I was worried going into this week's episode of Saturday Night Live, hosted by Glee star (and recent Emmy winner) Jane Lynch, because I hadn't slept in roughly 36 hours and was worried that my recap would just end up on autopilot. Having watched the show, though, I can honestly say that it doesn't even matter, because Saturday Night Live appears to already be on autopilot just three episodes into the new season. We've got repeat sketches, game shows, talk shows, singing monologues and just a handful of new stuff, only some of what comes off at all. When an episode is opening with a "Gilly" sketch, it's impossible to stop your heart from sinking in your chest. This is the best it's going to get.
As for first-time host Lynch, there's not much that can be said. She doesn't do anything wrong, but isn't given anything to do; for someone who rose to fame as part of Christopher Guest's excellent improv ensemble in movies like Best in Show and A Mighty Wind, Lynch felt totally neutered on the show this week, forced to play the straight woman to Denzel Washington impressions and even recreate her own Glee character without putting any sort of spin on it at all. It's like having Brian Williams on to host and then asking him to read the news.
- "Cold Open: Ask Gloria Allred" - I'm happy for Nasim Pedrad in that she got to open a show all by herself (and even got to do the "live from New York!" part), but there's hardly a joke even attempted in this cold opener, and what few jokes there are wind up draped over the thinnest possible premise: Gloria Allred may be self-serving and ego-driven. Whoa. Take it easy, SNL! I know, I know -- kitty's gotta scratch. But there's still a whole show left. Save some in the tank, SNL. (Watch the "Cold Open: Ask Gloria Allred" video)
- "Jane Lynch Monologue" - Don't know what else to do? Singing monologue. This one's a Glee joke, too (sort of), so it's a twofer. And, yes, the very next sketch is a Glee parody, too, but you can never have too many Glee parodies in a row. (Watch the "Jane Lynch Monologue" video)
- "Mom's on Facebook" - The funniest sketch of the week? What can that possibly say? (Watch the "Mom's on Facebook" video)
- "The New Boyfriend Talk Show" - Talk show. Check. Not a horrible premise, though the execution was a little flat. I have zero doubt this sketch will reappear some time in the next four or five episodes. Wait for it.
- "Secret Word" - Game show. Check. Repeat sketch. Check. Kristen Wiig mugging. Check. (Watch the "Secret Word" video)
- "Returns and Exchanges" - Yes, Jay Pharoah does a pretty terrific Denzel Washington, which is all the more impressive because it's another of those impressions that doesn't seem like it's that easy to do. I'm sure we'll see something like this again in the near future (I can picture a whole series of sketches in which Denzel Washington "studies" a role in different jobs), but the problem is that there isn't really a joke or a point of view. There's an accurate impression, but it will literally be the same thing every time. Wait for it. (Watch the "Returns and Exchanges" video)
- "Digital Short: Relaxation Therapy" - Swing and a miss. I'm out of ways to say it. (Watch the "Relaxation Therapy" video)
- "Suze Orman Show" - There might be a joke here: Kristen Wiig playing a tall, blonde, openly gay woman attempting to out guest host Jane Lynch, a tall, blonde, openly gay woman. Actually, that's not really a joke -- and, yet, there's even less than what I'm suggesting going on here. I throw up my hands. (Watch the "Suze Orman Show" video)
- Original Air Date: 10/9/19
- Host: Jane Lynch
- Musical Guest: Bruno Mars