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TV That Matters: “Saturday Night Live”

By Christina Murphy COLUMNIST

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Anyone who has access to Wi-Fi probably noticed that the winner of this summer was Chris Pratt, which is why he was elected to host the 40th season premiere of Saturday Night Live. Pratt is so adorably endearing that he can giggle at his own jokes, mess up guitar cords, misread cue cards and the crowd will still love him. He was a perfect choice to help ease viewers into a season of great change.

Half of the new cast members from Season 39 and long-time player, Nasim Pedrad are no longer on the show. This summer, we also lost the one and only SNL announcer, Don Pardo at the age of 96. SNL alumnus, Darrell Hammond, is fulfilling his duties. The graphics department took on a new approach, playing around with fonts to give the show a vintage feel. The update desk also faced some changes in both aesthetics and personnel. Cecily Strong stepped down from her role as anchor and has been replaced by “Daily Show” correspondent and SNL writer, Michael Che. The dude duo had a fine first show with a hilarious musical ending and several walk-ons to break up awkwardness.

One of these walk-on segments was an appearance from the only new cast member this season, Pete Davidson, who at 20 years old is the youngest SNL cast member ever. Yes, he’s 20. He is the same age as me, and probably either slightly younger or slightly older than all of you. You actually may have danced with him at Dizzy’s before. At first when I heard him speak I thought he was doing a Paul Giamatti impression, but apparently that’s his real voice. He’s wildly ostentatious but terribly charming and made an unforgettable first impression.

The first sketch included two action figures who come alive and know nothing of the world around them, but discover life’s simple pleasures: cake and sex. Musical guest Ariana Grande makes an awkward appearance during the sketch where her back is facing the audience for most of it. Clearly she never appeared in an elementary school play, as even I know that is the number one rule of the theatre.

As a musical guest, Grande didn’t even bother to hide the fact that she was lip-synching, although that doesn’t really matter because either way you cannot understand a single word she is singing. She was also wearing a pair of cat ears for both of her performances that went entirely unexplained and seemed to fit into no theme whatsoever.

My personal favorite sketch was one where two awkward stiffs meet at a bar and go about communicating with each other exclusively in rap lyrics. Aidy Bryant’s interpretation of Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda is superb and quite possibly the role she was born to play.

“Bad Boys” was a digital Kyle Mooney special that parodies a typical ‘90s sitcom, where Chris Pratt is peer pressured by a bunch of children. Highlights of this include, Pratt’s middle part, Mooney’s tool belt and the bird Beanie Baby seen in the background of the set, which can also be found currently in my living room.

This male-heavy season premiere really put the NFL on trial for their recent, major gaffes. They had a couple of sketches related to the scandal, the better one being a mock line up of teams where the players announce their names and all of their past offenses as a player would normally introduce themselves before a game.

SNL is going through yet another transitional period. The recent cast changes have made the show stronger than ever. With more diversity than the show has ever had, we’re entering a new era of SNL. The world is a completely different place than it was in 1975, yet 40 years later we can still count on one thing: Saturday Night Live.

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