Saturday Night Live Report Card: Season 43, Episode 8: James Franco

After a solid episode last week with everyone's favorite Irish actress with an unpronounceable name, SNL has another episode this week with proven winner James Franco.

Cold Open: Visit with Santa:
After a bunch of just-okay cold opens, SNL 43 is turning things around, delivering another solid one this week. This was absolutely brilliant. These innocent kids asking what exactly it was that these awful people did just killed me, and I haven't laughed this hard at a cold open in very long. Though a joke about Roy Moore not being able to go to the mall would have been nice.
My Score: 9.5/10

James Franco Monologue:
You know you're in for a rough monologue when it's just "questions from the audience." And that's exactly what this was: rough. They had three hilarious SNL hosts in this in addition to Franco, and they did nothing. At all. Not only was this unfunny, but incredibly disappointing as well.
My Score: 5.5/10

Sexual Harassment Charlie:
This had a funny concept, but it just didn't work for me. It wasn't executed all that well. I didn't laugh once, and that's kinda the point of a sketchy. This just wasn't funny, and it went on for too long. It wasn't entertaining, despite having a concept that should easily have been a slam dunk. It wasn't horrible, but I was disappointed, a feeling I had quite often during the night.
My Score: 6/10

Gift Wrap:
I love physical comedy, so this was right up my alley. It seemed a bit familiar, but that's okay. It was still really entertaining, and I laughed at this more than anything else during the night. It was goofy, but goofy is good sometimes. I could hardly contain myself when the candy cane bucket filled up with blood, or when Leslie Jones's poor character got a bunch of blood in her face. I hope James Franco's character lived, though. If not, R.I.P.
My Score: 9/10

This was an okay sketch. It wasn't LOL funny, but it had some subtle humor that I appreciated. It was an odd take on A Christmas Carol, and it's not like it was particularly unique, but it was fun. James Franco's character was the highlight for me, though he wasn't in as much as I would have liked.
My Score: 7.5/10

Spelling Bee:
This was kind of fun, but the fact that the SNL Vintage episode that aired featured a spelling bee sketch starring Will Forte that was far better put a bit of a damper this. This just paled in comparison to the other one, though this one wasn't really all that great to begin with. It was decent, but far from memorable.
My Score: 7/10

Weekend Update:
I really enjoyed Cecily Strong's return as Cathy Anne this week. I couldn't think of anyone better to discuss sexual harassment than Cathy Anne, who discussed allegations against Senator (and former SNL star) "Al Franco" and his calls for resignation by New York senator "Kristen Jellybeans." Cathy Anne was easily the best part of this Update, as some of the jokes didn't land quite so well this week.
My Score: 8/10

I'm not including this as part of Update because it really was its own thing. And it was a hilarious thing. Just thinking of Michael Che "disguising" himself as a liberal white woman is funny enough, but the execution is really great. It was somewhat reminiscent of Eddie Murphy's "White Like Me" sketch, but was also very different. Either way, it was truly great, and I want to see more of Gretchen the Liberal White Woman.
My Score: 9/10

This was a pretty funny sketch, though it was a little annoying at times. James Franco's character was just aggravating sometimes, though I did laugh at him, as well. This was a bizarre concept, but it was executed well and I thought the ending was great.
My Score: 8/10

Christmas Charity:
This took awhile to get going, but it actually ended up being pretty decent in the end. The concept is out there but hilarious, and the execution was so-so. I really didn't laugh out loud at it, but I did find it mildly amusing. Strong's character reacting to the fact that this seemingly-homeless man she spent a bunch of money on is actually James Franco was enough to boost this score a bit.
My Score: 7.5/10

This was another just-okay one that Heidi Gardner tried her absolute best to save. It didn't really go anywhere, and it was pretty much just one joke repeated over and over and over and over again. Nevertheless, it had its moments and it wasn't even close to being the worst thing from the episode. Yay!
My Score: 7/10

This was a disappointing outing of SNL. While not of the sketches were particularly awful, there were only a few standouts and I don't think anything her is going to go down as a "best of the season" type of sketch. There was plenty of decent stuff, but nothing fantastic. While that doesn't really sound all that bad, it makes for a pretty dull hour and a half.
Grade: C+
Score: 7/10
Pass or Fail: Pass (kinda)
MVP of the Week: Cecily Strong
Sketch of the Night: 
Cold Open: Visit with Santa
Worst of the Night: James Franco Monologue

What did you think of the episode? Let me know in the comments and vote in the poll below!

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