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I have grown quite annoyed at the tendencies that SNL has picked up in its guest selections for May over the last handful of years...I have developed a serious pet peeve that they haven't had a female host a season finale since 2005, and this will also be the fourth consecutive year that a solo female performer will be the finale's musical guest...It may be the OCD talking, but I like variety! I want for shows to mix it up a bit every year!

But the point I am getting at is this: Why does every Mother's Day episode (with some VERY rare exceptions) HAVE to have a female host!? What's more, why is it always the last show of the season to HAVE a female host!? Even in the rare occasions when a man hosts the Mother's Day episode, or when Mother's Day manages to fall on the THIRD to last weekend of the season, there are never any women hosting after that...

And as much as I'm REALLY looking forward to Dwayne Johnson for the finale next week, there's still a part of me that's annoyed that even Melissa McCarthy, the most successful female host of recent seasons (and arguably in the show's history) has to be relegated to Mother's Day for her Five-Timer appearance while a male (also becoming a Five-Timer) hosts the finale as usual!

Okay, seriously, I know I'm freaking out over nothing...But what especially annoys me is that I have to wait an entire year just to see if they'll change it up for the next one...Really, I just don't get this attitude the producers have developed believing that men can't host the Mother's Day episode and women can't host the finale...The same kinds of choices every season gets REALLY old! CHANGE IT UP, SNL!!!

Okay, rant over...Let's talk about last night's show...

The highlights of the episode were mostly near the beginning...I enjoyed watching McCarthy take that Joan woman backstage...Sure, it wasn't anything too different than what we usually see during "backstage monologues", but between the jokes, campy music playing and the payoff of the two exiting through that door that I always wondered what it looked like from the other side, it was a fun experience...

We then get to watch McCarthy get hit by a few (baker's) dozen pies, which was a typical specimen of the Kafka comedy bits SNL has developed a tendency for, but between McCarthy's commitment, the energy of the bit, and Kenan's voiceover yelling "PIES!?" every time she gets hit, it managed to hit that sweet spot (see what I did there?) The "Alexa" bit was a typical jab at the elderly, but they still got some original jokes in there.

But I'd say the highlight was the Sean Spicer sketch...Sure, it started out as the same old schtick (and I don't know if they quite accurately captured people's sentiments toward Sarah Huckabee Sanders), but the scene of Spicey riding down New York in his podium (which was spoiled by some captured footage of McCarthy actually doing that for filming) leading up to the Trumpster giving him a "death kiss" made for an appropriate enough sendoff for this character...

I hardly have anything to say about the cold opening, because it's the same joke Baldwin brings every time...(One more week! Hopefully Baldwin at least lets this portrayal go out in an epic fashion...)

We also get more Debette Goldry pretty much relying on the same shock value that we get from Colleen Rafferty, with McCarthy playing another fictional actress that was mostly just...there...Another filmed sketch focusing on Kyle and Leslie's relationship (I guess they DIDN'T break up), which is honestly one of the better filmed romances I've seen...I'm not even kidding! An amusing-yet-typical-McCarthy sketch about her playing a nervous wreck modeling for a kids' film company...And finally, a sketch where the other Melissa (Villasenor) turns into a chicken, which had just enough disturbing nuttiness that it got the job done. (It seems that these kinds of sketches will be annual for Mother's Day just like Vanessa's Totino's lady will be annual for the Superbowl...)

Update sure didn't pull any punches this week! Commentary on the Comey firing, the trailer-style record scratch ("I FEEL GOOOOOOD!"), Pete giving his last stand-up for the season (just as Leslie did hers last week), and Cathy Anne performing another commentary that was more...true than funny...Don't really need to say much more...I'm just wondering which of his three popular characters Bobby will do next week for his final show (or if he'll find a way to play Riblet, Drunk Uncle and Anthony Crispino all in one Update!)

And now for the important question of the century: Who makes sillier faces while performing, Este Haim, or Brittany Howard?

That question plagued my mind while watching the otherwise satisfying performance of the sister trio! They have great harmony, they're each talented at their respective instrument...But aside from Este's face, nothing about it made them stand out from the bigger, more electrifying performances of the season (but they are still well above the mediocres of the season like Maren Morris and The Chainsmokers).

This show was...okay...None of the sketches were complete duds, some were even fairly enjoyable, but I expected more...This was overall McCarthy's most forgettable outing, but hey, good to see Steve Martin show up to give her that jacket (and not just for her 4 1/16 appearance). That said, this will probably be a good opportunity to take a break from her and maybe give another female a chance to join her in the Five Timer's Club...I'm sure there are other worthy choices out there...

Overall Grade: B-

Happy Mother's Day everyone, and I will see you next week for the season finale! I can already smell what's cooking for the big finish...

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May 27, 2017
My thoughts:

+ As cartoonish as Alec's Trump impression can be, tonight's cold open was pointedly written and showed little mercy. Che reprised his Lester Holt impression (his semi-annual sketch appearance) as they recreated their uncomfortable sit-down interview. The strange thing is, this sketch generously quoted Trump verbatim, not unlike that Palin-Couric cold open from Year 34, while also taking some of their most aggressive digs yet.
+ I guess that backstage llama does have a name.
+ "Amazon Echo Silver" could have been one, long slog of an old person joke, but it was executed brilliantly. The Satchel Paige exchange was a little absurd, yet still true to life.
+ As awful and prone to humiliation as Sean Spicer can be, I think they were a little generous in calling would-be successor Sarah Huckabee Sanders (played by Aidy) "articulate and charming," regardless if she's being compared to Spicey. It would be the same nonsense in a different, marginally more palatable filter.
+ Colin Jost alluded to what many comedy writers (including myself) have suspected: the crazier the Trump administration gets, the more fodder for jokes, and the stronger and more vicious Weekend Update gets. Cojo and Che know POTUS is watching, and they don't care. The Trump-Russia situation, a controversy compounded by the firing of FBI Director James Comey, is not going away. The left wants Trump impeached, the right is watching helplessly while he sabotages his own presidency, and WU is merely finding 100 articulate ways to say "Dude, WTF?"
+ Speaking of WU, Cathy Anne never quite gets to puff that cigarette, does she? It reminds me a little bit of Luis Bunuel.
+ It sounds like HAIM's sophomore effort is an extension of their full-length debut, with a keener ear for '80s adult contemporary. It'd been so long since I saw them play, I nearly forgot about Esme Haim's "bass face." (At first I thought she was sneezing throughout "Want You Bank.")
+ "Mom Animals" is a spiritual sequel to the "Mom Hair" sketch from Year 41. It wasn't as stark or as original as the first one, though it made a pointed commentary about how we define women (especially mothers) and how we seldom give them what they really want and need.
+ I can't disagree with AV Club's conclusion that MelMac would have been an all-time great cast member in some parallel universe. Anytime she has brought her presence to SNL has been a joy, and tonight's show was both a coronation and a season highlight. It was a good mix of writer-driven sketches with the broad, super-physical bits in which McCarthy excels. Here's hoping they maintain the weirdness going into next week's finale.

7.5/10
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