'Saturday Night Live' season finale: Ben Affleck and Kanye West win an otherwise forgettable 'SNL'
And this is a very good thing in an "SNL" episode that was otherwise notable only in how forgettable it truly was.
A comedy show shouldn't have to depend on its guests for laughs and quality. This is especially true in a season finale. But with few exceptions, there really wasn't much to remember from this "SNL." As the official farewell episode for Bill Hader, we got to see a lot of the comedian (including his big character, Stefon). Amy Poehler's cameo appearance on "Weekend Update" was pretty fun too.
It's just that not much on "Saturday Night Live" -- other than a few performances by Affleck -- was funny. For example, did the writers and producers really think they should start off the season finale with an "Argo" gag? Maybe if this had been a January episode that would be kind of fun. But it's May now. The joke is old.
Perhaps the saddest part of all of this is the way in which the show completely seemed to forget to do anything big. Surely a season finale merits a little notice. Also, there's the fact that -- as Affleck pointed out at the beginning of his monologue -- the show was welcoming back a five-time host. Why doesn't Ben merit the same attention that Justin Timberlake got a few weeks back?
What did work? Most of Ben Affleck's parts were pretty fun to watch -- his "straight" counselor at a religious camp for gay kids and the rope-swinging Girth Brooks were especially fun. Also, Kanye West pretty much killed both of his musical performances, especially his just-released single, "New Slaves."
Much of the rest of "SNL" didn't work out so well. This unfortunately includes Jennifer Garner's cameo during her husband's monologue. Was it awkward? Let's explain it this way: You remember how last season on "Mad Men," Don and Megan Draper had a bit they were using for a pitch and it seemed totally natural. The interaction of Ben and Jennifer during the "SNL" open was pretty much the opposite of that.
A few sketches -- most notably Stefon's wedding -- don't really fall into the good or the bad category, instead landing in that no man's land of WTF.