“SNL” - Season 48 Episode 7 Review

Story posted December 6, 2022 in Arts & Entertainment by Sophia D’Ovidio.

“Saturday Night Live” returned for its final run of episodes in 2022, and baby, it’s Keke Palmer! Also, it’s Keke Palmer's baby!

The season's seventh episode rode Palmer’s iconic energy and effortless talent to another fun and convincing episode.

Coming off a three-week hiatus and the show's best episode all season with host Dave Chapelle, “SNL” having a host as charismatic and widely loved as Palmer was a huge advantage for the cast and crew at “SNL.”

This week's cold open was incredibly mundane, but also quick. The cold-opens this season still have unwelcome remnants from the “Trump era,” which the show should try to leave in the past as quickly as possible.

Especially considering Keenan Thompson and James Austin Johnson made their Herschel Walker and Mitch McConnell impressions together on Weekend Update earlier this season.

The cold open felt more like something the show had to get through and was beyond forgettable by the end of the episode.

Fans of “SNL” have had somewhat of a refreshing time with the headlines the show has made this year and have had very little to do with its political satire and rather other moments on the show (still causing some controversy, but still).

This week “SNL” only made positive headlines, and Palmer had a large part to do with it.

While already delivering an entertaining and captivating monologue, Palmer confirmed theories that she is pregnant.

Something about Palmer’s persona is so authentic; if another host had made the same announcement, it might not have come across as well.

This episode rides on Palmer’s charm for a lot of it, but with a host with the star power that she has, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

The first sketch was a bit of a letdown; maybe the sketch was too silly for the post-monologue slot. Relying solely on cutting between Palmer and Cecily Strong and their “stunt doubles” may have worked better later; it was still funny, though.

The pre-recorded sketch “Big Boys” was highly welcome as the unique take on cuffing season wasn’t just a well written sketch, but the assist from musical guest SZA helped the song go from funny to a banger.

“SNL” proved that they can make great sketches on random and pop-culture-centric concepts this week.

The “Hello Kitty” sketch was the best of the night, the ability to take an obscure tidbit like the fact that Hello Kitty is a human girl, according to Sanrio, and turn it into a well-fleshed-out sketch that ended in a Natasha Lyonne cameo.

Meanwhile, the “Drake PSA” was a masterful sketch full of subversions with great one-liners like Punkie Johnson saying that Drake told her he was also a lesbian and Palmer said, “Kiki, do you love me” ruined her life.

The other headline-making moment of the night came in the “Kenan and Kelly” sketch, where after 20 seasons on “SNL,” Thompson finally reunited with Kel Mitchel.

The sketch works well without the pop-culture history; it made an excellent execution of its concept, especially by Palmer.

This reunion between Thompson and Mitchel had happened before but never on “SNL,” With whispers of Thompsons' departure from the show, this moment wasn’t just iconic but heartwarming.

The “Arby’s” skit was another solid, fully fleshed-out sketch. While Palmer was indeed the shining star this week, most of these sketches could’ve been done with any host, a good note for this transition year.

Colin Jost and Michael Che did an excellent job with “Weekend Update” like usual, considering they’re the longest-running duo behind the fake news desk.

Rookie Michael Longfellow had a decent feature as himself. While the bit itself wasn’t anything special, Longfellows one-liners and persona make him much more entertaining.

It may be too soon to compare Longfellows' two update appearances to Pete Davidson, but the featured player could capitalize on filling the slot Davidson left open last year.

However, Sarah Sherman came back with another hysterical update as the president of the Peppa Pig fan club.

Sherman has been an all-star all season; coming back to update as a character rather than herself and still killing it is a good indication that she will be a big star for the show in the coming years.

Again, Sherman got to show off her absurdist sense of humor in the “Ultrasound” sketch, where she and Bowen Yang got to bring back their terrifying baby characters from last season.

The final two sketches of “Choir Practice” and “Hawaii Flight” were both solid, with some funny moments but not as memorable as the rest of the episode.

Mainly “Choir Practice” seems like it may have suffered by being cut down to fit into the episode, and the concept wasn’t given enough time but the majority of the jokes still hit.

This episode of “Saturday Night Live” was another solid addition for the season and again offers a new level of hope for the sketch show, and it’s a self-proclaimed rebuilding year.

Newer cast members like Molly Kearney, Johnson, Sherman, and Longfellow got great screen time in this episode.

The energy Palmer brought to this episode was palpable, and the cast thrived. It was incredibly refreshing to see the show get positive attention because of the host and guests on such an enjoyable episode.

Next week’s double hosts of Steve Martin and Martin Short offer two of the best comedians who have hosted this show together in the past. The duo should be another reliable host for this cast to capitalize on.

Best Sketch of the Night: “Hello Kitty”
Worst Sketch of the Night: “Herschel Walker Cold Open”
MVP(s): Keke Palmer and Sarah Sherman
Unsung Hero: Punkie Johnson
A Wish for Next Week: Let Steve Martin and Martin Short do what they do best.

Rating: 5/5

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