SNL Weekly Review: November 19 by Dylan Zsigray ’18

I’ve been excited for weeks since I first heard that Kristen Wiig would be returning to host Saturday Night Live.  She last hosted a couple of seasons ago and contributed to putting on a decent show.  This was the case again last night.  Although the episode was not extraordinary (like Dave Chappelle’s last week), it had a lot of good and funny sketches.  The writers also brought back two of Wiig’s recurring characters this episode that have remained timeless since her departure after Season 37.   

Below is my review of last night’s SNL episode.

“SUPERSTAR!” (The Best Sketch of the Night)

“The Bubble”: This sketch was very funny and original.  Through its humor, it encapsulated really everything that the average “progressive” (as the sketch put it) American is feeling right now.  Some people are still distraught after the election and there is clearly a divide within the country over which path we want our nation to go down.  If this city-state called “The Bubble” actually existed, I’d move there and I bet that many others would as well.  The undertones in this sketch, particularly with the writing, broadcasted what people want to do, even though it’s not the most feasible option to just pack up everything and move.   I did crack up when they said that there would be no fire or police within “The Bubble” because none of them want to live there.  It was just small little bits like that that made this digital short work.

“I gotta have more cowbell!” (Good Sketches)

“Anderson Cooper 360”: It’s not just with CNN, but all of the news channels tend to repeat exactly what they say for each political issue that enters the news cycle.  This satirical sketch did a great job of highlighting this in a comedic fashion.  Anderson Cooper and his panel literally repeated the same things over and over for each issue that arose concerning Trump.  This is exactly what happens on television each and every day.  And then the writers looped in that they were all robots, which was just a really good addition.  

“Donald Trump Prepares Cold Open”: On Twitter, the real Donald Trump actually got upset over this sketch, which comes as no surprise.  He doesn’t really like others portraying him unless he is a part of it.  Regardless of the validity of this sketch, it was very funny.  In my opinion, I think that Trump did not think that he was going to make it this far and wanted the attention, rather than the position.  Now that he has it, I think that he’s now realizing that he cannot do a lot of the things that he promised during his campaign.  This sketch captured that perfectly, especially with the interactions between Alec Baldwin playing Trump and Beck Bennett playing Mike Pence.  On a side note, bravo Kate McKinnon for once again doing a great Kellyanne Conway.  The little comedic lines that she had in this sketch made it that much better.

“QVC Auditions”: Is it really every adult women’s dream to be a guest host on QVC?  The competitive chemistry between Cecily Strong and Wiig’s character made this sketch work.  I laughed out loud when Strong began throwing mulch at Wiig’s glass door while she was trying to film.  And then there were the husbands who were just trying to help, but were always in the way in some way.  Everything about the interactions in this sketch can be applied to true life.

“Surprise Lady: Thanksgiving”: Along with Target Lady, Surprise Lady is one of Wiig’s recurring characters that I absolutely love.  I cheered when this sketch aired last night and it was really well done.  Leslie Jones’ face when she saw that Wiig ate the entire pillow while trying to stay quiet was priceless.  Plus, when Wiig threw the turkey out the window and came back with it on her head, I cracked up.  It’s little moments like this with Wiig and the Surprise Lady character that make the sketch fun to watch.  

“Thanksgiving Parade”: This was one of those sketches that really had no point to it, but you laughed anyway just because it was funny.  I have Bobby Moynihan’s clown face ingrained in head and I’ll never be able to unsee that.  What made this sketch work really was the chemistry between the actors and the behind the scenes work that went into enlarging the parade floats’ faces.  

“Weekend Update”: Weekend Update this week was good.  Michael Che and Colin Jost continue to be solid anchors and they once again delivered their jokes well and had good chemistry between them.  The more and more that Che and Jost host, they seem to get more comfortable.  This is good! As for the Weekend Update characters this episode, they were okay.  Pete Davidson appearing as himself can either be good or bad and it was not amazing last night.  However, Kenan Thompson’s senior citizen character named Willie was great, especially since he’s been a frequent character around the holiday season each year.

“Whiskers R We”: I’m a dog lover but I still really like this cat-based sketch every time it is done.  McKinnon just owns this character so well and really goes all out with it.  In this sketch, McKinnon is just trying to show off the cats that her adoption agency has to offer while Wiig is trying to get super personal with her.  The same concept is applied each time this sketch airs, but it is funny each time because of the interactions between McKinnon and her counterpart.  

“Well, isn’t that special” (Hit or Miss Sketches)

“Secret Word with Kristen Wiig”: I was never really a fan of this sketch when it was performed during Wiig’s tenure at the show.  It’s not that this recurring sketch is bad, but I just don’t really care for the concept of it.  Regardless of mine opinion of it, it is one of Wiig’s more famous sketches so it was nice of the showrunners to loop it into the episode last night.  Whenever they play this game, it weirdly reminds me of family game time at my house, so that’s really the only reason that I watch it.

“Target Commercial”: Between you and me, I would have preferred for Wiig to bring back Target Lady instead of the episode having this commercial.  Although this digital short was funny, my biggest question is why they chose Target to be the basis of it, besides from the fact that each store has an enormous parking lot.  I just felt like the store choice did not really fit the tone of the sketch, but maybe it’s just me.  Anyways, the characters in this sketch were performed very well and it was an enjoyable sketch to watch.

“Buh-bye” (Bad Sketches)

“Kristen Wiig Monologue”: Wiig’s Monologue was just weird and the only reason that one would laugh was because you felt forced to.  I get the character that they were trying to have Wiig fill here but it was just poorly executed.  In the end, it just looked weird and confusing with all the facts and corrections and singing over and over.  On the plus side however, it was great to see Steve Martin again and Will Forte grew a beard!

SNL is off next Saturday, but be on the lookout for a Thanksgiving themed episode sometime this week.  SNL will return on December 3 with host Emma Stone.

Dylan’s Ranking of the Episodes:

  1. Dave Chappelle
  2. Tom Hanks
  3. Kristen Wiig
  4. Lin-Manuel Miranda
  5. Margot Robbie
  6. Benedict Cumberbatch
  7. Emily Blunt

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