“SNL” Season 48 Episode 4 Review

Story posted October 31, 2022 in Arts & Entertainment by Sophia D’Ovidio.

While most celebrated this past Halloweekend, studio 8H got to celebrate Harloween as rapper Jack Harlow took over as host and musical guest for “Saturday Night Live” for their Halloween episode.

Coming off a week's hiatus, this rebuilding year of “SNL” has made history for the first time by having back-to-back double-duty hosts, with the last episode hosted by Megan Thee Stallion.

Harlow has been one of the biggest breakout stars of the year. His pick as a host was an attempt to bring in the elusive demographic of younger viewers. 

It’s always risky to have a host without any comedy or acting experience, but Harlow is known for his charisma which helped him charm his way through this hosting gig.

Fans of “SNL” were elated as longtime heavy-hitter Cecily Strong made her return to the cast.

With the midterm elections around the corner, “SNL” predictably had a political cold open. It was okay; the rest of the episode was much better, and the cold open felt more like something that had to be done rather than wanted to be.

However, Mikey Day’s Dr.Oz impression was borderline terrible. Maybe it’s the absurd amount of political ads Pennslyvannians have become subjected to, or Kennan Thompson and Strongs Hershel Walker and Kari Lake impressions were much better.

It could even be the distant memory of Bill Hader’s Oz impression but Day fumbled what could’ve been an excellent political impression.

The monologue was another somewhat low point of the night. Harlow is effortlessly charming, and that reads well.

Still, between his and Megan Thee Stallions' monologue, the question has to be asked, why not put a cast member in the monologue to aid less traditional guests?

It feels as though when the host does not have the training to perform in the way comics and actors do, the writers at “SNL” are setting their guests up for some level of failure.

Despite these criticisms, this episode of “SNL” has been the best and most consistent of the season.

The “Wedding” sketch was stupidly funny.

Sometimes things don’t have to be clever to be funny; they can be people saying “joker” repeatedly with a thick accent to get viewers to crack a smile.

Between Andrew Dismukes's insistence on dressing up as Joker to his best friend's wedding since it was on Halloween to Jeff Probst (of “Survivor”) to decide whether or not the costume says, its this bizarre humor that will always thrive on “SNL.”

It was only a matter of time before “SNL” started taking some legitimate hits at Kanye West's insane antics.

West has had a tumultuous history with the sketch-show long before Pete Davidson was even on it (look up the lyrics to “Power” as a reminder) and it does feel like the show has strayed from poking fun at such an obvious target.

The “Sketchers commercial” was a fresh and clever take on this situation, which was necessary considering how featured West has been in the news.

“AA Confession” was a high point of the night. This entire episode was silly and bizarre, but in a way in which the cast and writing thrived.

This was one of Harlows best performances, paired with Bowen Yang’s reluctant AA group leader and Strongs eventual song; the sketch was well crafted.

The Tom Hanks cameo was the perfect example of why having fewer cameos can have a big payoff when a celebrity like Hanks stumbles around the studio.

So much of this episode was great, “Horror Movie Trailer” was entertaining and relatable political satire, “Bartenders” was energizing, and finally, the show made good use of TikTok trends.

“Weekend Update” was consistently good, as expected. Until the unthinkable happened as Bobby Moynihan’s “Drunk Uncle” came out as a guest.

Moynihan is among the most underappreciated cast members in “SNL” history. Coming in while Hader, Kristen Wiig and Andy Samberg were at their peak and leaving as the next era began, it's easy for him to slip under the radar.

“Drunk Uncle” was a fantastic and nostalgic reminder of Moynihan's greatness.

It was a treat for long-time viewers, especially when his drunk rambling Drunk Uncle called Colin Jost gave Seth a welcome callback to Seth Meyers, who co-wrote and anchored Update for this character. 

The unthinkable happened with both Hanks and Moynihan making cameos, but six years after the iconic David S. Pumpkins graced the stage at Studio 8H, he came back.

Even with the past era’s tumultuous relationship with viewers, David S. Pumpkins was one of the only characters in recent “SNL” history to have this widespread likeability.
For fans of “SNL,” it would’ve been nice if “Cell Block 666” was less of an almost shot-for-shot remake of the original David Pumpkins sketch, but it was still wildly exciting to see Hanks, Moynihan and Day make the return to these characters.

“SNL” has strayed from its historical habit of recurring characters the show used to be so associated with.

While it’s understandable that having these characters repeated almost every week is somewhat cheap, having characters for viewers to come back to is integral to the show.

Hopefully, this sketch marks this era's beginning to return to the recurring character ways.

This episode of “SNL” was a strong entry following a hiatus week. This rebuilding year is showing legitimate promise.

With a better marketing team and maybe some younger writers on staff, saying that “SNL” is back to being great may not be that crazy of a statement in the foreseeable future.

Best Sketch of the Night: “AA Confession”
Worst Sketch of the Night: “PBS News Hour-Republican Momentum Cold Open”
MVP: Cecily Strong
Unsung Hero: Bobby Moynihan
A Wish for Next Week: Love her or hate her, Amy Schumer is the first host of this season that “SNL” can rely on. Keep the consistency from this week; next week's episode could be a modern classic.
Rating: 4.5/5

Sophia D’Ovidio is a second-year majoring in digital and print journalism. To contact her, email sgd5184@psu.edu.