Natalie Portman Sticks To The Script & Makes Us Nostalgic For The '00s On SNL

Photo: Will Heath/NBC.
Natalie Portman hosted Saturday Night Live in what felt like a return to the show in the mid-2000s. "The last time I hosted was in 2006," shares Portman. "Back then I was promoting V for Vendetta, and now the whole country is kind of promoting V for Vendetta." The film focuses on a police state and fascist government where an unknown vigilante attempts to subvert those in power.
The actress' opening monologue had less to do with her as it did the fast-approaching Winter Olympics. In fact, upcoming sporting events were a theme this week which included a sketch about the rivalry between New England and Philadelphia.
The episode as a whole was reminiscent of episodes from the mid-2000s, far less of a political tone in favor of sillier jokes. Portman reprised one of the shows most unexpected sketches from the last time she hosted. Additionally, both Tina Fey and Rachel Dratch returned to their old stomping grounds to appear in a sketch. Between the cast alumni cameos, Natalie Portman rapping, and references to Nickelodeon, I feel solidly back in a barely bygone era watching this episode.
Alec Baldwin brought back his Donald Trump impersonation which has been absent since the season reconvened after the holiday break. This time, the cast pokes fun at the feedback loop that exists between the President and Fox News.
Given Portman's off-script comment about "all-male nominees" while presenting the award for best director at the Golden Globes, I'm surprised they didn't include more political commentary; however, she did make one clear statement. While introducing musical guest Dua Lipa, Portman wore a shirt emblazoned with the words "Judge Aquilina," in support of the judge who presided over the Larry Nassar case. Based on her Golden Globes comment and the shoutout to Judge Aquilina, I was anticipating an episode that addressed more current events and social issues. While it can be nice to step away from that from time to time, it was a bit of a letdown. I think Portman could have pulled off more politically-charged subjects.
This episode also marks a three-week break for the show as the Winter Olympics kick off on February 9. Click through to see some of the highlights from last night's episode.