I was going to title this post "My Favorite Sketches From 2012," but I started thinking how I've gotten up early, every post-"SNL" Sunday morning, on my day off, to write "SNL" Scorecard (which, I will note, I haven't missed once since it started in 2010 - I'm strangely proud of that) only to be yelled at by half of you, each and every time, for my admittedly subjective ranking system. (It's fine! Keep doing that because that is the point.) Because of this, I thought, well, just maybe, I've earned a "Best Sketches" title for my trouble? I mean, no, it's not a true title. These are certainly not the best ten sketches of 2012 (going back to the last half of the 2011-2012 season), because they are only my favorite ten sketches. Regardless, I decided to keep the title of "best sketches" even though it's a lie. Here they are:
"I love the little Lord, he's a regular Joe." Charles Barkley delivered those lines in what, sadly, would wind up being the last "Lord Wyndemere" sketch, as Paul Brittain would leave the show just a few weeks later. Now, is this really one of the best ten sketches of the year? Or is this just my last chance to write about Lord Wyndemere? Goodbye forever, little Lord. You will always be a real salt of the Earth.
9. "Almost Pizza"
This has now aired a couple of times, which always bothers me for some reason. It almost feels it cheapens a commercial parody when it's aired again to fill time during a live show that needs a quick filler. Regardless, I wouldn't mind seeing "Almost Pizza" show up during any show. And I laugh every single time that Bill Hader defiantly refuses to eat a slice of Almost Pizza.
8. "Game of Thrones"
Andy Samberg plays the nerd who's in charge of adding nudity to George R.R. Martin's (Bobby Moynihan) "Game of Thrones" television adaptation. It's funny because it's probably true. Also: this sketch, sadly, never got the attention it deserved because it was just so darn hard to find online (it was never on Hulu due to rights issues).
7. "Vice Presidential Debate"
The debate sketches during this past election season were ... odd. Instead of playing off of what actually happened, fake narratives were invented that took some bite out of the political satire. In the first presidential debate, Obama (Jay Pharoah) was worried about missing his wedding anniversary. In the second presidential debate, Obama and Romney (Jason Sudeikis) wanted to have a fistfight. The vice presidential debate between Joe Biden (Sudeikis) and Paul Ryan (Taran Killam) was the only one to hit home because it dared to satirize and exaggerate what had actually occurred.
6. "Maine Justice"
This sketch is one big non sequitur and I love it for that. The more that Sudeikis' "Southern" judge reminds us with that Louisiana accent that, "Boy, you're in Maine!" the more I laugh. I don't think this is quite as weird as "Mokiki" (spoiler alert: coming up!) but it's sure close. I know very little about Maine, but I like to think, now, that it's at least a little like this, even though I know that's not true. Regardless, I will now think twice about ever breaking the law in Maine.
5. "Undecided Voters"
"What is oil?" "Who is the president now?" Ah, yes, the mysterious undecided voters that I'm not sure ever existed. Or, if they did, they probably were asking questions like the ones presented here. Let's be honest here, this was not a banner year for "SNL" when it came to election satire. Four years from now, when we watch the compilation of "best political sketches from the past," very few will be from this current season. I would chalk it up to the material just not being quite there like it was in past seasons. But! Even 20 years from now, we'll be seeing "Undecided Voters" in those future political sketch compilations.
I was so fascinated by Mokiki and his dance, the Sloppy Swish, that I tracked down poor Taran Killam while he was preparing for a new show and begged him to reveal the origin. (I'm exaggerating a little bit.) I love it when "SNL" goes bizarre and this might be, with the exception of "Maine Justice," the most bizarre they went in 2012.
3. "Puppet Class"
It's criminal that Bill Hader's Anthony Peter Coleman hasn't returned in a sketch since his first and only appearance during the season premiere. (Criminal! Charges should be pressed, somehow.) I've written this before, but I would watch an entire movie about this guy. Paul Thomas Anderson's follow-up to "The Master" should be an Anthony Peter Coleman film. (I'd settle for David Fincher or Tarantino, too.)
2. "Sad Mouse"
On the other side of the bizarre spectrum comes "Sad Mouse," perhaps the most genuinely sweet (and almost depressing) sketch that "SNL" has produced in the last five years. Also: who knew that Bruno Mars would be such a great "SNL" host? (Well, other than Mr. Mars' manager.) This was the first post-Lonely Island/Digital Short pre-recorded offering (not counting commercial parodies) and it (A) was genuinely fantastic and (B) proved that shorts could continue on "SNL" in the post-Samberg era and, most importantly, (C) differentiates themselves from the Lonely Island's work instead of just copying them.
1. "She's a Rainbow"
I have mixed feelings about the Kristen Wiig era of "SNL," but I will never doubt her importance to the show. I only wish that more "SNL" cast members could get such a terrific sendoff like the one Wiig received this past May. (I can only imagine that Jason Sudeikis is, right now, picking out what musical artist he wants crooning for his farewell show.) Touching, funny and deserved, this was the best sendoff I have ever seen "SNL" pull off.
Mike Ryan is senior writer for Huffington Post Entertainment. You can contact him directly on Twitter.