Saturday Night Live: Emma Thompson & Jonas Brothers

​Saturday May 11, 2019

BY Vish KhannaPublished May 12, 2019

Emma Thompson was a playful and great host, while the Jonas Brothers indulged in nostalgia during their comeback campaign. Here's everything that happened on Saturday Night Live this week.
The cold open

Kyle Mooney reprised his impression as Chuck Todd to lead a Meet the Press panel on American politics. Beyond pretty spot-on impressions of Mitch McConnell and Susan Collins by Beck Bennett and Cecily Strong respectively, there was little of note to this but it is kind of funny that Kate McKinnon, here as Lindsay Graham, is always chosen to portray one of Trump's most fervent male acolytes, as few things could be seen as emasculating them more than having them played by a gay woman.
The monologue
For the Mother's Day episode, Emma Thompson chose to decipher "mother speak," with the help of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Framed as a fill-in-the-blank instructional piece, this was clever, biting, funny, and no less than what is to be expected from anything involving Fey and Poehler, and Thompson hung in with them well.

Royal Etiquette
Thompson played a Mary Poppins-esque etiquette coach, training a friend of Meghan Markle's, played by Leslie Jones. Though Thompson begins lessons in a sing-song, matronly manner, she winds up violently attacking Jones's baffled visitor, and this proved to be a visually amusing bit of physical comedy.
The Perfect Mother
In a remote piece, Heidi Gardner played a put-upon young mother seeking advice from her own mom, as rendered by Thompson. Scenes of relative calm, rose-coloured conversation, in which Gardner marvels at Thompson's efforts to raise her, are juxtaposed of chaotic, actual depictions of how messed up and maddening the experience really was. Cutting to Gardner's own life with her toddler and husband, as played by Mikey Day, suggest that each generation struggles but ideally gets through child-rearing intact. This was both edgy in some respects, but also sweet enough for Mother's Day.

Always Be Sisters
Kenan Thompson, as Reese De'What, hosts a classic cinema program, which highlights Always Be Sisters, featuring Thompson and Kate McKinnon as rival actresses in the same film. In the first scene, neither will let it end because they compete to get the last word. Other than Kenan having a longer bit to play with at the beginning than usual, and then again at the end, this was nothing.
The reality food show has been on TV for years so there's no telling why SNL chose to satirize it now, but they did and it was funny. The Chopped "cast" and viewing experience was captured well and pushed to absurdist heights, culminating in Leslie Jones' Geraldine serving judges a live kitten on a bun.

Judge Court
In what was likely a Kate McKinnon/Aidy Bryant brainstorm, the pair and Thompson spoofed Judge Judy-like shows by conceiving of such a vehicle for three women. They respectively played Judge Linda Christina, Judge Christina Miami, and Judge Marlene Wet, best friends and terrible adjudicators who render ridiculous verdicts, much to the chagrin and confusion of the plaintiffs and defendants before them. Outlandishly written and performed, Judge Court had its moments.

Jonas Brothers

On a stage bursting with maybe a thousand balloons, the Jonas Brothers continued their high-profile hiatus break by performing their new single, "Sucker." For a contemporary pop song, it was decidedly rock, led by guitars and drums, and interchangeably cloying male vocals, but at least it had a thoughtful arrangement.

Back again for the tail end of the show, they toned things down with the ballad-trapped-inside-of-an-anthem, "Cool," which included a Game of Thrones shout-out. To the delight of their fans, the JoBros segued out of this song into "Burnin,'" one of their earliest hits, and the crowd responded with their biggest ovation for the band.

Weekend Update
Jumping hastily into his seat from offscreen for some reason, Colin Jost kicked off Update by going after Trump's recently released tax returns, which revealed how he lost over a billion dollars. Man, Heidi Gardner's teen film critic Bailey Gismert is such a wonder of awkward intensity and hormonal angst, and she generates an amazing amount of theatrical incredulity out of Michael Che.
Pete Davidson did a desk piece about Mother's Day, mostly covering the fact that he's living with his mom Amy (and his sister too). In a nod to Mother's Day, this amusing spiel ended with Amy appearing by her son's side, a Jon Hamm joke was made (that paid off in the closing credits), and that ended a rather solid WU.

Teapot and the Beast
In a live theatrical performance of Beauty and the Beast, the Disney story is turned into a dark morality tale, with the Beast, played by Beck Bennett, turning out to be a lunkheaded gym rat who had sex with a teapot. Those familiar with the source material would pick up on the nods that made this an effective, if topically confusing, satire.
Kate McKinnon played Tracy, a socially conscious talk show host, holding a panel talk with Sherman, a frustrated dad, whose daughter Rae Rae insists that the crowd doesn't know her, by repeating the insistent "You don't know me, you don't me," trope that is often part of such confrontational shows. Rae Rae, played by Ego Nwodim, is angry and defensive with outsiders but, as each audience member speaks with and totally relates to her, it seems that they really do know her, which was the joke here. Eventually, Thompson appeared as Dr. Jill, asserting that she really, really knew Rae Rae and was on-hand to collect some back pay, which prompted Sherman and Rae Rae to declare they did not know her.
Wait a Second, That Shouldn't Be There!
Riffing on the infamous Starbucks cup continuity error that plagued the most recent episode of Game of Thrones, Kyle Mooney played the host of a show that highlights other "similar" mistakes in cinema history. Such examples included promo for White Castle and 7-11 in scenes from Roots, characters eating bags of chips and using Dell laptops in Shakespeare in Love, and a scene from Downton Abbey where Alex Moffatt is wearing 2017 New Year's sunglasses and Thompson rejects a Pizza Hut order. This was funny though, with GoT's Sophie Turner on hand to support her husband Joe Jonas, it would've been pretty amazing if she was convinced to take part in this.

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