Natalie Portman first hosted Saturday Night Live nearly 12 years ago, when she starred in one of the all-time great digital shorts. This weekend, she delivered the ultimate sequel with the help of Andy Samberg.
The follow-up to “Natalie Raps” was one of two sketches to feature the return of SNL alumni. Earlier in the evening, Portman was joined by Tina Fey and Rachel Dratch in a colonial-era sketch inspired by Super Bowl LII. Those were among the highlights in an otherwise so-so episode, as the late-night sketch comedy series heads into a month-long hiatus brought on by the Winter Olympics.
Lo and behold, my picks for the best and worst sketches…
BEST: REVOLUTIONARY WAR
Dratch was clearly channeling her inner Denise in this sketch that pitted the “patriots from New England” against Fey’s “delegation from Philadelphia.” After the patriots boasted about their victory at Bunker Hill while sipping coffee delivered by good friend Duncan (heh!), the delegates came barging in to warn that Philly was ready for a fight. Whether or not you care about Sunday’s Patriots vs. Eagles match-up, I think we can all be thankful that it inspired this skit.
BEST: NATALIE’S 2ND RAP
The Lonely Island era of SNL is long behind us, so a follow-up to Portman’s beloved digital short wasn’t entirely expected. Who cares that it was almost “exactly the same, but with current references”? Portman was game, Samberg was back, and that alone was enough. Among the funniest bits: Queen Amidala defending the Star Wars prequels, and Portman’s water breaking at the OB-GYN.
HONORABLE MENTION: STRANGER THINGS 3
You don’t have to be familiar with the Netflix phenomenon to appreciate this ridiculous “sneak peek” at the upcoming third season. In it, Portman’s Eleven came face-to-face with other numerically named outcasts, including Beck Bennett’s Fourteen (who can start fires with his mind), Cecily Strong’s Nine (who can read people’s minds, but not without farting), and Aidy Bryant’s Eighteen (who can do a mean Borat impression, but not without passing out).
WORST: FIRST LADY
Having so masterfully tackled the 2016 election, this season’s dire political satire continues to boggle the mind. Somehow worse than the Fox & Friends cold open (watch it here) was this post-Weekend Update sketch that found Strong’s Melania Trump visited by former first ladies, including Kate McKinnon’s Hillary Clinton, Aidy Bryant’s Martha Washington, Leslie Jones’ Michelle Obama and Portman’s Jacqueline Kennedy. Interestingly enough, Portman seemed most uncomfortable here, despite previously earning an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Jackie O.
WORST: ALIEN LOVER
Portman played a Star Trek-esque captain looking to get her intergalactic freak on, only to discover that her alien lover’s face was actually his butt, and his butt was actually his face. The premise alone was utter nonsense, and the execution was downright painful. Easily one of the worst sketches of the season.
What were your favorite sketches this week? And what missed the mark? Grade the episode via the following poll, then hit the comments to flesh out your thoughts.