On the surface, "Saturday Night Live" ended its extended and election-heavy 34th season with a bang, thanks to a hosting stint by Will Ferrell and a slew of unexpected celebrity cameos. Even more unexpected, following a record fourteen seasons, it was apparent that Darrell Hammond would finally be leaving the cast. Most unexpected of all was the firing of featured performers Casey Wilson and Michaela Watkins. While Wilson's firing might not have seemed surprising in light of her low visibility all season, newcomer Watkins had gained a secure following among fans with a small handful of characters and impressions which she'd performed all season. Nevertheless, both women were let go and replaced by newcomers Nasim Pedrad and Jenny Slate.
Like Watkins, Pedrad gained a strong following almost immediately, while Slate struggled to find her voice on the show after accidentally dropping the F-bomb on the season premiere. Still, despite the potential of their fresh talent, Kristen Wiig would dominate the season as the alpha female of the late night institution, portraying a limited variety of over-the-top characters with hardly any growrth potential. Unfortunately, the same could be said for just about any cast member this season, where consistent reoccurrences of mildly popular characters became the norm, even with newer sketches and characters that played more successfully as one-time concepts.
Ultimately, the season would define itself by its greatest success -- landing the legendary Betty White as a host after four decades of pleading and begging. It took a cheap stunt in the form of a Facebook fan campaign to finally coax her on, but it also resulted in return appearances by former female cast members so they could trot out even more overexposed recurring characters of days gone past.
All in all, a rather mediocre and forgettable season for "SNL" to celebrate 35 years on the air.