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SUNDAY MORNING LIVE: John Goodman Returns to 'SNL' for the 13th Time

Welcome to Edition No. 30 of Sunday Morning Live, Popculturology's look at the latest episode of Saturday Night Live. All of your questions about the John Goodman-hosted episode will soon be answered.

How'd John Goodman do?

In theory, someone hosting SNL for their 13th time should be a master of the craft of hosting SNL. He should be able to show up and bend the show and its writers to his will, creating an episode that is perfectly suited to his strengths.

Despite having Goodman as host, SNL failed to live up to having host of his caliber. It's as if the show had no idea what to do this weekend. Goodman was known for his Linda Tripp sketches, so what does SNL do? They put Goodman in drag but not as Tripp. What's the point of that?

Goodman's opening monologue was one of the shortest of the season, with the host being joined by Kenan Thompson for a song called "All I Want for Christmas Is Booty." There was real potential in this setup, but SNL stuck to just having Goodman and Thompson repeat the song's refrain. Funny, but it didn't go anywhere.

What were the best sketches of the night?

Thompson as the Nelson Mandela memorial service sign language interpreter was pretty good, even if it was a copy of the times we've seen Nasim Pedrad and Cecily Strong play ridiculous language translators. That said, I did enjoy the absurd hand motions Thompson threw into his performance. I never took sign language in high school, but I'm fascinated to learn that the Spider-Man web-shooting gesture and parts of the Thriller dance are real signs.

With the addition of Goodman's Drunker Uncle, we're slowly filling out the Drunk Uncle family tree. Earlier this season we met Meth Nephew. Hopefully we're only a few seasons away from a Drunk Uncle family reunion.

For the second week in a row, SNL addressed Seth Meyers' approaching departure from the show, this week having Drunk Uncle tell Meyers that "This is our last Christmas together." I wonder what kind of farewell SNL is going to give Meyers.

When SNL first introduced Pedrad's Shallon in Edward Norton's episode, I thought they were working on establishing a new recurring character for Pedrad. While SNL did bring back the Shallon sketch for this episode, it was missing everything that made Shallon so funny the first time. I mean, what happened to Shallon trying to reunite with her dad?

Was the Christmas Whistle sketch awesome or awful? Goodman exchanging threats of violence with his downstairs neighbor was the highlight of this sketch.

McKinnon brought back Sheila, her highly sexualized and highly inappropriate woman at a bar. Sheila previously wooed Louis CK. That sketch remains the best sketch featuring this character, but watching McKinnon inhale Goodman's beard really got the audience going. She even slightly broke during their makeout session.

How about any shorts or commercials?

A music video about shopping at H&M on a budget? I mean, six shirts and four pairs of pants is a great deal, but who came up with the idea for this short? There are definitely old school Lonely Island Digital Shorts vibes to it, but I don't think Andy Samberg and the gang would've focused on a clothing store. Points to Pedrad, Kate McKinnon and Noel Wells as backup dancers.

Besides coming up with a slew of Hallmark Channel movie titles, what was the point of this sketch?

How was Weekend Update?

Thompson as Black Santa. Timely but not engaging.

Anything else worth mentioning?

This sketch was basically an ad for Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro's upcoming movie Grudge Match. Other than that, there wasn't much going on with it.

I wanted this sketch to be good, but it just couldn't happen. The idea of people involved in community theater realizing how awful they were the second after it was too late to bail on their show was pretty good.

SNL put Goodman in drag but not as Linda Tripp.

What's next?

SNL is back on Dec. 21 with Jimmy Fallon hosting and Justin Timberlake as the musical guest.

Previous editions of Sunday Morning Live

Dec. 8, 2013: Paul Rudd
Nov. 24, 2013: Josh Hutcherson
Nov. 17, 2013: Lady Gaga
Nov. 3, 2013: Kerry Washington
Oct. 27, 2013: Edward Norton
Oct. 13, 2013: Bruce Willis
Oct. 6, 2013: Miley Cyrus
Sept. 29, 2013: Tina Fey
SUNDAY MORNING LIVE: John Goodman Returns to 'SNL' for the 13th Time Reviewed by Bill Kuchman on 12/15/2013 Rating: 5

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