Well, finally: Somebody had the courage to make a documentary that suggests Saturday Night Live is an American institution. Director Bao Nguyen serves up a sloppy wet kiss to the late-night stalwart on its 40th anniversary, trotting out Lorne Michaels and a host of ex-cast members to do pretty much all the things you'd expect it to do (and which have been done in a VH1 documentary series). The original 1975 season was ground-breaking! There have been controversial moments! It handled 9/11 with grace and dignity! Some of the political impressions became iconic! The Lonely Island pioneered “viral videos”! The retrospective material is so over-familiar and laudatory—notwithstanding a sizable chunk addressing the show's issues with diversity in its cast—that it's almost startling when Nguyen gives us brief glimpses behind the scenes of episodes from the 2013-2014 season, like Leslie Jones dealing with fallout from a risky slavery-themed “Weekend Update” routine. We've spent four decades dissecting what Saturday Night Live has been; at this point, the only new territory worth exploring is what it is.
Director: Bao Nguyen
Producer: JL Pomeroy, Kimmie Kim, Sarah Cowperthwaite, Owen Moogan and JL Pomeroy