NBC has announced that Suicide Squad star Margot Robbie will host the season premiere of Saturday Night Live on October 1st, with musical guest The Weeknd. The comedy institution’s 42nd season marks the 41st consecutive year of high hopes, expectations, and fervent wishes for what Lorne Michaels and the current stable of Not-Ready-For-Primetime-Players might have in store for viewers, so here’s what I’m hoping to see on Saturday night.
New Cast Members
As usual, the show hired several new cast members and featured players over the summer, which is essential to keeping things fresh and relevant. I don’t know much about the new folks, but I very feel very strongly that it’s important they all be four to five years older than me.
Election years are always big for SNL, and this one is primed to be the biggest ever. Personally, I’m hoping the show immediately offers up some scathing satire confirming what I already believe to be ridiculous about the current election cycle without going too far into territory I don’t understand or would rather not consider. In addition, how about taking on Chris Christie, whoever Gary Johnson is, and that Wells Fargo guy? Just keep the jokes broad enough that I don’t have to know more than the headlines to enjoy them and we’re all set.
The early days of SNL were much more experimental. Remember Paul Simon performing “Still Crazy After All These Years” in a turkey costume? How about Andy Kaufman’s immortal Mighty Mouse bit? Why not bring that adventurous sensibility back, and instead of having Margot Robbie perform the same tired, predictable monologue, open the show with something more daring?
I’m picturing Robbie in a small windowless room, the walls painted a blinding white, and she’s sitting on a white leather sofa wearing a Wonder Woman costume. And maybe instead of jokes she could be slowly eating almonds out of a white dish, and between each almond she softly mutters, “You’re going to be okay. You’re a good person. Your father respects you even if he doesn’t know how to show it.” I can’t help but think that would really resonate in a lasting way. I think of it and think of it.
Mix Up The Musical Acts
I’m hoping this season sees a diverse selection of musical guests. Let’s see all kinds of genres and tastes represented, as well as a mix of up-and-coming acts and established stars. It might be nice to see the musical guests more integrated into the body of the show as well. Like, imagine if during that opening monologue, while Margot Robbie is eating almonds in a Wonder Woman costume on a white couch in a white room muttering “You’re going to be okay,” what if while that was happening The Weeknd was standing slightly offstage singing “The Hills” very, very softly? Doesn’t the thought of that make you feel strangely comforted? Like maybe if you saw something like that… you might have a drink while you were watching something like that but it wouldn’t be because you needed the drink, it would be because you wanted the drink. Just to relax and enjoy the moment. No big deal.
Maybe Margot Robbie Should be Eating Ice Cream Instead of Almonds
I’m thinking vanilla soft serve, to match the room and the couch. And she’s being very careful not to let it drip, licking along the edge of the cone. I know this is starting to sound perverted but that’s not what I’m going for as much as I think her being really careful and taking the eating of the ice cream seriously will help sell the dialogue about everything being okay and a father’s respect and so on.
A Sense of Danger
Part of the thrill SNL provides is that the show being live means anything can happen at any moment. Someone might flub a line, a set might topple, whatever. And I get that this is largely an illusion, the show is a well-oiled machine staffed by total professionals, but I can’t help but think it would be fun to play this up. What if during that Margot Robbie bit there was also a live wolf in a cage on the set, and there was a timer somehow attached to the cage that would set the wolf loose if she failed to finish her entire ice cream cone before the clock ran down? You know what, even better… everyone loves surprise guests, right? So instead of a timer and a cage, get Tina Fey up there, and she’s got a stopwatch in one hand and with the other hand she’s restraining the wolf. For some reason I’m imagining this as Tina Fey circa 2002, which is probably ageist of me and also impossible, but that’s just how I picture it.
I always enjoy the end of each episode when the host comes out to thank everyone and the cast takes a bow, but now that the show is 42 years in maybe it’s time to shake things up and show some love for the viewers who keep the show on the air. It would be great if this week’s episode ended with Lorne Michaels alone on stage, staring right into the camera, applauding. Put him in a blue and gray cardigan, like the one I got for my dad for Christmas in 2006, I think that would be a good look for him. And also maybe if right before the camera cut away he could crack a very slight but knowing smile. That would be fantastic.