Saturday Night Live
This summer, Israeli model turned actor Gal Gadot knocked people over — both metaphorically and physically — playing the Amazonian princess Diana in Wonder Woman. (It’s worth noting there are no less than four upcoming movies that will feature Gadot as Diana, including the sequel to Wonder Woman. Who knew, after playing the character for the first time in Batman v. Superman, she might have discovered an inescapable franchise?) Earlier this week, Gadot told Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight Show she did a play for kids in Israel, though that’s the extent of her stage work. The SNL writers will undoubtedly play on her looks, but here’s hoping more unexpected things are on the way.
In place of a standard bit of political satire, Jason Aldean delivers a musical message for the people of Las Vegas and a tribute to the late Tom Petty. The country star, who was onstage at the Route 91 Harvest Festival when the shooting began last week, talked about trying to make sense of what happened and bonding in tough times. Afterward, he and his band launched into a fine version of Petty’s “Won’t Back Down.” It’s unfortunate that standing one’s ground brings to mind terrible gun laws these days, but the tribute is clearly well-meaning and effective.
Gal Gadot Monologue
Gadot saunters centerstage to address two subjects: her Israeli accent and her connection to the Wonder Woman film. Leslie Jones pops up, in full Wonder Woman regalia, to claim a bit of ownership to the character. Apparently, Jones stands out in Times Square taking photos with young women, avoiding creepy Elmos and eschewing the Lasso of Truth in favor of straight vodka. It’s a simple intro, but it’s sweet and it’s got energy.
E! New Lineup
Acknowledging that “the world is a complete bummer right now,” E! offers a fall lineup of incredibly vapid reality shows to fill the void in viewers’ hearts and minds. Kendall Jenner (Gadot) and her pals get lost in Jenner’s house; Blake Shelton (Luke Null) and Gwen Stefani (Melissa Villaseñor) sing to one another at breakfast; Kanye West (Chris Redd) earns his own show just awkwardly ducking off-camera. There are cute ideas here, but the criticism that E! is full of empty, directionless shows that its audience wants to lap up indiscriminately won’t feel new to anyone.
This sketch is impossible to talk about without ruining the surprise, so look away if you’re allergic to spoilers. For the first two minutes of their Bumble date, an American man (Kenan Thompson) and a Bosnian woman (Gadot) talk about how she missed out on a lot of culture while coping with war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Then, the woman blithely asks him, “So, O.J. is a nickname?” After the initial twist, the sketch plays with everything she doesn’t know about her date, the recently freed O.J. Simpson. White ladies scream at him — she wonders if it’s racism, and he agrees — and his steak comes with a plastic knife for some reason. It’s the squirm-inducing, are-they-gonna-oh-yes-they’re-going-for-it sketch of the night.
The Chosen One
That monosyllabic cypher Chad (Pete Davidson) — who in previous episodes beguiled a housewife (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and befuddled a professor (Benedict Cumberbatch) — finds a magic portal in his closet and falls into a Narnia-like land that he alone can save. Though Chad tells his new elven and centaur friends that he’ll help, he disappears almost immediately. (When an elf tracks him down playing video games at home, Chad says, “I was bored.”) Though Chad returns, he loses a precious map and pretends a magical sword is his dong. It’s perfectly silly and a great way to raise the stakes on Chad, a character that Davidson plays as an asshat Mona Lisa.
Deep in the desert, as two abandoned and dehydrated National Geographic cameramen stop to consider their options, they begin hallucinating. One guy (Thompson) sees his wife’s sexy trainer Natalia (Gadot) running a sexy lemonade stand while the other guy (Beck Bennett) can only conjure a vision of the noxious employees (Kyle Mooney and Mikey Day) at his local Jamba Juice. While Natalia juggles lemons in front of her breasts, the Jamba Juice manager (Leslie Jones) hollers at Mark to pick up his Bananamatazz. The switcheroo is pretty straightforward, but the Jamba Juice employees will be recognizable to anyone who has spent any time ordering Peach Pleasures.
Safelite Auto Glass
Beck Bennett is a zealous Safelite worker, religiously replacing his client’s windshields when they crack. When one mother needs help so her young daughter can get to the basketball game, the repairman is there. When the window breaks again, he’s there again. And again. Eventually, the mom confronts the repairman for being a creep — he’s carrying around a chisel and making eyes at her 17-year-old kid and calling her “basically a full woman.” The parody has a well-written arc to it, with a nice reveal. (And who knows, maybe pedophilia will help Safelite sell a few more windshields?)
The first half of Update is essentially a plea for gun control. Since the Las Vegas gunman had dozens of guns, both Colin Jost and Michael Che talk numbers. Che tells a gun-toting “snowflake” that if he can’t hit something with six shots, he’d better “learn karate or use your words.” Jost also takes on Trump’s compunctious trip to Puerto Rico: “Nothing says I understand the gravity of the situation like a billionaire throwing six rolls of paper towels to hurricane victims.” Kate McKinnon stops by as Ruth Bader Ginsburg to deliver some “Ginsburns” regarding Neil Gorsuch, gerrymandering, and the Supreme Court’s balance of conservative and liberal justices. McKinnon endears, as always, and throws in dance moves to boot.
In the second half, Che makes a questionable plea for employer support of birth control by talking about how good it is for guys: “Women are basically putting their bodies through global warming just so I can keep pretending I have a latex allergy.” And Jost offers this nice one: “A new survey finds half of Americans think that in the future, having sex with a robot will be normal — while the other half are women.” Pete Davidson stops by to talk about being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, suggesting that a little more airtime might help him be less depressed. The monologue is a highlight: It’s honest, smart, and refreshing. It even ends with a tossed-off question that cropped up online this summer: “Why have I not been fired?!”
The Maiden and the Mice
This “Story Book Classic” plays with the Disney-ified notion that a helpful crew of critters can send lowly Cinderella to the ball by magically building a dress — as they did so successfully in the animated version of the story. Three mice (Aidy Bryant, Kate McKinnon, and Kyle Mooney) gift the would-be princess (Gadot) with not a miraculously beautiful gown but a terrible garment made of “rags and bags.” After a little dissembling, the princess confesses that the dress won’t work, and things get ugly. “We only live like a year,” says one mouse. “We basically gave you our twenties.” When the prince finally arrives, Cinderella was never really an option because “I don’t date poor chicks.”
A van full of policemen do their best to negotiate with Sabine (Gadot), one of Europe’s most intimidating spies. Unfortunately, their communications are interrupted at crucial moments by a supposedly sexy webcam show from Miss Vixen and Kate (Cecily Strong and Aidy Bryant), a sloppy duo in their dirty kitchen who do strange things for tips. While the policemen try to figure out what it’ll take to get the information on Sabine’s flash drive, Miss Vixen and Kate eat pickles and whirl one another around on office chairs. There’s nothing noteworthy about the sketch, but watching Strong and Bryant ham it up together is always enjoyable.
When it comes to Wonder Woman’s origin story, there’s one obvious question: Wouldn’t an island full of Amazons be super-gay? Modern ladies Megan and Dre (Bryant and McKinnon) wash ashore on Themyscira and try to make sense of it all. None of the Amazons will fess up to being lesbians, despite lots of wrestling and talk of jasmine-scented hair. “It’s like we’re in a porn but the plumber is just genuinely there to fix the pipe,” says Megan. After an extended kiss between Diana and Dre, just to be absolutely sure it isn’t happening, the modern ladies get back on their boat and head to Lesbos. It’s a charming, tongue-in-cheek way to address a question about Wonder Woman.
The Naomi Show
On this chat show, Naomi (Gadot) welcomes a worried mom (Bryant) and her troubled daughter (Heidi Gardner) to show the latter some tough love. A drill sergeant (Thompson) shows up and threatens to move the kid in with him and act like her daddy. Turns out, this is actually an idea the ungovernable kid can get behind — she has no father and could use a masculine presence in her life. Her mom is into it, too: “We can figure out the nature of our relationship, but my vote is sexual.” The sketch is just fine, but it’s great to see a new player like Gardner sink her teeth into a part; she does a great rebel-without-a-clue.
Yes, Gal Gadot is made to talk Wonder Woman and look pretty in this week’s SNL, but the writers did a decent job finding more for her to do, too. The “First Date” sketch has a wicked bite to it, and the aggrieved lesbians of “Themyscira” are pretty delightful. The Las Vegas shooting understandably took over the political conversation this week, bringing hopeful words to those struggling with loss and a kick in the ass for citizens and legislators who fail to act. Though little is likely to linger from this week’s show, it remains a solid distraction from news headlines.