SNL: The 10 Best Sketches of the Past Season

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During the regular TV season, I spend many a Sunday morning recapping the previous evening’s Saturday Night Live. With the show in hibernation till fall, I thought this weekend I’d take a trip down Recent Memory Lane and count down the 10 best sketches of Season 37. From a Kermit the Frog encounter to an all-star Weekend Update, here are my picks:

10. Arlene” (Oct. 1, 2011) | Melissa McCarthy as a frumpy office worker sexually harassing Jason Sudeikis’s mortified married man wasn’t the world’s freshest concept, but the guest host’s commitment to the comedic cause — and her outrageous use of a horse balloon — had me howling in spite of myself.
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9. Really!?! With Seth and Kermit (Nov. 19, 2011) | Bask in Kermit’s outrage about Congress labeling Twizzlers and a grape soda as fruit salad.
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8. Get in the Cage (Feb. 11, 2012) | Honestly, I don’t know how the real Nicolas Cage managed to keep a straight face during a bit that explained the two-step formula for his most successful movies: “All the dialog is either whispered or screamed.” And “everything in the movie is on fire.” Amazing stuff.
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7. Bein’ Quirky With Zooey Deschanel (Feb. 11, 2012) | The actual Deschanel proved her gameness as a host by playing opposite Abby Elliott’s version of herself — a wide-eyed, twee actress extolling the virtues of Blossom, yarn (which got a genius one-word theme song), and bringing home garbage. Deschanel’s Mary Kate Olsen blew in on a breeze to make a cozy for her Starbucks cup, but Taran Killam’s Cera (a giggling, mealy-mouthed delight) and Kristen Wiig’s Bjork (“if you like screaming, make it music!”) scored plenty of laughs, too.
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6. Lazy Sunday 2 (May 19, 2012) | A terrific sequel to Andy Samberg and Chris Parnell’s genius rap collaboration. A laugh riot throughout, with doubly big guffaws at references to John Wilkes Booth, Raven Symone, and Channing Tatum. An instant classic? Yes!
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5. James Carville on Weekend Update (March 3, 2012) | Marvel at Bill Hader’s scathingly funny and wonderfully absurdist take on the Democratic political adviser. I laughed from the beginning (Carville’s childhood game of The Patchelor featuring a bunch of kids hoping to marry a gussied-up watermelon) to that amazingly insane tale of luring Newt Gingrich into an affair with a personal ad (“I love it when a guy is just a big blob of gray”), dressing up as a woman, taking him for a Paddleboat ride, and then shocking him with a reveal of his “Harry Connick Jr.” (which looks exactly like Carville’s face — without glasses).
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4. Kim’s Fairytale Divorce (Nov. 5, 2011) | Everything you hate about the Kardashians, but in a form designed to make you roar with laughter, instead of vomit in agony. (Apologies to Bruce Jenner’s face included.)
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3. Bronx Beat (Feb. 18, 2012) | Amy Poehler joined guest host and fellow SNL alum Maya Rudolph for a brilliant revival of gum-snapping talk hosts Betty and Jodi, dishing everything from Jennifer Lopez’s young new beau (“why don’t you smoke a doobie spliff with your hip-hop boy-toy?”) to their own sex lives to episodes of Hoarders (where people find “open cans of Dinty Moore beef stew under a blanket of adult diapers”). The insanity got cranked up to 11 when Andy Samberg and a “hirsute” Timberlake went from camera guy and boom operator to Betty and Jodi’s amorous guests.
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2. Stefon (Dec. 10, 2011) | I could barely breathe during the season’s best Stefon, from the punch line about a bulldog who looks like Wilford Brimley (“the password is dia-beatus”) to Menorah the Explorer and all the way to that genius/random mention of a CVS employee (“don’t bother her, because she is on break!”). Bonus: Hader almost losing it on the second mention of “Spud Webb.”
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1. Weekend Update Joke-Off (Dec. 17, 2011) | In a stroke of comic genius, Poehler, Tina Fey, and guest host Jimmy Fallon got behind the anchor’s desk with Seth Meyers and lobbed punch line after punch line about a strip club offering free lap dances to patrons who donate gifts for needy children. (The buzzer sound-effects were pretty amazing, too.) SNL should be required to wrangle guests for a joke-off every single week, no? My personal fave (from Fallon): “Unlike the strippers, the toys must not be damaged.”
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What were your favorite sketches from SNL‘s latest season? Did I miss any of your personal picks? Or did I include anything that made you roll your eyes? Sound off in the comments!


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