When a Saturday Night time Reside parody tune begins, there’s often a second of anticipation the place you marvel what the punch line goes to be. That was the case final evening as a bunch of feminine solid members started a ballad about their aloof spouses, one questioning, “Is he dreaming of one other girl he desires greater than me?”
Then the sketch minimize to what the boys have been considering. What was on their thoughts: The Roman empire, in fact. Sure, it was possibly a few months delayed, however the rap tune that ensued was in regards to the meme that males are virtually at all times pondering the small print of the Roman empire. The evening’s host, Jason Momoa, took the lead: “5 instances a day it pops into my dome, which jogs my memory: They invented the dome. Simply one of many causes that I take into consideration Rome.”
With the burly Momoa, there to advertise his newest flip because the DC superhero Aquaman, SNL’s writers had a paragon of muscle-bulging masculinity to deploy. The “Rome Track” sketch was simply one among many the place they used Momoa’s quintessential dudeness to supply some—typically amusing, typically overly simplistic—comedy on gender tropes.
The Roman empire bit was the primary one of many evening that leaned into this theme. Momoa’s broad shoulders match completely right into a Roman warrior costume, however he was finally joined by the solid members Mikey Day and Kenan Thompson, who additionally spat out info about gladiators and marble statues.
The sketch had another commentary on fixations. When it peeked into the mind of a bit child enjoying the son of Momoa and Ego Nwodim, the boy started to rap about dinosaurs. And as for the ladies? Properly, ladies are at all times dwelling on astrology, which led Momoa to level out that “the Romans have been really into astrology too.”
As an entire, the sketch was effectively executed—the “dinosaur” interlude was a very cute addition—nevertheless it provided nothing new by means of commentary on the meme, which at this level has already been performed out throughout social media. Plus, there’s nothing actually subversive about saying, basically, that males obsess over historical past whereas ladies take a look at their horoscopes. Actually, it’s a bit reductive.
The episode didn’t get all that extra insightful because it went on. Later, Momoa performed the hunky ex-fiancé of a lady portrayed by Chloe Fineman. She had thought him useless after a aircraft explosion, however he returned from being stranded on an island sexier than ever, a lot to the dismay of her new partner (Andrew Dismukes). She was smitten, and it was a simple gag, a showcase of Momoa’s robust, wild-man persona and never rather more.
However maybe the evening’s strangest tackle gender got here close to the tip of the present. In a riff on Netflix’s Untold documentary sequence, Sarah Sherman appeared because the fictional tennis participant Charna Lee Diamond, who, on this model, had a battle-of-the-sexes match earlier than Billie Jean King did. Besides Charna wasn’t so profitable. She challenged a person to a match and bought paired up with Momoa as Ronnie Dunster, who “on the time was the most important man to ever play tennis.”
That’s the place it verged into absurdism. When Ronnie served, the ball actually went by Charna, leaving a bleeding gap within the middle of her abdomen. She screamed, “Did I damage it for girls?” She pressed on. Her head got here off along with his second serve. Charna tried to vary historical past and died doing it.
The gross-out gruesomeness of the sketch distinguished it, nevertheless it was finally simply one other reminder of how huge Momoa is, and, in flip, how manly. The underlying sentiment: Come on, a lady can’t beat that man.
Many hosts arrive on SNL desirous to subvert their public persona and present their comedic vary. Momoa threw himself into the sketches with verve, however he didn’t take lots of dangers to problem his picture, and neither did the writers. With Momoa as an emblem of giant male power, they dove headfirst into drained binaries.