On Saturday, October 8th, the second episode of the forty-second season of Saturday Night Live aired on NBC. Now, the second episode is normally not as viewed as the first or the last, but this season was the exception. With 7.14 million views, this was the most viewed second episode in twelve years, since 2004. Why?
One man: Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Lin-Manuel might not seem like a host that would grab the attention of many, given his name as a Broadway star, but his work grabs the attention of people of all ages, classes, and genders. From "In the Heights" to "Hamilton," from "Mary Poppins" to "Moana," his work spans all groups of people. And his episode of Saturday Night Live did just that. For those who missed it, here's a recap of some of the best moments of the night.
1. The monologue.
Let's be honest here: not every monologue is a memorable one. Miranda, however, managed to capture audience hearts with a parody of his own song from Hamilton titled "My Shot," saying that he's "not throwing away his shot" at hosting SNL. He even got in a jab at Donald Trump, saying he was going to get "a piece of it [hosting], like Miley, Schumer, Tracy Morgan, and this piece of - " leaving the rhyme unsaid next to a picture of Trump from when he had hosted. He then threw in another Hamilton reference, singing that Trump is "never gonna be president now." It was light, funny, and not overly long, setting a good tone for the rest of the evening.
This scene was directly aimed at the hordes of teenage theatre kids watching specifically to see Miranda host. And it stuck. Everyone I know from my theatre days in high school related to the song's lyrics. Cast parties that end at exactly 11:45 PM, watching the recording of the show at the cast party, the one boy in the cast who thinks he's a gift from Heaven to your theatre company... every part of it was incredibly relatable and very enjoyable.
3. Lucas's parents
One of the "biggest plot holes" of Stranger Things is the lack of Lucas's parents. Where are they? They know that a child has been kidnapped and they let their son run around like nothing is wrong. Well, in this skit, we're shown a sneak peak at season two of Stranger Things, with Leslie Jones as his Dad and Miranda as the incredibly adorable Dustin. Everything about this scene is incredibly adorable, and fans of the Netflix original will appreciate how in character everyone is, even in a parody.
4. Pine Ridge Campground
This skit was so incredibly funny. It didn't star our host, but his ability to step back and appreciate the others in the scene while still being funny in his own moments really showed his versatility. The strangeness of the sibling couple paired with the contrasting feelings of the other couple was really funny to see. Plus, we got to see Miranda play the guitar and heard him sing. What could be better than that?
5. School of Rock
Think of every stereotypical high school substitute you had. Trying to connect to students with guitar, or poetry, or rapping Shakespeare. Basically extreme "Dead Poets Society." Dale Sweeze is all of these wrapped into one in this skit, and I was all but rolling on the floor laughing. He tries so hard to reach these students but they're all expecting this, having had sub after sub exactly like him. This skit is incredibly relatable to so many, old and young, and Miranda pulls off the role perfectly.