Saturday Night Live kicked off the second hour its first episode of 2023 with none other than an Avatar parody. In the sketch, Mikey Day took on the role of Jake Sully from the movies, with Ego Nwodim appearing as Neytiri. The larger joke of the sketch was the Na’vi hoping to root out and find the humans posing as Na’vi that had infiltrated their village, harkening back to the plot of the original movie as well as Avatar: The Way of Water. Central to this in the sketch were two Na’vi played by host Aubrey Plaza and cast member Heidi Gardner, whose hilarious characters clearly seem like humans in disguise.
The sketch also included Kenan Thompson as a Na’vi named Frito, pronounced Free-ho-tay, playing the actual secret human in disguise as a Na’vi. Fans of Saturday Night Live were quick to praise the entire sketch, not only because of the costume recreations of the aliens from James Cameron’s movies, but the commitment to the parody of the goofy names and locations that are central to the films. Viewers also had their minds blown when the final moments of the skethc, right before the commercial, revealed that everyone involved only appeared blue thanks to a light on the stage.
Fans were kind of surprised that an Avatar sketch on Saturday Night Live would make it to air without any mention of the classic Papyrus gag. The gag of that sketch, starring Ryan Gosling, was about a man who becomes obsessed with the lack of imagination behind Avatar’s primary font. There was no mention of it in tonight’s sketch though.
“It haunted me. Not really,” James Cameron previously joked about SNL’s infamous sketch. “It is funny. I’m just astonished that they spent that much money on a little cinematic vignette that’s around such a wispy, thin concept. I said, ‘Alright guys, we are now doubling down! We are using Papyrus for everything! The funniest thing about that whole story is I didn’t even know it was Papyrus, no one asked me! I just thought that the art department had come up with this cool font.”
— 𝙶𝚒𝚜𝚎𝚕𝚕𝚎✖️✖️//💥⏳🥀🐉HAPPY NEW YEAR🥳 (@giselleb1234) January 22, 2023