Another great season of SNL wrapped up this weekend with host Ben Affleck joining the Five Timers Club. Sadly Mr. Affleck did not get the fanfare of previous club initiates but in all honesty, this season finale was more about departing cast members than it was the host.
Someone who doesn’t appear to be going anywhere, despite being in his tenth year on SNL, is Kenan Thompson. There are quite a few who think he needs to move on but if he keeps up things like comparing his Al Sharpton hair to Fredrick Douglas, then he can stay as long as he desires. However, it was “Matthew McConnell” that really made me laugh. How could you not laugh at the idea of Wooderson in politics?
The monologue was cute but still rather meh at the same time. The backlash Affleck got for saying marriage is work was ridiculous to begin with. The fact that they couldn’t come up with anything a little bit more topical (the Oscars seems like they were months ago…) is even more ridiculous. That being said, I’m a huge fan of Jennifer Garner so anything that gets her on my TV, I’m okay with it.
The “Bengo F*** Yourself”? I can’t tell if I liked it because it brought back Fred Armisen’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, or if I liked it because it was funny, or really if I even liked it at all. Ahmadinejad having to say “park the car in Harvard Yard” each time was amusing but the premise was a little blah. It just left me wanting to go watch “I Ran So Far” again.
I know I’ve proclaimed something to be the “best so far” at least twice this season, but ‘Xanax for Gay Summer Weddings’ really was the best commercial of the season. Everything from the favors of cheez-its and mini bottles of water compared to two tickets to Italy and 40K and Bill Hader dancing was delightful. Bobby Moynihan not owning an iron? Aidy Bryant and Kate McKinnon as the couple getting married with their pack of dogs? Flawless. The tagline of “Not necessary for lesbian weddings” made me laugh more than anything in quite some time. Don’t know who wrote that bit but hats off to them because it was amazing.
Not amazing was Ben Affleck with his Jimmy Stewart impression and Bill Hader’s “holding out for management” sketch. Actually the only highlight of that was Kate McKinnon pronouncing that she was 40. How that sketch made it to the front half of the show is beyond me because it was awful.
One of the best parts of living in the internet age, is the ability to have a look at our favorite shows that we’ve never had the chance to get before. If you wanted backstage photos back in the dark ages of my childhood, you had to either know someone or see them in a magazine. I know right? Oh the humanity! Now you pop on over to Instagram, or Twitter, or Facebook and you’ve got those things right at your fingertips. Thankfully Joe Kelly, an SNL writer, got a picture of that incredible shirt that Taran Killam was wearing in the ‘New Beginnings’ sketch because it truly needs to be seen as often as possible. Impressive bead work. The sketch was all right, but that shirt was clearly the highlight.
I have been watching SNL ever since I was going to sleepovers or found a way to sneakily watch TV after my parents went to bed so mid-80’s. Actually the first episode I remember seeing was Ron Reagan hosting with musical guest The Nelsons. Oh yea. In all those years, I don’t know that I’ve seen a better send off for a character than was given to Bill Hader’s Stefon.
Stefon came on as expected and things progressed as they usually do. Then, in a moment of horror vocalized clearly by the audience’s gasps, he storms off stage telling Seth that he’s found a new man and he’s getting married. The fabulous Amy Poehler saves the day by telling Seth Meyers to go after him and we are treated to a The Graduate send-up that would no doubt make Dustin Hoffman proud. I’m woman enough to admit that it made me cry to see all Stefon’s clubbing friends there at his wedding. ‘Menorah the Explorer’ and of course ‘DJ Baby Bok-Choy’ warmed the cold cockles of my heart. However, nothing compares to having the happy couple return to the Weekend Update set and take a final bow surrounded by other fantastic Weekend Update characters.
A remarkable end to an incredibly entertaining character and ongoing storyline.
Sadly, the rest of the sketches weren’t nearly as good or noteworthy. ‘Greg’s Funeral’ was entertaining to a point, and the ‘Engagement BBQ’ was mildly funny but only because it was nearing 1 am and I was tired. Really the only thing the second half had that was positive, sketch wise was the ‘not porn stars anymore’ and their Hermes handbags.
Three times in one season seems like a lot, but these two have managed to keep this sketch interesting despite over-playing it. One can hope they won’t continue to do it as often as the gag will easily be played out, but for now it worked.
Bill Hader had his moment and at the end of the night, it was time for Fred Armisen’s. He didn’t even attempt to go the funny route, instead just went straight for our hearts and ripped them out and stomped them for good measure.
Of course it would be difficult to assemble a cooler group of musicians and it seemed right that Ian Rubbish would have his moment that was that cool. If I hadn’t gotten teary with Stefon, then I certainly would have when I caught sight of Fred/Ian’s guitar strap proclaiming his love for Lorne Michaels.
Overall, this was a crappy episode with great moments. Ben Affleck wasn’t all that great in his sketches but it seemed right that he host this show and give even more closure to Stefon (he played his brother in the first episode Stefon appeared on Weekend Update). Really this finale was all about two men who have been shining beacons of the SNL cast for years.
There are still plenty of cast decisions up in the air – Jason Sudeikis, for one – but we know that even though at least two big names are leaving, there are plenty talented actors ready to step into their shoes as has happened for all 38 years the show as been on air. It’s survived big names leaving and it’ll survive these big names leaving. Now we just have all summer to obsess over who will be the new cast members and of course, who will take over Weekend Update!
It’s been a great season, I’ve really enjoyed this time we’ve spent together SNL fans. Just because the season is over doesn’t mean our relationship has to be. Stick around for there will be plenty of SNL news over the break and of course there will be plenty of things to discuss as we approach Season 39!!!