Cold Opening – GOP Debate
If there was any one moment SNL could get plenty of mileage out of in a GOP debate sketch, it was Rick Perry’s brain fart.  It initially felt odd, though, that this gag was dragged out as long as it was, but, paradoxically, it also felt like it could have gone on indefinitely, so this sketch simultaneously felt too long and too short. B-

Emma Stone’s Monologue
Emma Stone was the love interest to Jesse Eisenberg in Zombieland,  Emma will be the love interest to Andrew Garfield in The Amazing Spider-Man, Andrew Garfield and Jesse Eisenberg played friends in The Social Network in which Jesse Eisenberg played Mark Zuckerberg, who has been portrayed by Andy Samberg on SNL.
Andy’s conflating Andrew Garfield with Garfield was amusing, and expected. B

Secret Word
I can’t say I shared Lyle Round’s attraction: Emma played just about the scariest Miss America I have ever seen.  And that served the “ventriloquism” moment quite well. B

Kristen was about to lose it while her privates were being struck, then Bill almost lost it as well.  Good call involving Nasim’s anchor character a bit more, as it spread around the target of offense. B-

Digital Short: Wish It Would Rain
I had a bit too much faith that this was really going to take off at some point.  Ultimately it was weak.  Andy was reaching for a joke that wasn’t there. C

Coldplay perform “Paradise”
I think Chris Martin had a cold.  His oh-oh-oh’s weren’t too good at the beginning, and he sounded a little scratchy at the end.  Too bad, because otherwise the song sounded great. B

Weekend Update
-The Jokes: Enough to get by. C+
-The Segments: -The Devil: It may not sound right to recommend that people follow the example of the Devil (although this devil isn’t exactly devilish), but this would have been an appropriate way for Penn St. students to react this week. B
-Garth and Kat: That was the best use of bologna on SNL since the “Les Jeunes de Paris” sketch from the Miley Cyrus episode.  Also of note, the closed captioning on my TV spelled Chris Martin’s character’s name “Jyuan.” B+

Les Jeunes de Paris
A big reason why the first two renditions of the very silly “Les Jeunes de Paris” worked as well as they did was the way in which the tempo was perfectly set by the songs, particularly Rachid Taha’s “Tekitoi” from the Miley Cyrus episode.  Yelle’s “A Cause Des Garcons” didn’t quite provide that perfect tempo, but Fred’s appearance (which was as, quite extraneously, Napoleon) and the bicyclists made it all worthwhile. B

Bridal Shower
Was Nasim’s character the same as the dancing grandmother from “The Comments Section”?  Interestingly enough, while Emma Stone usually plays girl next door types in movies, she plays weirdos best on SNLA-

Coldplay perform “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall”
It still sounded like Chris Martin had a cold, but that wasn’t as much of a problem on this song, but this isn’t as good a song as “Paradise.” B

Someone Like You
When the focus shifted to the janitor, and then the window-washer, and then Coldplay, I was hoping there would be no end to who would be crying over “Someone Like You.”  Alas, the joke only piled up slightly. B

We’re Going to Make Technology Hump
There were so many reasons that this sketch could have been completely silly, but instead it was played completely straight, and that was why it worked so perfectly. A-

The first half of this episode wasn’t very imaginative.  Everything before Update was a recurring bit (with the Digital Short only a slight exception).  The m.o. seemed to be to just use what’s worked before, and surely something funny must arise out of that, and that worked somewhat.  Luckily, there was much more imagination post-Update, and with “Bridal Shower,” “Someone Like You,” and “We’re Going to Make Technology Hump,” there was clearly a concerted effort to construct a scene and convey satisfying jokes.  That is a type of quality that appears all too rarely on SNL these days, and it was gratifying to see in three sketches in a row.