Saturday Night Live: Timothée Chalamet & Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band December 12, 2020

Saturday Night Live: Timothée Chalamet & Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band December 12, 2020
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Yeesh, another consecutively weak week for Saturday Night Live, though the material here also had more than a dash of incoherence sprinkled in compared to last week. Timothée Chalamet's assigned swimming buddy was seemingly Pete Davidson, and, missing a key member, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band weren't at full power. Here's everything that happened on SNL this week.

The cold open

CNN's Wolf Blitzer, as played by Beck Bennett, interviewed coronavirus task force members Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, who were played by Kate McKinnon and Heidi Gardner. McKinnon captured Fauci well, and aspects of this breakdown of how the newly announced vaccine would work and be deployed were quite funny, but it was also a comparably calm and muted cold open for this never-ending election season.
The monologue

Actor Timothée Chalamet was quite jacked to host SNL in his hometown. Armed with a clip, he proved his mother once appeared in an old Chris Farley and Dana Carvey sketch — as an extra, but also because she occasionally worked as a seamstress on the show. With her in the stands, Chalamet tried pulling a Galifianakis by telling jokes behind a grand piano, but, even with an assist from Pete Davidson, this all felt uncomfortably green and uneven joke-telling.
A Rona Family Christmas

In a festive sketch, the Rona family confronted a troubled, partially disinfected member. Wearing COVID headdresses, Beck Bennett and Chalamet had a heated father-son confrontation about the work they're meant to be doing to keep humans infected. Every so often, there was some clever wordplay here and reflective references to the year that was, but this was also not quite as effective as it likely should've been.

A December to Remember

In this remote, a Lexus commercial goes awry when a loser patriarch buys his wife a SUV they clearly can't afford. Unemployed and unclear how paying for stuff works, the dad, played by Beck Bennett, is cursed out by both his unfaithful wife and confused son, played by Heidi Gardner and Chalamet, respectively. Relatively short and briskly paced, this was okay.

The Dionne Warwick Talk Show

Taking advantage of Dionne Warwick's recent, funny foray into misunderstanding Twitter, Ego Nwodim busted out a solid impression for a faux talk show. Chalamet played Harry Styles, who guested on the show, Nwodim sang a lot and asked Melissa Villaseñor's Billie Eilish the same questions her real-life iteration poses on Twitter. In a meta bit, Chloe Fineman played a spazzy Chalamet, but, ultimately, the funniest thing here was when Nwodim kicked off the sketch by reading Warwick's actual tweets. She should write for the show.
The Farm

Kind of reprising their roles from the Lexus ad, in this remote, Beck Bennett played a down-on-his-luck farmer who receives a final past due notice while his wife, played by Heidi Gardner, and his son, played by Chalamet, look on helplessly. The kicker is the farm animals must be abandoned, which sets Chalamet into a tailspin over the loss of his tiny horse. This set a musical into motion, in which Chalmet sung a truly stupid song about his tiny horse. No idea how this was green-lit beyond a table read, it was that stupid.
 
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

Bassist Garry Tallent missed his first E Street Band show in 50 years, and so Bruce Springsteen and his dear friends did their best to bring "Ghosts" to life without him, which must've been odd. With Tallent and auxiliary member Soozie Tyrell absent due to "pandemic restrictions," the band tried to roar into performance together but something seemed a little off here. Harmonies and cues were not quite in sync and, perhaps due to rust, the normally airtight touring band seemed rather mortal here, despite Springsteen rather visibly trying to will them into transcendence.



Unfortunately, "Ghosts" is not one of Letter to You's best songs. That album's closer, "I'll See You in my Dreams," however, is a stronger, more classic E Street jam, and they delivered its hopeful, resolute message with greater coherence and power, punctuated by two Boss solos.



Weekend Update

Colin Jost tore into Donald Trump for his fight to overturn the election, while Michael Che got in a decent Tyler Perry joke about the Moderna vaccine. Speaking of which, Jost again went after Trump's mismanagement of the pandemic before, oh no, introducing Kate McKinnon's insipid creation, Dr. Wayne Wenowdis. It's a pandemic product, this doctor, and it's meant to make fun of how hapless and convoluted talking head medical experts have been, but it's a waste of time, which McKinnon and Jost seemed to acknowledge by breaking character and dissolving into a mess.
Che laughed at a number of his own jokes because nobody else would, though he did get in a solid one about the galaxy being so black. Melissa Villaseñor stopped by, denying that she was clearly dressed as Dolly Parton, and instead insisting she was there to sing Christmas songs. But, as she went, she did a near perfect Dolly impression and sung Parton-ized songs to wrap up a strangely nonsensical and incoherent Update.
Holiday Baking Championship

Reprising a concept they've done well at least twice before, SNL created a baking contest TV show that went dark, with bakers who can't execute their ideas and whose cakes have a life of their own. Chalamet's cake resembled an anus, which eventually blasted out brown liquid. Oh well, this worked the previous two times they tried it, so that's something.
Yeet

This was actually fairly good. Ego Nwodim played the moderator for a discussion about the year in rap music and, though joined by Punkie Johnson's Queen Latifah and the actual Questlove, the discussion was dominated by the ignorance of two ignorant "yeet" rappers, played by Chalamet and Pete Davidson. A hip-hop fan, Davidson has occasionally made fun of contemporary hip-hop going a bit too dumb and vapid in recent years, but this was the most overly harsh attack against wannabe white kids with face tattoos that he's been a part of. Props to Questlove for slapping these fools.
Sportsmax

A funny concept, the President's new favourite fake news outlet, Newsmax, launched Sportsmax, immediately asserting that the 0-12 New York Jets have actually won 11 games these season. Applying the same denial and distortions as Trump fans, Chalamet and his episode buddy, Pete Davidson, played "Da Bears" fans on steroids, who deny the Jets can lose, much the same way Trump can't. This episode closer was kinda amusing.