Of the ten sketches Chris Pine appeared in on last night’s SNL, he sang in five, lip synced in one and danced joyfully in two. It was a very musical episode.
But despite a rocky start, which included a lame Morning Joe opener and a monologue song assertion the difference between Chris Pine and our buffet of other super hot movie Chrises, there were some real gems in this episode. The sketches that worked had a way of starting poorly only to force their way into something great. On the other hand, sketches that looked like possible slam dunks often ended up disappointing.
For instance, the first post monologue sketch was a recreation of Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego, except focused on finding Kellyanne Conway. A lot of SNL sketches push one joke, but this literally was just leading up to one punchline (the kids don’t want to find her) and then just ended. Something like this makes a bit more sense as a ten-to-one, so leading with it took me by surprise. And, while this isn’t SNL’s fault, Sasheer Zamata’s Chief impression has nothing on the one Comedy Bang! Bang! listeners heard this week from Carl Tart.
Beck Bennett and Kyle Mooney’s “Song for Peace” also started off well but never quite achieved its potential as a funny song sung by a goofball Eastern European dude. The escalating joke, that it turns out he’s a porn addict, only feeds already unfortunate comparisons to what the Lonely Island guys would have done with the concept.
Meanwhile, I rolled my eyes at Aidy Bryant and Vanessa Bayer singing a demand that Chris Pine choose which of them gets to have him as her boy, only get won-over completely by the ridiculous sassiness of it as Bryant and Bayer continued. And holy shit was it fun to see Chris Pine do a surprisingly great Shatner impression in the Star Trek sketch, which made me laugh despite my better judgment (the Bobby Moynihan guarantee!).
Best of all was the SWAT surveillance sketch, in which two hardened professionals about to take out a criminal fall victim to the unbridled fun happening in the apartment next door, including cotton candy, a backpack fashion show and Leslie Jones eating the world’s biggest gummy bear. Again, the sketch didn’t look like much starting out, but ended up being the best of the night.
Overall, this was a middle episode. Not truly awful, but not great either. Pine gave it a lot of effort, however, and it would be nice to see him return in perhaps a less musically dependent episode.
Additionally, I would like to see more of the guy who played Sulu: