Saturday Night Live: Core Cast Members Say Goodbye in Season Finale | saturday night live


Season 47 of Saturday Night Live ends amid the announcement that several longtime cast members are leaving – Kyle Mooney, Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, Pete Davidson and possibly Michael Che.

So it’s fitting that the finale opens with one of these members’ most popular recurring sketches: Alien Abduction. Three southern girlfriends (McKinnon, Cecily Strong and host Natasha Lyonne) recount their close encounters with aliens to two government agents (Bryant and Mikey Day). While two of the women have had blissful experiences with beings of pure light, McKinnon’s unfortunate Colleen Rafferty once again gets the short end of the stick: pulled into the sky by a giant claw machine while “crouching on the median,” she has her pubic hair plucked out by a group of gray-skinned pervs before being ceremoniously dumped in the middle of a Mets game “ass with my dong hole and my bad hole out.”

The agents then reveal that the aliens have made contact with the government and have offered to share some of their technology if Rafferty agrees to go with them permanently. She agrees saying “I always felt like an alien on earth anyway.” This leads to an emotional signature not only of the character, but of McKinnon herself, who has the sole honor of saying the show’s tagline one last time.

Lyonne is the host of the night. The New York native promotes the second season of her time-looping Netflix show Russian Doll (“Two things you really want to be associated with right now are Russia and Netflix”) and discusses her longtime association with SNL, highlighting close friend Maya Rudolph and ex-boyfriend Fred Armisen (both of whom do impressions of her). She also talks about her acting career (she plays a snippet of an early childhood role in Pee Wee’s Playhouse) and her journey to overcome addiction and despair, concluding by telling the audience “there’s always a reason to come back in the ring and fight another day”.

First, an ad featuring interviews with self-confessed stupid Americans – not people with mental illnesses or learning disabilities, just fat losers from all walks of life – who encourage people like them to vote (or “volt”). A properly cynical look at the inherent flaw in the American political process (aggravated by technology and the media), it’s not as cutting edge as it should be, but the idea is there.

A radio broadcast of a 1950s baseball game sees Lyonne’s commentator high on prescription meth and rushing about all sorts of inappropriate topics: Joe DiMaggio’s marriage to Marilyn Monroe (“How the hell did Joe DiMaggio, ugliest son of a female dog in baseball, do you hang that wide?”), race (“You know Italians ain’t even white”), dirty jokes (“How do you to put four prostitutes in a chair? You’re knocking her over!”), and a bawdy story about Babe Ruth eating a child alive. Lyonne’s enjoyment of playing an old-fashioned dirty bag is infectious.

A musical performance by the Treece Henderson Trio sees lead singer Treece (Kenan Thompson) engage in dramatic and bizarre banter with his harmonica player/lover (Lyonne) and a medium in the audience. There are a few funny lines throughout (including a random reference to R Kelly), but the thread is so loose that it all unravels quickly.

Then, a man (Andrew Dismukes) nostalgically reminisces about his prom 20 years ago as he reveals the dark fate that befell his friends: one went missing on the Appalachian Trail, one became a porn star , one killed his grandparents, one married a minor (who is also a minor), one invented Fentanyl, one stormed the Capitol on January 6th. Throughout it all, one class member, Rachel Fenster, continually pops up in their various stories as an agent of pure chaos. It is eventually revealed that she murdered the narrator and her ghost is stuck in purgatory until she is brought to justice. The sheer darkness of the jokes compounded by an overwhelming sense of dread gives this an almost cosmic horror feel. SNL should get goosebumps more often.

Next, on Weekend Update, the smarmy Guy Who Just Bought a Boat (Alex Moffat) gives summer trips, or “the best games to get the best vacation shots.” There’s even more sexual double meaning than usual, which Moffatt sells with aplomb. Unfortunately, this is followed by an endless Trend Setters report. Bryant has a number of recurring update characters, so it’s such a shame that her farewell comes through the most obnoxious of all (although the goodbye kiss she receives from Che and Bowen Yang is sweet).

The farewell continues with an appearance by Pete Davidson. He confirms that he is indeed leaving the show, recalling how his life has changed since his first appearance on Weekend Update in 2014: “I’ve had tremendous success while barely showing up for work.” He talks about the controversy that erupted when he mocked Republican Dan Crenshaw’s eye patch (he avoids mentioning his low career to apologize and befriend the right-winger a week later later), his short-lived engagement to pop star Ariana Grande, and the surprising mentorship he received from Lorne Michaels. It’s a low-key send-off that probably suits the most carefree (by his own admission) actor in the show’s history.

Then we get a parody of the classic 9 to 5 movie. In this version, the heroines murder their sexist boss and shoot a Weekend at Bernie’s with his corpse in order to fool some stockholders (Armisen and Mooney). It’s a long, unfunny mess, with the chaos of the story spilling over into the actual performance.

Then the show and the season end with an advertisement for “adult gray pigtails”. Several aging Gen X women (including Japanese Breakfast singer Michelle Zauner) discuss their love of hairstyles, as well as their mutual boyfriend, who sports one of his own with his beard. It’s a pretty soft sketch to conclude, but it features three of the starting players (Mooney, McKinnon and Bryant).

Despite a noticeable drop in the back half of the episode, it was a strong bounce from the show’s dismal run of late, with Lyonne proving to be a charming host. There was also a tangible sense of transition about it. While some of the departing members will be missed, the cast desperately needed a few touch-ups this season, and I hope this shakeup gives things a new feel next season.

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