The best of Saturday Night Live season 45 so far

The hit NBC show is back for the year with new cast members, new hosts and new ways to make fun of politics

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The best of Saturday Night Live season 45 so far

(Photo courtesy of the Official SNL Facebook Page)

(Photo courtesy of the Official SNL Facebook Page)

(Photo courtesy of the Official SNL Facebook Page)

(Photo courtesy of the Official SNL Facebook Page)

By Christina Paluzzi, Collegian Correspondent

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NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” returned to television for its 45th season on Sep. 28, starting off strong with four-time host Woody Harrelson and first-time musical guest Billie Eilish. While fan-favorite Leslie Jones did not return for this season, the cast welcomed two new faces—Bowen Yang and Chloe Fineman—who both made their debuts in the season’s first episode.

If you haven’t gotten around to watching any of this season yet, here’s four sketches worth checking out to get you caught up:

Apple Picking Ad, Episode 1

Aidy Bryant and Kate McKinnon are back as a dynamic duo, this time playing Deborah Chickham (Bryant) and simply “her sister” (McKinnon) in an advertisement for their family’s apple picking farm. For just $45, farm-goers can bring home $10 worth of their favorite apples, selected from a variety that includes everything from “huge-soft” to “green” to the sisters’ favorite, “apple.” Woody Harrelson plays the farm’s watch hand, described as “a troubled man who came with the land” named Hank, who assures viewers that there is, at least, one working apple tree this year. Featured at the farm is a special Halloween haunted hayride run by teen boys who, Hank warns, take everything too far. The skit addresses all aspects of the over-glorification of the aesthetic of fall activities. The skit itself was even good enough to get McKinnon to break character for a second, so it’s definitely worth the watch.

Weekend Update, Episode 2

SNL commonly serves as the comedic relief among the country’s political turmoil, mainly in the form of the popular skit “Weekend Update” where Colin Jost and Michael Che serve as reporters that ‘report’ on the events that occurred in the last week. This episode’s segment of Weekend Update came at just the perfect time when the country was full of news-worthy subjects, most notably surrounding the presidential impeachment process, allegations of Elizabeth Warren having an affair with a Marine and Trump’s request for an alligator-filled moat around his hypothetical border wall. Jost and Che give an exceptionally funny performance here, finding exceptionally creative ways to crack deadpan jokes not just about politics, but also with other ridiculous headlines. The 20-minute-long segment is lengthy for Weekend Update, but undoubtedly worth watching start to finish.

Little Miss Teacher’s Friend, Episode 3

Bryant is joined by episode host David Harbour for this elementary school-based sketch; the two serving as the emcee of an annual school competition called Little Miss Teacher’s Friend. Bryant’s character Sabrina, last year’s winner, describes herself using coveted titles such as a “natural helper” and a “shusher of boys.” McKinnon, Melissa Villaseñor and Fineman play the three contestants. Each actress perfectly captures just how strange young children can be, like priding themselves because they know a lot of saints and are allowed to do word searches instead of participating in gym class. This is the kind of sketch that will bring the viewer back to elementary school and make them reminisce on things that were important then— having crushes, being the teacher’s favorite and, above all, successfully tattling on another kid.

Judge Barry, Episode 4

For this episode, Chance the Rapper is the star, acting as both host and musical guest. This sketch, in particular, is all about him as he plays a “Judge Judy” type character named Judge Barry. As a Chicago judge for 31 years, Barry has honed in on one particular skill: deciding if a defendant is guilty based on their appearance as soon as they step in the court room. The viewer never knows what kind of character is going to walk in the doors, whether it’s Bowen Yang playing an exotic male dancer or Kyle Mooney armed with a puppet as a ventriloquist, who to Judge Barry is definitely guilty, even though Mooney is the plaintiff. The skit focuses on judging people by their physical appearance and stereotypes, which, when done right, makes great satire. Surprise guests have appeared in every episode of season 45 so far, and “Game of Thrones” fans can anticipate a special and hilarious surprise at the end of this sketch.

“Saturday Night Live” fans have a lot to look forward to in the show’s upcoming weeks. Eddie Murphy and Harry Styles are both set to host later on in the season, and Coldplay just performed as the musical guest alongside returning host Kristen Stewart this past Saturday. Season 45 so far has been a mixed bag of original and recurring content, but the beauty of SNL is that no matter how many times a sketch or a character may reappear, it never stops feeling new.

“Saturday Night Live” airs on NBC on Saturdays at 11:30 p.m.

Christina Paluzzi can be reached at [email protected]