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Saturday Night Live Report Card: Season 43 Premiere - Ryan Gosling

SNL returned for Season 43 (!!!) tonight with now two-time host Ryan Gosling, and with all the craziness in the government right now, it's about time. The Summertime Weekend Update episodes were nice, but it's great to finally have the whole package back. We've gained a few cast members (and lost a few) since the last episode, so it'll be nice to see how this updated cast works together.

Cold Open: The Chaos President-
This was a good Cold Open to kick off the season, and I enjoyed how many impressions were packed into this sketch. As always, Baldwin's Trump continued to be entertaining. Bryant's Sarah Huckabee Sanders was good and I'm glad to see that this Press Secretary will also be appearing on SNL (side note: RIP Spicey). It was also nice to see Melissa VillaseƱor actually get to do an impression, and what we saw of it was pretty good. But the best part of this sketch was McKinnon's return as former Alabama Senator and current AG Jefferson Beauregard Sessions. That is one political impression that  I *need* to see more of.
Score: 8/10

Ryan Gosling Monologue-
Monologues usually aren't my favorite part of the show and tonight was no different. Sure, it was nice to see Gosling sit down at the piano to talk about jazz and how he "saved" it. But I definitely isn't the highlight of the show. This was a decent monologue, and the Emma Stone cameo was fun (that alone lifter this score by like a point). Gosling's a good host, and this monologue really didn't do him much justice.
Score: 6.5/10

Another Alien Encounter-
The Christmas version of this sketch is one of my favorite sketches of the 42nd season, so I was hoping this would be just as good. Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed by this sketch. It just felt kinda lazy and effortless. It's been done to death at this point, and I fear that it might be time to put ole' Ms. Rafferty to rest before these get really bad. Even still, Kate McKinnon is still great in these.
Score: 7.5/10

Levi's Wokes-
This was the first great sketch of the season. It was another great commercial parody, a type of sketch I'm particularly fond of. This was funny, fresh, and super "woke."
Score: 9/10

The Fliplets-
I got a real kick out of Gosling's emotionally destroyed "Fliplet," who really got the crappy end of the stick by having to live with the Fliplets' (apparently really awful) father during their parents divorce. The other two Fliplets were super excited to have their own HGTV show, and to be renovating homes, and he was just there because they needed a third one so that this wasn't just Property Brothers II. I mean, why else would they have him be a part of this? Anyway, I really enjoyed this.
Score: 9.5/10

Weekend Update-
This was a really good Update. Jost and Che were on top of their game, Angela Merkel was back, it was great. And then along came the Guy Who Just Bought a Boat. Boat Guy just isn't a character that works for me, and it's probably always going to stay that way. It probably seemed worse in comparison though because I just love Kate McKinnon as Angela Merkel, especially when she talks about Barack Obama and how much she loves him.
Score: 8.5/10

Henrietta & the Fugitive-
This is one of the most bizarre things I have ever witnessed. But it was also one of the funniest parts of the night. It was so weird, but that's why it worked. If it wasn't a hen that Ryan Gosling's character was in love with, and it was a human, this wouldn't have worked at all. But it did. I love weird humor like this, so it was right up my alley, and Gosling and Bryant sold the heck out of this.
Score: 9.5/10

Italian Restaurant-
This sketch was one of SNL's few attempts at product placement that wasn't completely terrible. It wasn't great, but it was enjoyable. This was millions of times better than that Honda sketch from early last season. Gosling and Strong were great in this, and I couldn't help but feel bad for Day's character.
My Score: 8/10

Papyrus-
Another bizarre piece of comedy, but this time in digital short form. This was such an odd thing to make a sketch about, but it worked. I don't know why anyone would care what font is used for a movie poster, but Ryan Gosling's character apparently does and this was really funny.
My Score: 9/10

Dive Bar-
This was a relatively underwhelming end to the episode, but it was still OK. The barely-there-tonight Leslie Jones was entertaining in her parts, and Kenan was pretty good too. Gosling didn't really get much to do here, so his character was a bit boring.
My Score: 7/10


This was a very solid return for TV's best sketch comedy series. While their were some really underwhelming sketches, there were also quite a few great ones, and even more solid ones. Kate McKinnon stood out the most among the regular cast, but should-be-repertory-player Mikey Day was also great. Gosling was also a great host, and I wouldn't mind seeing him back for even more hosting gigs.

Grade: B+
Score: 8.5/10
Pass or Fail: Pass
MVP of the Week: Ryan Gosling
Sketch of the Night: Henrietta & the Fugitive

Worst of the Night: Ryan Gosling Monologue

Top 5 Hosts of the Season:
1) Ryan Gosling


What did you think of this episode? Let me know in the comments below and vote on what your favorite sketch was in the poll below.

*Photos courtesy of NBC.com*