Cold Opening – Oval Office
- Our very first cold open with Alec playing President Donald Trump (*shudder*).
- A very lame premise to this cold open, with Trumpwin making a bunch of phone calls to world leaders. How is that supposed to be funny?
- The whole bit between Trumpwin & the Mexican president is the only time I laughed in this overlong cold open so far, and I’m sure it’s all due to Alex’s performance.
- Since when does Trump make stupid “o” faces when being owned? I know this is an impression for comedy, but it just feels even more padded.
- UGH at the whole scene with Kate’s Angela Merkel, this hero worship of politicians that this era is attempting with this season onwards is fucking BRUTAL to sit through.
- That whole scene at the end was made SPECIFICALLY to anger Trump & have him go on a temper tantrum against the show, which eventually SNL succeeded at (*sigh*).
- Overall, very few laughs from this cold open, and knowing the disastrous downhill slide in quality that these will continue to suffer, I’m expecting only the worse moving forward.
- Oof, very nervous & low-energy vibes from Kristen right from the start. She’s coming off more charming than worrisome though.
- WOW at those Kristen Stewart/Robert Pattinson tweets by Trump. I…. I… I have honestly no words to describe them.
- Not caring for Aidy & Kate’s roles here, which sadly feel like the typical dreck that will star both of them later in their tenures.
- A pretty dull, low-energy monologue so far.
- Aaaand her comes the famous F -bomb from Kristen, which easily gave me the biggest laugh from this entire monologue.
- By the way, having Kristen return to host in season 45 disapproves the claims that she supposedly got banned afterwards, which I recall were everywhere when this episode originally aired.
U.S. Customs Welcome Video
- Oh, an absolutely BRILLIANT take on Trump’s Muslim ban.
- I absolutely LOVE the sudden turn in this commercial, with Beck’s tone about certain portions of it being edited.
- Beck’s voice-over tone & his usual sharp deliveries are pretty much perfect for this short, and his tone is slaying me so far.
- A fantastic bit with Beck’s character saying in a stern & rapid manner “NO”‘s in regards to who in a photo of people at an airport will be allowed into the country, with him reacting to a kid in the photo with a sincere “aww!” before suddenly blurting out “NO!”. Beck is KILLING me here, quite possibly one of his finest performances, which is certainly saying something.
- A hilarious, yet very brief bit with Beck’s character regarding the “highly detailed questionnaire” with it just consisting of a single question about being a Muslim or not.
- An overall brilliant, very sharp SNL piece. And one of the very first pieces that comes to my mind when I think of how damn excellent this era’s shorts were. Beck was also phenomenal in this piece, and delivered one of my absolute favorite performances of his throughout his terrific 8-year tenure on the show.
UConn Dry Fridays
- Holy hell at Kristen’s very rough delivery so far into this sketch.
- Solid leading straight man work from Mikey here, coming off as a solid leader in this sketch & holding it together quite well.
- I love Mikey’s constant line asking Kristen’s character to put the beanie back on.
- Solid lines from Kristen’s character, but sadly her delivery is ruining some of these lines, despite her giving a good, committed performance here. Imagine if this sketch was given to upcoming host Octavia Spencer? She would’ve absolutely KILLED IT with her sharp line deliveries.
- Ah, our third & final entry into the Totino’s trilogy starring Vanessa.
- An absolutely PHENOMENAL turn that this commercial suddenly takes once Vanessa meets Kristen’s character.
- I absolutely love the memorable exchange between Kristen & Vanessa’s characters, and Vanessa’s line about having no name is absolutely hilarious.
- Ah, here comes the famous mention of Vanessa’s “hungry guys”, and Kristen’s response, with her saying softly: “What are YOU hungry for?” is absolutely classic.
- The slo-mo romantic montage of Vanessa & Kristen’s characters is fantastic, and is taking this third installment into such a unique, creative direction. Even moreso than the previous two outstanding installments.
- A great ending to a bonafide SNL masterpiece. This phenomenal trilogy provided tons of laughs, and featured not only three brilliant, unique, and contained pieces, each with a very different tone than the other, but an excellent lead performance by Vanessa, continuing her stellar final two years, with her playing this character so charmingly & perfectly. It feels so good to this character’s arc & in extent Vanessa’s tenure, end in such a happy & joyful note. This trilogy, without a shadow of a doubt, is an all-time SNL highlight.
- Oh, here comes a very noteworthy sketch from this era.
- The debut of Melissa McCarthy’s short-lived, yet very memorable Sean Spicer impression, which would go on to garner incredibly high critical acclaim for the show & increase the media coverage of the season even moreso than previously.
- Already, Melissa is coming off FANTASTIC in this role, and is leading this sketch with incredible charisma & energy, elevating the already-hilarious lines she’s given even more with her performance.
- I’m LOVING the long, extended, and awkward pause that Melissa’s Spicer is taking in order to chew that huge chunk of candy.
- A big laugh from the random cutaway to Kyle as a CNN reporter locked in a cage.
- The debut of Kate’s Betsy DeVos impression, which is already coming off spot-on & very funny.
- A huge laugh from Kate’s DeVos’ open-mouthed, clueless smile in response to a question that she cannot answer properly.
- Aaaaand here comes the classic podium attack, which the next cold open will go further with even more.
- Overall, a true classic, and widely deserving of the great hype it got back when this episode originally aired. While this sadly continues the stunt-casting of celebs as Trump cronies, Melissa’s energy & performance made me forget that, as she was absolutely outstanding here, and even funnier than usual (I recall absolutely loving Matt Damon in his memorable debut as Kavanaugh as well, but we shall see when I eventually review that episode).
Musical Performance – “Scars To Your Beautiful”
- Jesse Nathan: Back in 2017, I was actually pretty excited to see Alessia as musical guest, as 13-year old me pretty much loved this song. 5 years later, I don’t get as excited. Then again, my tastes in music now are vastly different from how they were at the time.
- Not loving Alessia’s vocals.
- The drummer seems to have a look on his face that says “I’m feeling this shit”. Not sure why, as this song isn’t really something to jam to on the drums.
- During the chorus, there’s a synth that can be heard. However, it doesn’t really sound good.
- Alessia’s attempt at harmonizing with the backup singers isn’t really working well. If anything, Alessia’s vocals are standing out more than those of the backup singers.
- The strings are fine, but I can’t shake the feeling that it’s just an attempt to liven up a rather dire song.
- Not caring much for Alessia’s strutting.
- Okay, I will admit that the strings do sound great during the bridge.
- Nice drum fill during the last chorus.
- Some pretty huge laughs from Michael botching his “If your kid’s dog dies…” bit, which is providing several excellent ad-libs from both him & Colin.
- I’m loving Colin’s whole speech about how much we’re learning about government & the world from Trump, in response to how clueless he showed himself to be so early into his presidency.
- The return of Kenan’s David Ortiz, which seems fitting due to the Super Bowl.
- I’m getting some of my usual laughs from Kenan’s Ortiz listing-off a bunch of his sponsors, and this commentary seems to be better written than his previous one, in particular the hilarious Little Scissors bit.
- A huge laugh from the classic gaffe (which is keeping this night’s tradition of having many big gaffes in general), when Colin VERY prematurely signs-off Update despite having several more minutes of material left to perform. Michael’s ad-lib in reaction to it is pretty much perfect.
- Great ad-lib from Colin before delivering his very first joke after the big gaffe: “I want to quote our host from the monologue.”
- Terrific final joke from Michael to end this excellent Update edition.
- An overall very strong Update edition, and quite possibly the strongest of this entire season.
- (*yawn*) They’re bringing this tired & overused recurring sketch back? Can we have a fun celebrity showcase game show sketch that is NOT this one, please? A new Super Buzzers or Charades is fine by me!
- WTF at Leslie’s random casting as Samuel L. Jackson?!
- A freakin’ fantastic Casey Affleck impression from Alex. One of his strongest impressions, and considering the very solid impressionist that Alex is in general, that’s saying something.
- Unsurprisingly, Melissa is doing a very solid Lady Gaga impression.
- Aside from some fun impressions, this sketch is so TIRED by this point.
- (*sigh*) And to make this sketch even more annoying, we get our obligatory breaking from Leslie Jones. As I said previously: my biggest problem with Leslie on the show is that she thinks of herself as FAR funnier than she actually is.
- Please end this sketch already SNL before I crumble into pieces…
- Great to see Pete starring in this type of short for a change, considering that we’re approaching the Pete Raps! phase of his tenure.
- Mikey (continuing his very solid first season) steals this entire short with his stern & cold delivery of “No” in response to Pete’s very dramatic & long question after disclosing his feelings.
- This short is doing an excellent job in capturing the rom-com movie tropes to perfection, and the quick pace & writing are enhancing the material.
- Solid montage with Pete desperately trying to find where Kristen lives, as its being juxtaposed with Kristen’s very rom-com-esque scenes.
- A good ending to a strong & fun short.
Musical Performance – “River Of Tears”
- Jesse Nathan: Aaaaaannnd of course, we now get a slow piano ballad for the second performance. (*groan*) Why do musical guests feel the need to always do that for the second performance? It’s getting tiresome! And if you know me, you know that I don’t really care for piano ballads. They’re a bit too boring for my likings.
- I’m still not loving Alessia’s voice. In fact, I didn’t even realize until now that it sounds a tad bit similar to Halsey, which itself is not a good sign (not saying I dislike Halsey).
- Boy, these are rather generic lyrics.
- The earpiece that Alessia’s wearing is extremely noticeable.
- I can’t shake the feeling that there’s a bit too much reverb going on in Alessia’s vocals.
- “Cry me a river”. Gee, haven’t heard THAT one before? [/end sarcasm/]
- I’m sure Alessia’s getting a bit personal here, judging by her facial expressions, but I’m watching this with no context or knowledge of Alessia’s personal life. Did she have any struggles? I seriously doubt it. Maybe this is just her acting as part of the song, like record executives want her to write a song like this, despite not having enough knowledge to pull it off perfectly.
- Okay, I do like Alessia’s genuine joy at the end.
- I had next to nothing to say there. Aside from that long rant I had about this type of song, most of the performance just washed over me and nearly bored me to tears. Yeah, let’s just say that this isn’t for me. And for that matter, neither is Alessia Cara.
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
- Hoo, boy. The Willy Wonka setting is giving me unwanted flashbacks to that fucking WRETCHED & notorious Charlie’s Grandparents sketch from the season 44 Claire Foy episode.
- Solid characterization from Pete, who’s been having quite the solid night.
- Good reveal that the grandparents can walk after all, and Kristen’s reaction of both upset & shock was well-performed.
- Solid bit with Kristen’s Charlie angrily mentioning to Mikey’s character the things she did for him when she thought he couldn’t walk; the line about washing his balls gave me a good, cheap laugh.
- Ah, Mikey’s delivery of his line, saying in response to Kristen’s Charlie angry rant “I didn’t ASK you to. I also thought that was strange” provided me with my biggest laugh so far into this sketch. And makes this sketch the second consecutive segment that Mikey steals for me.
- Didn’t care much for that ending, but this was a good sketch overall, and certainly FAR better than the aforementioned notorious one that the show will do in season 44, but we’ll get there.
Segments Ranked From Best to Worst
U.S. Customs Welcome Video
UConn Dry Fridays
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
- A strong episode, even when the quality cooled down by the 2nd half. This episode had a worrying start with the weak cold open & the average monologue, but catapulted to some spectacular highs starting with the fantastic Beck Bennet-voiced U.S. Customs Welcome Video short, and had some of this season’s strongest pieces, and considering this season’s quality, that’s saying something. Kristen Stewart had a rough start early on in the episode, but as the night went along, she gave some solid performances & was fantastic in the pretped material. I look forward to reviewing her season 45 episode, as I recall it having some astounding highs, even with some shakiness around the edges.
- SNL legend Alec Baldwin returns to 8H as host for the 17th (and so far, sadly final) hosting stint.