SNL And The Cut For Time Curse

They did it again…

This week’s Saturday Night Live was hosted by Charles Barkley. I have some pretty hard opinions on how well it turns out when an athlete hosts, and this episode did nothing to diminish them. But beyond that, this now marks the second week in a row that the episode's best sketch was left on the cutting room floor.

The last new episode to air was when Natalie Portman hosted just before the Olympics. While she did a more capable job than Barkley, the best sketch of the night was a gem of a pre-tape called “My Little Stepchildren”. In my mid-season roundup last week, I mentioned this sketch as what they SHOULD be doing. That is, taking their first thought concepts and adding some bite or dimension to them.

This week, their best (and just practically speaking, most expensive-looking) sketch met with the same fate. I know that with the practice of all of us watching SNL the morning after now, the “cut for time” designation doesn’t mean as much because, hey, we’re watching it anyway, but you’re asking us to spend our time on your show, SNL. Put your best foot forward instead of rehashing the “Last Call” sketch again. (These always play better when Paula Pell is involved with writing them, which she wasn’t this go round.) In this great cut for time sketch, they send up Star Wars with a fun critique: hey, how DO these intergalactic smugglers all speak so many languages? (Especially understanding droids. Those are JUST boots and beeps!)

“Where is the school?” is going to be my new favorite panic phrase. THESE sketches are what SNL should be putting forward. What do you think? Does the “cut for time” idea even matter anymore?