Damon's holiday episode "embodies everything that’s working and all that’s gone wrong about Saturday Night Live in its current incarnation," says Melanie McFarland. "Damon was terrific, capping the 2018 run of SNL with one the season’s strongest efforts, if not the year’s best. But without him, the cast would be rudderless and married to wan political humor, which is not this staff’s forte. And this is particularly disappointing because this season’s cast boasts a number of strong performers besides clinch player Kenan Thompson, whom NBC has been pushing in the media with vigor to announce his readiness to transition into a post-SNL career, and Kate McKinnon, who is in the final year of her contract. Those two, along with Aidy Bryant (starring in Hulu’s upcoming series Shrill), Leslie Jones and Cecily Strong are ready to launch, and none of them have a character or recurring bit to take to theaters when they do. The side effect of Trump and diluted political jokes consuming all the air in the SNL universe is that the larger franchise itself is a weaker springboard from which its stars can leap, and yet the writers believe the audience cares enough about Pete Davidson's personal life to make him worth featuring a lot more this season. That's a mistake. In place of establishing a foundation for lasting industry success, then, most of the current group is there to make the host of the week or the celebrity guests look great . . . and not much else." ALSO: Why SNL's Weezer sketch worked even if you aren't a fan of the band. ALSO: Why SNL's Weezer sketch worked even if you aren't a fan of the band.