Gazing levelly into the camera to a plinky toy piano score on last night’s Harry Styles-hosted Saturday Night Live, Aidy Bryant crooned plainly, “Hi, I’m Joan. And I currently live alone.” That’s was the start of “Joan,” the episode’s first filmed segment, and pretty much the sweetest and most innocently life affirming sketch the show’s done in a while. Because Aidy’s Joan, while still primly lamenting the departure of her cheating boyfriend, has, she sings to the camera, a new man in her life. He’s 12 pounds, has a fat neck, and she found him on the street, and his name is Doug and he’s the best boy in the world! Who’s the best boy? It’s you, Doug, isn’t it? Yes it is!
Ahem. The song, sung by Bryant in an unwavering, plucky, matter-of-fact little voice, is the anthem to end all anthems for those whose human supposed loved ones have left them feeling empty, and in need of someone/thing that will love, as Joan sings, “my body and my personality a lot.” And, sure, her “hot” new guy is an abandoned chihuahua named Doug, but, as Joan assures us, it’s not physical apart from kisses, and Doug’s a great listener, loves to shares her meatballs and spaghetti Lady And The Tramp style, and he’s just the best boy in the world, and who’s a good boy!
Anyway, there are complications, like when divine intervention temporarily transforms Doug mid-song into Harry Styles (complete with dog collar and penchant for rooting in Joan’s bathroom trash), but, as he croons back in a loving David Bowie warble, Doug does, in fact, love Joan and everything about her in the way that lonely people everywhere secretly pray their non-human life-mates actually do. Even Doug’s pre-reversion revelation that his other penchant for eating Joan’s socks and underwear means an $8,000 vet trip in their future can’t undermine the sketch’s sincere appreciation for how our need for a little animal affection can be restorative, sweet, and delightfully silly. Joan + Doug forever.