By: Alyssa Murphree, February 15, 2017
Live from New York! This season of Saturday Night Live has been a rollercoaster from the get go, truly paralleling the state of America and its political climate the past few months. Premiering at the height of election season, the writers have been on their A-game, creating truly memorable sketches. According to NBC, viewership for the season to date is up 22% in total viewers compared to last season and the show has had its strongest rating performance in 22 years.
Aside from the notorious impressions of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, portrayed by Alec Baldwin and Kate McKinnon, this season has seen some top-notch talent appear as hosts, the addition of three new featured players Mikey Day, Alex Moffet, and Melissa Villaseñor, and its fair share of media controversy.
My criteria for selecting the top five sketches that I thought ranked among the best of this season so far included memorability, pop culture relevancy, mainstream media attention, being referenced by the general public (includes memes), and my own personal enjoyment.
5.Crucible Cast Party
Theatre nerds rejoiced as Broadway icon and Hamilton creator/writer/actor/composer Lin-Manuel Miranda made his iconic SNL debut and rapped his way through his opening monologue. He appears in this musical sketch which depicts the afterparty of a high school production of The Crucible and answers your questions as to what those theatre kids were really up to.
This sketch was hot and heavy and I’m not talking about just the Totinos pizza rolls. Vanessa Bayer reprised her role as the housewife in SNL’s annual Totinos Super Bowl commercial parody, whose mission is feeding her “hungry guys”. This time around, one of the guys brings his sister (played by Kristen Stewart) along and the commercial slowly evolves into a French indie lesbian film. Be still, our hearts.
Following the loss of the 2016 Presidential Election, this sketch has Hillary Clinton (played by Kate McKinnon) groveling at the door of an elector prior to December 19th’s official elector vote. This sketch reenacts the classic cue card scene from the Christmas romantic comedy ‘Love Actually’. With ‘Silent Night’ playing softly in the background, Hillary, via those famous cue cards, professes her love and concern for America, urging the elector to vote for literally anybody besides Donald Trump.
This sketch started as a quirky Halloween appearance by guest host Tom Hanks, but quickly became its “own thang”. A couple (played by Beck Bennett and Kate McKinnon) riding a haunted elevator attraction is baffled by the appearance of an unlikely character, David S. Pumpkins and his beat boy skeleton dancers. The popularity of this sketch has led to memes, Halloween costumes, and even ringtones of the David S. Pumpkins theme music. Any questions?
1.Sean Spicer Press Conference
Here to swallow gum and take names, Melissa McCarthy made a favorable guest appearance earlier this month in her portrayal of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer in a spoof press conference. McCarthy’s over the top impression included talking back to journalists, excessive gum chewing, and using the podium as a battering ram. As we are all aware by now, the Trump administration isn’t the biggest fan of SNL. Sources at the White House say that Trump wasn’t happy about the sketch because Spicer was played by a woman (while uncharacteristically refraining from tweeting about it), but as for Spicer himself, he thinks “Melissa McCarthy needs to slow down on the gum chewing”.