SNL Highlights: Black Panther Plays Black Jeopardy!, Aidy Channels Cardi B

Chadwick Boseman was pretty good for a first-time Saturday Night Live host, even if the material itself was lacking.

After a three-week break, the sketch comedy series returned with a wildly inconsistent episode that seemed to have almost no idea what to do with the Black Panther star, save for the inevitable sketch with a Marvel tie-in. The night got off to a rough start with a tired, Trump-centric cold open, followed by a somewhat promising monologue that died the moment Kenan Thompson came out dressed as one of the Thundercats. And while the show could have done better by its host, it still managed to be a rather great evening for Aidy Bryant, who was easily the episode’s MVP.

Lo and behold, my picks for the best and worst sketches…

A Black Panther sketch was inevitable, and this one was pretty good. (Far better than what Sterling K. Brown had to work with a few weeks back!) T’Challa finally getting a handle on the game, and insisting that white friend Karen keep her “bland-ass potato salad to herself,” was priceless. (A second Black Panther-themed sketch was dumped at 12:55. It was just OK.)

The best female ensemble-led skit since the “Welcome to Hell” music video featured Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, Heidi Gardner and Melissa Villaseñor advertising a line of leggings “designed for endurance, but used for what most women actually do in leggings: set up shop on their couch.” Bryant got the biggest laugh when she described her soft pants as ideal for sitting on either side of the couch, or walking to her front door to retrieve the delivery of a single bagel. Sub out the leggings for a pair of sweatpants, and you’ve got my Sunday morning routine!

Lil’ Baby Aidy for the win! From the moment Bryant told Kyle Mooney to “shut your ho ass up,” you knew this one was gonna be good! Her transformation from sweet girl from North Central Phoenix to ride-or-die B from the Bronx grew funnier with each easily avoidable confrontation, including a backstage run-in with Boseman. The Cardi B cameo at the end was the perfect cap to one of Bryant’s best sketches of the season.

The return of Heidi Gardner’s Angel featured many a mention of taking her kids to her sister’s, because of course it did. But best of all was her reaction to the Roseanne revival: “I thought they retired that show in the ’90s, and now they’re gonna bring it back? And I’m supposed to believe that it’s different just because Darlene’s got a gay son? Well, I don’t need no fancy reboot, alright? I’m ride-or-die. I still watch Frasier on VHS!”

Another lackluster cold open, another phoned-in performance by Alec Baldwin. Whenever the show takes more than a week off, the writers seem to think it’s necessary to make mention of every. single. one. of Trump’s recent gaffes. And so we get 45 congratulating Vladimir Putin, an inner thought about Roseanne Barr being “the good Rosie O’Donnell,” and an extremely loose reenactment of his press conference with the leaders of Baltic nations. It’s too much, and it never gels.

You could hear a pin drop in Studio 8H during this skit about a firefighter who refused to put out a massive blaze so he could get home and work on his passion project: creating life-sized dolls for canines modeled after their owners. Boseman was sleep-walking through this one, but who could blame him? The whole thing was excruciating.

Alex Moffat typically brings it during Weekend Update. Heck, his Eric Trump is one of my favorite recurring characters. But his over-the-top impression of the Facebook founder was beyond obnoxious. Like, Bruce Chandling levels of obnoxious. The bit couldn’t end soon enough.

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.