SNL Weekly Review: December 3 by Dylan Zsigray ’18

As it was made apparent in her monologue last night, Emma Stone has not hosted Saturday Night Live for five years.  One would think that a host coming back after five years would be a little “rusty,” per say, and would not be as natural acting in the show.  This was absolutely not the case last night.  Emma Stone hosted a fantastic and extremely funny episode of SNL.  Last night’s episode, as seen in my ranking below, is one of the best I have watched all season.  I also am of the belief that the quality of the show increased because everyone involved with the show had a break since Kristen Wiig’s episode.   Sometimes, breaks are needed just to recalibrate.  Below is my review of last night’s episode.

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

“Classroom Cold Open”: Donald Trump once again went to Twitter and bashed SNL for an inaccurate representation of his constant use of Twitter.  The irony here is that he criticized SNL through the platform that they were making fun of him using in the first place.  Regardless of this, this sketch was solid.  Kate McKinnon continues to portray Kellyanne Conway splendidly and Alec Baldwin acts just like Trump.  Honestly, I do not know if this sketch is accurate or not.  For all I know, Trump could actually be working on a tremendous plan that he’ll reveal once he is inaugurated.  However, until he changes how people perceive him (ie. his use of Twitter), he will continue to be made fun of.  This sketch was very funny and really well done.  I’m just glad that The President-elect’s constant criticism of the show is not stopping the cast from continuing to do sketches like this.

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

“Emma Stone Monologue”: I grow tired sometimes of the same old thing every week with the host’s monologues.  They always stand at the midpoint of the stage and talk right into the camera while other cast members walk across the stage in the background.  This is the structure that I see 85% of the time.  Luckily though, Emma Stone kickstarted her first show in five years with a fantastic monologue that actually left the stage.  Last night’s monologue was really clever and it used the set space in a neat way.  And, the viewer got a look behind the scenes, which is always a plus.  Stone’s stellar monologue certainly set a positive tone for the rest of the show.

“Film Screening”: McKinnon once again played Debette Goldry in this sketch and I honestly hope that her character becomes a regular thing on the show, especially during awards season.  In-fact, I think that Goldry would make an excellent red carpet host right before the Oscars.  Anyways, the stories that Goldry has to tell in this sketch make it hard for the viewer, and the other cast members, not to laugh.  I mean, Sasheer Zamata was barely holding it together the whole time.  And, Jennifer Aniston made an appearance, which didn’t really add anything to the sketch, but it didn’t detract from it either.

“High School Theater Show”: This is a recurring sketch (I think this is either the fifth or sixth time it’s been performed) and it is always really funny to watch.  Some editions of this sketch are better than others and last night’s was one of the best I’ve seen thus far.  My favorite part of this sketch is the audience’s reactions to what they see on stage and one would think that they would stop attending these performances if they hated them so much.  The writing in this sketch was stellar and I always like the sociocultural undertones SNL includes in this series of sketches, even though it is sometimes purposely misconstrued by the cast.   Plus, this sketch provides a great reference point for what an $1000 improv class can get you.

“The Christmas Candle”: I am not a re-gifter of gifts but I know people who are and this sketch describes them perfectly.  There are always those people who cannot find a gift for a friend or coworker and they search endlessly through any nook and cranny in their house to find some small token of appreciation.  In this case, a candle was the answer.  I mean, who doesn’t like receiving a peach-scented candle?!  This digital short was very well done and the costumes, including Aidy Bryant’s hair, really just sealed the deal for me.  

“The Hunt for Hill”: Poor Hillary Clinton.  She lost the election and all she wants to do is hike through the woods by her house without being bothered by her supporters who stood by her throughout the whole election.  I’ve got to say, whoever wrote this sketch deserves an award.  I mean, the writer(s) literally took Clinton’s lonesome hikes in the woods and turned it into some  Loch Ness-monster-like hunting show.  It was very well done and incredibly funny to watch.  Vanessa Bayer’s reaction when she saw Clinton walking through the woods was priceless and the fact that Clinton was still wearing her pantsuit tied it all together very nicely.

“The Nativity”: I would love to believe that this is actually how the aftermath of Jesus’ birth was.  Mary just gave birth to a child in a barn and wants to rest but all these visitors just keep coming and coming.  Joseph, portrayed by Kyle Mooney, played off the incompetent husband stereotype who tosses everything (like getting drinks for guests) to his wife because “he does not know where they are.”  The blend of the historical story with the modern stereotypes made this sketch work.

“Weekend Update”: Last night’s episode included another solid edition of Weekend Update.  Michael Che and Colin Jost’s chemistry was very strong last night and it was seen vividly with their banter exchanges in-between their lines.  I’ve said it before and I will continue to say it: Che and Jost are doing an excellent job and have filled the void that Seth Meyers left behind.  I always get excited to see Weekend Update and I actually laugh more during it than I did when Meyers and Cecily Strong hosted back in Season 39.  During last night’s edition, Leslie Jones made an appearance, which was funny but disturbing at the same time.  Bayer portraying Rachel Green also came back and I exclaimed when I saw her.  Bayer and Aniston’s exchanges during this segment were also really well-timed and extremely funny.

“Wells for Boys”: After watching this, I wished that I had a well growing up.  Both the writing, and Stone’s acting was spectacular in this digital short.  Not every kid wants a bike or Nerf guns or monster trucks as a present.  Some just want a well.  I mean, I do not know the logistics of such a product and I am unsure as to how it is moved with all the water in it, but if the kid is happy, I’m happy.

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

“Cleaning Crew”: Although the songs sang by the cleaning crew members were morally disturbing to my ears, they were funny nonetheless.  The best part of this sketch were Alex Moffat’s lines about his kids, who just happened to be in the room when the cleaning crew members were characterizing Santa Claus as someone different than they probably knew.  Melissa Villasenor’s retort back to Moffat was really well delivered and I literally laughed at out once I heard it.  Although the sketch maybe was not amazing, the timing and delivery of the lines and lyrics certainly made it memorable.  

“Posters”: I get the premise of the sketch it plays of the stereotypical teenager attitude that gives up when things are too hard.  However, even though this sketch was funny in some areas (for example with Stone’s constant dialogue about her hot dog), it went on for way too long.  I literally almost cheered when McKinnon ate Stone’s hot dog and sighed when Stone pulled another one seemingly out of thin air.  Although the writing was decent in this sketch, I think it could have been trimmed down a bit.

“Buh-bye” (Bad Sketches)

There were no sketches ranked in this category!

Emma Stone hosted a great episode of SNL and I hope that the momentum to produce good episodes continues to increase.  Next week, SNL will welcome John Cena, who will host.

Dylan’s Ranking of the Episodes:

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

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