All episodes of Saturday Night Live have their ups and downs, but Edward Norton's presence lifted this one up above mediocrity. Janelle Monae was dauntingly cool as musical guest and Norton, having decided against aging some years ago, brought a lovely energy and class to the sketches. While a number of the sketches not making the list had a bad case of the stupids — relying on the characters' lack of knowledge, incapability, or unwillingness to learn for humor — there were a few golden moments. Here are the five best sketches of the night.
1. 12 Days Not A Slave
This was a funny enough sketch, but missed a golden opportunity to be a bit more political and edgy. Especially with the recent controversies around the lack of diversity in the SNL cast, it would've been nice to get one moment where they stuck their neck out a little more. But then again, that hasn't been the ethos of the show for a long time.
2. Don’t Smash My Pumpkin
While my first reaction was, "who is writing these songs and why does this keep happening?" I appreciate any and all usage of the term "festive gourd." It could have gotten a bit weirder but, if they're going to keep doing songs without The Lonely Island, it's nice to see that they're willing to try to find their own voice rather than copy that style too directly. A for Effort.
3. Cold Open - Healthcare.gov
Kate MacKinnon played a beleaguered Kathleen Sebelius walking America through the less-than-functioning Obamacare website. It was quick, funny, topical, and Bobby Moynihan smashed a computer monitor with a baseball bat. Hooray.
4. Autumn's Eve
This was just great. Going through the other seasons at the end was priceless. Priceless!
5. Midnight Coterie of Sinister Intruders
Last and best, a Wes Anderson Horror Movie is a hilarious idea. This was one of those rare well executed sketches that allows the guest and many members of the cast to shine and, due to the scale and production quality required, is only really doable on SNL.