Cold Opening – The Lawrence Welk Show
Lawrence Welk Show sketches have held up remarkably well considering that the only thing different about them is a new person’s reaction to Dooneese.  So the logical next idea was to have another weird sister.  Melissa’s buck teeth (and other beaver-esque qualities) were sort of amusing, but they also made it difficult to understand anything that she was saying.  The most notably unique aspect of this sketch was actually Lawrence himself, who was more animated than usual, as his comments showed a greater awareness of what was going on. B

Melissa McCarthy’s Monologue
This monologue went on forever – not in the sense of, “this is so boring, please kill me now,” but rather, in the What Up With That sense of “I can’t believe this is happening … I can’t believe this is still happening.”  Post-Bridesmaids, the Melissa McCarthy-Kristen Wiig partnership felt quite natural. B

Lil’ Poundcake
The shockingly sensible shock value of the revelation of Lil’ Poundcake as an HPV vaccine was sufficiently shocking.  But then not much else happened. B

Remember Adele the Office Skank, played by Cheri Oteri in the John Goodman May 2000 episode?  This was kind of like that.  Except that it wasn’t trying to be witty.  It was just plain over the top, with a sympathetic note at the end.  So it was kind of like Melissa’s role in Bridesmaids, but not as fully developed. B-

Digital Short: Stomp
I love the music made out of the random noises that surround us.  Digital shorts that are random for the sake of randomness?  Not so much. B-

The Comments Section
This is a topic that the comedy world had to take on at some point, and SNL got it right.  Indiscriminately mean-spirited jerks, compulsively sexual commenters , pathological conspiracy spreaders – these are the trolls of the Internet.  And this is the comedy sketch that they deserved. A

Rock’s Way
This sketch made about as much sense as if it were an actual idea. C+

Lady Antebellum perform “We Owned the Night”
This had a nice big sound and wasn’t as sappy as most Lady Antebellum tunes. B

Weekend Update
-The Jokes: This may have been Seth’s best performance ever as solo anchor.  The French unprotected sex joke was one of his best of all time, right up there with the bit about about Asian New York city councilman “Cowboy Baseball” from a couple of years ago.  The Obama mic drop punchline was also memorable.  It seems that with that joke and the post-bin Laden kill press conference from the end of last season, SNL has now decided to portray Obama as a Def Jam comedian. B+
-The Segments: -Gaddafi’s Two Best Friends from Growing Up: Just as good as last time.  There is no evil deed too small for true evil. B+
-Tyler Perry: This essentially captures what critics write about Tyler Perry, in joke form. B+

Hidden Valley Ranch Product Testing
Melissa tried her damnedest to make this sketch work, and about half the time, there was something to work with, and the rest of the time … she showered herself with dressing.  There were a few strange character tics (Melissa as Linda needed $50 to get out of a few jams) that were just kind of thrown out there and made the whole affair particularly goofy, and rather unfulfilling. B-

The Essentials: Lulu Diamonds
Melissa McCarthy fell down the stairs several times, in a funnier and less embarrassing way than the way most people would fall down stairs.  But that’s about it. C

Lady Antebellum peroform “Just a Kiss”
I had heard “Just a Kiss” several times before this performance, and my general sense was that it was cloying and that it seemed to have an immature (though sweet) view of love.  And yet I couldn’t help but being somewhat won over by the rush of violins and those rising vocals. B

Lovemaking Complaints
The complaints were adequately descriptive. B

The costume department was working overdrive during this episode.  I cannot remember any other episode during which I thought more than once, “What an outfit!”  I especially appreciated Jason’s casual shirt and suit jacket combo as the host of The Comments Section as well as pretty much everything Melissa wore (particularly her Spock sweater in the Hidden Valley sketch).
For those who complain about Kristen Wiig’s over the top performances dominating the show, do you prefer it when someone else takes on all those over the top roles?  Because that is what we got last night.  Melissa similarly showed up Kristen in Bridesmaids, but that worked for the sake of the overall quality of that movie and for the sake of their characters’ friendship.  As far as this episode goes, it was nice that Melissa was so game, but she was actually at her best when she was more understated, as “DaTruf” in The Comments Section.  Truth be told, though, that sketch had the most material to work with, and the lack of such material was the real problem with the weaker sketches.