Cold Open — The introduction to the show has a D.J. (Cecily Strong) introducing all the Republican candidates for the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, each of whom perform a dance. There doesn’t really seem to be a joke here, just an opportunity to introduce the cast members who will be playing the respective candidates, unless they are fired over the summer ( ed. note: Some of them will definitely be fired over the summer, perhaps even as a direct result of this sketch). (Score: 3/10)
Reese Witherspoon Monologue — Witherspoon is lovely, and I wonder how it must feel to host SNL the day after your movie is released, and after the box-office numbers have already revealed it to be a bomb? Anyway, Reese’s monologues allow the cast members to come out with their actual mothers to admit a transgression in their youths. Then, to get them back, the mothers show embarrassing home videos of all the cast members. It’s cute, and touching, and a perfect Mother’s Day monologue, even if it’s not that funny. It’s totally worth it, though, to see the cast members’ home videos, especially the one with Pete Davidson, which features the voice of his father (who died in the Twin Towers). It’s very much an awwwwww monologue. (Score: 7/10)
The L.A. Scene — Two middle-aged women (Cecily Strong and Reese Witherspoon) host a talk show, hit on young men, and make phone calls off camera that they don’t realize are picked up on their mics. Someone in the writers’ room thought to make a sketch where Reese Witherspoon farts off camera, and Lorne Michaels thought enough of it to make it the first sketch of the night after the monologue. This is going to be a long night, folks. (Score: 2/10)
Picture Perfect — It was one-joke premise. A single joke, and it was a very clever joke, but not a joke that could sustain an entire sketch. That joke? It’s a charades-like game show where contestants have to make their teammates answer based on their drawing. One team is asked to draw, uh, the Prophet Muhammed. Awkwardness ensues. I wish the awkwardness could’ve been more amusing. (Score: 4/10 for the sketch; 9/10 for the premise).
Hallmark — Another one-joke sketch that sees a lot of Hallmark employees mimicking their boss. One employee’s imitation reveals some disturbing comments the boss has made, and by that, I mean, the employee is being sexually harassed by his boss, and it’s funny because … he doesn’t seem to mind? Oy. (Score: 4/10)
Weekend Update — Nothing particularly out of ordinary for this week’s Update: Jost and Che continue to insist they have chemistry based on the fact that Che derisively laughs at most of Jost’s jokes. They did, however, each deliver a joke that their mother texted them, which was admittedly cute. It’s not saying that much, but they were probably the best things about the episode tonight outside of the monologue. (Score: 6/10)
Leslie Jones, Relationship Expert — Leslie plays a scorned ex-girlfriend who sends snail mail letters to her ex-boyfriend because he blocked her on Facebook. It’s basically just an excuse for Jones to banter with Jost. There are worse things (not that many, but I’m sure they exist). (Score: 5/10)
Two Girls You Should You Hadn’t Met at a Party — Reese joins Cecily’s recurring character, Reese is great, but the segment — believe it or not on SNL — is actually too short, and the bit has lost its steam. (Score: 4/10)
Willie — Willie, ever the optimist, talks about graduating from high school. It isn’t that funny, but Kenan I still appreciate Kenan’s glee. (Score: 5/10).
Student Theater Showcase — I didn’t care for this sketch the first time — high schoolers put on an avant-garde production — but that’s where we are with SNL right now: Mediocre sketches are good enough to be recurring. It ends with Leslie Jones walking in front of the stage to say, “Screw this. I’m going home to watch Judge Judy.” Unfortunately, Judge Judy is not on at 12:35 at night here. (Score: 3/10)
Wine Drinking Ladies — A group of women drink wine and complain about their recent traumatic experiences. Oof. It’s still only 12:43. (Score: 2/10)
Water Slide — I have no idea how this even counts as a sketch. There is no premise! There is no joke! (Score: 1/10)
Whiskers R’ We — What is this? The night of subpar recurring episodes? Witherspoon breaks character and laughs, which is the only time anyone laughed tonight. I KID! I may have snickered at one of the Mesothelioma commercials during the ad breaks. (Score: 4/10)