Logo-with-dark-gray
RSS Blog

“Saturday Night Live” Total Recap: John Cena & Maren Morris

December 11th, 2016 by Liz Brown

This week “Saturday Night Live” welcomed wrestler, actor, and reality star John Cena for his first time as host with musical guest Maren Morris.

WARNING: Complete spoilers for the entire episode ahead

COLD OPEN: THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Alec Baldwin got the night off from playing President-elect Trump in the cold open this week, but another guest star stepped in to help out with the show’s running commentary on the forthcoming administration. In response to Trump’s recent unconventional picks for his new cabinet, Bryan Cranston appeared to revive his beloved “Breaking Bad” character Walter White and introduced himself as Trump’s pick to head the Drug Enforcement Administration.

JOHN CENA MONOLOGUE
Cena told the audience he’d been working on a monologue song with writers all week, but he never actually got to show off his crooning chops as he was repeatedly interrupted by “SNL” cast members challenging him to wrestling showdowns. Bobby Moynihan played a kilt-wearing, awkward-walking wrestler named “The Waddler” and Leslie Jones played a no-nonsense sexually aggressive wrestling character named—well—Leslie Jones.

DATING SHOW
Cecily Strong played a ditzy bachelorette choosing between three dopey suitors on an MTV game show in this next sketch. She quickly loses interest in all of the contestants when she meets the dreamy, muscular host played by John Cena. Strong and Cena proceed to go through several stages of an intense relationship over the course of three minutes. We like that the writers hit this joke hard and fast without dragging the bit out too long, and, of course, it was nice to see cast members Beck Bennett and Kyle Mooney finally lock lips. The sexual tension between those two has been killing us.

THE KARATE TEEN
Featured cast member Mikey Day starred as an underdog martial artist in this “Karate Kid” send up where he takes on the buff bully (John Cena) at the championships—and loses. Badly. So badly that he got knocked out of his karate pants and has his own coach encouraging him to just give up and stay down. We actually wouldn’t have minded seeing this one go a little longer since we’re suckers for a well done movie parody.

SCIENCE PRESENTATION
John Cena plays a simpleton football star determined to get an A+ on his science presentation in this next sketch, the joke being that none of his professors care about anything but making sure he’s eligible to play in the big bowl game. While other students share their well-researched projects on quantum entanglements and ionization, Cena’s character’s project is some bananas nailed to a piece of plywood.

DYKE AND FATS SAVE CHRISTMAS
Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant brought back their 70s-style Chicago police officer characters, lesbian Les Dykowitz and food enthusiast Chubbina Fatzarelli, to save Christmas when Santa gets kidnapped. TV execs take note: we’d probably watch a full series of this if you’re looking for midseason replacements.

MAREN MORRIS PERFORMS ‘MY CHURCH’
The burgeoning country superstar crushed her first appearance on “SNL,” performing her hit single “My Church” with the poise of an old pro.

WEEKEND UPDATE
Co-anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che continued their roasting of President-elect Trump this week by comparing him to the “rich, cool guy” who wins the student council election then starts a food fight with the Model U.N. and grabs the cheerleaders by the pom poms. Jost reminds us that if we’d wanted a diligent, competent leader who was actually going to do the job, we would have gone with “nerd lady.”

PART 1:

PART 2:

UPDATE SEGMENT: ANGELA MERKEL
Kate McKinnon returned to the update desk as German Chancellor and 2015 TIME Person of the Year Angela Merkel. Merkel commented on TIME’s decision to pick Donald Trump this year and compared it to winning the Nobel Prize for physics and finding out the next year they gave it to Hoobastank. Our favorite line, though, came when she commented on Hillary Clinton, saying that she’s so deep in the woods she’s afraid she’ll find a candied house.

UPDATE SEGMENT: CATHY ANNE ON PIZZAGATE
Cecily Strong brought back her high-waisted-jeans-and-windbreaker wearing “real American” character Cathy Anne to comment on the fake news controversy as well as the rise of the Alt-Right. It’s a difficult political climate, but she’s staying positive by following a slightly edited version of Michelle Obama’s advice: “When they go low, we get high.”

WHERE’D YOUR MONEY GO?
The first post-update sketch of the night was a game show featuring uninformed millionaires who are a doing a terrible job managing their money. Their brilliant investment ideas include investing in an Asian fusion restaurant suggested by some guy at a nightclub, as well as a new alcoholic sports drink called Smirnoff Sport. It’s just blue vodka.

JOANNE AND THE TREE
Christmas goes horribly wrong when Joanne from accounting steps up to place the angel on top of the company tree and proceeds to fall out the window while holding it. The good news is that she’s still got one hand on the ledge and one hand on the tree. The bad news is her coworkers are really pretty much just worried about the tree. This sketch fell a little flat.

MAREN MORRIS PERFORMS ‘80S MERCEDES’
The sultry singer was 2 for 2 tonight, delivering another solid performance with her rich voice and sassy persona.

THROUGH DONALD’S EYES
This dream sequence digital short imagined what the world look like through Donald Trump’s eyes. It kicks off with the Donald seeing everything as he wants it to be—including a reflection of himself with gigantic, manly hands. The vision then takes a dark turn when Trump sees himself getting dissed by a Hollywood model, and everything gets blurry. Then things get real bad and people, like, want him to do work and stuff. No matter what your political beliefs, this sketch came out more creepy than funny.

ROMANCE BOOKSTORE
A series of customers enter an erotic bookstore looking to spice up their love lives with some sexy novels. Instead, they get treated to the passionate fantasy lives of clerk Aidy Bryant and Fabio-esque stock boy John Cena. Bryant and Cena imagine themselves in a variety of stereotypical trashy romance novel scenarios as their hair gets blown back by nearby fans. The over-the-top acting in this one gave us a few chuckles even though we could see the jokes coming once the premise was revealed.

TALENT COMPETITION
The final sketch of the night featured Mikey Day and John Cena as owl wranglers and competitors on an “America’s Got Talent” parody. Unfortunately, their owl Majesty doesn’t seem to have totally recovered from the head trauma he suffered six months prior which means he can’t stop spouting bodily fluids. This was no “Falconer,” but when it comes to the last sketch of the night we’re willing to forgive a little bit of total silliness.

The final “Saturday Night Live” episode of 2016 airs next week with host Casey Affleck and musical guest Chance the Rapper.

*
*