(Yes, more Jon Hamm. He deserves the attention.)
After a rocky early season, "Saturday Night Live" had a week where it not only managed a solidly funny Thursday but maybe the best Saturday overall so far this season. ...
The Thursday highlight, of course, was the return of Will Ferrell as W. in a sketch that also made excellent use of Tina Fey's Sarah Palin and Darrell Hammond's John McCain. And it worked even better with that day's headlines about McCain doing some Bush-bashing to save his campaign. But the episode as a whole worked pretty well. Weekend update had its funny spots and I admit to giggling during Andy Samberg's vomiting bit. Not just because I have a small boy's weakness for vomit humor, but because it was set up so well, and it stayed on the right side of cheerfully silly.
Which brings us to Saturday. And, where recent weeks have often included their best stuff in the opening and then declined, this week had a relatively lame opening -- except for some good John Murtha jokes -- and then moved uphill. Jon Hamm proved a game, good host, especially when it came to his character and "Mad Men." The "Mad Men" a-holes sketch was fun because of the cameos by John Slattery and Elisabeth Moss, and because -- after a dull period with the a-holes characters -- it rebounded with a hilarious, pointed monologue from Hamm-as-Don about the suspendered hula hoop. One demonstration of great parody: It can take something you really like, make you laugh at an observation about it, and not kill your love for the original thing. I was still happy with "Mad Men" on Sunday, but laughed at the sketch.
Hamm continued in that vein with the Don Draper guide embedded above. (If it's not working, go to NBC.com.) Alas, even her brief appearance in that sketch had me missing Amy Poehler already. And, ridiculous but funny, in Jon Hamm's John Ham. And as James Mason (with Kristen Wiig a glorious Gloria Swanson.) Then there was the Barack Obama variety show, both with "Solid as Barack" (welcome back, Maya Rudolph) and "Don't You Forget About Me."
Weak spots, too. Besides ones I've mentioned, the Halloween sex offender sketch was too cringey, especially for the night before we had trick-or-treating here. Hamm's "Finger" campaign spots were too numerous for a joke that thin. But still a very good show in all.