The cold open
One of the least fun things ever broadcast on TV was sent up to open the season. The U.S. presidential debate, featuring Alec Baldwin's Donald Trump and Jim Carrey's Joe Biden, was moderated by Beck Bennett's Chris Wallace, and the satire of this ragefest highlighted Trump's rudeness and Biden's cognitive decline. Given all the heat this show has taken for normalizing Trump by belittling his opponents (first Hillary Clinton, now Biden) and given the stakes of this election, this started off both tone-deaf and, in spite of cameos by Harry Styles and Maya Rudolph's Kamala Harris, predictable (it was also poorly directed and suffered from technical deficiencies but maybe the crew was just a bit rusty). To the show's credit, it concluded with Biden getting some solo time to appeal to voters, though its schadenfreude thing about Trump dying from the 'rona was maybe a centimetre too far (maybe).
Facing off against masked first responders in the first row, Chris Rock discussed life during a pandemic. He riffed on how we can't make plans anymore and suggested we're renegotiating our relationships so much, perhaps we should do something similar with how we view the government. Stating that Joe Biden should be the last American president ever, Rock had a funny bit about it being harder for people to compete on game shows than it is to run for president. His observation about election day, "a Tuesday in November," being prohibitive and Democrats not taking winning races seriously enough was astute but ultimately, this was just a decent warm-up for the show to come.
Eye on Pittsburgh
Heidi Gardner played a news anchor named Ashley throwing to Mikey Day's Dylan, a correspondent, who is outside of a federal building where people are trying to change their odd and provocative names. Based on childish puns (i.e. Edith Puthie, Irma Gerd, etc.), this was extremely stupid.
Honored to play a strong black woman with a strong message: Edith Puthie forever.— Ego Nwodim (@eggy_boom) October 4, 2020
"Bottom of Your Face"
The first bright spot of the night, this music video remote featured the power trio of Chris Redd, Kenan Thompson, and Pete Davidson, rapping about dating women during a pandemic when it might take a while for you to see their entire faces. Featuring Ego Nwodim and Megan Thee Stallion, masked and rapping right back at these fools, this was funny.
My Mom Married Kenan Thompson
Kyle Mooney is a teenager named Zach playing Tony Hawk video games 20 years ago when he's visited by a spirit, played by Chris Rock, who wants to show him his future (and our present). Though Rock is trying to impart serious messages about our pandemic, Zach cannot get over how advanced video game graphics have gotten, which was vaguely amusing but not as much as the twist at the end.
The Drew Barrymore Show
Chloe Fineman hit the jackpot when Drew Barrymore began her new daytime talk show. Barrymore is one of Fineman's signature impressions and so, for this remotely filmed commercial for the show, she showed it off while also playing guests like Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman. This wasn't good but we should prepare to see more of it, likely live, throughout this season.
Megan Thee Stallion
Featuring a cool zebra design and four back-up dancers, Megan ripped into "Savage," and in tribute to Breonna Taylor, spent an interlude demanding that we "protect Black women" and urging us to remember that Black lives matter. For "Don't Stop," things got dirtier and low down, with Young Thug hopping on stage to provide a fairly inaudible verse for this song about having sexual intercourse, preferably for an indefinite period of time.
Megan twerked while fighting for justice and I don't know anything better than that. Goodnight.— Chris Redd (@Reddsaidit) October 4, 2020
Damn, they're sending Trump to The Vietnam War pic.twitter.com/iSiraJOX0U— Steven Castillo (@STEEEZUSCHRIST) October 2, 2020
Colin Jost began the Weekend Update making fun of Trump's hospitalization and ripping off a good Twitter joke about him taking a helicopter into Vietnam. Michael Che clumsily tried to justify making fun of Trump for contracting COVID-19 but later made some good jokes about him maybe trying to get the virus on purpose. Bowen Yang's beloved Chinese Trade Minister, Chen Biao, stopped by the desk to defend his country's app TikTok and provided an extended roasting of America, which was good. Jost made a good joke about BET and diversity and Che introduced us to young travel expert, Carrie Krum, as played by Aidy Bryant, who, with mild humour, taught us more about taking "staycations," which almost ended Update. Then, the show paid tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsburg by throwing to Kate McKinnon, dressed as her, sitting in the crowd, and throwing up a "Rest in Power" placard, which, was odd and some on Twitter did not like it.
i can't get over how weird this is pic.twitter.com/IMwmjwPKel— jordan (@JordanUhl) October 4, 2020
SNL pays tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsberg by stubbornly continuing to make the show years after they logically should've quit— pixelatedboat aka "mr tweets" (@pixelatedboat) October 4, 2020
NBA Bubble Draft Finals
Hmmmmm, the show always seems to come up with these "parade-of-opportunistic-hoes" sketches and this time, they played up the isolation NBA players have been experiencing since the league resumed in its bubble form. I dunno, just getting the women in the cast to play idiotic, promiscuous people has never been funny and has always been demeaning and yet, as a recurring idea, it persists.
Quarantined stuntmen, bruh... pic.twitter.com/nYSOqzAzBs— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) April 22, 2020
What the eff, the show ripped off the viral stunt person video from a few months ago but then decided to give us a backstory for each of the participants. Really a showcase for Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant to play yet another pair of out-of-place morons, this wasn't great and was another example of the show, blurring the line between plagiarism and topical satire (that video went viral in April!).