I want to start off tonight"s "Saturday Night Live" recap with a confession. The first time I heard Miley Cyrus's "Wrecking Ball" I kinda liked it.
Then I saw her perform it. Then I saw her tongue on the 2013 MTV VMAs. Now I don't like the song all that much.
Anyway, after an almost half-hour game delay, "SNL" opened the Cyrus-hosted episode by going for the obvious and addressing her VMA performance.
Cyrus, her tongue and those ridiculous pigtails figured into the cold open titled "Apocalypse" or something like that.
"I remember the exact day [America] ended," Kenan Thompson, as a survivor, says.
Flashback to VMA night when Old Miley (Vanessa Bayer) tries to warn new Miley that she shouldn't go on with the performance she has planned.
Taran Killam appears as Robin Thicke while Bobby Monyihan walks through as a dancing bear—and steals the sketch when he cries, "We shouldn't be doing this," or something like that. Jay Pharoah nails his Will Smith, too, but it's all so predictable—even the Molly joke.
Old Miley offers New Miley the gift of "Molly, the American Girl doll you keep singing about in your song."
I'll give the cold open a C.
Cyrus really wants to destroy any memory of her Disney days. "I'm not going to do any Hannah Montana sketches," she says. "But I can tell you what she's been up to. She was murdered." She brings up that damn VMA performance again, saying she won’t apologize for it. And she brings up twerking again, "I used to think twerking was cool but now that white people do it I think it’s lame." And then we get Bobby Moynihan on a wrecking ball when she says she won’t be doing a "Wrecking Ball" sketch. No wonder this monologue was short; looks like they got nothing tonight.
Fifty Shades of Grey Screen Tests
This was basically a chance for the cast to do impersonations of stars, and it works. Nasim Pedrad’s Asiz Ansari and Jay Pharaoh’s Shaquille O’Neal were tops. These were the pairings. Sorry, I can’t keep track who was who for all of them.
Seth Rogen and Zooey Deschanel
Scarlett Johansson and Christoph Waltz
Philip Seymour Hoffman and Kristin Stewart
Steve Harvey and Rebel Wilson
Jon Cryer and Jane Lynch
Mary Louise Parker and Aziz Ansari
Tilda Swinton and Tracy Morgan
Kristin Chenoweth and Shaquille O’Neal
Girlfriends Talk Show
Cecily Strong returns as Kyra and Aidy Bryant as Morgan in this fun sketch. Cyrus plays "Lil Tini," Kyra’s latest "new best friend" who twerks. Which just ruins this for me. Bryant is hilarious, however, singing a song Morgan wrote about going to the grocery store with her mom or saying this: "I like a guy who’s in love with my confidence, and is gentleman enough to treat me to a hearty steak salad."
We Did Stop
John Boehner (Killam) and Michelle Bachman (Cryus) perform Cyrus’ "We Won’t Stop" with government shutdown lyrics, more tongues, crotch grabbing and twerking. Kill. Me. Now.
Piers Morgan Live
I love Pedrad’s funny Arianna Huffington impression. Tonight she’s discussing why two Hillary Clinton biopics were cancelled. She shows clips of the Fox News project featuring Beck Bennett as President Bill Clinton and Vanessa Bayer as Bill-slapping Hillary. Then she trots out "Running Rodham," a "Breaking Bad" parody in which Hillary wears the Heisenberg hat. They run through a few more, including a TNT miniseries "Clinton & Bash," ABC Family’s "Naughty Little Clintons" and TLC’s "Say Yes To The Pantsuit." And finally, Cyrus gets the chance to dress scantily (again) when her Clinton opens her jacket to reveal a "2016" bra for an MTV doc. Well, at least we had Pedrad.
Kate Middleton, Jay Pharaoh and Vanessa Bayer steal the second week of the Seth Meyers/Cicely Strong-anchored "Update."
Middleton brings confidence and excellent timing to her character Pat Lynhart, a Connecticut mother reviewing the video game "Grand Theft Auto V." She loves it, and that she gets to ignore her real life to play it. "This week I had sex with over 3,000 prostitutes," she says. "I am invincible!" She’s not worried about the game’s violence either. "I shot a stripper in the boob for sport. I am an f-n god!"
As NFL analyst Shannon Sharpe, Pharaoh does the thing I always hope for on "Update"—crack up. But he keeps it together and talks about the football season while wetting his lips constantly. As much as I hate Miley’s tongue, this guy’s is a hoot.
Finally, Bayer returns as Jacob, Bar Mitzvah Boy, the son of Meyers’ podiatrist. Jacob has prepared comments and jokes (like at his Bar Mitzvah), and when Meyers tries to interact with him, he just stares at Meyers. Their interaction is perfect.
Cheer Squad Alien Invasion
Cyrus finally plays a character who doesn’t take it all off. Too bad the sketch doesn’t give her anything funny to do, either. I may have to stop watching "SNL" again if this is the kind of stuff that makes a broadcast.
The anchors of a morning show must stay civil long enough to shoot a week's worth of promos. When the camera's on, Yolanda (Cyrus), Jill (Middleton) and BF (Moynihan) happily introduce themselves and excitedly promo the show's guests. When the camera's off, they don't speak to each other. They're bored and obviously can't stand each other. And, at the end, we learn their full names, Yolanda Natalie Portman, Jill A. Mockingbird and Bitch Fantastic. Great punch line. With it's simple premise and nice pace, this is probably the best sketch of the night.
Bayer plays a poet who takes over a disinterested high school class in this oddball sketch that lasts too long. Cyrus plays a student who comes on to the poet, which honestly, I feel like Cyrus or the writers want to make headlines more than comedy. Bayer's great with all the strange affectations of this character. It'll be interesting to see if the character returns in the future.
Miley Sex Tape
Cyrus wants to have sex with Kyle Mooney's character, who is conflicted about the whole thing. Cyrus in just a bra, again. Yawn.
Musical performances: Cyrus' low-key (as in no stripping or other histrionics) performances of "We Won't Stop" and "Wrecking Ball" restored a little of my faith in Miley the singer. And I'm back to liking "Wrecking Ball."
Final thoughts: Can you tell I'm tired and cranky? It got worse the more "SNL" I watched tonight. I'm not sure I'll continue this for the whole season because I can think of many more enjoyable things to do, like sticking a sharp object in my eyes.
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