Assigning a value judgment like “good” or “great” or “best ever” or “worst in five years” to a season of Saturday Night Live is inevitably a fool’s errand. Each season is best understood through the lens of key sketches, breakout moments and overall trends. Below, I’ve listed a few of each from this post-anniversary season of America’s most astonishingly resilient TV show.
And while you’re in an SNL mood, check out my Indiewire investigation into the show’s record of diversity in its hosting choices.
Another season of Saturday Night Live concluded on May 17 with a returning sketch in which Vanessa Bayer and Cecily Strong play retired porn stars advertising a luxury item for a quick buck. The sketch played, in some ways, as a microcosm of season 39. It was intermittently hilarious with an arguably unnecessary cameo appearance and a sense that these characters came back out of obligation rather than inspiration. It was SNL in a nutshell.
It’s not criticism to point out that Saturday Night Live is an inconsistent show. Some episodes are better than others, but few are uniformly perfect. Some sketches work, others don’t. Some cast members jell immediately, others take time, and still others never find their corner. Some recurring bits remain funny with repetition, others fall flat as they grow older. The appeal of Saturday Night Live is in the pursuit, not the attainment, of perfection. I watch each episode looking for the moments that I’ll remember in five to ten years, even while I’m fully aware that I’ll forget most of the show within a few weeks.
Here’s the link for Episode 6.
This week on The M&M Report, Devin Mitchell and I dug into the first three episodes of Saturday Night Live Season 39 (THIRTY-NINE!), musing on everything from the show’s diversity issues to its spot-on Weekend Update, great and not-so-great sketches and even a defense of Miley Cyrus! Along the way, Devin directed an epic rant at TV critic Ryan McGee, I professed my undying love for Cecily Strong and neither of us could distinguish between the six new cast members.
(SNL returns next Saturday night with host Edward Norton and Janelle Monae. Make sure to tune in the following week as well – Kerry Washington will host and Eminem will perform.)
We followed up our SNL talk with a check-in on the fall season. We offered praise to lots of shows with Wife in the title, Mark offered some reservations about this season of Parenthood, and we both agreed that 24 hours per day simply isn’t enough to catch up on all of the TV we want to watch.
Comments? Questions? Show ideas? Random thoughts on life? Comment and let us know! Enjoy this week’s show.
Click through for the time breakdown.
00:00 – 19:30 — Saturday Night Live
19:30 – 44:36 — Fall TV: The Good Wife, The Walking Dead, Sleepy Hollow, Trophy Wife, New Girl, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Parks and Recreation, Parenthood