Saturday Night Live opened its 42nd season last month with Margot Robbie as their first host. Ms. Robbie is an Australian actress known for her work in films like The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), Whisky Tango Foxtrot (2016), and, most recently, for her standout performance as Harley Quinn in an otherwise flawed Suicide Squad (2016).
Oh, and she’s physically attractive.
This was all the SNL writers seemed to think was relevant when pitching sketches for their season opener. Setting aside the big election-mocking ensemble sketches, Robbie’s starring moments came in two sketches I can only describe as cringe worthy.
First, we have LIVE REPORT where a local news team reports on a car-swallowing sinkhole at a local shopping center. When the location reporter turns to interview the locals, the story quickly becomes Hot Woman with Lame Guy?! The five-minute sketch only devolves from there. Lame guy must be rich? No! He’s a puppeteer!? He must be well endowed then? No, he doesn’t even have a penis!? I’m not making this up. Margo Robbie gets to stand there and look hot while everyone else wonders how her character could possibly have picked a man that doesn’t fit society’s standards. I’m wondering how this ever made it to air.
Second, we have THE LIBRARIAN. You can probably guess how this goes. A student pines for the sexy librarian and his friend decides to embarrass him by drawing this fact to the librarian’s attention. She responds by launching into an increasingly disturbing erotic display, eventually turning into some kind of demon creature and literally blowing the boys’ minds. I honestly don’t know what to make of this. Maybe it was supposed to be subversive? If so, I don’t think it worked and we now have two sexy-host sketches. They couldn’t think of anything better for her to do?
These disasters look worse given the other missed opportunities throughout the show. For example, my hopes were raised somewhat as I started on ACTRESS ROUND TABLE. Here was a sketch with five women representing show-business role models (Keira Knightly, Marion Cotillard, Lupita Nyong’o) discussing their industry and craft. What a great opportunity to showcase female performances in some cutting feminist satire! Unfortunately, the sketch was mostly a vehicle for (the fabulous) Kate McKinnon to do one of her unhinged old-biddy characters. What could have been a strong feminist sketch slowly died in a pool of dementia-based humor. Ms. Robbie’s turn as Keira Knightly barely registers.
Perhaps most damning of all is the absolutely fantastic MR. ROBOT sketch in which Leslie Jones co-opts the show’s hacker protagonist to help reveal the people behind her recent nude photo hack. The sketch is a brilliant FU to all the haters and it proves that the SNL writers can produce brilliant satire at the highest level. Margot Robbie has an 8-second cameo. Where was this brilliance when they were writing for her?! This was the season premiere!
FAIL. She deserved better.