SNL landed a timely host with the star of two of TV’s biggest shows, The Last of Us, airing now, and The Mandalorian, airing later, because he…had to film The Last of Us. That would be Pedro Pascal, who plays Joel in HBO’s adaption of the game, which has been hugely praised for somehow being a very good “prestige” take on the source material, when it could have instead gone badly wrong.
SNL took that idea and ran with it by casting Pedro Pascal as Mario in a gritty, HBO-ified version of Mario Kart. In it, Pascal’s Mario must escort a former princess across a desolate Rainbow Road while being pursued by Bowser and sentient fungus…Goombas. Clever.
Luigi, Toad and Yoshi also appear, where the “HBO” versions of the last two are bisexual. I can’t tell if that’s like, a Euphoria joke maybe or something to do with The Last of Us’s recent Bill episode. But the gay characters in that show were also gay in the game, so it wasn’t something HBO did for diversity points.
Is it funny? It’s kinda funny. Pascal is actually great casting for Mario. I imagine they did Mario Kart and not just a normal Mario movie, given that there’s actually one of those coming out from Nintendo this year.
The main joke here is that because The Last of Us worked as a prestige video game adaptation, that a bunch of other people will now try to replicate it’s success. We already know this is happening with one very similar title, as Amazon will attempt to do its own God of War series set in the Norse era of the games, which will cost a whole lot of money and probably take itself extremely seriously to try to land that Last of Us level of prestige. Other than that, there are a zillion other gaming projects in the works, though few that come to mind as having the potential to do what TLOU has done here.
I have not combed through all the other Pedro Pascal skits from SNL yet, but I did see a video of his twerking with a cast member dressed as a clicker, so I already know the evening was a success overall. Pascal is having quite a moment, and I hope it lasts for years. He deserves it.
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Pick up my sci-fi novels the Herokiller series and The Earthborn Trilogy.