“SNL” Season 48, Episode 14 Review

Story posted March 14, 2023 in Arts & Entertainment by Sophia D'Ovidio.

“Saturday Night Live” needed some star power after their subpar prior episode, and who better than recent Super Bowl champion Travis Kelce to get the series back on track?

It is shocking that of this three-episode run, the one hosted by a recent inductee into the five-timers club and not the professional athlete is likely the worst episode of the season.

Whether the cast and crew of “SNL” got along with Kelce better than Woody Harrelson or just got their act together, they put together a much more fun episode.

“SNL” has kept with its positive change this season of shorter cold opens with “Fox & Friends Cold Open: Dominion Lawsuit.” It was captivating and didn’t overstay its welcome, but overall forgettable by the time the episode ended.

It’s not entirely shocking Kelce had an excellent monologue. He is incredibly charming, and the writers did a great job utilizing his past and his family in the audience to get the audience familiar with the tight end and the energy high for the episode.

Considering that many watching “SNL” may not have been familiar with Kelce, this monologue did a great job introducing him.

Conversely, the first sketch was “SNL’s” opportunity to show many viewers who were likely watching for Kelce what kind of comedy the sketch show offered.

It was an exciting and risky pick that ultimately paid off with the “American Girl Cafe” sketch.

Kelce stated in his monologue and interview on the “Tonight Show” that he’s always been a massive fan of “SNL.” This was apparent as the athlete was consistently the weird character in every sketch.

That trend of the night started strong in the “American Girl Cafe” sketch, where Kelce played an adult man who was getting dinner alone with his two American Girl dolls.

This sketch was extremely solid, and Kelce did a great job holding down this sketch, which is not easy, especially for someone who isn’t an entertainer.

Continuing with one of the last week's few positive trends was a Please Don’t Destroy sketch early in the night. “Self-Defense” was another great entry from the writing trio, not necessarily their best, but they kept up their quality of digital shorts well.

“Mamas Funeral” and “Abby the Ex-Girlfriend” were fun sketches but somewhat forgettable in the entire episode.

“Weekend Update '' had a more interesting week than typically does in the assumed end of the Colin Jost-Michael Che dynasty.
Rookie Michael Longfellow is continuing his deadpan characters behind the fake news desk as he took on Dilbert after the comics scandal, and the makeup department deserves serious props.

Sometimes it feels like Longfellow is too clever for the audience, but once his delivery or style is tailored for “SNL,” the rookie has a real chance at stardom.

Punkie Johnson and Mikey Day came on “Update” as themselves as Day revealed that despite Johnson working in the entertainment industry, she doesn’t know the names of any celebrities.

The feature was endearing and a great way to introduce audiences to the often under-utilized Johnson. It also felt very genuine, like this was something the “SNL” cast, particularly Day and Jost, found funny.

Watching Johson go from an almost-embarrassed-like state to feeding off the crowd's energy was fun.

However, this feature's similarity to an “Abbott Elementary” cold open from not long ago made the segment feel a little tired, not necessarily a rip-off but something that had just been done and executed much better.

But rounding out the segment was the always-welcome Sarah Sherman with “Sarah’s News (Birthday Edition).” Sherman has a great and fresh sense of humor at “SNL,” and anytime she gets to let her personality shine is refreshing.

The prerecorded sketch “Straight Male Friend” was another strong entry for the night.

The night's best and most obscure sketches came from “Family Meeting” and “Garret from Hinge.”

“Family Meeting” was the kind of absurd humor that “SNL” is known for, and this sketch was a great reminder of why this rebuilding year is so promising.

It’s always a plus to see James Austin Johnson in a non-political impression, and having him, Ego Nwodim and Kelce sing was genuinely hysterical.

Additionally, “Garret from Hinge” was a reminder of what a force Bowen Yang truly is. Already the prominent superstar of this new era, and getting to see him in weird and obscure characters is entertaining.

It was also apparent that Kansas City native Heidi Gardner got to have a lot of screen time with Kelce, and it was all put to great use. No matter how Gardner was used in this episode, she was fantastic, and it was great to see her so much throughout the episode.

While not season 48’s best entry, Kelce helped “SNL” get back to the quality it had before the Harrelson episode. He also made a great case for himself to be a media personality in the vein of Peyton and Eli Manning when he decided to end his football career.

The episode was fun to watch but forgettable at its lowest and highest was hilarious.

Maybe “SNL’s” biggest test lies ahead of them with Jena Ortega hosting next week. Ortega is one of the biggest names right now, and “SNL” has a real chance to capture a younger demographic again if they play their cards right.

Best Sketch of the Night: “Family Meeting” or “Garret from Hinge”
Worst Sketch of the Night: “Too Hot to Handle”
MVP(s): Travis Kelce and Heidi Gardner
Unsung Hero: Mikey Day
A note for next week: Likely the most significant chance to capture Gen Z’s attention with Jena Ortega as host. Please don’t do anything too millennial, please.
Episode Rating: 3.5/5

Sophia D’Ovidio is a second-year majoring in digital and print journalism. To contact her, email sgd5184@psu.edu.