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Anyone else getting sick of politics?

Well, unfortunately, on a show that tackles major political stories all the time, under a president who constantly makes bad decisions and likes to complain about the jokes they make at his expense based on said decisions, the topics concerning him are just unavoidable...

For months now I've been hoping for things to quiet down so that we could all move on to other topics, but Donald Trump just insists on being the center of attention...You know the old saying about bad publicity...By now, it's pretty easy to consider Trump as just another Hollywood headline news distraction from more serious issues...He is the Britney Spears of our time!

So it's time to bring in the big guns and hit that son-of-a-gun where it hurts! The man primarily responsible for his multiple therapy bills over the last half of a year hosted last night, and there was a sketch dedicated to each joke-worthy member of his cabinet, leading up to a sketch with the man himself in "The People's Court".

The sketch went with the easy jokes, but it was interesting seeing his sons and Reaper Bannon (guess they decided against recasting him with Rosie O'Donnell) in the background, and how they all figuratively bow down once Vladimir Putin enters the room. I'm starting to hope for a sketch with Trump in a super-villain-style cabinet meeting with Pence, Conway, Bannon and Spicer with Putin serving as their boss via a large monitor. (Though with Beck playing both Pence and Putin, it would lead to some challenging decisions to make.) Cecily's little speech about her weariness of Trump's shenanigans also pretty much reflected my feelings on all of this crap going on...

Now for the other political sketches...The cold opening was pretty much just an encore of last week's successful appearance from Melissa McCarthy as Sean Spicer...While there were a few new gags like the giant bar of gum and the podium turning into a drivable machine, it mostly just felt rehashed from last week...But due to how much McCarthy kills it as this character, bringing it back for this week's opener made sense...I just hope that they use it only when needed and mix it up a little more.

PS, It looks like they're using Trump's complaints to their advantage once again with Kate's portrayal of Jeff Sessions, and while I don't know how accurate her voice was to the real man, it was nonetheless a funny voice, so that's another point in the sketch's favor...

And then we have Kellyanne Conway finally going all-out as the psycho we all know her to be in a parody of "Fatal Attraction". It was a very creative premise, if a little obvious. Some amusing comparisons between adulterous relationships and a simple commentary on the news...And then we get some creative imagery at the end...That's about all I need to give...

The video where Leslie is auditioning for Trump was pretty interesting, and honestly I wouldn't be against her getting the part if she was good enough at impersonating him...And it almost looked like she was leaving the show, and this was her sendoff, but I know better than to believe that...

We also got a sketch addressing all of the politics dripping in the Superbowl ads...Nothing great, just a little bit of unique commentary while the competing pitchmen just try to make something more harmless (if incredibly uninspired by Superbowl ad standards).

The Beyonce sketch gave Sasheer a chance to do an impression, instead of them having to bring back Maya Rudolph...Though who they DID bring back, Tracy Morgan, was a very welcome surprise. The cameo was pretty much the heart of the sketch, but everyone had something to contribute to it, including the one who's still in the cast simply to fill a quota...Will she get more to do in the coming future? Only time will tell...

Probably my favorite sketch of the night was Baldwin as the drill sergeant coddling his son...While it was nothing hilarious (this should probably tip you off that this was not my favorite show), it was a unique premise that led to some amusing lines, particularly the ones being delivered in the "SIR, YES, SIR!" style.

Baldwin's physical teacher performances alongside Mikey Day carried over into the gym sketch...And since it was the 10-to-1 sketch, I knew something shocking or gross was going to happen...While I was expecting one of those sketches where some guy (in this case Mikey) gets horribly injured leading to blood spurting everywhere, instead we got...a fart joke...This gave me a harsh flashback to the January Jones episode from forever ago, but thankfully it was salvaged just a bit by Baldwin's commitment both TO the role, and IN the role...Just the way the teacher won't give up on his student even while getting flatulence in his face saved this sketch from being awful...Still not good, but WAY better than the "Rear Window" sketch...

We also got a monologue that was mostly just Baldwin talking about his previous appearances on the show (with Pete Davidson riffing on how he'd aged), and a rather creative chocolate ad for both Valentine's Day and Black History month...

Update was mostly pretty standard, but that's not to say there weren't some jokes that hit perfectly hard to the Trumpster and some amusing guests...Even Alex Moffat got a chance to play a douchey rich guy who is clearly compensating for something, and he really did show some nice comedic timing and delivery in the process...Of course, that's also how I felt about Jon Rudnitsky's tribute to "Dirty Dancing" on Update last year...

Ed Sheeran is clearly not your standard pretty-boy with an acoustic guitar (in fact, how physically attractive he is can be up for debate). He's not just playing to woo all of the young females out there, his music has a legitimate heart and soul to it...And it reflects well in both his voice and stage-presence...He's really growing on me as an artist, and I greatly enjoyed his performance last night (as well as his one-man set tonight at the Grammys).

In the end, this was an adequate show...It seems that the more frequently a host is booked for SNL, the harder it is for them to remain such a presence while keeping things fresh...Baldwin has my utmost respect for his overall legacy on the show, as well as his continuing portrayals of the President...Hopefully he won't keep having to whip out this character so frequently, and things will quiet down soon (wishful thinking, I know...)

Overall Grade: B

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Mar 01, 2017
Finally, my thoughts:

+ If the cold open wasn’t going to be the host doing his flawed caricature of a flawed caricature, then the only other viable option was a reprise of MelMac as Sean Spicer. This sketch was a repeat of the previous week but in other ways an extension; the half-truths are still pouring out, and Spicer (both the imitator and the real deal) are talking down and haranguing the media for no other reason than they can. Also, points for the leaf-blower attack on Cecily and the motorized podium.
+ Jog my memory: when was the last time Alec did a monologue that didn't reference a past SNL hosting stint? I want to say 2011.
+ “Cheetos Ad Pitch” is an solid example of a good-to-fair sketch that is pitch-perfect in its satirical target. This year’s plethora of Super Bowl ads mostly took Trumpeters head-on, but the joke is on the public perception of advertisers making “inappropriate” political statements during an overwrought football game. Incidentally, the undercurrent of product placement in Year 42 was a positive contributor in this sketch, but raked over the coals by Kate as Liz Warren 30 minutes later.
+ Kellyanne Conway channeling “Fatal Attraction” was another sharp move. Just give Kate that second Emmy already.
+ Ed Sheeran’s live workout of “Shape of You” was almost custom-built to be covered for Jimmy Fallon’s kiddie instrument bit. Lo and behold…
+ With the news becoming increasingly ludicrous, the Trump-era/Katie Rich-free Weekend Update has shifted gears somewhat and opted to just report on the insane goings-on then just tack a punchline to the story. Nevertheless, I loved the about-face when Che took pity on the president, then quipped “is this really the way you want to spend the last two years of your life?”
+ It was kind of an odd move to push the obligatory Alec-as-Trump sketch to after Weekend Update. Still, spoofing "The People's Court" while making light of the strikedown of the president's travel ban went hand in hand.
+ I'm happy to see Tracy again, but that "Beyonce's OB-GYN" sketch was pretty corny.
+ Woodbridge High, the setting of the push-up sketch, is the same high school as the recurring student showcase sketches. It wasn’t obvious, but Aidy and Mikey were playing the same characters from a totally different bit.
+ I don’t think Alec Baldwin (or 51% of registered voters) anticipated him becoming a de facto cast member this season, but he has certainly added an intriguing flavor to an above-average season of SNL. Alec's status as SNL royalty is not undeserved, so his anything-goes approach to a string of goofy sketches more than makes up for two line flubs --one that was very egregious-- and some cue-card squinting. This episode was also the most blatantly topical of late, making up for pedestrian and non-political sketches that just limped along.

6.5/10

PS: RIP former SNL forum member mp34mp, a/k/a DolphRudager.
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