Holy Crap, What is Kenan Thompson Doing With Old Navy's Lil Interns?
With the 2022 cancellation of Thompson’s sitcom Kenan, we guess the Saturday Night Live star has some free time on his hands. How else to explain his six-episode video series for budget retailer Old Navy, starring alongside a bunch of impossibly cute kids who don’t exist outside of agency headshots.
These aren’t commercials, mind you. It’s a “digital content series,” produced to “hook consumers through pure entertainment value while downplaying heavily branded elements.” (So, basically, these are Old Navy commercials.)
The premise, according to producers: Kenan, aware that his SNL gig can’t last forever, signs up to be an intern at Old Navy. Little does he know that his fellow trainees are KIDS! Hence the series name, Lil Interns. (By the way, has anyone ever found the use of the abbreviated ‘lil’ adorable in any way? It’s like the backward R in the Toys “R” Us logo. Ha ha! Aren’t kids stupid? They can’t pronounce “little” or properly write the letter R! What morons! Children are idiots!)
Each week, Kenan and the too-cutes navigate their way through Old Navy’s corporate offices, learning the retailer’s philosophies about marketing, HR, retail operations, and so on. Which might make sense if we were interns ourselves at Old Navy. You gotta learn about the company somehow. But for non-employees, what exactly is the appeal here?
According to a sentence that’s lifted directly from an agency press release, “the idea is to create something that feels more like a genuine Hollywood production and less like a promotional strategy.” You know, those genuine Hollywood productions about what it’s like to work in a cut-rate Gap finance department.
But give the agency credit for trying. It’s pitching Lil Interns as a cross between The Office and Kindergarten Cop, which sounds appealing, we guess? Yet watching the videos, we’re hard-pressed to find the similarities. Sure, many of the videos take place in an office. And it looks like several of the kids qualify for kindergarten. Maybe it’s the comedy part that we’re missing here. Kenan is Kenan, but the kids deliver all their ‘punchlines’ in that Disney Channel style--overly enunciated, endlessly rehearsed, and needlessly loud. No actual kid talks like this, ever.
We can’t imagine how the series will drive sales for Old Navy. (Or “enhance the brand,” “tap into consumer demand for premium digital video,” or “create iconic, compelling content rooted in humor and pop culture.”) But maybe it would work for your business? A question at the bottom of the Lil Interns website asks in bold, 27-point font: Do you want the next season of Lil Interns to take place in your headquarters? Sounds like Old Navy is already trying to spin off this subsidiary onto some other retail sucker before the Lil Interns start quiet-quitting.