Saturday Night Live closed the book on its 41st season just ten days ago with one of its best episodes of the season, hosted by Fred Armisen.
The episode, which included at least three or four of the best sketches of the entire season, left a very pleasant aftertaste, which was much-needed after a season in which we got some very high highs, but not a lot of consistency. Even putting aside the stinking nadir of the entire year (Donald Trump), which almost derailed the rest of the season, there were a lot more dud episodes (Jonah Hill, Ronda Rousey, Russell Crowe jump to mind) this year than last.
At the same time, this was also the Season Of Larry, with one-time writer Larry David making his hosting debut in the best episode of the year, and appearing another five times (mostly in cold opens) as Bernie Sanders, his spiritual other.
As with previous seasons, we've compiled our favorite pre-taped segments, live sketches, monologues and fake commercials. This is all highly subjective, but think of it as a cheat sheet for the best of season 41.
Below, check out the top 20 pre-taped segments and commercials. We'll have the best live sketches tomorrow.
The Best Pre-Taped Segments (aka The Digital Shorts Awards)
The ladies of SNL put together another exquisite pop music parody video, "First Got Horny 2 U" (a la "Do It In My Twin Bed" or "Back Home Ballers"), in the Elizabeth Banks episode. If there is anything funnier than Aidy Bryant dragging her crotch on the floor at the sight of the preteen son from the ABC show Dinosaurs, I haven't seen it.
Also in the Banks episode, we got a dose of Mike O'Brien weirdness with Uber for Jen, which was all about O'Brien's nonchalant Uber driver bonding with Banks while delivering a baby.
Adele completely overshadowed Matthew McConaughey during his hosting stint, so it's appropriate that the best sketch from the episode was this Thanksgiving Miracle.
Ryan Gosling may have had a gigglefit in the live sketches, but he channeled his brooding intensity into comedic gold with Santa Baby, which seemed to be a Christmas riff on the Honey Bunny scene from Pulp Fiction.
If you're going to parody Taylor Swift and her posse of models, you better get the likes of Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Amy Schumer to do Dope Squad right.
The Star Wars Audition Tape from McConaughey's episode was pretty solid, but it was even better when they had Kylo Ren himself, Adam Driver, to go undercover as radar technician Matt to better get to know his underlings in Undercover Boss: Starkiller Base.
Also from Driver's episode, there was Golden Globes, which paired Driver with low-key season MVP Vanessa Bayer. It also had the best, most unexpected apron-wearing celebrity cameo of any sketch this season.
It took Louis C.K. and Melissa McCarthy a few years of hosting to turn into all-time great SNL hosts, but it only took Larry David one episode to get there. Who knows if or when we might get another season of Curb, but until then, we are more than happy with the gut-busting Bern Your Enthusiasm.
The Day Beyonce Turned Black from Melissa McCarthy's episode suitably ripped apart the caucasian backlash to Beyonce's "Formation" video.
While Kyle Mooney & Beck Bennett's shorts didn't hit quite as hard this season as the two years prior, Mooney had a season highlight in the McCarthy episode with his rap battle, Kyle vs. Kanye.
Naked and Afraid is a legit GREAT program, and SNL wisely paired host Peter Dinklage up with his physical opposite, Leslie Jones, for a very faithful parody of the reality show.
As mentioned before, the Russell Crowe episode was pretty bad, with the exception of this Oprah sketch, in which Mike O'Brien's deadpan, unenthusiastic-but-sincere take on his subject shined through.
Drake really dove into his insecurity issues with Drake's Beef, and revealed his abiding love for Josh Gad.
Farewell Mr. Bunting, from Armisen's episode, was definitely the most talked about SNL sketch in recent seasons. This Dead Poet's Society-riff had me laughing hysterically the third time I re-watched it
The Best Fake Commercials
This Guns commercial, from Amy Schumer's episode, was about as bold as SNL can be.
From Gosling's episode, Settl is the Tindr for women who have given up standards (Leslie Jones gets the best deadpan looks here).
Adult nerds freaked out about Star Wars Action Figures in Chris Hemsworth's episode.
This unexpected Totino's ad (a sequel!), from the Larry David episode, was probably my personal favorite fake ad of the season.
After the embarrassing Trump-hosted episode, SNL finally started to hammer the orange one in Jonah Hill's episode with Voters For Trump.
And Hillary Clinton proved she could be anyone Millennials wanted her to be in this Hillary Campaign Ad from Ariana Grande's episode.