This is my first time venturing into an episode-by-episode, sketch-by-sketch breakdown of SNL, as I have only previously presented year-end wrapups.  These recaps will be snappier than the season recaps, with a sentence or two of comments per sketch, followed by a letter grade, as that is my preferred system for judging entertainment.  These are quick reactions, so I reserve the right to change my mind at some point down the line.

Cold Opening – Christine O’Donnell at the RNC Headquarters
K-Wiig is given yet another character, and … she nails the impression of the latest Tea Party sensation. But, like many cold openings these days, the sketch overall was excessively dry, oddly enough considering the main topic was masturbation. B

Opening Montage
Was there any reason why Nasim came before Taran Killam?

Amy Poehler’s Monologue
A dream sequence is always a safe bet. This one stayed an appropriately wacky course. My friends and I were generally in agreement that the polar bear was the best part. Can’t go wrong with Kenan as Lorne, either. B

Bronx Beat
Is Katy Perry really that busty? Somehow I had missed out on recognizing that as much as I should have. Great way to address the Sesame Street controversy, though Betty and Jodi naturally provided the highlights, with lines like, “Have your mom get you a good bra-er.” B+

Bosley Hair Restoration
Great concept, and with the execution, they pulled it off in the visuals. Fred Armisen is always great in the testimonials in the commercials. B+

Maternity Matters
The first time Roger Brush filled in was a near-classic. Since then, the best moments of these sketches have been the openings, in the recognition that a fake-out was being pulled out. There were enough yuks to go around. B

The Mosque at Ground Zero
After watching this commercial parody, I felt that it was the most obvious way to make fun of the Ground Zero Mosque controversy. Somehow nobody else had thought of it before. A-

Katy Perry performs “California Gurls”
For some reason, Katy had some vocal struggles in this performance, even though she sounded fine on “Teenage Dream.” Maybe she was nervous. At least the stage decoration scheme was pulled off nicely. B-

Weekend Update with Seth Meyers (and Amy Poehler)
-The Jokes: Better than average, though Seth’s delivery is still achingly awful. Amy’s a little bit better, so it was nice to have her around. B-
-The Segments: -Really!?! with Seth and Amy: Some sensible knocks on Ahmadinejad and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” but generally unfocused. B
-Will Smith: When his joining the cast was announced, I heard that Jay Pharaoh had a great Will Smith impression, but the question always is, Can you do something funny with it. And for the most part he didn’t, until he mentioned a dog. B
-David Patterson (and the real David Patterson): No huge laughs, and with Patterson bits, there rarely are, but there doesn’t have to be. The premise of Patterson as a Catskills-style standup is so absurd that the bits get by on the premise alone, and that was only emphasized by the presence of the real Patterson. And even though I knew the wandering in front of the camera was coming, that anticipation somehow made it better. A-

The Lean Years
The Amber sketches are patently dumb. At least this one had a few good puns. B-

Digital Short: Boogerman
This is probably one of those digital shorts that I don’t like that much at first and then find that I can’t stop watching them. Lot of great individual elements (Katy Perry’s overemotive singing, “You da man, Boogerman!”, the rest of the clips from the Boogerman movie, the crowd shots, the jaunty ending music), though it wasn’t really tied together nicely. I thought that Bill was supposed to be Jon Hamm at first, but then we saw him in the crowd. Was that Ellen Burstyn next to him?  That was Peter Sarsgaard as Boogerman, as eagle-eyed enthusiastic viewers will note. B

Chez Henri
They got a lot of mileage out of a rather thin concept. The highlight was Bill walking by the first time. The attention to detail was strong as well. Good punch line. B

Katy Perry performs “Teenage Dream”
The vocals were down pat, and this is one of the best pop songs in a long time, though I didn’t agree with the stage design concept. I think the approach should have been more ecstatic fantasy rather than slutty high school, though maybe I am biased by having seen the music video. And it definitely appeared that Katy and the two backup dancers wanted us to see their panties as much as possible. B

Actor II Actor
This was a nothing sketch that was thankfully only a minute long. Andy and Justin’s charisma elevated it from to D to C-level. C

The Even More Expendables
Great choices all around. Highlights included Bobby as Hurley (“Dude!”), Kenan as Tracy Chapman (he must be a fan of “Fast Car”), and Fred as Eugene Levy (“I’m allergic to guns” is the quote of the season so far). B+

At first, I thought that this was an okay episode, nothing special. Then I watched some of it again and realized that there were a lot of moments that I found to be funny.