Aubrey Plaza gave SNL permission to get weird

Aubrey Plaza’s mischief as an intern began long before she played the cynical April Ludgate Amusement parks and resorts. During college, she was for a while Served as a page on NBC, where she spent her time sharing bogus facts about the tours she’d led and sneaking up on her own puke. Unsurprisingly, Plaza only lasted for a few months before being asked to leave, but during her brief tenure at the network, she had the opportunity to track down SNLdesign department. “I was chasing, lurking in the shadows,” she said Tell Jimmy Fallon earlier this week.

When Plaza took the stage last night to host SNL For the first time, it wasn’t lurking anymore. During her opening monologue, she made a fabricated tour of the SNL Studio 8H then joined up with three set designers that I had trained with all those years ago. “When I was turning up an hour late and barely working, did you ever expect to see me hosting the show?” I asked someone. “Bow to your queen!” demanded.

And honor SNL an act. Allison Jones, Casting Director Amusement parks and resortsAnd called once “The strangest girl I’ve ever met,” Plaza’s cheerful and bubbly, came to define the episode. The show leaned into him from the jump, offering several sketches about weird characters prone to weirder behaviors that gave Plaza a chance to play with her talents. During a presentation about morning announcements at a Catholic school, she plays a nun who is accidentally electrocuted in the bathroom, dies for two minutes, and discovers that heaven may not exist. The experience left her questioning everything. “I’m going to have sex tonight!” she cried, her eyes wide with shaky determination.

in Sketch about game night, Sasha (Plaza) and her partner, Ian (Mickey Day), end up terrorizing their new neighbors by accidentally exposing their dark history while playing taboo. Sasha races to get Ian to guess a secret word correctly, prompting him by reminding him of what “it” was the night they first met. His guesses—about ketamine, parole—finally lead to the right guess: On fire. The effect felt like a throwback to SNLThe halcyon days of just over a decade ago, when Kristen Wiig and Will Forte pushed the show’s graphics in vain and vain grotesque directione.

However, even though the show was tiptoeing in the Plaza, it stopped going far. SNL After all, it has long been aimed at reaching and satisfying Central America—something Sarah Sherman is had to move around Since joining the cast last year. Best known for his body-horror comedy under the name Sara Squarem, Sherman has found ways to do just that Lower the tone The most extreme side of his sense of humor without overlooking the reasons SNL I hired her in the first place. In both the Sherman and Plaza cases, the settlement works, but one has to wonder what might have been possible if the show hadn’t enthusiastically pursued a middle-of-the-road comedy.

As they approach their 50th anniversary – and even as longtime staff members Question longevity after that teacher –SNL It appears to be at an inflection point. Given that many of the show’s most famous cast members They are gone recentlyNew members have the ability to activate it. Experimentation often comes with young people and this has led to great gains in the past the viral power of digital pants.

But this season he played it safe more often than not, bugging Big-name hosts and guest stars to add excitement rather than give the newer cast ample room to try new things. Last Night elicited nostalgia in several predictable ways, including the emergence of Plaza as its celebrity Amusement parks and resorts character during the Weekend Update bit. She is eventually joined by her boss, Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), for a moment that beautifully connects the two shows. Buehler took the opportunity to sit in her former chair to crack a joke. It was fun, of course, but also a reminder of the past rather than a sign of the future.

every afternoon SNL You must find her voice. In a lively season they change, the show suffers from propriety and originality; It has not yet found a way to stand out from the previous eras. But as much as Plaza’s role in the show hinted at the past (her time as a page, and beloved old characters), it also hinted at new possibilities.

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