SNL42 Wrap-Up Extravaganza!

Overall Thoughts on the Season:

Season 42 continued the rise of this new, young SNL era, but it was the season that was the true turning point for this era, which influenced it for the next four years, for better or for worse. This was the season that brought back a great deal of attention and press to the show, and the highest ratings in decades. And it was also the season that solidified how SNL would handle the Trump administration moving forward, which as we all know, would lead to great sense of fatigue about halfway through next season, and a sense of alienation between SNL fans and the show itself, with sidelining the cast in favor of cameos; a decision that will only somehow get even worse and worse moving forward.

Yet, that does not take everything from this season, while its legacy as a whole is a bit problematic, season 42 as a whole was fantastic, with an impressive string of great shows, especially in the 2nd half of the season, where there were no episodes that I would call weak or mediocre, and many flawless shows from top to bottom, which is almost unheard of in SNL. There were classics being created on almost weekly basis throughout the entire season, and with many of personal favorite shorts, sketches, and moments of this entire era, and the 2010s as a whole. While season 42 is not my personal favorite year for the 14-22, in terms of personal episodes, it is most definitely the strongest season of said era and the 2010s as well. And easily the strongest season since season 34, which was much like this season, representing the peak of its era.

Amongst my very favorite aspects of this season is how it responded to current events by creating clever, sharp pieces that would easily go viral. Pieces like “Through Donald’s Eyes”, “U.S. Customs Welcome Video”, and “Pepsi Commercial”, which shouldn’t come as a surprise as this season built on the previous two’s solid record in that regard. These three pieces, amongst others, made SNL feel even more fresh than it was few seasons ago, and made it part of the daily conversations of many people. And the continued experimental and conceptual writing style of the season as well, as we got many solid, unique sketch concepts this season, many of which are well-known classics, with sketches like “Live Report”, “Haunted Elevator”, “Erotic Bookstore”, “Sectional Sofa Emporium”, and of course “International Mad Scientist Society”. These sketches, and many more, dominated many episodes this season, much like the previous two years of this, and helped in creating very fun & silly vibe that I mentioned several times in my reviews of this season. I sadly recall by next season & particularly season 44, this trend will come to a halt, as we’ll get many sketches that focus more and more on humor that I can’t stand, yet we’ll get there.

And finally, this was the season that we said goodbye to Bobby, Vanessa, and Sasheer. The first two had particularly great tenures, especially with the terrific final two years that Vanessa had, carving a niche for herself as well with solid pretapes & very fun character work behind the Update desk. Reaching by that her peak, in my personal view, as a performer, which is very rare for long-term cast members to do. The only other cast members that I think did their absolute best work in their final few years are: Jane Curtin in her final season, Tracy Morgan in his final two years, Jason Sudeikis in his final two, and Beck Bennett in his final season. Bobby also had a good final year, especially with several solid showcases in the second half, in particular in “Five Stars”, “Broderick & Ganz”, and “Birthday Clown”. While he felt invisible at times, especially in the first half of the season, Bobby was still very reliable for laughs and I’ll miss him greatly. Sasheer had a disappointing tenure overall, yet clearly not her fault. While the show always struggled with using black performers in general, we’re thankfully past the days where SNL would treat black women & black men in drag as interchangeable, the show still used Sasheer & at many times also Leslie the wrong way, especially the latter’s many shouty, over-the-top roles. Knowing the talented performer Sasheer is before and after leaving SNL, and the promising signs she showed when given the chance on the show, makes her underutilization baffling to me. I will miss all three in my regular reviews, and knowing how more and more cold the show will become during the Trumpwin years, it will only make me miss them even more.

Hot Takes:

  • While I’ve always enjoyed the first half of the season, I’ve now become pleasantly surprised to find out that it was even stronger than I remember. On a similar note, parts of the 2nd half of the season being even more fun for me to review than I anticipated, as I was scared that it would be a chore to sit through the February-March string of shows in particular.
  • Chris Pine being an even better host than I remember. While I’ve always enjoyed him as a performer & found him funny and charismatic, I was surprised by the amount of energy, charisma, and effortless charm he brought as a host. So much so, that I would now put him in my top 3 hosts from this era that should’ve hosted WAY more.
  • Cecily Strong having more duds than I remember this season. While I think Cecily had now four bad years on the show, seasons 39 & 40, and seasons 46 & 47, I was disheartened to discover that this season wasn’t as good as her fourth year. I do still believe that the good does outnumber the bad till we sadly reach season 46 where Cecily becomes an outright bad cast member and starts to greatly hurt the momentum of many episodes with her tired & inside-joke pieces.

And Now Some Data:

Episode Averages:

Margot Robbie / The Weeknd – 7.7

Lin-Manuel Miranda / Twenty One Pilots – 6.3

Emily Blunt / Bruno Mars – 7.1

Tom Hanks / Lady Gaga – 8.1

Benedict Cumberbatch / Solange – 6.6

Dave Chappelle / A Tribe Called Quest – 8.0

Kristen Wiig / The xx – 6.5

Emma Stone / Shawn Mendes – 6.9

John Cena / Maren Morris – 6.7

Casey Affleck / Chance the Rapper – 5.2

Felicity Jones / Sturgill Simpson – 6.0

Aziz Ansari / Big Sean – 7.9

Kristen Stewart / Alessia Cara – 7.1

Alec Baldwin / Ed Sheeran – 6.5

Octavia Spencer / Father John Misty – 6.2

Scarlett Johansson / Lorde – 6.2

Louis C.K. / The Chainsmokers – 7.4

Jimmy Fallon / Harry Styles – 6.7

Chris Pine / LCD Soundsystem – 6.5

Melissa McCarthy / HAIM – 6.9

Dwayne Johnson / Katy Perry – 7.0

Best Episode: Tom Hanks – 8.1 (Runner-up: Dave Chappelle – 8.0)
Worst Episode: Casey Affleck – 5.2 (Runner-up: Felicity Jones – 6.0)
Season Average: 6.8

Highest-Rated Sketches:

5 Stars:

Live Report (Margot Robbie)

Diego Calls His Mom (Lin-Manuel Miranda)

Chonk (Emily Blunt)

The Sink (Emily Blunt)

Black Jeopardy! (Tom Hanks)

Haunted Elevator (Tom Hanks)

A Girl’s Halloween (Tom Hanks)

Monologue (Dave Chappelle)

Love and Leslie (Dave Chappelle)

Wells for Boys (Emma Stone)

Through Donald’s Eyes (John Cena)

Totino (Kristen Stewart)

Press Conference (Kristen Stewart)

Leslie Wants to Play Trump (Alec Baldwin)

Monologue (Louis C.K.)

Sectional Sofa Emporium (Louis C.K.)

Amazon Echo Silver (Melissa McCarthy)

Kyle and Leslie (Melissa McCarthy)

Cartier Fidget Spinner (Dwayne Johnson)

International Mad Scientist Society (Dwayne Johnson)

4.5 Stars:

The Librarian (Margot Robbie)

Melania Moments (Margot Robbie)

Melania Moments (Lin-Manuel Miranda)

Short Film Festival (Emily Blunt)

Melania Moments (Emily Blunt)

Broken (Tom Hanks)

America’s Funniest Pets (Tom Hanks)

Meeting With Mr. Shaw (Benedict Cumberbatch)

Walking Dead Chappelle’s Show (Dave Chappelle)

Jheri’s Place / Inside SNL (Dave Chappelle)

CFT: Goddess of Creation (Kristen Wiig)

The Christmas Candle (Emma Stone)

Erotic Bookstore (John Cena)

Dunkin’ Donuts (Casey Affleck)

Interrogation (Aziz Ansari)

Broderick & Ganz (Aziz Ansari)

Dirty Talk (Aziz Ansari)

Five Stars (Aziz Ansari)

U.S. Customs Welcome Video (Kristen Stewart)

Weekend Update (Kristen Stewart)

Russell Stover’s Black History Heart Shaped Box (Alec Baldwin)

Pepsi Commercial (Louis C.K.)

Tenement Museum (Louis C.K.)

Where in the World is Kellyanne Conway? (Chris Pine)

Song For Peace (Chris Pine)

SWAT Recon (Chris Pine)

One Voice (Dwayne Johnson)

Xentrex (Dwayne Johnson)

4 Stars:

The Presidential Debate (Margot Robbie)

Women’s Round Table (Margot Robbie)

Monologue (Lin-Manuel Miranda)

Crucible Cast Party (Lin-Manuel Miranda)

Weekend Update (Emily Blunt)

The Presidential Debate (Tom Hanks)

Monologue (Tom Hanks)

Cockpit (Tom Hanks)

The Koohl Toilet (Benedict Cumberbatch)

Why is Benedict Cumberbatch Hot? (Benedict Cumberbatch)

Weekend Update (Dave Chappelle)

CFT: Motel Painting (Dave Chappelle)

Monologue (Kristen Wiig)

The Bubble (Kristen Wiig)

Target (Kristen Wiig)

CFT: Thanksgiving Foods (Kristen Wiig)

Theatre Showcase (Emma Stone)

The Hunt for Hill (Emma Stone)

Science Presentation (John Cena)

Jingle Barack (Casey Affleck)

Monologue (Aziz Ansari)

Kellyanne Conway (Aziz Ansari)

Weekend Update (Aziz Ansari)

Meet Cute (Kristen Stewart)

Press Conference (Alec Baldwin)

Jake Tapper (Alec Baldwin)

Weekend Update (Alec Baldwin)

Zoo-opolis Voice Actors (Octavia Spencer)

Youngblood (Octavia Spencer)

Weekend Update (Octavia Spencer)

Spencer’s Gifts (Octavia Spencer)

Olive Garden (Scarlett Johansson)

Complicit (Scarlett Johansson)

A Sketch for the Women (Scarlett Johansson)

Lawyer Lashes (Louis C.K.)

Thank You, Scott (Louis C.K.)

Soda Fountain (Louis C.K.)

Weekend Update (Louis C.K.)

Take Me Back (Jimmy Fallon)

Weekend Update (Jimmy Fallon)

Basketball Scene (Jimmy Fallon)

The House (Chris Pine)

Production Logo (Melissa McCarthy)

WrestleMania Promo (Dwayne Johnson)

Weekend Update (Dwayne Johnson)

Wingman (Dwayne Johnson)

Lowest-Rated Sketches:

2 Stars:

Pine Ridge Campground (Lin-Manuel Miranda)

The Music Man (Lin-Manuel Miranda)

Stranger Things (Lin-Manuel Miranda)

A Degree of Valor (Lin-Manuel Miranda)

Melanianade (Emily Blunt)

Office Hours (Benedict Cumberbatch)

Secret Word (Kristen Wiig)

Trump Christmas (Casey Affleck)

Christmas Miracle (Casey Affleck)

The Princess and the Curse (Felicity Jones)

Oval Office (Kristen Stewart)

Family Feud (Kristen Stewart)

Drill Sergeant (Alec Baldwin)

The People’s Court (Alec Baldwin)

Jeff Sessions Gump (Octavia Spencer)

Drug Company Hearing (Octavia Spencer)

Bar Centrale (Octavia Spencer)

The Boy is Mine (Chris Pine)

The Handmaid’s Tale (Chris Pine)

Trump Interview (Melissa McCarthy)

Just Desserts! (Melissa McCarthy)

Scorpio (Dwayne Johnson)

Jurassic River Rapids (Dwayne Johnson)

RKO Movie Set (Dwayne Johnson)

1.5 Stars:

The Great British Bake Off (Emily Blunt)

Gemma & Ricky (Benedict Cumberbatch)

Surprise (Kristen Wiig)

Cleaning Crew (Emma Stone)

The Lead with Jake Tapper (John Cena)

United States of Talent (John Cena)

The Chocolate Man (Octavia Spencer)

Alien Attack (Scarlett Johansson)

Trump’s People (Louis C.K.)

Hallelujah (Dwayne Johnson)

1 Star:

Halloween Show (Tom Hanks)

Robot Presentation (Casey Affleck)

New York Now (Casey Affleck)

Mrs. Claus and the Christmas Feast (Casey Affleck)

Gym Class (Alec Baldwin)

Birthday Clown (Louis C.K.)

Oval Office (Jimmy Fallon)

Couples Game Night (Chris Pine)

Final Thoughts:-

  • And thus ends five seasons of reviews on this blog. Kinda amazing how fast they went, and in six months I’ve done 100+ episode reviews, doing these on almost daily basis. I wouldn’t have done this if it wasn’t for you dear readers & supporters of this ever growing blog, so thanks yet again for the support, even when thank you is not enough to repay the support you’ve shown me. Thank you as well to Jesse Nathan for calculating the averages for this season & the highest & lowest-rated sketches as well. And for his enjoyable musical performance reviews.

Coming Soon:-

  • The season 43 reviews begin with host Ryan Gosling & three new additions to the cast.

4 Replies to “SNL42 Wrap-Up Extravaganza!”

  1. 42 is a very interesting season indeed with all the trump stuff and them really pumping out simplistic pre-tapes designed to go viral online, some of which were honestly the highlights of the season. Sad to see Vanessa go, I truly believe she’s one of the best performers ever on SNL and easily, as I’ve said countless times, the best *actor*. Really excited for your season 43 reviews, it’s been great reading all your season 42 reviews when they come out, you’ve got a real talent. But yeah, intrigued on your thoughts on season 43. Heidi! Chris. Luke…

    Fav sketches (of snl 42): Live Report, Totinos w/ Kristen Stewart, Escorts and of course Haunted Elevator

    Worst: all the cold opens

  2. We agreed very closely on this season, Blood! A testament to the sheer consistency of the season. It says a LOT that the worst episodes belonged to Affleck and Felicity Jones – and neither one of those were awful! Now stack up those season-worsts against Donald Trump… Russell Crowe… Elon Musk… There were ZERO trainwreck episodes this season by my estimation, a true achievement as this great cast & writing staff keep ramping up.

    Looks like the only 1 and 1.5 sketches you got wrong were:

    Handmaid’s Tale ****
    Cleaning Crew ***

    Not too much overrated, either. I wasn’t blown away by Matt Schatt, The Librarian, or the Leslie showcases you apparently love. (I guess I didn’t notice their high ratings as your season went on. Probably due to subconsciously checking out/taking a piss break when I got to them – just like in real life.

    And, of course, one BIG difference that I just can’t let go of. You and I really disagree on the Pine episode – particularly one piece.

    Matt Schatt ***1/2
    The Librarian **1/2
    Erotic Bookstore **
    Where in the World… ? ** (at most)
    Song for Peace * (at a hard, hard maximum – I cannot overstate how much I hate this shit)

  3. Ah, this is such a strong, memorable season. So many of these sketches are classics and represent the peak of this era, mostly pretapes. That being said, this season has also given us many memorable live sketches, as your reviews showed us. Seeing people like you and Stooge praise this season makes me feel proud that this was the first season that I saw live. It’s gonna be fun when we get to S43, as that season was one that I only occasionally caught live, unlike this season.

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