With us in the center of election season, “Saturday Night Live” of course did something it tends to do: Surge in a positive direction.
Last night’s show hosted by Margot Robbie and with musical guest The Weeknd (read our review here — it’s one of the best premieres in years) drew a 2.7 rating in the 18-49 demographic, which is the highest since Tina Fey hosted the premiere back in 2013. The last time the show got a higher number in a premiere was back in the last election cycle in 2012, when Seth MacFarlane hosted the show and scored a 2.8. There have been some higher ratings in-season over the years, but with this being fall and with there being so many other things to do (whether it be college football or people still enjoying the last bit of warmer weather), this is all the more impressive.
What also probably lifted last night’s show was the much-hyped debut of Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump, which turned out to be absolutely hysterical and better even than any of the other impersonations we’ve seen of Trump over the years. We cannot really attribute it to the appearance of Larry David as Bernie Sanders unless people on the East Coast warned their West Coast friends in advance. This appearance was not hyped up nearly as much.
One of the things that we’ve always said is that “SNL” really needs to take advantage of some of its opportunities to get better ratings as a chance to prove that the show isn’t “not good anymore” as everyone constantly says. We’ve always slammed that critique in the first place, since our interpretation to date has been “it’s not as good as when I started watching,” which largely just means that you’re attaching sentimentality and nostalgia to a given era. The good news here is that this premiere likely did enough to convince some non-regular viewers to give the show more of a chance.
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