The Best and Worst of Last Night’s ‘SNL’ with Charlize Theron

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Welcome back to SNL, Charlize Theron. It’s only been almost 14 years since we last saw you at Studio 8H. The Monster star is known for her dramatic parts, but her comedic role as a stunted writer in Jason Reitman’s Young Adult was convincing, impressive, and hilarious — despite her nauseating character’s antics. We hope to see similar comedic subtleties in her performance tonight. Next week, Andy Samberg returns to his stomping ground to close out the show’s 39th season. For now let’s indulge in a little Theron gone wild.

The Best

“Charlize Theron Monologue”

What do you mean Charlize Theron isn’t perfect? It turns out that the Oscar-winning actress can’t sing. That doesn’t seem like such a terrible burden — but when Beck Bennett helps Theron demonstrate the perils of being a taller woman by ogling her breasts, she suddenly has our sympathies.

“Mother’s Day Game Show”

Kate McKinnon plays a game show host who also happens to be a mom. She forces her children to join her, leading them in rounds like “Which of These Emails Did I Send You Last Week?” the super fast “Dad Round,” and “What’d She Just Do?” — in which the children have to guess what imaginary faux pas mom’s girlfriends did to upset her. It’s a fun nod to Mother’s Day. (I love you, mom!)

“Dragon Babies”

Mike O’Brien takes on a memorable character — Rick Shoulders, a retired Chicago police officer. He’s the voice of the star in the new animated feature film, Dragon Babies. This pre-recorded segment shows us Shoulders behind the scenes, which involves a lot of coughing and arguing with his wife about sandwiches. We get a lot of backstory in a short amount of time, revealing that Shoulders is actually the film director’s AA sponsor, which explains a lot. It’s great to see O’Brien on a winning streak, following the “Monster Pals” sketch during Seth Rogen’s hosting stint. I wouldn’t mind watching another Rick Shoulders bit, as long as it involves his wife Pam (Cecily Strong).

“Heshy: Dating Seminar”

Nasim Pedrad’s motivational speaker Heshy gives a spirited seminar about dating, dubbed “The Man Plan.” Theron joins as best friend Gayle. She’s had “real grown men in her home before.” Heshy’s hip thrusts and gun fingers are still great fun, and Gayle gets her own sound effects, too. Hearing “Gayle!” while Theron awkwardly humps the air shouldn’t be as funny as it is.

“Weekend Update: Barbara Walters, Drunk Uncle on Graduation”

In honor of her forthcoming retirement, Barbara Walters is subject to a reel of past SNL performers mimicking her vocal idiosyncrasies. The legendary TV personality is a good sport, and manages to get in a few digs at Cecily Strong about being a “real journalist.” Drunk Uncle shows up to discuss graduation season with nothing but contempt for today’s kids. It’s business as usual, but I always appreciate his incoherent rendition of “I Believe I Can Fly.” Colin Jost shakes things up mid-segment with some “breaking nudes.” Is this an introduction to an ongoing routine for these two? We can only hope. If the awkward duo can’t hit their stride by the start of the new season, it’s a lost cause.

“Bikini Beach Party”

Come for the bikinis, stay for the whale gore.

“Pet Rescue Commercial”

There’s a lot of weird comedy gold in this one, even if the tempo is slightly off (unintentionally, that is). Theron’s obsessed cat lady (who changed her first name to “Cat”) helps Kate McKinnon’s cat lady Barbara during a pet adoption campaign, introducing animals like the “sociopathic” feline Damian. Really, Theron’s character is there to get a little closer to the more well-adjusted Barbara — who almost gives in during a tender (creepy) stroke of the arm. Theron is clearly having a lot of fun playing against her type and really pulls this one off.

“Tourists”

Kyle Mooney and company hit the streets in this pre-recorded sketch, playing foreign tourists who are visiting New York City for the first time. Bobby Moynihan steals the scene after asking someone if they know where a certain street is — and then giving them directions to the exact location. The civilian targets are more engaging than in pervious pre-produced segments.

The Worst

“Michelle/Hillary Address Cold Open”

The two First Ladies make some rather… pointed comments about the other’s political tactics. It’s just a little too mean-spirited, even if the jabs can be viewed as legitimate. The result is two of the most powerful women in the world reduced to a catty pair of bitches. Not very clever.

“Girlfriends Talk Show with Charlize Theron”

Morgan and Kyra make a return — this time with their jeans-wearing drama teacher, Ms. Christine, whose methods are a little too out there. She just got fired for trying to stage a teen version of the Vagina Monologues. The assault on poor Morgan feels off this time around. Things get uncomfortable when Ms. Christine gropes the anxious high school student’s breast in a weird shaming meets come-on maneuver. I miss the old “Girlfriends.”

Musical Guest: The Black Keys