SNL Season 42 Review by Dylan Zsigray ’18


Saturday Night Live Season 42, In-Review

Season 42 of Saturday Night Live was one of the most consistent seasons that I have ever viewed of the show.  Whether consistency is good or bad, well that is up to you! There was not a wide range of extremely bad to extremely good episodes.  Most of the episodes were written well, fun to watch, and very satirical.  It was great to see that the show took risks this year and extended its boundaries, which allowed it to become even more popular.  In fact, this was the first time throughout my years of watching Saturday Night Live where the show was in the news cycle pretty much every weekend.

SNL was very politically-centric this year.  From the start, SNL covered the campaign trail for the past election and even moved around its schedule for the year to put more episodes up front in the season instead of spacing them out.  Although this was an ingenious move, it did make the latter part of the season awkward, as there would be three week breaks in-between episodes.  After the election of Donald Trump, SNL switched gears and focused entirely on him and his administration, which is still providing content as I am writing this.  To this day, Trump continues to express his disapproval of the show, probably because it targets him directly.  But, his belittlement of the show actually gives the show more reason to continue doing what it is doing since the showrunners know they are making an impact.

My favorite episode of Season 42 was hosted by Dave Chappelle.  This episode was one of the best episodes of SNL that I have ever seen.  Chappelle’s episode was extraordinary for many reasons.  First, it featured the amazing cold open with Kate McKinnon dressed as Hillary Clinton singing “Hallelujah.” This was such a simple, yet powerful way to communicate directly with the American people.  Second, Chappelle honed in on the true feelings of America.  From the start of his monologue through the entire show, the viewing population laughed and got a breather from the chaos that is the American political system.  I hope Chappelle comes back in the future to host again.  

The worst episode of the season was actually recent.  Chris Pine hosted a horrendous episode of SNL.  It was so bad that I actually had to stop partway through.  The sketches were horrifically unfunny and the acting was cringeworthy.  Pine just does not mesh well with live television.  Honestly, I did not know that an episode could get any worse than the one hosted by Emily Blunt, but Pine accomplished it.

When I did my Season 42 preview article back in September, I highlighted a lot of the cast members who I hoped would define the show this season.  McKinnon, who is my favorite female cast member, did an amazing job this year.  She fulfilled so many roles and took each one to heart.  She is a true star on the show.  Other than that, there were really no other female cast members that stood out.  I felt like Leslie Jones became more annoying this season and Vanessa Bayer and Sasheer Zamata sort of just faded away and were never really doing anything meaningful.  Bobby Moynihan disappointed me this season.  He was never featured in any sketch, which allowed people like Mikey Day, Beck Bennett, and Kyle Mooney to come and become leaders on stage.

Weekend Update exceeded my expectations that I had originally laid out back in September.  Michael Che and Colin Jost, in my opinion, have reinvigorated the segment and have filled the void left by Seth Meyers once he left the show.  Che and Jost were amazing this season.  They had tremendous chemistry, which made the Weekend Update segment extremely fun to watch.  The writers wrote excellent jokes and the characters that were welcomed to the desk were both original and funny, except for the times when recurring ones were brought back and I had to cringe.

Looking to Season 43, three cast members have announced their departure.  Bobby Moynihan is leaving and I am not surprised.  It is hard to find a reason to stay with a show that you were never really on.  He is following the route of Nasim Pedrad and has his own television show coming out.  Vanessa Bayer is also leaving, probably for the same reason as Moynihan.  She was not as prevalent of a cast member as I would have liked.  I was most shocked by the departure of Sasheer Zamata.  For such a young cast member, I was surprised to see her want to leave. Maybe there is some underlying reason that we will find out in the future.

Overall, Season 42 was solid.  There were some exemplary moments, somber moments, and cringeworthy moments.  But, each episode was pretty consistent.  I look forward to seeing the changes that will be made in the offseason and be sure to look for my preview of Season 43 in the fall.  I have attached below my final rankings of the episodes and all my past reviews are located on  Enjoy the summer everyone!

Dylan’s FINAL Ranking of the Episodes in Season 42:

  1. Dave Chappelle
  2. Emma Stone
  3. Tom Hanks
  4. Scarlett Johansson
  5. Kristen Stewart
  6. Kristen Wiig
  7. Melissa McCarthy
  8. Jimmy Fallon
  9. Aziz Ansari
  10. Lin-Manuel Miranda
  11. Casey Affleck
  12. Louis C.K.
  13. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
  14. Alec Baldwin
  15. Margot Robbie
  16. Octavia Spencer
  17. Felicity Jones
  18. John Cena
  19. Benedict Cumberbatch
  20. Emily Blunt
  21. Chris Pine