Gasp! A funny Tonight Show bit! That might be the cabin fever talking, sure, but Jimmy Fallon’s ongoing soap opera sketch The Longest Days Of Our Lives remains a highlight of the late-night coronavirus computer-cam wars these days. It helps that the sketch plays to one of the traits that made Fallon one of the most irritating Saturday Night Live stars over the years—shameless mugging. More helpful is the fact that he’s got two SNL all-stars in Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell on board to play his love interest and nemesis, respectively, each time as the wealthy, philandering heirs to a suddenly priceless toilet paper hoard, and that Fallon ropes in an equally game and goofy big star to play along as yet another scoundrelly soap opera schemer.
This time it was Jake Gyllenhaal, donning one of those bad blonde wigs all actors seem to have kicking around their homes as Fallon, Wiig, and Ferrell’s new son, Blake. As viewers of this cheerfully low-rent soap might recall, Wiig’s boozy character got pregnant over Zoom last time out, meaning li’l Blake is now an archly villainous, scruffy-bearded adult—with murder on his mind. Complaining that his daddies (nobody’s sure who—or how) missed all his big games, dances, and graduations, Gyllenhaal’s Blake sets out to both steal the plush family fortune and—after a dramatic, globe-trotting foot chase, stab one of his potential fathers in the chest. One might ask how any of that could happen while all the participants are practicing equally villainous, yet responsible, social distancing, but, as Gyllenhaal puts it about his aforementioned milestone celebrations, “There’s a lot you can do over Zoom, if you’re willing to have everything look and sound like crap.”
With the fate of one character left dangling on the edge of a murderer’s impossible knife, The Longest Days Of Our Lives promises to return with yet more breathless, shamelessly camera-hogging shenanigans, presumably with another famous actor plucked from Fallon’s Tonight Show contact list. This time out, the shocking twist was echoed by actual soapy stars Susan Lucci, Heather Locklear, Maurice Bernard, and Mary Beth Evans, giving their best professional (over)reaction takes. In these sketches, Fallon is also promoting The Actors Fund, raising money to help out the thousands of on- and off-camera workers sidelined because of show and movie shutdowns, making this nonsense—gasp!—actually worthwhile as well.