Host John Mulaney’s return to Saturday Night Live, where he was a writer for five years, proved to be an especially showbiz-centric outing. Over 90 minutes, the show skewered Netflix documentary series Wild Wild Country, Bravo’s approach to reality TV and the current mania for rebooting sitcoms.
The sitcom reboot sketch focused on a made-up 1987 show Switcheroo (and beware in the video below: the corny, period-specific theme song is a serious earworm) with a body-swap premise that sees a witch’s spell put dad and son in different bodies. Instead of exploring all of the Big-like high jinks that would ensue, as Mulaney’s showrunner puts it, “we focused exclusively on the sexual ramifications of the switcheroo.” As a result, the show was never actually popular. But, with Roseanne and Will & Grace showing the potential of revivals, Switcheroo is getting a second chance … but far from the Hollywood soundstage where it began.
The Wild Wild Country parody may be the most specialized target SNL has aimed at since the show goofed on the podcast Serial. The Netflix series — and the branding got a little awkward when Mulaney’s Netflix special was plugged in the next commercial break — details the movement led by an India-born guru, who is branded a cult leader by anxious white neighbors in Oregon. SNL‘s version adds Kenan Thompson, whose motives were not quite about namaste. A few chuckles ensue from Thompson recalling his personal drug-fueled bacchanal. (“They were doing this meditation. Everybody gets butt-naked and starts wiggling their floppy parts.”) But the send-up scores most with the accumulation of note-perfect details, costumes and mimicry of all of the talking heads, with cast members clearly channeling their own close viewing of the series.
The Bravo riff features an imagined show The Real Intros of Reality Hills, which consists of a barrage of quips with the entire cast and Mulaney mugging as “Bravolebrities” who distill whole narrative arcs down to one-liners. If sketch comedy is all about exaggerated truths, the already-cartoonish reality landscape made a rather soft target. Still, there are more amusing lines and winks throughout than are usually found in the last sketch in the show.
Here are the full videos: