Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

SNL zooms in on the pitfalls of our current teleconferencing ways

Clockwise from top L: Aidy Bryant, Chris Redd, Heidi Gardner, Kate McKinnon, Mikey Day, Alex Moffat
Clockwise from top L: Aidy Bryant, Chris Redd, Heidi Gardner, Kate McKinnon, Mikey Day, Alex Moffat
Screenshot: Saturday Night Live

Saturday Night Live returned last night, minus the “Live,” as Season 45, episode 16 turned out to be a collection of homebound sketches recorded via the cast’s various computers and cellphones. Tom Hanks was the nominal host, although he didn’t do anything much but reassure us that he’s happily on the mend from the virus that necessitated SNL to go the social distancing route in the first place. (He’s also currently bald, but it’s for a movie role, so everybody—be cool.) And while Hanks didn’t appear in any of the sketches, he really didn’t have much opportunity since, as it worked out logistically, most of the sketches on offer were of the one-person, acting directly into the laptop camera variety.

One sketch that could properly, actually be called a traditional sketch involved, appropriately enough, a group of coworkers calling in remotely for a collective work thing, and allowed Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant to bring back a pair of returning characters seemingly built for just such a catastrophe-beset comic contingency. With Bryant’s Henriette and McKinnon’s Nan already being shown as the sort of hair-trigger anxious, computer-skittish receptionists whose response to even the smallest workplace change is a duet of keening self-flagellation and terror, the added complication of a Zoom call is a recipe for disaster. And disaster comes for them, swiftly.

Advertisement

Hey, it’s not Henriette and Nan’s fault, really. Certainly, it’s not a great sign that Nan had to sign up for her first-ever email account just to take part in the call, and that Henriette’s unfamiliarity with video-chatting on a machine she’d only ever used for solitaire would see her absentmindedly bringing the laptop into the bathroom. But who among us hasn’t accidentally switched our chat window with our screensaver of Wayne Brady, or broadcast our Google search vainly asking Siri if our daughter is pregnant. Still and ever, poor Nan and Henriette are quickly inconsolable, their all-too-common technological gaffes seeing them turn violently on themselves in wails of far too-revealing self-loathing. (As in their first appearance, it turns out they both have some serious issues surrounding the toilet.) Still, even if nobody in your office went unwittingly viral trying to accommodate the current pandemic toilet paper shortage via an unwise outside hose experiment, we’ve all been there, ladies. 

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter