Saturday Night Live (Saturdays 11:30pm Eastern, NBC)
After the week’s events, a look back at this week’s highly political SNL seems a bit like an after-thought, but the show finished off the political season in style, with Ben Affleck hosting. John McCain popped up for his last time as a presidential candidate, and it was probably his funniest appearance of the year. The writers helped him along with some genuinely funny material, and it was trippy seeing the real John McCain shilling QVC merchandise alongside the ersatz Sarah Palin, (in what was likely also Tina Fey’s final appearance as the character). A good sport throughout, particularly at the update desk, McCain unveiled some of his desperate, last-minute campaign narratives, my favorite of which was the “Double Maverick.” Ben Affleck contributed a devastating send-up of Countdown with Keith Olbermann. Though a tad long at nearly ten full minutes, Affleck and the show did a great job of following in the footsteps of it’s past pundit parodies like Chris Matthews and Bill O’Reilly. With Olbermann as an equally ripe target for satire, this skit had some real teeth, and was a shrewd method for SNL to deflect accusations of partisanship. It was on-point, equal opportunity, and most importantly of all, hilarious. Next up: a well-earned rerun tomorrow, followed by a new live episode November 15, with Paul Rudd and Beyonce.—Don Sparrow

 

Gossip Girl (Mondays 8pm Eastern, The CW)
Gossip Girl
’s cross-city bolting continues this week as Blair and Serena chase some important, affair-having Yale woman’s neglected tween daughter all over New York (they were babysitting in hopes of getting B a ticket to Yale). Jenny’s being naughty again, too: she and her sketchy friend Agnes plan to take over a ritzy but stuffy award ceremony where Bart and Lily Bass are to be honored. The lights go out, punk rock blares, and models dance on the tables, debuting Little J’s new fashion line. The aged guests are (unrealistically) pleased, but Dad Humphrey is pissed. (Dan is, too, after a Jenny/Nate kissing photo gets on Gossip Girl. Looks like Lonely Boy has his moral superiority back!) Serena has a couple of weird conversations with Aaron, her new artist interest. All of this talk about licorice rings, caterpillars, and childhood marriage is just too stupid to be suffered. Also he has a harem, S—what are you thinking? Everything wraps up with moral dilemmas all around: Dan, outdone by his little sister, decides to finish his Chuck Bass tell-all story. Jenny, offended by her dad’s attempts to get her arrested, leaves home. Blair, finally connecting to the lonely girl she’s chasing, takes the high road and not blackmail the girl’s slutty mother. Instead, she tells her to “pay attention to your daughter before it’s too late.” Also, she does get into Yale.—David Sessions

 

America’s Next Top Model (Wednesdays 8pm Eastern, The CW)
Hallelujah! In her third consecutive fall to the bottom two, Elina gets kicked off the show. Truth is, Elina could’ve been a top contender, but her personality became too grating. The judges’ shock that she is just eighteen underscores that she is a confused, hurting little girl masquerading as tough and mature. Unfortunately, Elina so badly wanted to control things from going wrong that she actually cost herself the competition. She was pit against Marjorie, who similarly stands in the way of her own stardom.  Marjorie is like Cycle 2’s Shandi, the so-awkward-she’s-beautiful girl who worked her way up from Walmart to the final episode of ANTM but was just too socially awkward to win. Anyway, in this week’s episode, the girls had to maze their way through Amsterdam’s canals on their “go-see” (that is, they had to go see five designers) challenge. McKey would’ve won but didn’t make it back by the deadline and was eliminated, which gave Analeigh the win of $18,000 worth of merch from the designers.  After that, the girls were photographed—with and without makeup—by Tyra Banks. The judges were the most impressed by Sam, and she won best photo of the week.—Stephanie Nikolopoulos

 

30 Rock (Thursdays 9:30pm Eastern, NBC)
The much-advertised Oprah cameo episode is finally here, and it’s a doozy. Liz takes off for Chicago for jury duty (she’s still a resident there so she can, ha, “vote in a swing state”). As a sendoff, Jack hands her a bottle of sleeping medicine that has side affects like “sexual nightmares.” Tracy and Jenna are suing each other over the voice-talent royalties from his bestselling videogame, and all HR efforts to mediate go up in flames. It eventually boils down to a classic 30 Rock debate—is society harder on women or black men? The two switch places—truly frightening makeup included—to prove their side. “Pure moral” intern Kenneth discovers that Jack had NBC cover fake Olympic events to boost ratings and, being the kind of guy who refuses to steal cable when it’s piped into his apartment, Kenneth is devastated. Jack attempts to teach him about moral dilemmas, but the lifeboat—and a staged near-death elevator experience—both fail. Meanwhile, on a plane back to New York, Liz, doped up on Jack’s pills, realizes she’s sitting next to Oprah. She says some crazy, crazy things, and Oprah says some crazy things back. Oprah agrees to come mediate the Tracy-Jenna feud but, when she shows up at 30 Rock the next day, she’s actually a pudgy, chirpy 12-year-old named Pam. But the mediating goes well, as do Jack’s desperate efforts to get Kenneth to respect him again.—David Sessions

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Stephanie Nikolopoulos is a writer and editor in New York. David Sessions is the editor of Patrol. Don Sparrow is a freelance writer and illustrator in Saskatchewan.

 
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