When a Saturday Night time Stay parody music begins, there’s normally a second of anticipation the place you marvel what the punch line goes to be. That was the case final night time as a bunch of feminine solid members started a ballad about their aloof spouses, one questioning, “Is he dreaming of one other lady he desires greater than me?”
Then the sketch lower to what the lads had been pondering. What was on their thoughts: The Roman empire, in fact. Sure, it was possibly a few months delayed, however the rap music that ensued was concerning the meme that males are virtually all the time pondering the small print of the Roman empire. The night time’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 considered one of many the place they used Momoa’s quintessential dudeness to supply some—generally amusing, generally overly simplistic—comedy on gender tropes.
The Roman empire bit was the primary one of many night time that leaned into this theme. Momoa’s broad shoulders match completely right into a Roman warrior costume, however he was in the end joined by the solid members Mikey Day and Kenan Thompson, who additionally spat out details about gladiators and marble statues.
The sketch had another commentary on fixations. When it peeked into the mind of a bit of child taking part in the son of Momoa and Ego Nwodim, the boy started to rap about dinosaurs. And as for the ladies? Effectively, girls are all the time dwelling on astrology, which led Momoa to level out that “the Romans had been truly into astrology too.”
As an entire, the sketch was nicely executed—the “dinosaur” interlude was a very cute addition—however it supplied nothing new by the use 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, primarily, that males obsess over historical past whereas girls have a look at their horoscopes. The truth is, it’s a bit of 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 far more.
However maybe the night time’s strangest tackle gender got here close to the tip of the present. In a riff on Netflix’s Untold documentary collection, Sarah Sherman appeared because the fictional tennis participant Charna Lee Diamond, who, on this model, had a battle-of-the-sexes event earlier than Billie Jean King did. Besides Charna wasn’t so profitable. She challenged a person to a match and obtained 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 via Charna, leaving a bleeding gap within the heart of her abdomen. She screamed, “Did I destroy it for ladies?” She pressed on. Her head got here off along with his second serve. Charna tried to alter historical past and died doing it.
The gross-out gruesomeness of the sketch distinguished it, however it was in the end simply one other reminder of how massive 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 quite a lot 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.