Cold Opening – The Presidential Debate
- Great to see Tom right from the cold open, much like in several of his previous hosting stints.
- Tom is already a solid moderator AND a very good straight man here.
- A pretty big laugh from Alec’s Trump suddenly blurting out “They are ripping babies out of vaginas!”, which is actually spoofing a real thing that Trump infamously said in the debate (*sigh*).
- A terrific “child/birth control” line from Kate’s Hillary Clinton, probably my single favorite line/moment in these debate sketches.
- Ah, here comes the memorable “Trump Bingo” bit, the details on it are fantastic if you pay attention, so kudos to the writers for them.
- A great moment with the entire planet laughing at Trump’s notorious claim that he respects women, which is, yet again, a thing that happened in the final debate when the crowd flat-out laughed at Trump’s claim about respecting women. Also, a great delivery from Tom of his line for the whole planet to settle down.
- A good laugh from the whole “Nasty Woman/Bad Hombre” card bit with Alec’s Trump.
- Overall, easily the best of the three solid debate sketches.
- Ah, it feels so good to see Tom hosting SNL and for me to review him. Sadly, this is the only time that I’ll get to review Tom on my blog, unless he of course comes back and hosts in some future seasons, as I do intend to cover SNL as long as I can on this blog of mine.
- Solid laugh from Tom wishing that he was named the sexiest man alive, instead of America’s Dad.
- A very good & fun conceit to this monologue, with Tom’s calming message to America before the election; a good usage of Tom’s beloved father figure image.
- Some good & endearing moments throughout Tom’s monologue to America, I especially love the part with him saying that America had a summer birthday when being told that China is better.
- Such a warm-feeling, fun ending to a great monologue, a definitive step-up from his decent previous monologue, which was basically him taking questions from the audience.
- Needless to say, a very famous installment of this sketch, and easily amongst SNL’s most notable sketches of the last decade.
- A great reveal of Tom’s character, and the different approach that this installment will take in contrast to the previous ones.
- I absolutely love how Tom’s character is fitting in perfectly with Black Jeopardy’s rules and format, and is also forming a bond with Kenan’s character that is not only so much fun to watch, and is being performed expertly by both performers, but is also heartwarming and quite charming.
- A very funny moment with the handshake between Kenan & Tom’s characters.
- I love the “you people” interaction between Tom and Kenan’s character, not only is it funny, but is also quite endearing.
- Here comes the memorable “Skinny women” question, and Tom’s delivery of his answer to it was just perfect.
- Ah, here comes the famous turn toward the sketch’s ending, with the “Lives That Matter” question. I absolutely adore the ending line delivery from Kenan’s character, with him stating: “Well, it was good while it lasted, Doug.”
- An overall excellent sketch, and one that was not only funny, but charming and important in the all the right ways. I look forward to reviewing the upcoming season 43 installment with the late, great Chadwick Boseman as I recall it as good as this one, if not even better.
- Oof. I’m not caring AT ALL about the lame, desperate attempts at random, absurd humor early on in this sketch, and the redundant pace is making me very worried about what type of sketch awaits me.
- UH-OH, I really don’t like where this sketch is going with the whole Halloween song that Tom & Cecily’s characters are about to perform.
- Melissa’s been getting some good airtime so far into her tenure, and now she also is co-starring in a sketch. I remember how this led me, back when this season was originally airing, to believe that we will be seeing Melissa star in many musical shorts/sketches, in addition to several Weekend Update pieces throughout her tenure. I turned to be DEAD WRONG on both accounts, as her tenure progresses, she’ll be even more underused and severely misutilized as well, leading her to look visibly miserable on and off the show.
- I’m not really liking Melissa’s delivery here, it is far too stilted for my liking, and even to this day, Melissa still strikes me as quite bland in some of her performances, aside mainly from her terrific character pieces behind the Update desk.
- A pretty lame song so far, and not in the funny, absurd way. The sketch’s attempt at random, absurd humor is coming off SO sad & frustrating. Anderlette are so bad when it comes to these types of sketches, with very few exceptions of course, that it is an absolute chore for me to sit through this one without groaning my way throughout it, and Cecily’s whole interaction with both Tom & Melissa as they perform the song is absolutely embarrassing to watch.
- Aaaand now we get our obligatory frequent cutaways to the others as they REACT to the song with unpleasant, uncomfortable reactions. Such a tired, overused gag that SNL has beaten to death by this point in its run.
- Weak ending with the rest turning out to REALLY like the song after all!1!1!1!1
- Overall, wow, this has to be one of the absolute worst things that Cecily ever did on SNL, and that’s most certainly saying something. What a waste of Tom’s great talents.
- John: Thank you again to Blood Meridian for the opportunity to review this piece.
- I have no idea who wrote this pre-tape, but if I had to guess I’d say Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider, as it reminds me of some of the searing takes on network TV they wrote, like The Dudleys.
- On the one hand, I’m not sure how much CBS was known at this point for trying awards bait shows, but there’s a prescience as CBS has recently tried to have topical sitcoms (with very mixed results).
- I’m not sure if that’s the reason or not, but having Vanessa play the wife in this while Cecily, Kate and Aidy play (presumably) the daughters feels like a certain mark of respect to her seniority in the cast.
- I think this may be the only voiceover Alex Moffat has done with SNL, which is such a waste, but…better one than none, I guess.
- I got a good laugh out of Cecily (going full Blue River Dog Food) yelling about how she likes to be hit while having sex.
- Tom is truly disappearing into this role. If you needed a reminder of what a wonderful actor he is, just watch the “ancestor” bedroom scene (where Vanessa proves just as adept at the more dour comedy). The tear running down his cheek is a brilliant touch.
- Normally I’d single out the part with Aidy going around touching everything in the living room as a filler step too far, but Aidy makes it work (and hell, I’d probably watch that show).
- The dinner scene with the solemn singing is a good close.
- Overall I have a strong opinion of this pre-tape, and will heap praise due to being the extremely rare piece of criticism toward modern TV that tries to have some teeth (something SNL mostly abandoned back in the ’90s). With that said…
- The excessive narration gets in the way of the material, as we are reminded and reminded of a point we already know, and eventually, the voiceover just starts to confuse and take you out of what you’re watching (like when he says “hear that Tonys?” even though there’s no way this show can be nominated for a Tony). We also get another fake review we don’t need. If SNL would simply trust the intelligence of their viewers, they would go a long way toward getting that old bite back. Still, there’s plenty to praise, and this is a quiet gem in a fantastic episode.
- Ah, needless to say, here comes an absolutely legendary & iconic SNL sketch; a quintessential piece from this era.
- This also happens to be our latest in the Mikey Day & Streeter Seidell-written inexplicable character sketches, much like the classics FBI Simulator & Space Pants. And the most famous & acclaimed of them.
- Surprisingly, this sketch is Beck’s second & FINAL appearance of the night. Quite surprising, considering how much he has been utilized by SNL since the second half of last season, and how much more he will be throughout this season and his coming ones. I would guess that several pieces that he was in were cut after dress rehearsal.
- A great initial reveal of Tom’s soon-to-become iconic David S. Pumpkins character.
- Very catchy & funny dancing from Mikey and Bobby, and that damn music is so catchy to an insane degree.
- I love Tom’s David S. Pumpkins’ catchphrase “Any questions?” as well as his excellent facial expression after saying it each time.
- Man, Kenan is excellent here, especially his line, saying to a perplexed Beck about why so many floors include David S. Pumpkins “Hey, look, it’s 100 Floors Of Frights, they not all gonna be winners!”
- I absolutely LOVE how Leslie’s scene turns out to be a continuation of David S. Pumpkins’, her facial reaction and dancing, alongside the very catchy dancing by Tom, Mikey and Bobby is one of the most iconic visuals of the entire 14-22 SNL era.
- Overall, an absolute SNL masterpiece and a perfect example of this era’s humor style, much like how the legendary Maine Justice was an example of the 05-13 era humor, and how More Cowbell was for the 95-02 era. I remember when I was watching this sketch as it was airing that I was watching an iconic SNL sketch in the making, much like the upcoming classics Diner Lobster and Switcheroo from John Mulaney’s upcoming debut next season.
Musical Performance – “A-YO” ft. Mark Ronson
- Jesse Nathan: Let me preface this by saying that I actually love Lady Gaga, and I rarely criticize her. Yeah, that was uncalled for, but I just wanted to get it out of my system.
- Very cool to see Gaga centerstage, and that outfit she’s wearing is…very appealing.
- Gaga’s vocals sound great here, almost like they do on the studio recording.
- Mark Ronson!
- Great guitar lick before the first chorus.
- Cool chorus, and it’s very fun to watch this band jam during the performance.
- Why are the dancers lip-syncing Gaga’s words?
- Wait, we’re already on the second chorus?
- Very fun dancing from Gaga’s dancers.
- Very fun sultry moves from Gaga during the guitar solo, and I like the camera angles used on her.
- Mark is killing it on the guitar.
- Now Gaga has picked up a guitar. Unfortunately, it’s barely audible once she starts playing it.
- I love Gaga’s gravelly delivery of “mirror on the ceiling”.
- What’s the point of having a trumpeter and a saxophonist if both instruments are barely heard throughout the song?
- As usual, solid long-form breakdown about the election from both Colin and Michael, even when it feels a bit fatigued right now, I’m still getting some laughs.
- I’m really enjoying this Leslie commentary, especially that it isn’t the usual Horny Leslie, but a personal one that shows Leslie’s natural likability as a person.
- Really funny bits with how Leslie cannot be embarrassed even with the hacking incident over the summer, a pretty empowering speech from Leslie here.
- Here comes what feels like the billionth Girl At A Party commentary from Cecily, I hope it will make me forget that fucking horrible Cecily sketch early on in this episode.
- Yeah, this commentary is mostly washing over me, despite the usual solid line deliveries from Cecily. This character seems to have run its course with me. I do, however, look forward to her COVID commentary, from the upcoming season 45, as I recall it being surprisingly strong and memorable.
- Hell yeah! Two of my favorite SNL legends Alec Baldwin & Tom Hanks starring in a sketch together! So, I see that the little tease in the open with both of them together was just to prepare us for the eventual sketch that will star them.
- A good tie-in to Tom’s then-recent Sully movie, as he is reprising his memorable role in this sketch alongside Alec’s generic pilot character.
- A pretty fun conceit to this sketch, with Tom’s Sully balking at being Alex’s co-pilot; a promising showcase for Tom’s comedic talents, yet again in tonight’s episode.
- I love Tom’s “Uh… I’m Sully” line, as if it’s going to make him automatically the plane’s pilot, instead of Alec.
- I love the structure of this sketch, with the exterior shots being sort of a time jump to multiple scenes in the cockpit. It makes the sketch feel like an old-school one.
- Geez, how many kids did Kyle play in this season alone?! This has to be at least his fourth or fifth one in this season. At least he’s not wearing that blonde wig for the gazillionth time.
- A very funny, silly bit towards the end, with Tom’s Sully intentionally making the plane go awry so he can brag about supposedly “saving” it yet again. Tom’s smug delivery of his “Sully did it again!” absolutely slayed me.
A Girl’s Halloween
- One of my all-time favorite Aidy Bryant pieces.
- This piece also happens to be one of those “chaotic vs. calm scenes” shorts that this SNL era tends to regularly do, and in my personal opinion, easily the best of them by a huge margin.
- I love the initial selfie shot in this short, not only because of the terrific cinematography in it, but also because of how beautiful our performers look too.
- Aidy’s delivery of her pizza line had me freaking HOWLING, such a perfect example of how effortlessly hilarious Aidy can be with her flawless line deliveries.
- Pete looks absolutely hilarious in that green makeup all over his body.
- (*sigh*) It feels that Bobby is barely on this season, always a sign that a performer is on their way out, much like how Kate phased herself out in her final season.
- Ha, I love that Bobby is also involved in the “chaotic vs. calm scenes” moments in this short.
- A fantastic ending with the reveal of Pete’s full-body green makeup being all over Aidy’s mouth.
- Overall, a bonafide masterpiece, and alongside Erotic Bookstore from a little later in this season, and Overnight Salad, is one of those pieces that immediately come to my mind when I think of how valuable, hilarious, and brilliant Aidy Bryant truly was throughout her tenure.
Musical Performance – “Million Reasons”
- Jesse Nathan: And now we get a serious piano ballad for the second performance. At this point, I’ve pretty much lost track of musical guests in recent years who have felt the need to adhere themselves to that role.
- To say something nice, Gaga is killing it on the piano, but that really isn’t surprising to anyone who’s familiar with her work.
- Also, it’s very cool to see the piano being the only visible thing throughout the performance, as nothing else behind Gaga is lit.
- Gaga’s vocals once again sound great.
- One backing vocalist singing along to the chorus is audibly heard throughout that last part.
- Ah, and now we see that backing vocalist holding a guitar.
- The way Gaga says “hills” sounds like she said “kills”.
- Strong chorus.
- I like Gaga’s facial expressions throughout this.
- And now the acoustic guitar is more audible as this goes on.
- During the second chorus, a hi-hat is becoming more and more audible. I think that if there’s a drummer, then they’re being hidden.
- I love Gaga’s vocal delivery of “away” during the second chorus.
- Wow, Gaga is literally on the verge of breaking into tears.
- And now drums have become audible.
- I love the harmony between Gaga and the vocalist with the guitar.
- Now Gaga is on top of the piano, and this is truly risky.
- An overall strong performance from Gaga, and further evidence of how much she’s matured throughout the years. So much so, that I find it hard to believe that she’s only 30 here. How is it possible that Gaga has matured more and more at this point of her career, whereas Katy Perry has just come off completely desperate and–…sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself.
Rating: **** (although I may go higher)
America’s Funniest Pets
- Great to see the return of this great sketch. Sadly, this is the second and final appearance of it.
- Very funny Ron Howard impression by Tom Hanks, and I do love the comment he made about how much Tom Hanks is a pain to work with; a good self-deprecating joke from Tom, considering his role model reputation.
- Good to see the return of Cecily & Kate’s French characters, as their monotone line deliveries work perfectly for me.
- Man, the clips in this installment are even more hilarious than the first sketch, which is saying something.
- Holy hell at the clip of the puppy walking on its hind legs in the store, I’m practically comatose with laughter, and being destroyed even more by Cecily & Kate’s hilarious comments about it.
- A somewhat abrupt end to this excellent sketch, again due to the show running long. Yet, what came before in this sketch is so damn hilarious that I’ll excuse the awkward ending.
Segment Ranked From Best to Worst
A Girl’s Halloween
America’s Funniest Pets
The Presidential Debate
- A very strong, memorable episode, with lots of fantastic, era-defining highlights. Easily the best of this season, in my eyes at least. Aside from that fucking horrible Cecily Strong sketch, the rest of the night was fantastic, and almost the entire rest of the episode received an impressive rating between 4-5 stars from me. Once again, Tom was a wonderful host who was utilized perfectly throughout tonight’s episode, and was given several roles that would go on to be absolutely iconic (especially Doug and David S. Pumpkins ), and it was an absolute joy to see him back in 8H and killing it all night long.
- This episode was also a massive step-up from his two average-but-still-decent hosting stints from seasons 22 & 31, respectively, and stronger than the only other episode that I saw him in, being even better than the also-great season 17 hosting stint of his. I do hope that Tom will host again, as It will be my honor to cover him in another episode during my tenure as an SNL reviewer.
- Also, another positive aspect to this episode is our musical guest Lady Gaga, whose performances tonight were absolutely fantastic and made this special-feeling, iconic episode even better.
- Benedict Cumberbatch hosts with musical guest Solange.