Cold Open — Alec Baldwin’s Donald Trump returns (ugh), hanging out on his hotel balcony in Argentina during the G20. Ben Stiller makes another cameo as Michael Cohen; Fred Armisen plays the Crown Prince; there’s Vladimir, Melania, and Rudy, too. As Trump sketches go, it’s painfully basic, a remix of every other Baldwin/Trump sketch. (Watch Here) (Score: 4 out of 10)
Claire Foy — Foy says and does absolutely nothing of interest. She barely even bothers with a monologue — it’s two and a half minutes long — but she is nevertheless a delight. If you adore Claire Foy, as you should, the monologue will do nothing to disabuse you of that. Otherwise, it’s skippable. (Watch here) (Score: 3 out of 10)
Netflix Ad — SNL takes an obvious joke about Netflix — they make a lot of content! — and turn it into an obvious ad. Nothing to see here, either (except, maybe the dark and gritty Family Matters reboot). Rough night, so far. (Watch Here) (Score: 3 out of 10)
Morning Joe — If the fact that Joe and Mika got married last weekend hadn’t time-stamped this sketch, I wouldn’t have been able to distinguish it from previous Morning Joe sketches. It’s the exact same jokes as previous iterations of this sketch, and Claire Foy is barely utilized. So far, Jennifer Lawrence’s Dior commercial is the best thing I’ve seen tonight. (Watch Here) (Score: 3 out of 10)
PBS Special: Letters from the Trenches — A frustrated English soldier sends letters to his wife from the trenches, but she gives him very little with which to work. It’s cute for about 30 seconds, but the rest is painfully predictable but at least Foy is used here. Another (Score: 3 out of 10) (Watch Here)
Dad Christmas — On December 26th, kids visit their Dad for their first Christmas after the divorce. Obvious single divorced Dad tropes! I’m going to give this one a (Score: 4.5 out of 10) just to break things up.
Weekend Update — There’s one good joke in tonight’s “Update” (the one about Steven Tyler), but it’s otherwise a snore. Beck Bennett introduces a terrible new character who “sees things just a little bit differently,” and Leslie Jones does a segment about how she’s given up sex because she’s 51. It ends with Jones trying to get to Michael Che through Jost after Che jokes that Judge Judy is hotter than her. “Update” concludes in a half-hearted tribute to George H.W. Bush. The show’s just not working tonight. (Score: 3.5 out of 10)
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory — It’s a parody of that scene in Willy Wonka with the two sets of grandparents in bed, only here one of the sets of grandparents start banging each other while everyone else in the room tries to look away. It’s dumb as hell, but it may also be the best sketch of the night, so far, which really isn’t saying much. That said, Heidi Gardner is weirdly great in this sketch. You’ll like this one, too, Mat. (Score: 5 out of 10)
Home Shopping Network — Cecily Strong plays a woman who appears on HSN to sell handmade “teeny adorables,” but completely loses it when she realizes she left them in her Uber. It’s basically just two minutes of Cecily screaming network-safe profanities, and that’s not the worst thing. “WHY HUBRIS WHY EAT MY ASS TO HELL.” (Watch here) (Score: 5 out of 10)
Staten Island Cable — Remember Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph’s “Bronx Beat”? This is like that, only it’s set in Staten Island and it’s not good. (Watch here) (Score: 2.5 out of 10)
Holiday Message from the Women on SNL — For the final sketch of the night, the cast finally wakes up with a rendition of “All I Want for Christmas,” and all they want for Christmas is the Mueller report. This is terrific, and I wish the rest of the show had half the energy. Unfortunatley, due to rights issues (I assume), it is not embeddable. The best I could find is someone recording their TV with their phone. (Score: 8 out of 10)
That last number aside, it’s been a bad night of SNL, and to be honest, it’s been a lousy season. Kate McKinnon tends to dominate every episode, but she’s fallen into something of a rut. The veterans haven’t brought anything exciting to the proceedings in a long while, while Pete Davidson’s former relationship with Ariana Grande and his tiff with the Republican Congressman with an eye patch may be the only memorable things about this year of SNL. Some of the best cast members — Heidi Garnder, Melissa Villaseñor — have barely been seen, while Chris Redd is being sorely underused. I’d love to say something nice about the new cast member Ego Nwodim but she’s not really been given any opportunities at all, which is a shame because SNL is in desperate need of fresh blood. It’s not a bad cast; it’s just a tired one. It might be time for Kate, Aidy, Beck, Colin, Che, Leslie Jones, Cecily and Keenan to step aside for the younger cast members, because the show is in desperate need of a shake-up.