SNL Week Seven Highlights

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This week’s episode of Saturday Night Live, hosted by Anne Hathaway, was good! It may have even been the best of the season so far. Almost all of the sketches were at least pretty good, in no small part due to Anne Hathaway being surprisingly great at hosting. I would even go as far to say that she’s as good at hosting as Jon Hamm, and Jon Hamm is very good at hosting. She just was willing to go for it, and it showed.

And even though many of the sketches kind of seemed like they just plugged new words (“thanksgiving,” “four loko,” “horses”) into well-worn sketch ideas that don’t actually match up with the previous parenthetical (“clips from a soundtrack featuring Randy Newman,” “deleted scenes,” “local news”), it turns out that maybe they are so well-worn because sometimes they work. Here are the sketches from this week that worked especially well (in addition to the Black Friday ad sketch):

An obvious (right? it’s obvious?) reference to the YouTube news blooper clip in which the reporter tells the old reporter that he is not good at reporting, I think the “Herb Welch” sketch was one of the best of the night. Though it is a little strange to be referencing that YouTube clip from so long ago, they make it work.

Another inspired sketch was “Visiting the Queen”:

That was so good! The premise felt like it took something current from the news and took surprising and fresh take on it, and Fred Armison and Bill Hader both did excellent jobs. Great.

These Weekend Update segments, the ones that are like the “Really?!?” segment, are great. Even if they are just segments that are like the “Really?!?” segment. They’re like Jon Stewarts rants, but they are focused on taking down the dictionary people instead of the Fox News people, which I’m sure is helpful in not alienating big chunks of your audience. Keep doing these!

One thing that stands out: the best sketches from this week were the ones that eschewed returning to a well-worn character or a basic TV show parody setup. The Miley Cyrus Show and Penelope sketches were fine, but it was refreshing to see more sketches that weren’t dependent on those setups. It was refreshing!

I’ll leave you with this, a sketch from rehearsal that didn’t make it to air called The Thanksgivies. Even the cut sketches from this episode were pretty good!