deal or No-Deal was an ok way to do the shutdown bit. It was certainly better than just having Alec recite the dumb things he said this week. What's amazing to me is when he had the college kid with the box of hamburgers I couldn't remember what that was referencing! So much has happened this week that it wasn't until the end of the sketch when I remembered about the burgers. This timeline is nuts.

Monologue was weak. Musical numbers tend to not go over too well but this one felt like they really phoned it in.

I loved Kate's Elizabeth Warren. Really dead-on.

Good to see Pete but he didn't look all that great. I really worry about him. The bit about The Mule was funny but went on a bit too long.

With all the nonsense going on about the Gillette ad I'm not really sure doing a parody of it was a good move. I can see how the premise might have worked but I'm not sure it did.

Did Che really say that the Gillette commercial was something "nobody asked for"? I usually give him a pass for a lot of the shit he says but that just seemed... wrong. Read the room, dude.

If you go to any classic rock video on YouTube you'll see a million comments that are like "THIS IS BACK WHEN MUSIC WAS GOOD!!!" and I feel like that is who Greta Van Fleet is playing for. They're Led Zeppelin if it was fronted by Greg Brady. I don't know much about them, I can't really tell if they're talented or not and I've only heard those two songs, but that singer was giving me an uncanny valley vibe. I like a lot of classic rock but I'll pass, thanks.

The pacing of The Raunchiest Miss Rita was really bad. It took a while to get going and then it just didn't seem to go anywhere. Ms. Masel is ripe for parody but I didn't feel this was very good.

The Earthquake sketch made me laugh a few times but... really? Just reading off a bunch of silly names like an R-rated Car Talk credit sequence? That's a sketch?

Millenial Millions was good. "The boomers are going to take it all!"
posted by bondcliff at 12:52 PM on January 20, 2019 [5 favorites]

The best moment in Miss Rita was where Maisel asked Susie about the hat. Because, honestly. What's with the hat.

And the Alurn thing was pretty great.

Wasn't Kate playing Pelosi?
posted by mochapickle at 1:03 PM on January 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

The bit about The Mule was funny but went on a bit too long.

The best bit in that bit was when Pete said, "Oh, and we didn't even talk about--" and John immediately said "Yes!" before Pete could say what it was they didn't talk about. It really wrapped up for me how I like both Mulaney's polished, mannered delivery and Davidson's shaggier, conversational style.

I have never had such a fast, visceral reaction of hatred to an SNL musical guest as I had to GvF. I don't mind if I just dislike the songs that some guest plays, because, hell, I like stuff that other people don't. But GvF was so over-the-top, so nakedly "Hey, remember Zeppelin?!?", so Ready Listener One nostalgia-as-personality that I could only barely listen to the music. And when I could manage to do that, I hated that they could occasionally sneak in a good line of music, because it meant they could do that, only not for more than a line at a time.

Overall, this episode was okay/good, but the problem with having a host like Rachel Brosnahan -- who (to me, at least) is so thoroughly of one role that she looks weird in modern clothing, despite being objectively and timelessly attractive -- is that she has no personality herself to riff on. Tom Hanks can do nearly anything they ask of him on SNL, and even if it doesn't fit the "Tom Hanks" persona, that can be part of the joke (e.g., Trump voter on "Black Jeopardy!"). But fifteen hours later, I honestly can't remember any character Brosnahan did on this show that wasn't Midge Maisel.
posted by Etrigan at 1:14 PM on January 20, 2019 [3 favorites]

Kind of a mediocre episode. A lot of it felt half-written and some of the timing was way off.

Interesting. I felt it was one of the funnier episodes this season, but maybe I was just primed for it. I hadn't watched Brosnahan's new show so I just kept sitting there being like "Where do I know her from??" and the answer was House of Cards and I felt much better. She was good.

Leave me Alurn was spot on (Jim was like "people really touch you on the back all the time?" "Yes") as was Millennial Millions. I did think the monologue was sort of flat but also one of those slightly self-aware "Yeah we know it's sort of shitty to be making jokes when the government shutdown is seriously tearing the heart out of America" so I did appreciate the nod to that. And I'm becoming a sucker for that stupid social media Barbie thing.

The best bit in that bit was when Pete said, "Oh, and we didn't even talk about--" and John immediately said "Yes!"

Yeah I sort of liked how tight that bit was, even with Pete being a little all over the place. Mullaney is a serious genius.

that singer was giving me an uncanny valley vibe.

He seemed like he was on too much of some sort of mood stabilizing drug. Like, that was clearly a band of hair-flinging rockers and he stood there in a weird way like the acid was just hitting him. Nice pipes but a combo between Robert Plant and Eddie Vedder? Also I guess the people who are twins are the lead singer and one of the other longhairs, not the two longhairs. Confusing.
posted by jessamyn at 1:20 PM on January 20, 2019 [5 favorites]

I think the singer was nervous, though possibly also high. I noticed that he was spotting the camera enough that they started cutting away whenever he started to make any movement away from "not looking into the camera." So they would cut to a camera he wasn't looking into, he twitches his head or something, and they cut to a camera on the other side before he could start looking into it. I don't know if this is actually what was happening, but it sure seemed like it.

I checked them out last week and it was like "OK, I get the LZ comparison, but at least this one has a guitarist that can play in time." The big talent question is whether or not the singer is using falsetto. I lean toward "yes," and I haven't googled it at all, but if it's not falsetto then that bumps the skill rating up a bit.

Overall I thought Brosnahan seemed really into and totally game, but the writing didn't rise to her enthusiasm. Kenan was is practically every sketch except for WU, where I assumed he was taking a nap/cocaine.

"Tabitha" was pretty great (the Beck part was perfect), and I thought most of the other sketches were pretty good. Except for Barbie Interns and the Kool-Aid one. Earthquake and Miss Rita made me laugh. I think this was a solidly-middling episode for the season.
posted by rhizome at 1:35 PM on January 20, 2019 [2 favorites]

Interesting. I felt it was one of the funnier episodes this season, but maybe I was just primed for it.

One thing I've always noticed about SNL, and actually one of the things I like about it, is that opinions of each episode can vary wildly from person to person. So often I'll love or hate an episode and then I go read an AV Club review and they felt exactly the opposite. It's a really weird thing about the show that I don't find a lot with other shows. Maybe since it's on so late our moods and alertness levels are all very different when we watch it.

I'm still sort of shaking my head about Greta Van Fleet. It's not that they were bad they were just... kind of ridiculous. They're just unnecessary.
posted by bondcliff at 2:01 PM on January 20, 2019 [3 favorites]

SNL music booking has been so bad for so long I can't muster any emotions over it. I'll take the occasional (once per season?) surprise, but all in all I assume these are all payola appearances.
posted by rhizome at 2:20 PM on January 20, 2019 [3 favorites]

Fanfare: taking a nap/cocaine.
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 2:55 PM on January 20, 2019 [4 favorites]

Also, I thought the best joke on Weekend Update was "Super Blood Wolf Moon was the name of the band that just appeared on the show."
posted by bondcliff at 3:02 PM on January 20, 2019 [14 favorites]

Middling's the word. OK. Fine. I sorely miss rock n' roll and am eager to support new stuff, but that band gave me bad Rush flashbacks so it was FF on the DVR for me.

I've complained before about how this show sometimes swings back and forth between kind of trite, preachy millennial feminist stuff and Michael Che's bro-y, anti-feminist stuff, and while the feminist stuff had been dialed way back for a while (and recently Che seemed like he was backing off from the more misogynist-y material) this episode was back to being that weird mix of the two extremes.

I figure the Gillette parody had to come from Che, he'd already pouted about the commercial during WU, and I wouldn't be too surprised if he was behind the bit where women treat men like dogs too. A lot of women online seemed to think it was cute and girl power-y, but to me it read more like a grouchy guy thing about how women treat men like dogs. Che's fingerprints were also all over that cold open stuff with Pelosi "drunk with power" and Chuck Schumer as this feckless, apathetic lump. Maybe I give Che too much blame, but whenever I hear some "both sides" joke on the show or it's taken as a given that Elizabeth Warren is "unlikable," I figure that was Che what done it. Either that or Jim Downey is still lurking around and punching up the scripts.

The Barbie intern bit just barely worked once, and they brought it BACK? It reminded me of a line from the flawed but underrated Studio 60: "So, we're just gonna keep doing that one until somebody laughs, huh?"
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:29 PM on January 20, 2019 [5 favorites]

Like jessamyn, I thought this was one of the better episodes of the season. Millennial Millions was spot on, and as a Gen X-er myself, I actually clapped at the “watching the world burn” line. Tabitha had the kid and I laughing out loud. Leave Me Alurn was perfect. The kid and I wondered how long it will be before someone actually makes it, and we both agreed that lower back spikes needs to be invented yesterday. I may actually go dig out my spiked belt from ‘90s Hot Topic. I even thought the Kool-Aid thing was good, though Che’s comment was not. It felt to me more like a takedown of the men who are offended by the Gillette ad.

On preview, I also agree with Ursula Hitler about the Pelosi thing. The cold open would have been much better without the drunk on power bothside stuff. The Schumer bit was funny, but also came across as a bit too Jew-y, like toeing the line of bad stereotype.

I adore Mulaney (I’ve seen him twice) and am not a fan of Davidson, but this was the most endearing I’ve ever found ol’ Pete. I think it was a good way to address the issue, and they played off each other so well. As the kid put it, “John Mulaney makes everything better.” I’m glad he and Pete are genuinely friends, because John’s been there and came through it, so he may very well be a sobering influence.
posted by Ruki at 4:46 PM on January 20, 2019 [4 favorites]

Overall I thought Brosnahan seemed really into and totally game, but the writing didn't rise to her enthusiasm.

It's great when the host is up for anything. But I worry that sometimes that instinct means the host just goes along with whatever gets pitched to them. Sometimes we need Mick Jagger to yell Not Funny! at the writers and send things back for a re-write.
posted by Gary at 12:45 AM on January 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

Chuck Schumer as this feckless, apathetic lump

Nah, that's just the standard joke about Schumer owing to its being only the slightest of exaggerations.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:44 AM on January 21, 2019

In a week/year/lifetime where toxic masculinity has been a huge point of discussion, seeing Pete Davidson being taken care of by John Mulaney was really something. I mean, I found the Mule stuff hilarious, but the entire exchange made me feel warm and fuzzy.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:02 PM on January 21, 2019 [9 favorites]

I get that Greta Van Fleet has a good-sized fanbase and big festival slots. But as much as anything, they are proof that the reach of the internet being greater than ever, it is now possible for aggressively mediocre artists to get a bunch of online/viral buzz. Because, after all, your lame uncle and your least cool cousin are online now too. They're the de facto "cool new band" for people who aren't cool and don't like anything new.

If anything, they're like a worse version of Stillwater from Almost Famous, a clumsy simulacrum of what sad normies with mall taste think a great classic band sounds like.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:27 AM on January 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

I sort of broke one of my own personal rules there and slid right from "This band sucks" to "You are stupid if you like this band." Sorry about that. If you like a thing, you should get to enjoy it without someone playing amateur Pitchfork takedown on you.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:09 AM on January 22, 2019 [4 favorites]

I caught this episode last night and my main takeaway about GVF at the time was how well-fed and wholesome the lead singer appeared. I mean, his teeth!!!!!! Everything about the band was so clean.

Then today I read some of their album reviews and it's about as delightful as that review of Guy Fieri's Flavortown in Times Square. So thank you, Greta Van Fleet and SNL, for entertaining me.
posted by witchen at 10:16 AM on January 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

I could not stop staring at his teeth.
posted by jessamyn at 2:13 PM on January 22, 2019 [4 favorites]

Greta Van Fleet works better if you think of them as a Kingdom Come imitator rather than a Zep imitator.
posted by Cookiebastard at 3:30 PM on January 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

I'd heard of -- but never actually heard -- GvF before. I liked them a lot.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 7:09 AM on January 25, 2019

OK here's my imitation of Greta Van Fleet's lead singer, ready?


thank you I'm here all week waiting for the next episode. tip your waitstaff accordingly.
posted by not_on_display at 11:23 PM on February 2, 2019 [2 favorites]

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