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The Dakota Johnson Hosted 'Saturday Night Live' Was Absolutely Heartbreaking

By Dustin Rowles | Saturday Night Live | March 1, 2015 |

By Dustin Rowles | Saturday Night Live | March 1, 2015 |

Dakota Johnson is going to be a huge star soon. She has an amazing presence, and she is effortlessly funny and lovely as hell. Dakota Johnson is so good, and so endearing, that it’s absolutely heartbreaking that both the writing on Fifty Shades of Grey and Saturday Night Live let her down so badly. SHE DESERVES BETTER. What a huge, wasted opportunity.

Giuliani Cold Open — Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (Taran Killam) reflects on how he ended up going from a potential presidential candidate to a guest on The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson (Vanessa Bayer) with help from Birdman (Beck Bennett). I wouldn’t call it a funny sketch, or even that amusing, but it is clever. It probably would’ve gone over slightly better If anyone had actually seen the Best Picture winner. (Score: 5/10)

Dakota Johnson Monologue — At least Johnson’s monologue is charming as hell: She successfully makes fun of her movie without shitting all over it, introduces her parents out in the audience (Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith), and talks about being conceived on the night her mom hosted SNL. (Score: 7/10)

Father Daughter Ad — After her graduation from high school, a father (Taran Killam) must let his daughter (Dakota Johnson) go … join ISIS. It’s a great set up, to a not-so-great punchline. In fact, the punchline may actually be a little … off key? It’s probably going to piss some people off, too, and it wasn’t funny enough to be worth it. (Score: 4/10)

Cinderella — Cinderella (Dakota Johnson) and Prince Charming’s (Taran Killam) meet-cute gets interrupted when Cathy Anne (Cecily Strong) shows up. There was a lot of Taran Killam, a lot of Kate McKinnon, and a lot of Cecily Strong in tonight’s episode, and it still managed to mostly fall flat. This sketch was fairly indicative of the rest of the night. (Score: 3/10)

Say What You Wanna Say — Five women (Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong, Dakota Johnson, Aidy Bryant, Leslie Jones) stop holding back and start telling the truth, just like Sara Bareilles would want them to. This was a mediocre idea that actually won me over through the sheer power of the enthusiasm everyone had for the sketch. They were really into the joke, especially Aidy Bryant. (Score: 7/10)

Press Junket — The expected Fifty Shades of Grey sketch in the episode was a missed opportunity. Dakota Johnson fields questions from fourth grader Peter (Kyle Mooney) during the Fifty Shades press junket. It is a terribly obvious sketch, and yet again, Dakota Johnson manages to make it watchable. (Score: 4/10)

I Can’t — And neither can I. (Score: 2/10)

Weekend Update — I’ve invented a fun new game while watching “Weekend Update” these days: I take a drink every time Michael Che’s delivery changes from the set up to the punchline. Unfortunately, I end up stone-cold sober at the end of every “Update.” It says a lot of they brought back Riblet for the second show in a row: It’s as though Che and Jost know that it’s not working, so they need to bring in a ringer. Riblet, once again, was the best pat of “Update.” (Score: 5/10)

Weekend Update: Ruth Bader Ginsburg
81-year-old Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Kate McKinnon) stops by to say she may be the oldest justice on the bench but she’s not the closest to death. Props to the enthusiasm McKinnon put into the bit, but it didn’t work. (Score: 3/10)

Weekend Update: Kanye West Apologizes — Kanye West (Jay Pharoah) raps an apology about everything from the escaped llamas to giving daughter North a directional name. Guh. (Score: 2/10)

Emergency Room — When Dr. Thomas (Kenan Thompson) is called into work on his day off, he surprises his staff (Dakota Johnson) and his patient (Taran Killam) by showing up dressed as Worf from Star Trek. This was essentially their tribute to Leonard Nimoy (kind of). It’s a really bad sketch EXCEPT when Taran Killam breaks character while he is dead. It’s almost worth watching just for that. (Score: 4/10)

Net Neutrality — Gennifer Owens (Sasheer Zamata) and panelists Samantha Shepherd (Dakota Johnson), Chris Konko (Pete Davidson), Mark Falanga (Bobby Moynihan) and Veronica Davis (Leslie Jones) discuss net neutrality. Another truly terrible sketch that nevertheless had one hilarious joke, thanks to Dakota Johnson’s perfect delivery. (Score: 3/10)

Mr. Riot Films — The latest production from Mr. Riot Films explores bullying and why no one does anything to stop it. It’s another Kyle Mooney/Beck Bennett joint, a pre-taped segment that Lorne Michaels that would’ve been a much better 10 to 3 sketch, after everyone at home had gone to sleep. (Score: 1/10)

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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