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SNL RECAP: Woody Harrelson Takes SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE to a Season High

Welcome to Edition No. 48 of Popculturology's Saturday Night Live recaps. All of your questions about the Woody Harrelson-hosted episode will soon be answered.

How'd Woody Harrelson do?

After Chris Rock brought us the worst episode of SNL this season (and in a long time?), the show luckily had a week off to think about things. That time paid off, as Harrelson hosted one of the best episodes of Season 40.

Harrelson kicked off the episode with a singing monologue. Yes, my first thoughts were, oh no, a singing monologue too. Luckily Harrelson's sining monologue was completely for fun. The actor wasn't trying to show off his musical chops — he was looking to poke fun at himself through song. A parody song based on Taylor Swift's "Blank Space" allowed Harrelson to sing about 1989 and just how little he remembered about it.

Harrelson was joined by his Hunger Games costars Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson and Jennifer Lawrence, who shared a few insights into Harrelson's recollections of 1989, the year he last hosted SNL. Did you know that the Berlin Wall was knocked down by the Kool-Aid Man?

I was slightly worried that Harrelson's stoned demeanor during his monologue would be a sign of things to come for the episode, but it was just for show. He was locked in for everything that followed, serving as an excellent host.

What were the best sketches of the night?

If you watched a lot of awful MTV dating shows during college (or earlier — I don't know what your parents allowed you to watch), you remember shows almost exactly like Match'd. Some douchey guys make thinly veiled sexual comments toward a not-too-bright girl. Match'd was just like that, but with a twist — the host of the show is the girl's dad.

Comments like "I'll make you scream from head to butt" quickly turned into praise for the host's military service and the importance of respecting your elders once the three guys, played by Beck Bennett, Kyle Mooney and Taran Killam, realized Harrelson's host was the father of the "horny as hell" girl played by Cecily Strong they were competing for. 

SNL accomplished something this weekend that it had barely been able to do all season — pull off a political sketch during the cold open. With the idea of President Barack Obama an incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sharing a bourbon together as its framework, SNL delivered a genuinely funny cold open. I'd love to hitting that Obama and McConnell are sitting around making prank phone calls to Hillary Clinton.

Has SNL ever had a resident weed expert? If not, Pete Davidson is now that guy. 

I loved Jim Carrey's Matthew McConaughey a few weeks ago, but seeing Killam do his version next to the real Woody Harrelson during "Weekend Update" was even better. Killam has found a way to distill everything that make McConaughey McConaughey — the hand flourishes, the "Future, present, ghosts of girlfriends past" language — and spin it up a notch.

Uzo Aduba had a cameo as Crazy Eyes from Orange Is the New Black. That's all you need to know about this sketch.

Any shorts or commercials?

Besides the "New Marijuana Policy" sketch, no other shorts or commercials during this episode.

How was 'Weekend Update'?

Leslie Jones continued to dominate SNL with another "Weekend Update" appearance. What part of this segment was better: "Look at my breasts, Colin. LOOK AT MY BREASTS! or "You better believe it's gangster, ya tall glass of almond milk."

How about the rest of the show?

Yes, watching Kate McKinnon make out with guys like Harrelson, Louis CK and John Goodman is funny, but is there really anything new being added each time SNL trots this sketch out?

Just a couple of guys talking about the good old days of crack. Well, at least Harrelson was.

Was SNL making fun of the idea of safety in football when it comes to concussions? I was really hoping that Will Forte would show up and perform an inspirational song for this team. 

Did anyone else have the apples song stuck in their head after this sketch?

What's next?

SNL is back on Nov. 22 with Cameron Diaz hosting and Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars as the musical guests.
SNL RECAP: Woody Harrelson Takes SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE to a Season High Reviewed by Bill Kuchman on 11/16/2014 Rating: 5

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