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'SNL' return after monthlong break is surprisingly fun 

Cecily Strong, left, host Rachel Brosnahan, and Kenan

Cecily Strong, left, host Rachel Brosnahan, and Kenan Thompson during Brosnahan's monologue on "Saturday Night Live." Credit: NBC/Will Heath

Well, "Saturday Night Live" has returned after a month hiatus which means time again for lots of complaining about how bad this show is or not-as-funny-as (name-a-year) or can't Alec Baldwin please just get a night job?  But in the spirit of Rachel Brosnahan's spirited monologue, let's try something else instead. And Saturday's return did break something of a long tradition of lethargic, bone-tired, post-break "SNLs" that feel more like an extended sleep-walk than TV's most influential or complained-about comedy show.

In a word, it was fun. Pretty much erasing the first half of this season's dominant off-screen storyline -- Pete Davidson's mental health -- Davidson was in virtually every sketch, as well as an extended (and funny) movie review of "The Mule" with John Mulaney during "Weekend Update."

 And finally or rather inevitably, anointing the cast member to portray Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, "SNL" settled on someone other than Kate McKinnon: Melissa Villaseñor, who is, after all, the only Latina member of the cast. She was good too, or at least nailed the voice during her cold open introduction.

Speaking of McKinnon, another impersonation was added to her considerable and distinguished repertoire -- Elizabeth Warren, on "Weekend Update," who suggested that the country needs a prostate exam and that she's just a proctologist to do it. Furthermore, Warren's campaign slogan may have just been coined: "America, you will do everything you possibly can not to vote for a woman and all I am asking is that you let me be that woman."

Almost everything worked in this first of the year edition -- unheard of, really, for such editions -- even the not terrible cold open (Baldwin back, and "Deal or No Deal" as the obvious set-up joke) and even, or especially, the appalling "Earthquake News Report" sketch, at site of the the Social Security name change office, which started off tastelessly and headed into the gutter from there.

 Best of the night? That's a toss-up, between the "SNL" Commercial, "Leave Me Alurn," about the fake funerary urn used by women to dissuade intrusive men from beginning unwanted conversations; or "Millennial Millions," the game show in which millennial contestants can win millions if they can endure a prolonged whine by a baby boomer. (There were no winners last night!)

"Alurn" was perfect, and the punchline better: If you order now, and for a limited time only, you can also get the spiked back belt,which prevents unwanted lower back gropes. 

This was almost a toss-up, but the "boomer" explanatory song by Aidy Bryant that pretty much summed up an entire generation, pushed "Millennial Millions" over the top: 

 "(Boomers) played all the music and did all the drugs and got all the jobs and made all the money...and  won't ever die!..."

  Now for the rest of the season, and here's hoping Saturday's Brosnahan edition was at least a hint of what's to come. 

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