Our asses will explode.

Cold Opening – A Message from the Mayor of New York City
As Nicholas Fehn would say, this is real smart stuff.  Bloomberg spinning the Occupy Wall Street protests as evidence of NYC as the greatest city in the world was delightfully twisted, and the references to the earthquake and last winter’s snow were welcome. B+

Anna Faris’s Monologue
This was the absolute epitome of half-assing a monologue … and still managing to wring several laughs out of it.  Anna’s throaty way of talking and big eyes allowed for perfect reactions to those pressing questions.  And although Abby does a great Anna Faris impression, the “Hannah Garis” bit was exceedingly pointless, but thanks to Anna playing along, it wasn’t all bad. B

The Manuel Ortiz Show
How does Fred manage to get sketches like these that are the exact same each time to become recurring sketches?  The hidden camera segment actually made it worthwhile this time around and served as a commentary on the sketch itself. B

What’s Wrong with Tanya?!
This sketch flirted with being overly reliant  on the ladies screaming, but thankfully Anna, Kristen, and Vanessa were all quite capable in that regard.  The guesses of Boy Tanya’s problem were the highlight. B+

Digital Short: Interviews with Drake
At first, I thought this was going to just be the very brief interview with Drake and be like that dumb brief “interview” with Justin Timberlake from last year.  Let’s take a moment to single out Don Pardo, who got quite a vocal workout with this sketch.  The word from the sponsor was an ingenious use of over-the-top Kristen Wiig. A-

Yet Another GOP Debate
Herman Cain is leading Republican polls?  Like Mitt Romney, I will believe it when … not exactly ever.  And just like the mainstream press, the comedy world continues to foolishly marginalize Ron Paul. B-

Drake performs “Headlines”
Now that Kanye has shown that messing around with the SNL musical stage can be allowed, the floodgates have been opened.  (Or not really, as it has taken a year for Drake to become the second performer to do so.)  Due to some ill-advised shot selection, the lyric scrolling must have worked better for the studio audience than it did at home.  Good thing that Drake’s idiosyncratic style and the fact that this is a good song were there to fall back on. A-

Weekend Update
-The Jokes: The video games joke got a laugh out of me, and the “gag gift for Grandma” was just the right amount of wrong. B
-The Segments: -Secondhand News: Finally!  Not the most memorable malapropisms, or source names, but like Bill Brasky quotes, Anthony Crispino’s Secondhand News will live on forever while being repeated amongst friends. B+
-Two Teenagers Dressed as Werewolves: So, Jay wanted to rap, and he had Drake there to help him out, and there were a few mildly funny rhymes.  Better was the lead-in explanation; Jay sounded like Bootsy Collins. C+

Tell Him
Societal analysis expressed through comedy and song = a recipe for success. B

J-Pop America Fun Time Now!
Along with the GOP debate, this was one of two sketches in this episode that was presented as appearing on a locally accessed TV station.  With those big eyes, Anna looks like she could be an anime heroine.  The excess exuberance, tempered by Jason’s frustrated professor, sold this bit. B

Cecil, Lord Wyndemere
Well, SNL, if you insist on being that unique, I am not going to stop you.  But are you sure this is what you want to be?  Cecil was more of a curiosity than a hoot, so some actual jokes would have helped.  Though this sketch wasn’t quite up my alley, I do not in any way want to imply that SNL should not air sketches like this one. B-

Drake ft. Nicki Minaj perfroms “Make Me Proud”
Nicki brought the heat.  However, because Drake tries to do so much, he can make duets a little awkward, and this performance never overcame that awkwardness. B

Ferrari Guys Calendar
The fact that the descriptions of the Ferrari guys sounded more and more like aliens placed this sketch comfortably in the realm of the weird.  Kristen and Anna’s commitment to the big hair, those skanky outfits, the desperation in their voices, and the expression “Our asses are going to explode” was certainly admirable.  And the end seemed to imply that this sketch was making fun of the eighties in some way? B

Hmm.  This was a rather strange episode, particularly after Update – J-Pop, Lord Wyndemere, Ferrari Guys.  But it was pretty good.  Utilizing Anna’s throaty vocal style for bizarre character roles was a better choice than sticking her with only dumb blonde characters, which was what more or less happened her first time as host.  Too bad she was too often used sparingly, if at all.  Drake, unsurprisingly, was a team player.