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The Rock Hosted One of the Best and Worst 'SNL' Episodes of the Season

By Dustin Rowles | Saturday Night Live | March 29, 2015 |

By Dustin Rowles | Saturday Night Live | March 29, 2015 |

The episode started out so promising, bringing back The Rock Obama and transitioning into a fantastic monologue. There was some nice cultural satire, the best fake trailer since Wes Anderson’s Midnight Coterie a cartwheeling 69 and a solid Weekend Update.

Then the bottom fell out. The show, running at full speed, jumped under the blankets, ripped down its shorts, and shat the bed. Back halves are often very bad, but given how good the front half was, this one. If there ever was an argument to edit the show down to one hour, this episode was it.

The Rock Obama — You have made the President very angry, and when he gets very angry, he turns into The Rock Obama. Plus, a twist: She-Rock Obama. As Cold Opens go, it’s neither sharp nor witty, but it is blunt-force charming. I think we’ll see a lot of that from The Rock tonight. I’m OK with that. (Score: 6/10)

Dwayne Johnson’s Monologue — The monologue is a musical number, and The Rock can’t sing for shit. Does it matter? NOPE. I think he just injected some much-needed franchise viagra into SNL. (Score: 8/10)

Pep Boys Gender Flex Campaign — Car mechanics talking genderflecting is exactly how you skewer the Starbucks Race Together campaign (no offense to car mechanics). (7/10)

Wrestlemania Promo — Smack talk during a wrestling promo gets intensely personal when The Rock starts slinging intimate details about his opponent, like the fact that he has herpes. Nobody pulls this off but The Rock, but he does a helluva job doing so. (Score: 7/10)

Disney’s Bambi Remake Trailer — A trailer for a dark, action movie remake of Bambi starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as a gun-slinging Bambi who wants to get revenge on the hunters who killed his mom. Also starring Vin Diesel (Thumper), Tyreese, and Michelle Rodriguez. The best trailer parody since the Wes Anderson horror flick. Get bucked. (Score: 9/10)

Dinner Date — Well, they can’t all be great, but even the stinkers are worth watching for The Rock (and Cecily Strong’s British accent). (Score: 4/10)

Doctor Bones — When Dr. Bones (Dwayne Johnson) gets shot with poisoned darts in the chest, butt and groin, Short-Long (Pete Davidson) and Miss Reese (Kate McKinnon) vie to be the one that gets to suck the poison out. It’s a one joke sketch, but my God, it’s a one-joke sketch that ends with Pete Davidson cartwheeling into a 69 with The Rock. That was impressive, and also may be the peak of Davidson’s career (which is not a dig. It’d be the peak of a lot of comedian’s careers) (Score: 5/10)

Brogaine — An amusing conceit — Rogaine for balding frat boys — but it’s a very Kyle Mooney, so your mileage may vary. It doesn’t work for me at all. (Score: 3/10)

Weekend Update — The news cycle this last week has done a lot of favors for Colin Jost and Michael Che, and they take advantage. The show is going well, and even Michael Che is in unnaturally good spirits. Moreover, as our friend Tom Brazelton noted, Colin Jost has apparently dropped the obnoxious smirk. Unfortunately, Optimistic Willie and Olya Povlatsky brought down the segment average a notch. (Score: 7.5/10)

Weekend Update: Olya Povlatsky on the Russian Economy
Weekend Update: Willie Is Excited for Spring

Cooking with Paul — Paul is a three-time sex offender. His co-host is his probation officer (The Rock), who is there to prevent Paul from looking at little boys on the Internet. I have no idea what that was, but it was a spectacularly terrible sketch, and a really bad misfire in what was an otherwise great show up until this point. (Score 1/10)

Improv Sketch — An improv troupe bring Robert Durst up on stage and … oh boy. Apparently, they were so confident in the top half of the show, they didn’t even bother with the back half tonight. Another miserably bad sketch saved from the lowest score by a fun Durst impersonation from an unlikely source: Kate McKinnon. (Score: 2/10)

Good Cop, Bad Cop — The joke here is that the bad cop (The Rock) is really, really bad at insults. It doesn’t work, and Rock spends way too much time checking the cue cards. What the hell happened to this episode? I’ve never seen an otherwise great episode so completely fall apart in the back half. (Score: 2/10)

Kyle Mooney Awkward Interview Guy — Let’s just not talk about it, OK? YOU GUYS LET DOWN THE ROCK. (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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