SNL’s Season Concludes: What’s next for the long-running franchise?


This was meant to have been posted on Tuesday, but was delayed because I’m an idiot – Austin

Saturday_Night_Live_(Season_38_Titlecard)After 38 seasons of making people laugh, some seasons more than others, this season ended on a high note. With Ben Affleck hosting, and many great guests contributing, there was at least one enjoyable skit for everyone. The season has introduced us to many great comedians, some who have been in seasons past, but were finally given a chance to step up. Others were newly featured and took little time to break through the TV screen and join us in our homes for some raunchy comedy. But with the season ending, we can’t help but wonder what is in store for us in the future.

Season finale

Ben Affleck is a pretty funny guy, and that was clear in his monologue. Talking about, and to, his wife and joking about his relationship with Matt Damon, Affleck was able to perform one of the best monologues of the season. Second only to Justin Timberlake, in my opinion. Affleck’s characters in the finale were pretty enjoyable, but he wasn’t able to deliver the charasmatic drive that other hosts, like Timberlake, Alec Baldwin or even Jon Hamm. Despite that, Affleck never falls behind and never becomes a nuisance.

Departures

Last Tuesday, the 14th, was a sad day when I first heard that Bill Hader would be leaving Saturday Night Live. Bill Hader joined SNL in 2005 and spent the 8 years there making people laugh. He earned recent fame with his hit character, Stefon. While I love Stefon, and will surely miss him, I do believe Hader’s career was more than a gay dude who knew all of New York’s hottest clubs. That being said, the Stefon send off was amazing, and needs to be watched. Other great Hader characters’/impressions are his game show host, the Merryville brother, his Al Pacino and his James Carville. All will be missed and Bill Hader, like Kristen Wiig and other past departures, will be damn near impossible to replace.

539px-Fred_Armisen_by_David_ShankboneAfter watching the final skit, it’s safe to say that Fred Armisen will definitely be leaving SNL. After singing a farewell song in his British Punk Rock attire, and being joined by great friends, Armisen and Hader tearfully waved goodbye. The credits were then filled with almost everyone crying and hugging one another, especially Armisen and Hader. Both these send offs were wonderful and funny, and well deserved.

It’s still unknown, at time of writing this, if Jason Sudeikis will be leaving as well. If so, he wasn’t given a grand send off, but he sure did leave his mark on SNL. Providing a top-notch Mitt Romney this season, and other great character throughout his run, Sudeikis might have the best chance at having a great movie career as he already starred in two hits, Horrible Bosses and The Campaign, as well as other movies.

This also marked the last full season for Seth Meyers, who will be heading to the Late Night desk after Fallon moves to the big chair. Meyers departure, while bittersweet, isn’t terrifyingly depressing as he’ll be doing the same, for the most part, 5 days a week. His interaction with fellow cast members will be missed though.

What next?

After a few weeks of asking, “who will host Late Night?”, we now have to ask, “who will take over for Weekend Update?”. Seth Meyers goes down in the history books as one of the best hosts of Weekend Update as he made funny, and critical comments on politics and the modern world all by himself. Solo comedy is always the hardest because he you rarely have anyone to play off of. As not to burden any one man, or woman, SNL should probably return to the co-host format and try to build the next Fey and Fallon. The question remains as to who should replace Meyers. I honestly have no idea.

The departure also leaves a huge gap in the cast. The amazing veterans are out and there only seems to be one or two men who can compare to them. Taran Killam is really the only male cast member, as of now, who can create laughs with each and every skit he’s in. Bobby Moynihan stepped it up this year, but not enough to make me confident in resting the show on his shoulders. One more year might be enough time to make me realize that Moynihan is the real deal, though.

This season was probably the best for the women of SNL. Vanessa Bayer and Nasim Pedrad both provided laughs all year-long. With Bayer’s best being one half of the former porn star duo that sell crappy stuff on the television. Pedrad’s best has got to be the fake movie trailer with Justin Timberlake. Also, with the addition of Kate McKinnon and Cecily Strong, SNL finds itself with possibly the strongest core group of women, and that is considering that a decade ago there was the other strong group. You know, the one with the likes of Tina Fey and Maya Rudolph.

SNL’s biggest task should be getting one or two men to join Jay Pharoah (who is pretty good, but underused), Bobby Moynihan and Taran Killam. They also should consider dumping Tim Robinson, who often appears nervous. He never really improved, unlike the other featured players. I do think they should keep Aidy Bryant, she wasn’t top-notch in her first year, but she did improve as the year progressed.

Whatever happens, I’m excited for next season as there is hope for the series to improve despite a ratings slump and a small faithful audience.

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