Saturday Night Live: Ariana Grande
March 13, 2016 3:43 PM - Season 41, Episode 15 - Subscribe

Ariana Grande serves as host and musical guest.

Lots of musical sketches as an intern covers for Tidal, nuns throw shade and there's a song (not) about feminism. Hillary dresses as Bernie and Bernie dresses for bed. We learn that a "shud" is a type of mermaid and that J-Law is a regular person. Nickelodeon can't get their introductions right and neither can Larry David.
posted by Gary (14 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
This was one of the better episodes I've seen lately. The Tidal sketch was picking up on a video of Ariana doing the same sort of imitations on Fallon's show. It was better on Fallon, but this wasn't too bad. Ariana's take on J-Law was dead-on killer. Overall, I thought she really showed some decent acting chops throughout the show.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:26 PM on March 13, 2016


Something I've always hated about SNL is that for a long time the lady cast members had nothing to do but wear little skirts and be backup dancers. Now that a woman needs backup dancers...they get some random male dancers. I'm more amused than annoyed.
She does apparently have a surprisingly nice voice.

Kate's Hilary sketch was accurate and heartbreaking as usual.
posted by bleep at 9:23 PM on March 13, 2016


Yeah, decent episode all around. She reminded me of Justin Timberlake in that I knew nothing about her but kind of brushed her off as "just a pop star" and then was pleasantly surprised how good she was on the show.
posted by bondcliff at 5:46 AM on March 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


I had the same reaction: pleasantly surprised. I almost skipped watching it because I didn't think she'd interest me, but when she belted out the Whitney Houston, I was sold. That's some crazy talent right there. (And I give her a pass for the stupidity I've seen from her. She's still very young.)
posted by heyho at 7:41 AM on March 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


The Tidal sketch was picking up on a video of Ariana doing the same sort of imitations on Fallon's show.

It's a sequel-of-sorts to Bruno Mars doing the same bit (though it was at Pandora) back in aught-twelve. Of course, some people took umbrage at the idea of a sketch recurring after three and a half years, which makes me wonder whether they have ever seen any other episodes of SNL.
posted by Etrigan at 7:54 AM on March 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


Ariana's take on J-Law was dead-on killer.

It was shockingly good. Like Jay Pharoah level good. My daughter was a fan of the Nickelodeon show she used to be on where she played a kind of earnest yet ditzy character, and she consistently had the best comic timing and line readings of anyone on the show.

I had read she said "oh, shit" during the monologue, but it was not in the version I watched on Hulu yesterday. I guess they subbed in the dress rehearsal take or something?
posted by Rock Steady at 8:07 AM on March 14, 2016


Yeah, she let out an "oh, shit" during her opening. I can't recall why, but it didn't stand out to me like an accident. I also noticed she didn't seem to once look over at a cue card. It's usually pretty noticeable when someone on the show glances over to check their lines, but it sure seemed to me that she had her lines down cold.

Here's the video of her doing impersonations. Ariana follows Christina Aguilera (who is also amazingly spot-on)
Sorry about the link to a politics site. It's the only place I've found this edit of the performances. The ones on YouTube have more filler.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:24 AM on March 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Great episode. I didn't know anything about Ariana Grande and thought her acting and singing were excellent. Her delivery was more natural than a lot of hosts they've had lately and I agree about the lack of obvious cue card reading. That's always been obvious on this show but some hosts (and cast members) might as well sit on a chair with the script in their hand.

The Hillary ad was spot on. "I'm whoever you want me to be and I approve this message"

The (not) feminist song, Sound of Music, Family Feud sketches were better than the show's been lately.

The only sketches that really fell flat for me were the Kids' Choice awards and the Mermaid. Both just seemed to be not great short jokes dragged out several minutes too long.

I have heard several times that the Tidal sketch was a rip off of the Bruno Mars Pandora sketch, but isn't that what this show does? If that's a rip off then so is 75% of every episode. I figured it was an exact copy of the Pandora sketch but with the name changed to nonsense because they didn't want to use Pandora for whatever reason. I had no idea Tidal was a real thing until today. The impressions in that sketch were really good.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 9:59 AM on March 14, 2016


The only sketches that really fell flat for me were the Kids' Choice awards and the Mermaid. Both just seemed to be not great short jokes dragged out several minutes too long.

As always, Kate saved the mermaid sketch (or at least, elevated it from crap to mediocre). The Kids' Choice Awards sketch should have gone somewhat darker (cut to "Hours Later", Taran's blood-soaked face fills the shot as he screams "I've done it! I have consumed her as a sacrifice! The show will start NOW!").
posted by Etrigan at 10:03 AM on March 14, 2016


Changing Pandora to Tidal was a nice subtle dig at the quickly changing streaming landscape, plus it let them work in a "Tidal is nothing without Rihanna!" line (she recently released her much-anticipated album as a Tidal exclusive). The Kids' Choice sketch was a little thin, but Ariana holding her kiss to the camera and the clock going to 0:00 only to start counting up had me laughing. The Family Feud sketch was pretty good, but it always seems like they are kind of scraping the bottom of the barrel to get 8 or 10 impressions up on stage. It was better when they did Celebrity Jeopardy! and only had to come up with 2 or 3 impressions per sketch.

Also, I've never really seen Sound of Music, and up until watching that sketch, I always thought the "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?" song was about everyone wanting to learn the great way Maria solves problems. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by Rock Steady at 10:21 AM on March 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


The Family Feud sketch was pretty good, but it always seems like they are kind of scraping the bottom of the barrel to get 8 or 10 impressions up on stage.

I was surprised Bobby Moynihan's Kevin Smith wasn't better. He looked a lot like him, in the way any overweight* bearded guy in a hockey muumuu is going to look like Kevin Smith to some degree but his imitation felt like he'd never even heard Smith speak before. He didn't even try. I don't think he'd be all that hard to do, you just sort of talk kind of laid back and use words like "cats" to mean "people" once in a while. Maybe not enough people know Kevin Smith to really know what he sounds like.

I agree, too, that it's just too many imitations. That sketch always feels like "let everyone just do their quick imitation, then we'll throw in a couple more jokes before we end it" where Jeopardy usually got three strong imitations with a few jokes each.

*Yeah, I know Smith has lost weight but I think most people will always see him as Silent Bob in a Hockey Shirt.
posted by bondcliff at 11:33 AM on March 14, 2016


The Kids' Choice Awards sketch should have gone somewhat darker (cut to "Hours Later", Taran's blood-soaked face fills the shot as he screams "I've done it! I have consumed her as a sacrifice! The show will start NOW!").

The weatherman is DEAD! I KILLED the weatherman! His STRENGTH is in me!

Also, I've noticed over the last few months that there have been far fewer sketches involving recurring characters/premises. In the past, it was annoying to be two seconds into a bit and already know exactly where the sketch will go and why it won't work. It's nice to watch new sketches and be genuinely unsure where it will go.
posted by obscure simpsons reference at 11:41 AM on March 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


Oh, I found a video of it
posted by obscure simpsons reference at 12:19 PM on March 14, 2016


I liked the Kids Choice sketch, I thought it was fun and light. And ended just at the right time. I was dreading that they were going to take a turn into that old sketch but then they didn't and I thought that was nice. Even though there are always some clunkers I feel like this cast has higher standards and I like when that comes through.
posted by bleep at 1:13 PM on March 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


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