SNL Love It/Keep It/Leave It: Halsey

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CREDIT: Will Heath/NBC

Jeffrey Malone watches every new episode of Saturday Night Live and then organizes the sketches into the following categories: “Love It” (potentially Best of the Season-worthy), “Keep It” (perfectly adequate), or “Leave It” (in need of a rewrite, to say the least). Then he concludes with assessments of the host and musical guest.

Love It

Virginia State Capitol – If all else fails, write a sketch about a group of people who just don’t get it, and have Kenan react to them with maximum frustration. Although I have a distinct suspicion that there was no “all else” that failed and that this was instead a sketch that someone was mighty inspired to write from the beginning as soon as all the Virginia blackface nonsense was blowing up. All in all, this is an ingenious dramatization of the rationalization people come up with when attempting to minimize explosive behavior.

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SNL Love It/Keep It/Leave It: James McAvoy/Meek Mill

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CREDIT: Will Heath/NBC

Jeffrey Malone watches every new episode of Saturday Night Live and then organizes the sketches into the following categories: “Love It” (potentially Best of the Season-worthy), “Keep It” (perfectly adequate), or “Leave It” (in need of a rewrite, to say the least). Then he concludes with assessments of the host and musical guest.

Love It

No “Love It” sketches this week, although there are some moments that I love.

Keep It

Air Traffic Control – “Difficult-to-understand air traffic controller” is a fruitful sketch comedy premise, and SNL pulled off perhaps the best example of it ever back in the nineties with the mumbling Suel Forrester, a.k.a. Chris Kattan’s best recurring character. This edition is pretty good, too, and a satisfying utilization of McAvoy’s natural accent. But it would have been even better if there were moments when we could actually understand the Scottish folks. The key to these types of scenes working is that the confused people are given just enough rope to think that they might be able to crack the code of the strange speakers. At least the random detail of the plane’s passengers being Kylie Jenner’s brand integration team (but not Kylie herself) is a nice touch.

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SNL Love It/Keep It/Leave It: Rachel Brosnahan/Greta Van Fleet

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CREDIT: Will Heath/NBC

Jeffrey Malone watches every new episode of Saturday Night Live and then organizes the sketches into the following categories: “Love It” (potentially Best of the Season-worthy), “Keep It” (perfectly adequate), or “Leave It” (in need of a rewrite, to say the least). Then he concludes with assessments of the host and musical guest.

Love It

Ken Instagram – This redux is not quite as masterful as the Barbie Instagram bit from the Donald Glover episode, which was my pick for the best sketch of last season. Luckily, it’s different enough to stand on its own and still be quite hilarious, thanks to Pete Davidson and Heidi Gardner’s daffy suggestions and Rachel Brosnahan’s unique darkness. Alas, it is also different in a couple of bad ways, as the timing isn’t always perfect and the ominous piano is unnecessary. But that’s just evidence of how difficult it is to capture magic in a bottle more than once. In this case, I’ll settle for almost-magic.

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SNL Review December 15, 2018: Matt Damon/Mark Ronson and Miley Cyrus

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CREDIT: Will Heath/NBC

My letter grades for each sketch and segment is below. My in-depth review is on News Cult: http://newscult.com/snl-love-itkeep-itleave-matt-damonmark-ronson-miley-cyrus/

It’s a Wonderful Trump – B-

Matt Damon’s Monologue – B

Westminster Daddy Show – B

Best Christmas Ever – C-

Christmas Ornaments – B

Oscar Host Auditions – C

Jingle Bells – B-

Mark Ronson and Miley Cyrus perform “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart” – B

Weekend Update
The Jokes (BEST OF THE NIGHT) – B+
Where’s Wes? – C+
Angel – B

Weezer Argument – B+

Cop Christmas – B

Mark Ronson and Miley Cyrus and Sean Lennon perform “(Happy XMas) War Is Over)” – B-

Happy Christmas, Britain – B

SNL Review December 8, 2018: Jason Momoa/ Mumford & Sons

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CREDIT: Will Heath/NBC

My letter grades for each sketch and segment is below. My in-depth review is on News Cult: http://newscult.com/snl-love-itkeep-itleave-jason-momoamumford-sons/

Trump Tower – C+

Jason Momoa’s Monologue – C+

Elf on the Shelf – B-

GE Big Boy – B-

Khal Drogo’s Ghost Dojo – C-

Them Trumps – B-

Mumford & Sons perform “Guiding Light” – B-

Weekend Update
The Jokes – B-
Carrie Krum – B-
Che on Tushy – B-

A Christmas (BEST OF THE NIGHT) – B

Day of the Dorks – C-

Mumford & Sons perform “Delta” – B+

Sleigh Ride – B

first Impression – B

Rudolph’s Big Night – C

SNL Review December 1, 2018: Claire Foy/Anderson .Paak

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CREDIT: Will Heath/NBC

My letter grades for each sketch and segment is below. My in-depth review is on News Cult: http://newscult.com/snl-love-itkeep-itleave-claire-foyanderson-paak/

Park Hyatt Argentina – C+

Claire Foy’s Monologue – B-

Netflix – B

Morning Joe – C-

The War in Words (BEST OF THE NIGHT) – B+

Dad Christmas – B-

Anderson .Paak ft. Kendrick Lamar performs “Tints” – B+

Weekend Update
The Jokes – B
Leslie Jones – B-
Jules – B

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory – C

HSN – C

Anderson .Paak performs “Who R U” – B

Good Morning Goomah – C

A Holiday Message From the Women of SNL – B-

SNL Thanksgiving Special, We Need to Talk

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CREDIT: NBC

Around every Thanksgiving and Christmas (and sometimes Halloween), NBC airs SNL compilation specials consisting of some of the most memorable holiday-themed sketches in the show’s history. With the Christmas editions, there is an overabundance of sketches to choose from. But the Thanksgiving specials usually contain a few “family meal” sketches that don’t actually take place on Turkey Day. That’s fine, though, as there aren’t as many Thanksgiving as there are Christmas bits. But it’s not entirely okay, because there are some actual Thanksgiving bits that don’t make the cut but that deserve to be revisited, like the Thanksgiving Song Auditions with Phil Hartman. Let’s take a deep dive into where rectification needs to be made.
The two main problems with the SNL Thanksgiving Special are recency bias and inexplicable sketch selection. The first is understandable, as the special gets refreshed every three years or so and thus tends to get reloaded with sketches that weren’t around to make the cut the last time. But at least room is still made for some sketches from previous decades, like Paul Simon dressed as a turkeyTonto, Tarzan, and Frankenstein singing; and the Nikey Turkey.
Let’s run through some quick points that SNL‘s compilation packagers simply must hear:
-The Bird Family is an acceptable inclusion, because when else are we going to see that classic?
-The Yelling Family Dinner is also acceptable, but please use the one with Sarah Michelle Gellar instead of Gwyneth Paltrow.
-The Loud Family, on the other hand, while funny, should not be included, as it is not sufficiently about food.
Right Side of the Bed is certainly about Thanksgiving, but it is not very good.
The one sketch where Vanessa Bayer plays a turkey dating Josh Hutcherson is one of the most bizarre sketches ever. I guess it’s an acceptable inclusion, but what is up with the animation at the end?
-Bring back Thanksgiving Song Auditions!

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