Vanessa Bayer can take a one note idea for a character and expand it into an absurd fever dream of a sketch, like Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy’s awkward pauses and room-scanning eyes or overacting kid newscaster Laura Parsons. A reent episode of “Saturday Night Live” saw Bayer come face-to-face with her maker, literally, as Jennifer Aniston came by “Weekend Update” to reclaim Rachel, from “Friends.”
There to explain the current wave of ’90s nostalgia permeating pop culture, “Rachel from Friends” put it simply: “You go to work, you go on dates, and you go to cafes with your friends, and you all sit facing camera!”
She also gave a genius explanation of ’90s sitcom transitions, usually just an exterior shot of an apartment building, as happening “when I say a sentence that sounds complete, like, ‘I’ll see you tonight, don’t be late!’” Then a quick shot of a building, and Rachel’s at the desk but “in the shower.” Colin Jost is dumbfounded, and Rachel then sees a glitch in the Matrix as Aniston appears to her right.
It quickly devolves into a “Rachel-off,” with both Aniston and Bayer doing that incredulous-sounding voice and asking vague questions like “What? Me?” until another ’90s-transition puts a bowl of chips and dip on the desk, which Aniston still can’t explain.