This weekend, Saturday Night Live celebrated the conclusion of its 45th season with a wistful goodbye and a hopeful see-you-later in its season finale.
Perhaps no sketch embodied this theme as well as one featuring much of the cast titled “Dreams.”
Shot entirely “at home” because of New York City’s stay-at-home order, the sketch begins with Cecily Strong talking on the phone with her mom, discussing how much she wishes things would soon return to normal. The conversation — part reassurance that we’re okay and part venting at the frustration of the situation — is one that many of us have had, probably multiple times with friends, family, and acquaintances, since stay-at-home orders went into effect all across the country.
Strong then goes to bed and begins to dream, as Debussy’s “Clair de Lune” plays over the sequence. There’s no speaking. The entire sketch is just a montage of Strong and SNL cast members dreaming of themselves in what seems to be their normal lives.
Some of the dreams veer into mild nightmares, like when Aidy Bryant steals a puppy and Chris Redd gets booed. But others seem surreal only because they feature scenarios that were once commonplace, but that are now impossible to fathom experiencing. Mikey Day visits a museum. Colin Jost and Michael Che ice skate together at a crowded public rink. Strong finds her seat amid a packed house at what appears to be the opera or some sophisticated gala but is actually Sonic the Hedgehog: The Musical.
And that’s the point.
At this point in the pandemic, we now appreciate the things we once took for granted (including Sonic). And a lot of us are wishing for our normal lives, even the worst parts of them. That in itself is its own type of hilarity. With this quiet sketch, SNL managed to tap into that and turn it into touching comedy.