[Ed. Note: Jenny Nelson is a writer, student, and -- most importantly -- Videogum intern. She'll be taking us through this season of Saturday Night Live.]

“Why does Miley Cyrus get to be the musical guest and the host?” is something you may have thought when you began this week’s SNL. But then five minutes into the show I bet you remembered that she starred in her own hit TV show for several years and is actually a skilled performer. Or at least that’s how it happened for me. At what point did I forget that Miley Cyrus was an actress? The VMAs? The “Wrecking Ball” video? When she got her edgy blonde hair? Haircuts change everything! Or maybe it was Twitter. Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised with how much I liked Miley Cyrus in sketches and I thought that for the most part the material was very good, on par with last week. Let’s make this season a good one, everybody! Clear eyes, full hearts, live from New York can’t lose!

The Cold Open is thankfully the only sketch that addresses Cyrus’s performance at the VMAs. Vanessa Bayer does her impression of the Old Miley, Robin Thicke comes in, and Will Smith talks about his children, and we all get on with our lives!

Then the monologue happened and it was so short! Only time for one “Wrecking Ball” gag. We moved right along to the 50 Shades of Grey auditions sketch, which I liked because it had both impressions and strange pairings of celebrities. I think Christoph Waltz is the most Internet-popular right now, but I also liked Tracy Morgan with Tilda Swinton, and Philip Seymour Hoffman with Kristen Stewart. Good job and also can you imagine!?!

Next, Aidy Bryant was very funny in Girlfriends Talk Show. She is so good. The rest of the sketch was alright, too. I like that Cecily Strong’s character met Lil’ Teenie in hip-hop club at school. None of my schools ever had hip-hop club.

I very much liked “We Did Stop (The Government)”. As with the Girls parody from last week, this video was visually impressive and incredibly true to the original work. Great job to directors and art department! Great job to Taran Killam and Miley Cyrus, too. Boo to the government shutdown but at least we’re making the most of it when it comes to SNL sketches.

The new Weekend Update duo continues to be good! Cecily talked with Kate McKinnon as a mom who was jazzed from playing GTA V. Seth talked with Jay Pharaoh as Shannon Sharpe which I was unable to fully appreciate, but at least now I know who Shannon Sharpe is because my friend watching SNL next to me also watches sports news. The visit from Vanessa Bayer’s Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy was Update’s best this week. Bayer stayed on a roll with Poetry Class, which I didn’t like as much personally but will admit her character was strong.

Then we had Mornin’ Miami, the one-liner factory from Cyrus, McKinnon and Bobby Moynihan. This sketch had very little premise but all the jokes were funny. Bobby Moynihan’s final line made the buildup and repetitive nature of the sketch worth it.

I loved the digital-short type sketch starring Kyle Mooney unsure about having sex with Miley Cyrus. I’m a fan of Good Neighbor so I’m already attuned to this sensibility and very excited to see Kyle and Beck Bennett (and director Dave McCary) bringing their unique humor to everyone’s TVs! “No all of THE concerts, of any music,” is a line that I liked, and also Taran Killam as Kyle’s older brother. This week’s MVP goes to Taran and Vanessa Bayer I think.

Two things I could have done without were a Piers Morgan sketch about Hillary Clinton biopics and a cheerleading squad that got abducted by aliens. *Shrug*!

Finally, I thought Miley Cyrus did a good job in her toned down musical performances. No foam fingers, no Robin Thicke, just some cool mesh outfits and an Acoustic Guitar Dad chilling next to her.

Comments (33)
  1. No mention of blackface?

  2. Uhhh yeah, bravo Miley.

    Also, what I lost in the whole twerkification of Miley Cyrus is that homegirl can SING!! She clearly forgot that the SNL soundstage is supposed to make almost everyone sound mediocre.

  3. I had no idea what the political music video thing was supposed to be parodying, and let me tell you, there’s nothing less funny than a pop culture reference that you’ve had to Google. Now excuse me while I head out to the store for Polident and Metamucil.

  4. Please tell me that the Acoustic Guitar Dad was a surprise cameo from Rufus Humphrey!

    • Oh and also the only thing I know about this episode is that the former drummer of Veruca Salt played drums for Miley which I know because Veruca Salt reunited and they were dorkily congratulating him on Twitter.

  5. Why didn’t Miley Cyrus high five all three of her guitarists at the end of her song? Why single out just the one? Did she find something unique about him?

  6. Oh man, though I only saw through to the end of Weekend Update, I was in stitches the whole time.

    The new (recent) cast is really coming out strong. Cecily Strong may be my fave newbie (I know she joined last season but this season so far we have been seeing a lot more of her.

    I think I laughed the hardest at the Jewish Boy telling jokes on Weekend Update.

    • Also, I didn’t mind Miley being there. She wasn’t the worst host. Far from it. I just have a bad taste in my mouth for her being overtly controversial with her videos and new sound direction. I want Mike Will to make beats for less radio stars (though Ciara’s “Body Party” is still his best production work so far) and more underground/internet-based singers/rappers, etc.

      #musicchat Where you at, saturnian!?

      • Oh man…”Body Party” is my jam. I came very close to spending an embarrassing amount of money on that Ciara/Crass shirt that made the rounds on the “Why Punk Is Dead” memes.

        I would speculate that currently Mike Will Made It probably finds going for the radio/pop crossover success a more challenging (and lucrative) endeavor than hiphop production. I mean, the past two years he’s pretty much dominated that field. I feel like great producers are restless like that, especially in today’s “I like all genres and what is a genre I hate labels like that man!” attitude that’s so prominent.

        #musichat engaged!

  7. I liked the concept of the alien sketch, but I think there was a lot of technical stuff going on that distracted from it.

    I usually like the screentest impression bits, but this one made me miss Bill Hader’s Alan Alda. Miss u, Bill-as-Alan.

  8. Does miley look too skinny to anyone else??? #Worried

  9. did she have a little person guitarist as well? am i a horrible person for thinking that was weird?

  10. I thought Kate McKinnon’s GTA obsessed mom stole the show. “Suck it or get shot dead either way you’re gettin shot dead” made me laugh so hard.

    Also, say what you will about child stars, but you can wind them up and let them go.

  11. I too was a little surprised with how well Miley did, but she seemed well rehearsed and right on top of the timing. I thought the “We Did Stop” video was a funny idea, but I was a little concerned that they didn’t paint Taran orange enough. Also all the writhing made me uncomfortable, but that’s because I’m an old prude.

    I love love love the Jacob the Bar Mitzvah boy, and I ALSO loved the Shannon Sharpe thing, if only for the image of him running 40 yards with his legs tied behind his head and running on his bare butt cheeks. YES. So funny!

  12. I thought this was a big step down from last week’s episode. I laughed a lot at the 50 Shades sketch, but in retrospect I’m disappointed that the only funny sketch was just a bunch of random celeb impressions.

  13. I’m glad I’m not the only one surprised by how much they enjoyed it! I thought I might’ve been losing it or something, but I’m happy my fellow Monsters are like-minded. It wasn’t terrible!

  14. I cannot stand her to the point that she actually makes my skin crawl. It was totally unwatchable due to my actual visceral hate towards this stranger. What I did see, I didn’t like. Also how did they allow for the central message in EVERY skit to be “look at how hot Miley is!!”? She has great abs, but she looks like a scantily-clad Furby and her voice is so weird. So weird. I disliked her when she was an ignorable child actress and I loathe her now as whatever it is that she is. I know I am not her demographic, but holy shit is she grating.

    • I have been unable to bring myself to watch because I am concerned that I will have to cringe my way through the entire episode.

  15. Speaking of shows that are supposed to be funny, I can’ t wait for Nathan For You, you guys!

    • Nor can I! I think I rewatched season 1 about infinity times and I’m still not tired of it!

      “Do you want $100 or an Oscar?” “A hundred dollars, please.”

  16. Add me to the list of people who couldn’t enjoy the sketches with Cyrus in them because she is just too repulsive. Blech. I don’t care how well she remembers her lines. Ew. That stupid tongue.

    Loved Mornin’ Miami and Weekend Update, again!

    I also, man alive do I love Bobby Moynihan and Kate McKinnon. Cecily Strong is fantastic as well. Yay strong cast members!

    I’m still waiting for Jay Pharaoh to do something even remotely funny that isn’t a telegraphed impression, which even those he somehow seems to make awkward and unfunny. Enough of this guy.

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