***** = Excellent, a possible future classic
**** = Great
*** = Average
** = Meh
* = How'd this get past dress?
Cold Opening - Super Bowl Blackout
• Despite the fact that this story is kinda old news by now, this was a pretty solid cold opening.
• Kenan did very well as the lead player of this.
• Jay's voice cracked me up and he had some funny lines such as him trying to figure out which player to eat first, and of course, his little announcement about Ray Lewis at the end.
• Kenan's back-and-forth with Taran was good, and I also got a laugh from the camera cutting over to Taran when he wasn't even there anymore. I know SNL uses that gag a lot these days (where they cut to a shot of someone who's not there), but for some reason, it never fails to make me laugh.
• The bizarre dance commercial with Bill was truly priceless.
Monologue - Justin Bieber
• Meh, this was exactly the type of monologue I was dreading from Bieber. While I was able to tolerate him for most of tonight's sketches, he was pretty bad during this monologue. I didn't find him likeable or funny in this, he didn't poke fun at himself here like he should've (although he would do that later in some of the following sketches), and he required lots of propping up from Kenan, who provided the only real laughs during this monologue. Kenan's on a roll so far tonight.
• The random Whoopi cameo at the end was okay.
Sketch - The Californians
• Just when I thought tonight's show still had a chance of exceeding many people's low expectations, SNL had to break out the fucking Californians. That flushing sound you just heard was my optimism going right down the toilet.
• Wonderful to see that this sketch is still as horribly unfunny as usual. The only redeeming factor was the amusing part at the end where they kept switching back-and-forth between different cameras during Bill's dramatic close-up. I got a good laugh from that.
Sketch - Bieber Decoys
• Easily the best sketch of the night. The cast's performances as well as many great one-liners made this one a lot of fun to watch.
• When you think about it, it's odd that Bieber would be miffed that three of his decoys were women, considering they looked much more like him than the guys did.
• Funniest line of the whole night was this exchange between Bieber and Sudeikis, regarding the decoys: "Some of them are black; they're not fooling anybody!" "Yeah, well, neither are YOU, homie." Sudeikis is always perfect at delivering insults like that with his dry delivery.
• As a matter of fact, Sudeikis was fantastic during this whole sketch in general. In addition to his aforementioned "neither are you, homie" line, he also did a good job milking laughs out of the corny "Never Say Never" reference, he had a hilarious reaction to finding out Saddam Hussein was killed, and I laughed a lot at his singing "I Will Always Love You" when carrying Bieber at the end.
• Second funniest line of the whole night: Taran saying "I guess they dropped" after hearing Bieber's "deep" singing voice.
• I got a good laugh from the part with Bobby refusing to show his stomach, and instead, just ripping his wig off and saying "Good luck, you guys".
• Unintentionally Funny Bieber Screw-Up #1: Bieber accidentally saying "Those moves are retar--" then cutting himself off and saying "Uh, those moves are stupid". Nice try, but don't think we didn't hear what word you originally were going to say, Biebz!
• Loved the part with Kate's Ellen Degeneres being mistaken for one of the Bieber decoys.
Commercial - Bravo TV Shows
• Now this was just dumb and unfunny. I'm not automatically biased against EVERY Bravo parody that SNL does nowadays; they can be funny if done well (i.e. that "Real Housewives of Disney" commercial from last season's Lohan episode). Tonight's Bravo parody, however, was a completely laughless waste of time.
• I especially cringed during the "house plants" spin-off bit, which is one of the lamest, laziest jokes you can do. Reminds me of a similar bit that SNL did during part of that Ricky Gervais Golden Globes commercial last season, where he hosted an awards show for flowers/plants.
Weekend Update - Seth Meyers, featuring King Richard III's Best Friends from blah blah blah, Corey
• Best jokes: Boy Scouts, New Photo App
• The Two Best Friends segment: If you've noticed in my reviews this season, I've stopped using my lazy-but-reliable "No. Just... no." critique that I used to cut-and-paste whenever I didn't feel like typing a review for a bad recurring sketch/character. I felt this season that it was time to move on from that. But screw it, there really is no other way to review this dreadful Two Best Friends shit, so here it comes: No. Just... no.
• Kenan's commentary as The One Black Guy in Every Commercial was decent. Even though the premise was thin, Kenan kept it enjoyable with his solid performance and this commentary nailed just about every single token black guy you see in commercials these days. The bit about how he needs to high-five every 12 seconds or he'll die was funny. Kenan seemed a bit thrown-off for real when Seth ad-libbed(?) that line about how Kenan waited a bit too long to do one of his high-fives.
Sketch - 50's Romance
• This had its moments, but I didn't care too much for this as a whole and I found the premise to be fairly dumb.
• My biggest laughs came from Aidy as the voice-of-reason, especially when she stated "I feel like I have to say something..." but then changed her mind and said "It's gonna be what it's gonna be".
• I know I mention Tim's facial expressions A LOT, but in this sketch, each time the male characters were all hamming it up before the camera would cut to the girls, Tim did some hilarious over-the-top facial expressions & mannerisms that were pretty funny. He also had a really funny look on his face at the very end when they were all dancing.
• I could see the twist at the end with Bieber revealing he's just a little kid coming from a mile away.
• The dancing from everybody at the end was okay; I especially liked Taran's wild moves. Like I said in my review of the last episode: "It's always funny any time Taran Killam dances in a sketch."
Sketch - The Miley Cyrus Show
• Up until tonight, I had assumed this sketch was officially retired, especially considering how drastically Miley's look & personality has changed so much over the last year.
• Kinda interesting seeing SNL take on Miley's new persona while still keeping some of her familiar bubbliness. While I felt that this installment still could've been much better, it was at least a step up from the last few stale installments of this sketch.
• Loved Jason's facial reaction to Miley's "adult" monologue joke.
• I got a good laugh from Vanessa/Miley sarcastically saying "Yeah, right - me, too!" after Bieber promised he'll stop smoking weed.
• Taran has the ability to make even small straight roles amusing, as he managed to get a good laugh from the audience out of simply saying "I do" in that overly-dignified British accent.
• Unintentionally Funny Bieber Screw-Up #2: when Bieber was supposed to say about himself "He looks like a lesbian!", he mistakenly said at first "He looks like a f..." before cutting himself off. The question is, was it "fucking" that he almost said, or was it the OTHER f-word?
• They really need to stop doing the bit where they show a clip of Miley in a video talking in a long run-on sentence while a man in the video just looks at the camera nervously. It's the same joke every time and it's not funny anymore.
Sketch - Protective Brother
• You know, I constantly compare Taran Killam to Will Ferrell, and Taran's funny performance in this sketch just added to that viewpoint. There were a lot of subtle things about him in this sketch that gave me serious Ferrell vibes. And now, with this sketch, Taran has officially reached the point where he's able to make his fellow castmembers & hosts crack up on camera, much like how Ferrell always had the ability to make HIS castmates & hosts lose it on camera back in the day. Specifically, Taran leaning against Bieber's face to make him laugh reminded me of something similar in Ferrell's Sensitive Drill Sergeant sketch where he kept repeatedly bumping his hat into David Spade's head to make him laugh.
• There's nothing else to really talk about with this sketch, because the writing itself was mediocre at best and the whole "glice" thing was WAY too thin of a premise. However, it was all in Taran's performance that made this sketch funnier than it probably looked on paper. The word "glice" is not funny in itself, but coming from Taran's amusing delivery, it had me laughing practically every damn time he uttered that word.
Miscellaneous - Valentine's Day Message from Justin Bieber
• Meh. This wasn't very good at all and I barely got any laughs from it. The humor here was pretty "retar-- uh, stupid", to quote Bieber's slip-up from earlier tonight.
• Bobby's character was certainly random and silly, but not exactly funny.
• The only thing I kinda chuckled at was Bieber's startled reaction when something crashed into the window next to him.
Sketch - Principal Frye
• There seems to be a larger amount of sketches than usual in the second half of tonight's episode.
• Yeah, this character is officially tired. It was funny for about two installments, but Principal Frye's whole routine is just becoming more and more stale and boring. Also, it's starting to annoy me how Jay keeps smirking at his own lines in every single Principal Frye sketch. It's one thing to laugh at another performer, but to laugh at your OWN lines??? I don't get it. It's not like Jay hasn't rehearsed these lines, so why does he always crack up at himself in these Principal Frye sketches?
• Seeing Jay hit Vanessa's character with the microphone makes me wonder what it would be like if Principal Frye ever met Herb Welch, who's also famous for hitting people with his microphone. Uh-oh, did I just give the SNL writers an idea for a future sketch?
• Uh... the bit with Jay's mic going out and him being handed a new one by a stagehand was part of the script, right? It SEEMED like it was supposed to be, but that gag was executed so awkwardly that it came off looking like a real blooper.
• As usual, most of my laughs in this came from Kenan's angry gym teacher character. Kenan has been having a very strong night in general.
• I've been able to tolerate Bieber for most of tonight's episode, but I actually found him annoying in this sketch, especially the stupid mini-raps he would do each time before he & Nasim walked off-camera. His rapping in this was completely unnecessary and obviously only happened because Bieber couldn't resist trying to work his lame "swag" into almost every sketch.
• Nasim's sex-starved character was okay. The voice & delivery she used in this sketch reminded me A LOT of Cheri Oteri, by the way.
• Coincidentally, the last three episodes that a Principal Frye sketch appeared in also featured a Californians sketch: the Josh Brolin episode, the Christina Applegate episode, and now tonight's.
• Bieber Decoys
• Super Bowl Blackout
• Taran's performance in Protective Brother
• the Two Best Friends segment
• Bravo TV Shows
• The Californians
• Valentine's Day Message from Justin Bieber
Best Performer of the Night:
• Kenan Thompson (surprisingly)
CASTMEMBER / HOST COUNT DOWN
ARMISEN: 5 sketches (Californians, Decoys, Bravo, Update, 50's Romance)
BAYER: 8 sketches (Californians, Decoys, Bravo, Update, 50's Romance, Miley Cyrus, Protective Brother, Principal Frye)
HADER: 5 sketches (Super Bowl, Californians, Decoys, Bravo, 50's Romance)
KILLAM: 7 sketches (Super Bowl, Californians, Decoys, Bravo, 50's Romance, Miley Cyrus, Protective Brother)
MEYERS: 1 sketch (Update)
MOYNIHAN: 4 sketches (Decoys, Bravo, Miley Cyrus, Valentine's Day Message)
PEDRAD: 5 sketches (Decoys, Bravo, 50's Romance, Protective Brother, Principal Frye)
PHAROAH: 3 sketches (Super Bowl, Decoys. Principal Frye)
SUDEIKIS: 5 sketches (Super Bowl, Decoys, Bravo, Miley Cyrus, Protective Brother)
THOMPSON: 7 sketches (Super Bowl, Monologue, Californians, Decoys, Update, 50's Romance, Principal Frye)
BRYANT: 3 sketches (Decoys, Bravo, 50's Romance)
MCKINNON: 3 sketches (Californians, Decoys, 50's Romance)
ROBINSON: 6 sketches (Super Bowl, Californians, Decoys, Bravo, 50's Romance, Miley Cyrus)
STRONG: 4 sketches (Californians, Decoys, Bravo, 50's Romance)
JUSTIN BIEBER: 9 sketches (Monologue, Californians, Decoys, Bravo, 50's Romance, Miley Cyrus, Protective Brother, Valentine's Day Message, Principal Frye)