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SNL Season 34 Episode Recaps

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The 2008 election made Saturday Night Live's 34th season one of its most successful ever, with Tina Fey's impression of Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin making headlines and generating big viewership numbers. Even after the race was over, SNL (mostly) found ways to remain fresh and funny with the help of some good hosts and scores of big-name guest stars. Check out a rundown of the sketch comedy's 34th season in late night.

1. Michael Phelps/Li'l Wayne (9/13/08)

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The first episode of season 34 (episode 1532), hosted by Olympic swimmer Phelps, featured the first appearance of former cast member Tina Fey as Vice-Presidential hopeful Sarah Palin and the better-than-expected digital short "Space Olympics."

2. James Franco/Kings of Leon (9/20/08)

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Show 1533, hosted by James Franco, showed impressionist stalwart Darrell Hammond's first time doing Republican presidential nominee John McCain, the revisionist Of Mice and Men sketch "George and Lenny" and yet another installment of "The Cougar Show" featuring a guest appearance by Cameron Diaz.

3. Anna Faris/Duffy (9/27/08)

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Show 1534: Tina Fey returned as Sarah Palin in a spoof of her Today show interview with Katie Couric (Amy Poehler); a McCain/Obama presidential debate is parodied; guest host Anna Faris and cast member Kenan Thompson performed "Boat Ride," one of the season's pleasant surprises.

4. Anne Hathaway/The Killers (10/4/08)

Actress Anne Hathaway
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Anne Hathaway hosted show 1535, featuring the first appearance of the "Lawrence Welk Show" sketch, a spoof on the vice-presidential debate once again featuring Tina Fey as Sarah Palin, a very funny "Mary Poppins" sketch and the debut of Andy Samberg as Mark Wahlberg in "Mark Wahlberg Talks to Animals." The episode also featured a guest appearance by Queen Latifah.

5. Josh Brolin/Adele (10/18/08)

Show 1536, hosted by Josh Brolin, featured the season's best sketch: pregnant Amy Poehler performing the "Sarah Palin rap." Palin herself made a guest appearance alongside Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin. Other sketches included the nearly-perfect "I'm No Angel" cologne commercial, a series of "MacGruber" shorts dealing with the economic crisis and a guest appearance by Mark Wahlberg confronting Andy Samberg about "Mark Wahlberg Talks to Animals."

6. Jon Hamm/Coldplay (10/25/08)

Photo of actor Jon Hamm
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Madmen's Jon Hamm hosted show 1537, featuring the Madmen parody "A-Holes at a Pitch Meeting" sketch, as well as the short videos "Don Draper's Guide" and "Rasta Man." Former cast member Maya Rudolph made an appearance, while Amy Poehler was absent from the episode to have her baby.

7. Ben Affleck/David Cook (11/1/08)

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Show 1538: Presidential candidate John McCain appeared alongside Tina Fey's Palin in a funny QVC sketch just three days before losing the election to Barack Obama; a parody of The View featuring an excellent Jennifer Aniston impression courtesy of Casey Wilson; the High School Musical spoof "Night School Musical; host Ben Affleck goofs on Countdown with Keith Olbermann.

8. Paul Rudd/Beyonce (11/15/08)

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One of the season's stronger episodes, show 1539 featured a guest appearance by Justin Timberlake in a sketch about the "Single Ladies" video by musical guest Beyonce; host Paul Rudd and Andy Samberg star in the digital short "Everyone's a Critic"; the "Kissing Family" sketch shows a family that's way too close; new cast member Bobby Moynihan plays cartoon character Snagglepuss on "Weekend Update."

9. Tim McGraw/Ludacris & T-Pain (11/22/08)

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The season hit its low point with show 1540, hosted by country star McGraw and featuring Kristen Wiig's "Clear Rite" commercial, Andy Samberg as white rapper "Blizzard Man" and a truly bizarre and terrible sketch called "Turkey Day."

10. John Malkovich/T.I. (12/6/08)

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Show 1541 was a return to form thanks to host John Malkovich and some funny sketches, including Bill Hader's Italian talk show host in "Vinny Talks to John," Fred Armisen's Barack Obama impression in "Obama Plays it Cool," Kristen Wiig in the commercial for "Pony Express" and, best of, "Jizz in My Pants," one of the three best digital shorts of the season, featuring cameos by Jamie Lynn Sigler, Molly Simms and -- of course -- Justin Timberlake.

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