This weekend’s episode was on par with the Woody Harrelson-led season opener. Waller-Bridge did a fine job as host (and was especially charming during her opening monologue), but she wasn’t given much of a showcase. (And if you need any more proof that the English writer/actress/producer has retired the Fleabag character, notice that there was no parody of the aforementioned awards darling during the show.)
Perhaps most notable is that it was another strong week for Bowen Yang, who played a Chinese trade representative during Weekend Update, and Chloe Fineman, who was heavily featured in the Love Island parody. Neither of them had particularly great material, but they both had more screen time than a handful of veteran cast members, which is a rare occurrence for SNL‘s freshman crop.
BEST: THE WAR IN WORDS – WILLIAM & LYDIA
This onetime Maya & Marty sketch (remember Maya & Marty?) is the gift that keeps on giving. Mikey Day’s increasingly exasperated reactions are never not funny (“Still rabidly curious about the Hitler of it all!” was the funniest line reading of the night), and Waller-Bridge was comedic dynamite as the dimwitted wife who drove her fighter-pilot husband mad with vague details about what’s been going on back at home.
BEST: MID-DAY NEWS
Waller-Bridge was among the local newscasters trying not to react to the race of each subject. Kenan Thompson and Ego Nwodim played well off each other, but the biggest laughs came from Chris Redd as the meteorologist who kept score.
BEST: CHEN BIAO ON US-CHINA TRADE WAR
Heidi Gardner broke out in a big way after her first appearance as every boxer’s girlfriend Angel, and I expect Yang to do the same following his turn as “basically the Lizzo of China.” I don’t think we need to see Chen Biao again, but I’d really like to see Yang bring that same level of confidence to another potentially recurring character at the Update desk.
HONORABLE MENTION: LOVE ISLAND
A parody shouldn’t have to spell out what it’s doing to make sure the audience laughs. With that being said, I chuckled at the montage of indiscernible accents, then again when Aidy Bryant struggled to get up from that bean bag chair.
WORST: KAYLEE, CRYSTAL & JANETTA
Welp, they can’t all be winners! The only amusing part of this five-to-1 dud was seeing Waller-Bridge nearly break character at the 0:58 mark. (Also, if someone can explain to me why a sketch about four friends is named after only three of them, I’m all ears.)
What were your favorite sketches this week? And what missed the mark? Watch all of the highlights (and lowlights) above, then grade the episode in our poll.