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!

SNL Review November 17, 2018: Steve Carell/Ella Mai

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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-steve-carellella-mai/

The Ingraham Angle – B-

Steve Carell’s Monologue – B

Going to Disney World – B-

A Message From Jeff Bezos – B-

Friendsgiving – B

RBG Rap – B-

Ella Mai performs “Boo’d Up” – B

Weekend Update
The Jokes – B-
Denver Riggleman – C
LaVar Ball – B-

’50s Sleepover – B

Ella Mai performs “Trip” – B

RV Life – C

Space Thanksgiving (BEST OF THE NIGHT) – B(+)

GP Yass – B-

SNL Review November 10, 2018: Liev Schreiber/Lil Wayne

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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-liev-schreiberlil-wayne/

Jeff Sessions Farewell – B-

Liev Schreiber’s Monologue – B-

Good Day Denver – B-

Unity – B-

Paranormal Occurrence – B

Lil Wayne ft. Halsey performs “Can’t Be Broken” – B

Weekend Update
The Jokes – B
Pete Davidson and Dan Crenshaw – B+

The Poddys – B

House Hunters – B+

Lil Wayne ft. Swizz Beatz performs “Uproar” – B-

Brothers – B

Dave’s Outside the Women’s Bathroom (BEST OF THE NIGHT) – A-

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