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©2017/Will Heath/NBC

©2017/Will Heath/NBC

By Ellen O’Brien, Glenbard West 

This was an episode of extremes – the good was amazing, the bad was rough. But despite its shortcomings, this week’s “Saturday Night Live” was worth watching, because seventeen-time host Alec Baldwin has hosted seventeen times for a reason: he rocked. His performances alone earned this episode a fair number of stars. Here’s why…

THE BEST

“COLD OPEN”

This may be an unpopular opinion, but I think it would’ve been epic if Melissa McCarthy made only one appearance as Sean Spicer, since last week was absolutely iconic. But Spicer isn’t going anywhere (unfortunately), so it’s safe to say that McCarthy isn’t either. This week, she still killed it, from chewing a comically giant piece of gum to utilizing props once again to explain the immigration ban to shamelessly plugging Ivanka Trump’s clothing line. She was the perfect Spicer. Kate McKinnon joined in as Jeff Sessions, which was equal parts terrifying and hilarious. Both women’s performances were excellent, so all I have left to say is girl power!

“MONOLOGUE”

First, we need to talk about Alec Baldwin circa 1990, his first time hosting “SNL”. He looked good. Pete Davidson crashed Baldwin’s seventeenth monologue to remind us viewers of his less than graceful aging in the past twenty-seven years. The banter between the two was a delight to watch, poking fun at both Baldwin’s and Davidson’s respective ages. But in all seriousness, Davidson was so sweet and excited about Baldwin hosting yet again, setting an all-time record.

“RUSSELL SLOVER”

You’ve heard of a Valentine’s Day box of chocolates, but how about a Black History Month one? “SNL” pitched this original idea in a phony commercial, complete with chocolates shaped like twenty-eight different important pioneers for African-Americans. My personal favorite was Martin Luther King Jr., whose flavor was “I Have A Cream”. I thought this was a super funny idea, so I applaud the writers of the show for coming up with something so innovative.

“PITCH MEETING”

“SNL” noticed, as many of us did, that the Super Bowl commercials this year were very…serious. Thus, in this sketch, they narrowed in on a pitch meeting for the next Cheetos commercial. One group had, well, normal ideas for fun-loving ads, as Cheetos commercials should be. The other group was more hard-hitting, tackling issues from the potential wall across the Mexican border to transgender rights. Yeah, for a Cheetos commercial. I was happy that “SNL” pointed out how political everything seems to be getting nowadays. Shouldn’t some things – at least Cheetos advertisements – stay simple?

“WEEKEND UPDATE”

Ah yes, my favorite ten minutes of every episode: “Update”. This installment shed light on how easy it is to make political jokes, since Trump and the White House appear to make a few news-worthy mistakes every day. Still, their punchlines made me laugh. McKinnon popped on as Senator Elizabeth Warren, proving that she literally can play any character ever. Warren criticized the “Update” anchors, Colin Jost and Michael Che, which was a hilarious alternative to her talking about the current state of politics. Up next was Alex Moffat’s Guy Who Just Bought A Boat, who spoke strictly in abbreviations that barely qualified as English. He advised viewers on how to have the best Valentine’s Day possible. Something to skip on this week’s “Update”? Definitely the couple who just tried S&M. I’m warning you.

“LESLIE WANTS TO PLAY TRUMP”

With McCarthy as Spicer and McKinnon as Sessions, I’m certainly not the only one thinking about a woman playing Donald Trump on “SNL”. Apparently, Leslie Jones wanted to be that woman. In this pre-recorded sketch, Jones studied Baldwin’s mannerisms when playing Trump in dramatic, documentary-type fashion. This even featured Jones’s comedic relationship with fellow cast member Kyle Mooney, which is always a crack-up. The best was seeing Jones dressed up as Trump, and then yelling at Lorne Michaels. Frankly, I’d love to see her as Trump for real. I think she could rock it.

THE WORST

“JAKE TAPPER”

This was a total hit and miss. In light of Kellyanne Conway’s recent ethics violations, Beck Bennett’s CNN anchor Jake Tapper was set on banning her from his show. McKinnon’s Conway wasn’t a fan of that, so she broke into his apartment and confronted him. While I appreciate “SNL” making fun of the attention-hungry Conway, this was almost too ridiculous to be funny. I’m starting to just be flat-out terrified of Conway; she isn’t a subject of comedy to me really anymore.

“DRILL SERGEANT”

On the other hand, this sketch just had no potential. It simply featured an army drill sergeant, played by Baldwin, being easier on his son than any other recruit at an army base. It was a boring sketch, nothing more than a time-filler it seemed.

“TRUMP PEOPLE’S COURT”

It was about time that we see Baldwin’s Trump. In this sketch, he went to the television’s People’s Court to get back at the federal judges who shot down his immigration ban. He had no case, and this sketch didn’t have much to it either. I’m just sick of seeing Trump, the real one and the fictional one. Mix it up, “SNL”.

“BEYONCE’S BABIES”

This sketch was well-written, but poorly executed. Of course, I’m curious about Beyonce’s twins chilling in her womb, but I found myself checking my phone a few times during this. On the bright side, Tracy Morgan had a cameo as one of her babies, alongside Kenan Thompson. They were both a delight to see, but their jokes fell flat. Beyonce deserved better than this sketch.

“GYM CLASS”

What the heck? Like, who thought this was a good idea? A kid in gym class farting every time he did a sit-up? How old are the “SNL” writers who pitched this? Do better.

“Saturday Night Live”

10:30 p.m., Saturday, NBC

3.5 out of 4 stars

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