While this reviewer said Pratt was good and the show "uneven", I honestly have to say that I almost never feel compelled enough by the quality or lack of quality of a show to write about it. But this episode was an awful clunker.
Taking the show item by item would be a complete waste of time, and I already wasted enough time watching it, but suffice to say that Pratt forgot the words to his monologue song and that was one of the more endearing and better moments of the show.
The show started with a skit about the NFL and had all of the "players" introduce themselves by telling their various legal troubles. Not funny. To make things even LESS funny, one guy noted that he hit his wife and his sassy black wife replied - I am his wife and I hit him back. Wow. See Janey Rice, you should have just arisen from your near coma and hit Ray back, simple as that.
Pratt played NFL commish Roger Goodell as a buffoon. Pratt, it appears, can only play clueless buffoons. Andy Dwyer, Starlord. Never mind that Roger Goodell is actually a knowing enabler to his outlaw players and makes $40M a year by keeping their legal troubles swept under the rug. But Pratt can only play a buffoon, so he was a buffoon.
The joke, by the way, SHOULD have been that Goodell, under pressure from sponsors, populated the league with only nice white guys from the suburbs and they couldn't play a lick and no one watched. That would have been funny.
Cecily Strong has been removed from the anchor desk by Michael Che. Che, it appears, believes that he is actually reading the news to a local TV audience. Colin Jost has a little more joy in his delivery, which is like saying that Matt Cassell is a slightly better QB than Christian Ponder. Cecily Strong has now been forced to slim down some and try to be the new Kristen Wiig. She lacks the high energy and love of herself required for that role. Wiig could star in 5 terrible skits in a row and still come out as Gilly or the lady from 1950s Password thinking she was absolutely killing it all night long. Strong looks pained when in an awful skit (of which there were many), and as a person I admire that realism in her, but if you are forced into doing crap, and a lot of it, you need to put your head down and pretend that you think you are funny - Wiig's greatest skill.
Aidy Bryant spent the night playing an oversexed fat women/chick. OK, I get it, she is heavy. Hilarious. I don't need 5-6 minutes on her trying to get a guy to bang her fat bottom by saying "I have a big ass." Awesome. I hope the Emmy voters were watching intently. ("See how they write for the heavy girl....she actually DOES have a big butt!")
Pete Davidson spent 5 minutes explaining that he would give a man a blow job for money. Sadly, I didn't find any humor in it, as Davidson appeared to just be explaining in a factual manner why he would do it, how often and for how much money. We would like humor, Pete, not a 21st Century Alfred E. Neuman telling us about his life choices. On the plus side, Davidson could arguably be called the star of the night, because, despite his unfunny material, he actually appeared happy to be involved in the show. In that way, he could be the Wiig-ian force of this cast -- maybe they will never have anything worthwhile to perform, but at least he is high energy and willing to try. Sort of like a running back who rushes 34 times for 83 yards in a 10-0 loss. Keep giving him the ball, at least he is trying.
The musical guest, Ariana Grande, appeared scared to perform. There is really no other way to put it. She sang adequately, and danced adequately, even appeared for a couple lines in the wretched "toys come to life" skit (in which Bryant anticipates a four-way with the toys). But you always felt like Grande was being told that if she made one dancing mistake or missed a high note there was a sniper in the audience who would take her out. And the cat ears hair? Wow.
Perhaps the skit that epitomized the night was the focus group of young adults (maybe supposedly teens?) who were paid $25 to play and rate a children's video game where you solved puzzles that a 3 year old could solve and then the characters on the screen would engage in inappropriate romantic behavior. Vanessa Bayer and Pratt played the young lovers, Pratt again taking advantage of his ability to appear wooden and clueless. The testers got upset with how horrible the game was and quit -- I know exactly how they must have felt.