Cold Opening: YES, Grim Reaper/Steve Bannon is back. Please note, this is the only context that involves me saying that. I don't like the guy and I'm glad that he doesn't even warrant an impression, instead being portrayed as Death. As for the usual cold opening cast, Alec Baldwin's Donald Trump is more delusional than ever. Also, we need more of Kenan Thompson furiously insulting Trump. He was the highlight of the phone calls montage. Finally, as a Jewish person, I'm not sure how I feel about the Holocaust jokes.
Monologue: Yeah, I called the obligatory Twilight joke. I think it's interesting to see how this monologue transitioned from "Trump insulting" to Aidy Bryant and Kate McKinnon trying to impress Kristen. I know that Kristen's accidental dropping of the 'f bomb' made headlines almost immediately, but I couldn't even tell that she said it. I had to rewind it a few times to realize what happened.
Welcome Video: Whoa, this was definitely effective. Rapid-fire doesn't even begin to describe the jokes aimed at Homeland Security. It's tightly edited and perfectly calibrated.
Dry Fridays: In most cases, exaggeration is the key to comedy. In this case, it's a meeting at a college about staying alcohol-free when you're underage. Most of the participants share fairly mild exploits about ill-advised drinking, but Kristen Stewart's character talks about getting drunk and cutting down pine trees with a chainsaw. You know, standard underage drunken antics, at least according to teen movies.
Totino's with Kristen Stewart: YES, the recurring commercial parody returns. It started off as a scathing critique on gender roles, then morphed into a horror movie/X-Files crossover in last season's Larry David-hosted episode. With that in mind, this season brings us a lesbian arthouse film satire, courtesy of Kristen Stewart. I hope next year's installment takes on the dystopian genre.
Sean Spicer Press Conference: Holy moly, a surprise guest appearance from none other than Melissa McCarthy! I love it when she gets a chance to just let loose and utilize her impressive physical comedy skills. For the most part, she's given the bulk of the sketch's material and it definitely works. I don't normally audibly laugh when I'm watching something funny, but I burst out laughing when Melissa started swallowing gum. Similar to Larry and Alec, can we just book her as a seasonal guest-star to play Sean Spicer? Ah, if only this was the cold opening. This will be a classic for decades to come. (Editor's Note: apparently the Trump White House is losing its *&^% over this impression. Kudos to Melissa for making, well, an impression).
Alessia Cara Performance #1- "Scars To Your Beautiful": She did a pretty good job. You can watch it here.
Weekend Update: You know it's a good edition of Update when Colin and Michael get audible cheers from the audience. Sadly, I didn't really like Kenan's David Ortiz impression, but the fake-out ending made me laugh. For such a funny installment, it felt oddly short.
Celebrity Family Feud: Super Bowl Edition: I was going to say that I like seeing Leslie Jones debut her Samuel L. Jackson impression, but I think the implied joke is that Leslie is trying to impersonate him. I also think it's funny to see Casey Affleck being parodied just two months after he hosted. The actual game show portion wasn't as funny as the celebrity introductions, but it still made me laugh.
Meet Cute: This episode's short film brings yet another romantic comedy deconstruction. I think it's safe to say that it was as good as the last episode's "Five Stars." I especially like the title card.
Alessia Cara Performance #2- "River of Tears": Once again, I liked it. You can watch it here.
Golden Ticket: Yeah, they pretty much deserved that angry rant from Charlie.
Overall Thoughts: The show nailed it this week with a delightful combination of slapstick, screwball comedy, and manic political satire. Really, apart from Kenan Thompson's segment as David Ortiz on Weekend Update, all of it worked. Two astounding episodes in a row! Let's see if Alec Baldwin's seventeenth time hosting next week will keep up the pattern.
Zachary Krishef is an evil genius. Do not question his knowledge of Saturday Night Live trivia or Harry Potter books.