Saturday Night Live: Emma Stone & BTS

April 13, 2019

BY James KeastPublished Apr 14, 2019

Emma Stone returned to host the show for the fourth time, and while BTS brought out the youth vote, the writers of the show saddled her with a lot of ancient references and played-out ideas. Here's everything that happened on Saturday Night Live this week.
The Cold Open
Since the Mueller Report turned out to be a dud, MSNBC has to resort back to prison shows. Three inmates (Chris Redd, Kenan Thompson and Kyle Mooney) are interrupted by new inmate Lori Loughlin (Kate McKinnon), who, after being busted for bribing her Instagram influencer daughter's way into college, has embraced prison life, including converting to Nation of Islam. She not as crazy as lawyer Michael Avenatti (Pete Davidson), who helped a coffee shop evade taxes to fund a race car. Or is it Julian Assange (Michael Keaton), an actual Bond supervillain? Melissa Villaseñor as Tekashi 6ix9ine (whom Avenatti volunteers to represent) helps this limp home.
The Monologue
Emma Stone starts by testing the sound levels by mentioning musical guest BTS to high-pitched screams, before trying to make a bigger deal out of the fact that she's hosting for her fourth time. Did Kate McKinnon and Kenan Thompson write a special song for her? They attempt one on the spot, to the tune of "No Woman No Cry." Did Aidy Bryant get her a gift? Sure, this… Medic Alert bracelet. A kinda tired rehash of the "guest hosts want attention for repeat stints" trope that Saturday Night Live has now invented for itself.
Dorm Room Posters
When college student Pete Davidson struggles to write a history paper, the posters on his walls come to life to offer advice. Rapper Percocet (basically Post Malone, played by Mikey Day), superheroes Black Puma and Jaguara (Kenan Thompson and Ego Nwodim), and wrestler Mad Dog Doogan (Beck Bennett) all offer surprisingly cogent tips and historical context, but keep getting interrupted by cheesecake pinup Chrissy Knox (Emma Thompson, playing Jessica Simpson circa 2005) who says things like "me drinking from this hose is math." The other posters all get angry about the distractions due to their commitment to being helpful tutors.
Fashion Coward
For women who don't in fact want to step out and make a fashion statement comes new store Fashion Coward, featuring shapeless, muted colours, far away mirrors in dressing rooms, and styles described as: "Stranger to Self," "Cruise with Parents" and "Ideal Juror." A very fun, well-executed film remote that didn't linger too long.
The View
A take on the bickering ladies of The View, where conversation keeps devolving into bitter spats between Joy Behar (Kate McKinnon) and Megan McCain (Aidy Bryant), who calls herself the Princess of Arizona. Whoopi Goldberg (Leslie Jones) wonders how this is her brand now, Jenny McCarthy (Emma Stone) shows up as the "vixen of anti-vax" and Whoopi squirts Joy and Megan with a spray bottle like you would an intemperate cat. A very noisy sketch with little point.
Melissa's Hobbies
Melissa Villaseñor visits Emma Stone's dressing room for a chat, but really to rap about her many hobbies, and how doing charcoal drawings, bird-watching and smelling books has helped with her confidence. Emma joins in with a rap verse about her the tiny town she's building in miniature. A weird, fun one.
Ladies Room
An '80s throwback dance show/video performance starts in a club before moving to the Ladies Room, where Cecily Strong, Emma Thompson and Leslie Jones perform a funk tune about the ladies room being the place to gather and gossip. A full band shows up, Beck Bennett is in PVC and handcuffs, and then Kenan Thompson arrives to inform them that this isn't a club and they've all gone to the bathroom in the fitting room of a Limited Express. The end-tag identifying the band as Orgrazmyxx, from 1984, was the right period detail.
Aside from the fact that I am 200 years older than their target demo, the appearance of Korean boy band BTS had broader significance than being the latest in a cute boys/dance moves/teen pop factory. For a show that has had a shockingly bad track record with diversity, especially for Asian folks — not the mention one reluctant to adopt to new music trends — having the biggest boy band sensation in the world was a reckoning. Sure, it felt like SNL trying to appeal to a generation it doesn't understand, but based on screams and references throughout, it was BTS who were helping SNL with their presence, and certainly not the show bequeathing them with some on-high approval.
Pop number "Boy With Luv" came first and while I was trying to decipher which roll everyone plays — the pretty one, the one who raps, the one who I suspect is 10 years older than everyone, the androgynous one — there was plenty to enjoy in this 2019 update of a, let's face it, not new phenomenon. While trying to figure out why team white sneaker had more members (4) than team black sneaker (3), I couldn't help but appreciate the gender fluidity, the dance synchronicity and the well-honed "I do this one thing and that tells you who I am" signature moves.
For second song "Mic Drop," they showed off their street side, with multi-coloured "urban" outfits, including shoulder holster wallets that would be mocked on anyone born before 2000. They pushed hard on the "look how tough we are," undercut slightly by the fact that after their climactic mic drop, they had nowhere to stomp off to, so just turned around and faced the back wall.
Weekend Update
Weekend Update did their part for the environment this week by recycling jokes, premises and guests. They picked on Julian Assange and joked about housing sanctuary city immigrants at a place no one else wants to live: Trump Tower. Aidy Bryant returned as seventh grade travel expert Carrie Krum, who only knows and recommends places she's been on family trips, like Boise, Idaho and the beaches of Lake Erie. Then Instragram couple Nico Slopkin and Brie Bacardi (Mikey Day and Heidi Gardner) showed up to give romantic picnic tips, only to bicker their way through the segment.
Royal Baby Shower
Prince Harry (Mikey Day) is making a video for his future child, introducing all the various hangers-on in the royal family, including Prince Charles (Beck Bennett), fame whore James Corden (Aidy Bryant), Uncle William (Alex Moffat) dressed as Freddie Mercury because he thought it was a costume party and Cecily Strong as Kate Middleton, who is certainly not feuding with her new sister-in-law because Kate always follows the rules and Meghan never does. Here's Chris Redd as recently deported rapper 21 Savage, there's Emma Stone as Harry's drunk socialite ex-girlfriend Tinsley, and the Queen (Kate McKinnon) is trapped under a pile of gifts. A very thin premise to cram in as many impressions as possible, including less than a second on screen for Pete Davidson as Ringo Starr.
The Actress
In one of the best pieces of the episode, Emma Stone plays a serious actress who's been struggling to find work but earnestly dives into her new role — as a woman walking in on her finance in a gay porn. Dreamy, washed-out flashbacks play as she imagines the life of "Deirdre" in order to get properly into her character's motivation, then drives home, satisfied with the good work she's done.
Chalmers Reserve Event Wine
Trett and Leezan Chalmers (Kenan Thompson and Cecily Strong), former stars of reality show The Nastiest Summer Renters of Sag Harbour, introduce their new "wine." After two sips, you won't know good wine from leftover hot dog water. After a couple of drinks, you'll be asking, "Why am I being chased in this wig?" Emma Stone and Kyle Mooney explain that it's made from rejected grapes and twigs before revealing that they're under contract to speak in bad Italian accents.

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