Former SNL-er Jimmy Fallon was technically the host of last night’s episode, but credit is also due to the musical guest, Fallon’s friend and frequent collaborator, Justin Timberlake, for a few of the ep’s highlights. Seeing those names paired together, and because it’s the holidays, we were bound to get a nostalgia-filled string of sketches that resurrected some favorites. However, at several points in the evening Fallon and Timberlake seemed to be a little too pleased with themselves and gunning way too hard. It’s telling that SNL’s strongest players, particularly Bobby Moynihan and Vanessa Bayer, were practically absent, and while it was great to see some more of the spotlight on newbies like Noël Wells, most of the cast didn’t need to show up. The Fallon-Timberlake chemistry fed the crowd more than any of their sketches — many of them overbearing — and several surprise guests felt like unnecessary props. But enough bah humbug. On to the episode’s best and worst.
“Wrappinville Cold Open”
This is either the best thing SNL could have opened with or the worst. Nothing makes the crowd cheer like seeing Timberlake’s adorable mug peeking out from an oversized costume and singing about Whatever-ville, but none of the songs stood out (“I sacked his deck” was the best bit of wordplay), and Fallon’s assist wound up being an annoying distraction. An overzealous audience member was funnier than most of this sketch, but for old-times’ sake, we’ll leave this one under the best-of category.
“Jimmy Fallon Song Monologue”
Fallon wants to celebrate a great year by singing with his music idols: David Bowie, Bob Dylan, and Paul McCartney. He kicks things off with some respectable impressions, and then Sir Paul pops up to join him (But seriously, Paul, that hair… ). A pleasant duet ensues, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” setting a heartfelt holiday tone.
“(Do it on My) Twin Bed”
The SNL ladies get their own music video that has all the magic of the Tina Fey “Girls” sketch, with more childhood bedroom sexcapades. We get Lil’ Baby Aidy (!), monkey sheets, the X-Files on VHS, and photos of everyone when they were in seventh grade.
“Weekend Update: Billie Jean King”
I’d watch Kate McKinnon as a 70-something-year-old lesbian not giving a flip all day today if I could. Billie Jean is “Obama’s big, gay middle finger” and she’s not putting up with Putin’s crap.
“Weekend Update: Jimmy Fallon and Michael Bloomberg”
Fallon passes the baton to Seth, while Bloomberg can’t wait to drink a small soda on a non-smoking park bench.
“Kimye Talk Show”
Jay Pharaoah’s Kanye West is back to panic about whatever Kim says, and we get a Christmas version of the “Bound 2” music video. Somehow it feels more pornographic than the original.
More impressions? Well, ok. Let me know when Kate McKinnon’s Shakira and Cecily Strong’s Alanis Morissette collaborate, because I want that album.
“Baby It’s Cold Outside”
The warm, fuzzy, earnest sketches win the evening and were a necessary breath of fresh air in the wake of the Fallon-Timberlake tornado. Fallon and Cecily Strong sing the popular holiday ballad with oodles of charm and chemistry — and then we find out what happens after Strong stays the night. There’s a sweet finale that will woo you.
The stars of NBC and CBS face off in an edition of Family Feud hosted by Kenan Thompson’s Steve Harvey — whose goal is “to be put on mute in every waiting room in America.” Normally a string of cast impressions is a delight and allows us to get an eyeful of the newest players, but this turns into the Timberlake-Fallon show — and not in a great way. The actors fall apart laughing for most of the sketch as Timberlake does his best Fallon impression. It’s cute for a minute, but then they become lost in their own little universe while the rest of us lame-os just sit there.
“Barry Gibb Talk Show”
You know you’re in trouble when Madonna shows up to lend a hand, the crowd seems to care less, and then Madge looks bored the entire time. While she was staring at Timberlake’s ass, she snapped these Instagram shots, so that’s something. The real Barry Gibb shows up, too, but Fallon and Timberlake are so aggressive and overwhelming that no one seems to care.
Ebenezer Scrooge was super gay and didn’t know it. Lazy job, writers.