Cold Opening – Biden Panda
Tian Tian the Panda (BOY) saves Biden’s (MID) press conference
- I’m continuing to accept Mikey as the resident Biden impersonator, even when James’ impression remains better. Mikey deserves, with all that he gave SNL, to have a big presidential impression to potentially bookended his run at least.
- It is nice to see a lot of the cast in this cold opening, even when playing the generic role of reporters. This cold open also feels a bit step down from the previous in its satire of Biden.
- Now here walks on Bowen Yang playing what feels like his 500th sassy-and-shady role wearing a goofy outfit. I guess the last few episodes not having much Bowen vamping was just too good for us. We need those semi-weekly reminders of how FUNNEE and SILLEE Bowen Yang is and how honored we are to witness his “genius” in front of us.
- Any potential this cold open had just died as soon as it centered around Bowen being “funnee.” Bowen is such a cold, joyless performer that he has the ability to singlehandedly suffocate and kill segments dead for me. So, guess my reaction to his talk right now about being thick?
(host) talks about being from Hawaii and charity work
- Like last time, Jason is coming off very likable and his energy is so infectious.
- I’m enjoying how this monologue is turning into one of those where the host speaks about his childhood and background. It feels a bit odd doing so with Jason, considering how his first monologue was like and this feels like a monologue that’s usually reserved for a first time host and not one who already did several cameos and hosted before. I’m not complaining, however, as Jason’s story is interesting and he is coming off as likable as always.
- Very classy part with Jason talking about his charity work to help preserve and clean the ocean.
Masters of the Pen
(host) & (MID) constantly interrupt historic film
- I understand the banter between Heidi and Bowen at the start is meant to make fun of typical bad banter on such shows, but it fell very flat with me. That’s probably due to me being so sick of Bowen Yang as a cast member nowadays.
- Michael Longfellow is beyond perfect for an old-timey sketch such as this.
- Kudos for Mikey for nailing the physical movements in such a frame rate; his gestures towards the camera cracked me up.
- Is Michael going to just sit in the background doing nothing funny while Mikey and Jason continue to be the comedic conceit? Why this constant waste and underuse of his talents so far this season?
- The whole hot dog fakeout with Kenan was decent and a good way to subvert our expectations regarding Michael’s L. Frank Baum.
- An overall fun way to begin the episode properly with.
(host), (MID) and (KET) think about Rome
- Chloe Troast’s vocals during the opening scenes of this short remain way too good to be in a sketch comedy show.
- Funny twist with all that the guys are thinking of is the Roman Empire. As a big history buff, this premise is tickling me, even when I know it is parodying a trend online.
- The little kid joining in singing about dinosaurs was more cute than funny, but he did well in his little moment.
- Ego is fantastic leading the girls during the astrology bit, and Troast herself came off great as well. It’s very impressive how much she blended into the show so quickly that it feels natural seeing her paired with two senior cast members.
(MAH) tries to teach (host) about being a bouncer
- Fun look and characterization from Marcello, and it’s always nice seeing him lead a sketch in such an early spot in the night. I’m also enjoying Jason’s accent and rapport with Marcello.
- I cracked up at Chloe’s exaggerated Spanish pronunciation; Marcello’s response to said pronunciation afterwards was funny.
- Marcello is a solid straight man throughout this sketch and in reaction in particular to Jason’s actions.
- Michael’s use here is a lot better than how much he was overshadowed and underused during the leadoff sketch of the night. This is the type of straight man work he excels at.
- The running gag with Jason calling patrons ugly is decent. This sketch in general feels like a better version of that Towel Guys sketch from last season. A sketch I seem to be in the minority of being lukewarm on.
Thanksgiving Week Airport Parade
Newark Airport serves familiar faces
- SNL, please stop trying to make Bowen Yang as a utility player happen. The man is way too self-centred, too much of a self-parody to ever allow other cast members the time to shine. This is like trying to have Justin Timberfake give the spotlight to underused cast members in a hosting stint of his. So, in Dana’s Bush voice: not gonna happen.
- This opening musical number, while harmless, feels like something James Anderson would’ve written. I guess the James Anderson wannabes in the writing staff wrote this sketch.
- I’m not finding myself laughing much here, outside of Chloe’s bit about traveling with three dogs, but this is fine.
- I see that Jason is bringing his usual brand of fun and likable presence. Ego being impressed by Jason, and her line about tapping the captain was great. Good old Ego, making the best of even the simplest of lines.
- The James bit with the daughter was nothing special, but he performed it as solidly as he always does.
- Great cutaway to Michael as a perv wanting to be pat-down for the wrong reasons. It surprises me it took five episodes for Michael to get one of those sketch-stealing cutaway bits towards him.
- An overall ok ensemble sketch. Most of the material here was more relatable to me than funny, but this was still a good sketch.
Please Don’t Destroy – Ramen Order
(Ben Marshall) & (Martin Herlihy) try to order Ramen behind grief-stricken (John Higgins)
- I guess we are getting these shorts on a weekly basis this season and not what I hoped with them not being as dominant last season. Good thing I still enjoy these and the shorts this season have been some of the strongest in quite some time.
- Interesting hearing a reference to the legendary “I got a fever” line from the classic More Cowbell sketch in this context. As a sucker for the late ‘90s/early 00s era (my all-time personal favorite), I appreciate this reference even more than other fans might.
- Decent twist with being dumped from his girlfriend “Sofia” while in the middle of ordering Ramen.
- John’s acting is pretty good and is helping this predictable premise come off a little fresher than it would’ve been otherwise.
- A good laugh from Sofia turning out to be none other than Sofia Vergara.
- This whole short is fine but might be my least-favorite PDD piece by default at this point. Still pretty good, though.
Musical Performance – greedy
clips of Biden baffle COJ
George Santos (BOY) gets another interview with COJ
Draymond Green (DEW) discusses NBS suspension
Remember Lizards (JAJ) & (AND) on being Imagine Dragons rip-off
- The clip of Blinken’s reaction when Biden calls Xi Jinping a dictator is a meme waiting to happen.
- Ok, I really liked the Biden/Israel story’s punchline being that Biden is six years older than that nation.
- The photo of Colin’s smiley face with a thumbs up as the punchline to NBCUniversal pulling out ads from X due to Nazis was funny and deserved better reaction from the audience.
- Great joke about Donald Trump not bothering to show up during all of Don Jr’s childhood birthday parties.
- (*Bowen appears for the billionth time as Santos while Blood shatters into the abyss*)
- I mean…. what’s there to say about this performer that I haven’t said before? There are absolutely no words to give justice to how much I’ve been over this guy and his shtick. Now, I’m supposed to sit back and giggle for four minutes at the same Santos-a-fraud jokes? Let’s just move on from this mess, as I bet talking about him makes him stronger or something.
- WTF at the audience applauding about men dying before women? This isn’t a competition. Che’s punchline to it was at least funny.
- I have zero knowledge of who this guy Devon’s playing is. Considering the fun impressions Devon’s been surprising me with, I assume his take on this guy is spot-on.
- Devon is performing this well, even as a lot of this piece is going over my head as a non-sports viewer. The whole bit with the notebook was pretty funny especially.
- The And Just Like That punchline to Colin’s menopausal joke is excellent and one of my favorite jokes so far this season.
- Andrew! James! JAJMukes remains real to the bone I see. This is also sadly Andrew’s first actual desk piece since season 47. What a shame.
- I’m not the first nor the last to say this, but I’m getting very strong Forte/Sudeikis vibes each time Andrew and James are paired together. And I absolutely love that, as Jason Sudeikis and Will Forte are both in my top 10 personal favorite cast members of all-time.
- This piece is doing a great job spoofing the likes of Imagine Dragons and how overly produced, OTT and samey their music tends to be. James has been excelling alongside Andrew in nailing musical humor and making it come off fun and funny these past two seasons.
- I absolutely love how batshit and off-the-wall in the best possible ways the singing portions here are. Andrew’s facial expressions while singing are having me in stitches.
(AND) is cucked by the return of (host) after being cast away
- Two patented Andrew Dismukes pieces in a row? Is this to make up for a certain very annoying cast member getting so much airtime earlier in the episode? Either way, I welcome more Andrew into my SNL each time.
- I always love the voice Andrew uses when playing such roles; the combination of the look and voice reminds me so much of Will Forte, which is the second time Andrew reminded me of him tonight alone.
- Jason playing with his pecs is absolutely hilarious and the visual of Andrew looking tiny next to him is a riot.
- The turn with Jason taking his shirt off, and of course greeted with screaming to Andrew getting even more cheers (which endearingly startled him) is pretty funny.
- This has now turned into one of those getting cucked sketches, but Andrew’s refreshing way of playing such a premise again and giving it a new style is making me enjoy this sketch fine enough. Hell, even the ending worked better than it needed to be for me.
Musical Performance – grave
UNTOLD: Battle of the Sexes
pioneer feminist tennis player (SHS) had a gory end
- Yet another of these documentary-esque shorts from this era. The last one (I Was A Bridesmaid) was pretty solid, so I hope this one is as good, if not better.
- Great seeing this short in particular focusing on Sarah, as she’s one of my favorite current cast members and it’s been ages since she got the spotlight in a pretaped format.
- I absolutely love the gory visual of the tennis ball penetrating Sarah’s stomach, especially as she lets out a great scream of pain. This is great and this piece HAS to be a patented oddball Sarah piece as it right up her alley of humor. The buildup with the background of the whole battle and context makes this turn even funnier and more worth it.
- Jason’s straight man reactions towards the carnage he’s witnessing are underrated and add so much humor to this already-hilarious turn.
- Holy hell at the visual of Sarah’s head popping off. I expected more and more parts of her character’s body to go off, so her head going off surprised and made me laugh out loud.
- Great ending. You know, leave it to Sarah Sherman not only to give me the strongest piece of the night, but one of the more standout pieces of this whole season. I loved this short so much.
troubling medical reveals about (host) worry (KET)
- The setting of this sketch feels straight out of season 29. Expect not as D.O.A. nor dull. I believe this sketch was cut from the Kieran Culkin episode from season 47.
- The turn with the sketch revealing more and more troubling diagnoses about Jason’s medical condition is decent, albeit somewhat cliched. Jason and Kenan’s performances are making this sketch better than it is.
- Jason’s lame joke about how small his penis was pretty funny, especially the rejected high-five with Kenan.
- The legally blind/Legally Blonde mix-up was worth a good laugh.
- Pretty good 10-to-1.
Segments Ranked From Best to Worst
UNTOLD: Battle of the Sexes
Masters of the Pen
Thanksgiving Week Airport Parade
Please Don’t Destroy – Ramen Order
- While the quality of this episode wasn’t as strong as the last few have been, this episode as a whole was still pretty good with a decent number of highlights, including more offbeat, weird sketch concepts (dominance of said concepts has been such a breath of fresh air compared to last season’s focus on stale camp and pandering) which show why this season has been a lot more refreshing than the last one for me. There was also a lot of fun vibes in the air throughout the sketches and a lot of the cast shined. I attribute said vibes to Jason Momoa who was, much like last time, a very fun and game host who helped make the cast shine.
My Favorite Moments of the Episode, Represented with Screencaps:
- On December 2nd, SNL returns with Emma Stone joining the Five-Timers Club. Noah Kahan is the musical guest.
My full set of screencaps from this episode is here