Saturday Night Live: Miley Cyrus

[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.