Cold Opening – Newt Gingrich: Moon President
It is always gratifying to see something a little unusual, particularly when it comes to political cold opens.  This was a clever idea as well, as it sprang from an actual Newt Gingrich idea.  As for the execution, the jokes were on target, but flatly delivered. B-

Channing Tatum’s Monologue
So often lately, when the hosts interact with “audience members” during the monologue, it can feel so forced.  But as Channing’s past customers, Kristen, Vanessa, Fred, and Andy all actually had something to build a performance around.  Fred’s line, “I’m not sure yet, but you should keep trying” was gold, and Andy’s Yikes-I-better-get-out-of-here reaction was also worth a quick laugh. B

It’s Getting Freaky with Cee-Lo Green
Not even Bill as Colonel Nasty could make this rendition of “It’s Getting Freaky” worthwhile, as he offered little more advice than, “Touch her in the right place.”  He didn’t even laugh enough!  Some of Cee-Lo’s aside comments – “searching for my neck” – were worth a chuckle. C

Downton Abbey on Spike
This was like a slacker dude watching Downton Abbey and making sarcastic comments about it all the while – unfiltered.  It would have been better to have more of a filter. B-

Super Bowl Promo
Cris Collinsworth is another brilliant impression by Bill Hader … and he hardly said anything.  The creepy face-lifting once the music kicked in was strange, and kind of funny.  In a strange way. B-

Secret Word
Channing’s astronaut character was an interesting change of pace for a Secret Word sketch – too bad it wasn’t very well thought out.  “I’m not a woman, I’m a star.” B-

Bon Iver performs “Holocene”
Despite the attention they have received, this is the first time I have ever heard Bon Iver not on a Kanye West album.  And it took some getting used to.  Justin Vernon’s voice sounded more like melodic breathing.  In case you couldn’t tell by what I’ve written so far, I liked it. B+

Weekend Update
-The Jokes: Not only did I just stare at Seth for most of his jokes, he barely had only ten of them, if that many. C-
-The Segments: -Guy Fieri: This round of Guy Fieri by Bobby Moynihan was more than half-throttle, but it wasn’t quite full-throttle. B
-Lana Del Rey: So, of all the ways that SNL could have responded to the Lana Del Rey business, they chose to come out in defense of her?!  The criticism of Lana (which was certainly worthy of criticism itself) was the target here, although Lana was made fun of as well, but in a way that I think she would have approved of.  She is indeed stiff, distant, and weird, and I think she realizes that she is stiff, distant, and weird.  In fact, I think that is the idea of the persona of Lana Del Rey.  I wonder if Lizzy Grant is really stiff, distant, and weird, or if she just made herself that way to become Lana Del Rey. A-

Rebecca’s Bat Mitzvah
What do you know, the dance routine was actually a great dance routine, and that is that.  The reaction shots of the various guests were well edited.  Nasim straddling Channing was a nice piece of work. B+

Tom Brady at the Ruby Tuesday Bar
To quote Nicholas Fehn, “Who asked?!”  Seriously, who wanted to see a sketch in which Tom Brady – played by Channing Tatum – was (sort of) propositioned by a bizarre, overweight middle-aged woman, played by Bobby Moynihan in drag?  Well, Bobby was devoted to his character, which rendered this sketch more a success than not. B

Go-Techs Flex
This sketch was hard to watch.  Like when I couldn’t hear what they were saying at the end, because the music was too loud, but that was the joke.  It was a mess, but it was supposed to be that way.  This was way more anarchic than SNL usually ever is (intentionally).  The random numbers for how often the Go-Techs Flex is supposed to be used was the one discernible element that could actually be called a joke, and it was fittingly absurd. B

Bon Iver performs “Beth/Rest”
I was all set to just accept another Bon Iver performance that I did not get (but perhaps appreciated), but I was feeling it by the end. B+

Bongo’s Clown Room
Insufferable.  D+

Channing Tatum used to be a male stripper, and he wanted to keep reminding of us of that, for whatever reason (well, he does have a movie coming out this year in which he plays a stripper).  Those reminders were in turn kind of funny (the monologue), very funny (Bat Mitzvah), or just not right (Bongo).  As for Bon Iver, I imagine in a few months’ time I may figure them out and decide that I liked their performances even more than I initially thought (or I may decide that they weren’t so hot).  This whole episode was like the Go-Techs Flex commercial: it was a mess that was occasionally funny, but it was hard to hear those funny parts amidst the clutter.