Brow Beat

Watch Donald Glover’s Disastrous Attempt to Join the Barbie Marketing Team

On this week’s Saturday Night Live, host Donald Glover plays a bespectacled creative-type who completely bombs a job interview for the Barbie marketing team at Mattel. The company’s executives (Cecily Strong and Kenan Thompson) are pretty clear on their vision of Barbie—fun, a hard worker, empowering—but Glover keeps pitching them a social media strategy based on the premise that Barbie witnessed a horrible car accident in front of the Dream House four years ago and has been circling the drain ever since. Here, for example, is his proposed caption for an Instagram picture of Barbie talking on the phone:

Hey. I’m so sorry to do this, but I won’t be able to come to the party. I just can’t. I got all dressed up, but I just can’t shake this funk I’m in. I’m freaking out. I’m back to thinking about that girl from four years ago. I know it sounds crazy, but I think she was trying to tell me something. I’m sorry, I’m stuck. Anyway, give me a call when you can. Oh, I’m sorry, this is Barbie. But you knew that, you have Caller I.D. I’m so stupid, goodbye.

The sketch essentially uses the structure of Kate McKinnon’s alien abduction bit: two authority figures versus three interviewees giving them increasingly bizarre answers. But McKinnon’s sketches, which are about her character getting a bad deal, depend on the other two interview subjects being more or less normal. (McKinnon provides more than enough insanity for all concerned.) In Glover’s version, however, only Cecily Strong‘s character approaches baseline human behavior: Heidi Gardner and Pete Davidson are both as dumb as Glover in different ways, and Kenan Thompson is, at the very least, eccentric. It’s a change that lets more than one actor shine, and not too surprisingly, the fun is in the performances. Thompson, in particular, is a delight, going into a singsong, over-articulated delivery when he gets worked up about Barbie:

Listen to me, boy. Barbie never witnessed such a thing. That sort of thing does not happen outside of Barbie’s house.

Glover, meanwhile, does most of his work by not moving, locking his shoulders in place and keeping his face expressionless as his pitches get increasingly deranged. And Cecily Strong hands in a treasury of confused, disgusted reaction shots. Pink corvettes all around!