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Saturday Night Live Report Card: Season 43, Episode 7: Saoirse Ronan

SNL returns this week with host Saoirse Ronan, a 2018 Oscar contender and arguably one of the best actresses out there right now. I'm excited to see how Ronan, a first-time host and someone I adore, will do in her role.

Cold Open: White House Christmas:
This was definitely SNL's best cold open of the season, and it managed to make Baldwin's Trump not that tired for once. It put a different spin on the Trump sketches, bringing back Hillary Clinton and introducing us to Mike Flynn and the now-not-that-bad-for-NBC-News Billy Bush. It was fun, and a Trump sketch that wasn't solely about Trump is much appreciated.
Score: 9/10

Saoirse Ronan Monologue:
I'm starting to rethink my previous belief that monologues are the worst part of the show, as they've actually been pretty solid this season. That's truer than ever with this monologue, the best and most fun of the season. Ronan's song was catchy, and though it was predictable that they'd poke fun at her "unpronounceable" name, that didn't make it any less fun. Throw in great appearances by Kate McKinnon, who is fluent in nonsense, Beck Bennett, who can't spell his own name, and Aidy Bryant, who finds Seltzer spicy, and you've got a monologue made in comedy heaven.
Score: 10/10

Floribama Shore:
MTV's new show Floribama Shore is ridiculous, just like predecessor Jersey Shore. So naturally, this sketch parodying it is ridiculous as well. However, it was also hilarious, with a bunch of characters that you absolutely believe could be Floribama Shore cast members. And Chris Redd's character Justin, who seems way too normal to be there. The rest of the characters definitely fit in, particularly Mikey Day's "Piece of S***"" Kyler, who is in a relationship with all of the women. All in all though, these nutty characters come together for one hilarious sketch.
Score: 9.5/10

American Girl Store:
This was really forgettable, but wasn't particularly awful. Mikey Day (who is somehow not a repertory player, despite having more screen time than many actual repertory players) plays a man who loves dolls and gets exposed as a doll lover on television. And that's it. It doesn't really bring the laughs, but there are a few. It's just kinda boring, but as demonstrated later in the show, it could be much worse.
My Score: 7/10

Welcome to Hell:
This one actually took a few watches to fully appreciate its genius, but man, is it good. With all of the recent famous figures like Matt Lauer and Harvey Weinstein being taken down by allegations, sexual harassment has received a ton of attention lately. This sketch reminds us all that, while harassment might not have always been front page news, it HAS always been relevant, and something women have always had to deal with.
My Score: 10/10

Return Counter:
This is a very silly little sketch, with little actual substance. Nevertheless, it was still quite funny, with  many SNL cast members appearing as crazy Kmart shoppers. While it's a bit of a stretch that Kmart would ever be this busy, the sketch is still a nice way to showcase much of the SNL cast in variously wacky roles. I would have likely to see more of Saoirse Ronan's bit**y girlfriend, who deserved an entire sketch just to herself.
My Score: 8.5/10

The Race:
Was this supposed to be funny? Because it REALLY wasn't.
My Score: 4/10

Weekend Update:
For once, the punchlines (and Jost and Che), and not the interviews, were the true star of Update. While the Theresa May impression was good and the Duncans were decent, they weren't the most memorable part of SNL. "On Wednesday, the Rockefeller Christmas tree was lit, and so was Ann Curry," referring to Curry's controversial Today show exit at the hands of the now-disgraced Matt Lauer, was one of my favorite Update jokes in a very long time. Jokes about announcing sexual harassers like Powerball numbers and Trump accusing MSNBC's Joe Scarborough or murder were also standouts. While those were the most memorable, all of the jokes were actually quite good, which can't be said much of the time.
My Score: 9/10

Bachelor Auction:
Pete Davidson's Chad character is hilarious, because nobody can grasp why people find him desirable in any way. This has provided us with many sketches of people acting weirdly attracted to Chad, but I don't think any have been funnier than this one. His Grinch impression was hilarious, especially when Ronan's character proclaimed that she didn't even need to see it to know it was wonderful. The sketch got even better after the impression, when they all fawned over how great it was, even Leslie Jones's character, who had never even seen the film.
My Score: 8.5/10

Late for Class:
Of this season's new cast, Heidi Gardner has had a major starring role (and it was fantastic), as well as many hilarious side roles and appearances. Chris Redd hasn't really had a starring role, but he's made quite a few funny appearances. Luke Null, however, has been neglected by the show. This sketch was his first starring role and one of his first roles period. And unfortunately, it wasn't very good. The audience pretty clearly agreed, with virtually no laughs for the first half. The second half was an improvement, but that wasn't really saying much. The only laughs here came from other characters, not Null's. His character was quite annoying and terrible.
My Score: 4.5/10

Aer Lingus:
Ten-to-one sketches are famously hit-and-miss, and this one was decidedly in the middle. In was nothing great, and was mostly forgettable, but it was entertaining and enjoyable enough to justify its existence. It wasn't biting commentary on Aer Lingus workers like the controversial Safelite sketch, but it was still fine. Nothing great, nothing terrible. Just there and super Irish. Side note: Boy there were a lot of sketches last night that mentioned real companies. What was us with that?
My Score: 7.5/10


Wrap-Up:
While I had problems with the episode (which is typical for SNL), this was a solid week for SNL. When the show was good, it was really good. Unfortunately, there were two really bad ones this week, and a couple that were quite mediocre. Saoirse Ronan was a great host, and I'm glad that the show took a chance and had her host. She wasn't an obvious pick, and things could have gone very badly, but she did quite well in the role. I wish she was given more starring roles though, as she was often reduced to just a side character, which wasn't a great creative choice in most cases. 
Grade: B+
Score: 8.5/10
Pass or Fail: Pass
MVP of the Week: Saoirse Ronan
Sketch of the Night: 
Saoirse Ronan Monologue
Worst of the Night: The Race

Top 5 Hosts of the Season:
1)
 Chance the Rapper
2) Saoirse Ronan
3) Tiffany Haddish
4) Kumail Nanjiani
5) Gal Gadot

What did you think of this episode? Vote in the poll below on what your favorite sketch was, and sound off on the episode in the comments!
*Photos courtesy of NBC.com*