Remember the bad old days of comic-book movies, when all you had to do was throw a couple of Shakespearean actors into Spandex and everybody’s minds would be blown?
Well, Saturday Night Live this weekend brought back those heady, pre-MCU days when the X-Men were the only respectable superhero franchise around.
School vs. School is a fictional PBS show where teams of teachers and students square off against each other in a trivia-based game show format. That’s good news for the West Grove High team (comprised of Michael Longfellow, Punkie Johnson and Marcello Hernandez), and yet academics aren’t really the strong suit for Professor Zander’s Academy for Extraordinary Children – a thinly-veiled parody of the X-Men.
Guest host Jenna Ortega plays Zena, a Rogue/Jean Grey-type, Mikey Day is, uh … Professor Z? And Molly Kearney is Knockout, a Strong Guy look-a-like. And like the source material, the super-powered kids are driven by teen angst and hormones.
Although they get a lucky break with the first question (the answer is “mutation”), it turns out they’re not so well versed in the classics (there is a Shakespearean character named Toby, but he’s not the one who says “To be or not to be”) and things go quickly downhill. Knockout screams “WE COULD ENSLAVE YOU!” in wildly distorted voice while smashing her podium to pieces, and Zena and the Professor end every interaction by screaming at each other.
It’s an especially fun sketch if you were ever a fan of the 2000s X-Men movies, the ’90s cartoon, or the comics that have been running continuously for decades now. A reboot of the cartoon is currently is due out on Disney+ this fall and there’s been talk about Ortega being cast as one of the mutants of Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters when the X-Men are finally introduced into the MCU. Could this be an early audition for her? Heck, maybe Mikey Day’s looking to take Patrick Stewart’s role.
Watch the skit above, and grade this weekend’s SNL.