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This past weekend, Saturday Night Live returned to NBC with its newest installment, which obviously looked and felt a lot different from the previous 44+ seasons. The entire cast (and guest host Tom Hanks) were all recording from their homes in keeping with lockdown and social distancing orders. Mileages will vary on how well the episode worked as a whole, but the fact that it came together at all is applause-worthy. The biggest cowabunga moment of the night was definitely earned by the hilarious banality in the animated segment "Middle-Aged Mutant Ninja Turtles."
That's right, get ready for a new era of everybody's favorite fictional property centering on mutated turtles that always mysteriously maintained their teenage youth. These turtles are still mutants, and possibly still ninjas in a "once a ninja, always a ninja" kind of way, but the Middle-Aged Mutant Ninja Turtles are dealing with too many mortgages and elementary school functions to worry about kicking foot soldiers' asses. Check out the awesomeness below!
"Heroes on a half-acre, with lawn mower power." "Heroes with a hall to paint, take down the pictures." I could probably keep riffing on that idea for the rest of the day, and that's probably the only one thing I could do for the rest of the day, because the video is kiiiind of a downer, as amusing as it is throughout.
"Middle-Aged Ninja Turtles" obviously stood out from other moments in the SNL episode, considering it didn't take place in any of the cast members' homes, and featured several outdoor settings. The audio definitely sounded like home recordings, but that kind of went with the semi-depressing haphazardness of the turtles' lives.
Just look at Leonardo, once TMNT's brave leader, who faced untold numbers of enemies in the ever-rebooted fight to keep New York City, as well as the entire planet, from being destroyed. Now, he's probably lucky if he makes it all the way to the mall and back without the kids fighting over the Ninjatendo Switch (or whatever it's called in this frightening world where you can presumably buy bandanas for mutant turtle offspring at the aforementioned mall).
As finely honed from real life as the entire segment is, I think my favorite capsuled moment of it all is watching an overweight Raphael's disappointment during his trip to the bathroom scale. I no doubt wanted to embody many of the Ninja Turtles' skills when I was younger, but it turns out this moment here was the closest I'd ever get. Besides the whole eating too much pizza thing, which is part of what led to this realization.
The non-studio episode actually delivered SNL's second biggest audience of the season, and it's currently behind only the Eddie Murphy-hosted episode in terms of viewership and demo ratings. Saturday Night Live at Home, which also featured Coldplay's Chris Martin as a musical guest, brought in a devilishly high 6.66 million viewers, which was around 3.3 million fewer than what Murphy's ep earned, but still around 2.4 million more people than the third-highest audience total for Season 45.
Saturday Night Live will presumably find a way to continue giving fans more original material in the future, so stay tuned to see what NBC and the ensemble cast of writers and performers will have in store.