We don’t even know how to start this review of “Saturday Night Live” without sounding like a total fanboy — not only was Maya Rudolph’s show the best of this season, it may be one of the best episodes we have seen since its heyday. There was so much going on, so many strong performances, and the writing almost perfectly blended humor and timely subject matter.
Let’s just hope you recorded this one on your DVR — you’ll be watching it again and again.
Celebrity cameos! – We love a good surprise, and we had one almost right away during the return of the classic Bronx Beat sketch — not only did Amy Poehler reprise her old part, but Justin Timberlake even showed up to burn the age of Jennifer Lopez’s boyfriend Casper Smart.
Following this up, we had a rather surprising appearance by Bill O’Reilly during the “What’s Up with That?” sketch — and while it was a bit of unnecessary product placement, we actually love that the conservative TV host actually stretched out of his comfort zone. Then again, we can’t complain about O’Reilly when Kate Upton was also promoting the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue simply by being there.
Impersonations! – For the sketch featuring Jay Pharaoh as Jay-Z and Rudolph as Beyonce alone, we have to include this on here. Not only were these two impersonations spot-on, but we also were treated to another appearance by Timberlake as Bon Iver — which may go down as a highlight of the entire season.
While we did still have to endure yet another terrible impersonation of President Obama later in the show, we did at least get a funny take on First Lady Michelle Obama courtesy of Rudolph that proved that the final 30 minutes does not have to feel like you’re being slowly induced to sleep. Then, there was even a twist on Armisen’s character, as he end up doing Obama as Bill Cosby. (Start laughing now.)
Song-and-dance numbers! – The opening monologue was familiar to many recent ones on “SNL” in that it was music-based, but we were actually surprised to hear such a powerful singing voice coming out of Rudolph’s mouth. The fact that she was singing about all of the people she slept with while working on the show just ended up being the icing on an already-delicious cake.
Timely content! – Being that the show is set in New York City, it was inevitable that we were going to see something themed around Jeremy Lin. While this was actually one of the weaker sketches of the night, there were also plenty of politically-themed sketches and some traditional Weekend Update fare.
As for the lowlights of this week’s show, we really at this moment are still a bit unsure as to what exactly the show did during their sound testing for Sleigh Bells. We really can’t criticize them too heavily at the moment, mostly because we’re still a bit unsure what they would actually sound like if we could hear actual singing.
But overall, we really would be silly to complain about this episode — there were more belly laughs per minute than any other this season, and producers even managed to pull off a stunner in announcing that Lindsay Lohan is set to be the host for the March 3