SNL: Lil Nas X, Anya Taylor-Joy, Chris Redd (CREDIT: YouTube Screenshot)

You are now currently reading a review of the Saturday Night Live Season 46 finale – can you believe it? 7 months ago, could anyone have predicted that this episode would be hosted by Anya Taylor-Joy with musical guest Lil Nas X? Probably. Whether you predicted it or not, it happened.

The cold opening had an honest-to-goodness title displayed on the screen: “What I remember about this year” (Grade: 3.5/5 Remembrances of Things Past). As it opened with the longest-serving veteran cast members on the stage, I had to wonder if this would be their last episode (and I doubt I was the only one who thought that). That matter was never directly addressed, though. Instead, everyone just mentioned unusual things that happened during the past several months … and they also stretched the truth a little bit. SNL Life sometimes truly is stranger than SNL Fiction!

Like this episode’s audience, most of my family is now fully COVID-vaccinated, so we had a graduation party for my sister this weekend, thus the house was a little crowded. That is to say, not the most ideal SNL viewing conditions, at least not from an efficiency standpoint. But I made it work! Also, the breakfast was filling: eggs, pork roll, fruit, and even bagels. (I promise you I ate multiple bagels on Sunday morning.)

Anya Taylor-Joy’s Monologue (Grade: 2.5/5 Queen’s Gambits) is basically a miniature version of “Hey, you know that TV show you know me from? Here’s something based on that.”

The biggest question that the Hollywood Squares sketch (Grade: 3.5/5 Squares) leaves me with is: was Jeff Dunham popular back in 1998? According to his Wikipedia page, he’s been active since 1976, which is just wild to consider. Anyway, I quickly picked up where the joke was going, and then enough variations were offered to justify four and a half minutes.

Dang, I wasn’t expecting Taylor-Joy to play any doctors in this episode. But play a doctor she did, and did so convincingly, in the pre-filmed short Picture with Dad (Grade: 3.5/5 Pictures with Dad). None of the other characters were fazed that their surgeon was so young! I mean, they had bigger things to consider, what with the papa played by Beck Bennett being such a damn fool.

You know what’s funny? The human body. Particularly the cis-male human body. The heaven-set Making Man sketch (Grade: 3.5/5 Hairy Butts) understands this, and exploits it.

“Man, remember when Pride Month was simpler and less corporatized?”, wonders the Pride Month Song music video (Grade: Big Deutsche Bank Energy). Interestingly enough, my favorite part was the fact that the beat sounded like Madonna’s hit 1983 song “Holiday.” And the part that made me laugh the most was the discussion about reading theory. Bowen Yang can be so silly! (In a theoretical way.)

I’m not sure I could handle multiple hours of what Celtic Woman (Grade: 3/5 Emeralds) has to offer, but I could approve of these Irish lasses performing “Sweet Home Alabama (Erin Go Bragh)” all day. Mashup culture for the win!

The music video for “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” features Lil Nas X grinding on the devil. His SNL performance of “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” (Grade: This Indeed Just Happened) isn’t quite as explicitly outrageous, but with its combination of shirtless leather-clad dudes, a stripper pole, and giant angel wings, it’s quite possibly the queerest musical performance in SNL history. Entrancing no matter what your orientation.

Typically when I talk about Weekend Update, I discuss Michael and Colin’s portions before I get to the correspondents. That means I’m now about to cover their semi-annual joke swap, even though that came after Pete Davidson’s appearance, which I’m going to talk about next. (I hope you don’t mind.) Anyway, this whole routine is just so magical. Michael and Colin get to say things that are so, so outrageous, and even with the cover of prankishness, this is still dangerous comedy. Is it okay to deliver these punchlines even when the irony is completely front and center? The uncontrollable laughs, groans, and pained faces tell the story.

As mentioned a few sentences ago, Pete Davidson (Grade: 3.5/5 American Expresses) rolled behind the ol’ Update desk once again, and he seemed to be in a good mood. As usual, he brought the oddball insight: SNL sure is a lot like AIDS!

In case you were living under a rock on March 30, 2019, May 18, 2019, December 21, 2019, and May 9, 2020, you might not know that Cecily Strong has previously played Jeanine Pirro (Grade: Sloshing All Day) on Weekend Update. Considering all those previous editions, I have to say that she deserves to swim around in a giant glass of boxed wine.
After Update, SNL welcomed us to Enid & Astrid’s Brawr Barn (Grade: 3.5/5 28Q’s), which apparently takes place in the trans-Mid-Atlantic wonderland of Queens-adelphia-burgh. Anya Taylor-Joy’s wig and those fake breasts were hilariously big compared to her regular proportions!

The NYU College panel (Grade: 4.5 Brightly Colored Outfits) is one of those sketches that’s really great because it had me laughing SO MUCH! Sometimes, people (like the characters played by Aidy and Anya) say awful, idiotic things, and it’s hilarious, especially because the people they say them to parry back with equally hilarious comebacks.

As Lil Nas X began his second song, he was sharing the screen with himself, which was reminiscent of Natalie Cole duetting with her deceased father. Anyway, “Sun Goes Down” (Grade: 3.5/5 White Suits) features some lovely strumming; it’s perfect for soaking up an island in the sun.

If SNL wants to feature a goof-off version of A Message From AMC Theaters (Grade: The Movies Are Back!), I won’t complain, especially if it features Beck Bennett’s impression of Vin Diesel, totally unbound. I’m glad that he mentioned the pretzels, because I like movie pretzels more than movie popcorn (in fact, I like any type of pretzel more than any type of popcorn). FYI, the rollercoaster is a Regal (not AMC) thing.

This has been my final episodic SNL review of Season 46. I promise that I will be posting my overall season thoughts soon. And after that, we’ll see how the summer goes, but I’ll probably be inclined to keep writing SNL reviews by the time Season 47 premieres.