We need beans, like, yesterday.

Republican Candidates at a Bar
It felt like this sketch could have been written months ago, and SNL was just waiting for everyone besides Romney to drop out before airing it.  Humorously keen observations were made about each candidate.  The digs at Rick Perry’s propensity for gaffes in this sketch were the best digs at him all season. B+

Josh Brolin’s Monologue
It was nice to see that Josh Brolin was comfortable enough to get through his monologue (mostly) by himself, despite not having much material.  I got that he only said one word as Tommy Lee Jones because Tommy Lee isn’t a big talker, but it would have been nice to hear more of that impression, because based on the MIB3 trailer, he has his cadence down well. B-

HBO First Look: Game of Thrones
I’m guessing that most of the sex in Game of Thrones was in the books, so that 13-year-old could have been more or less a part of George R.R. Martin himself.  I’ll allow the same joke to be repeated over and over if it is astute enough.  The frequent bathroom breaks was the best isotope of that same joke. B

The Californians
At first, I thought this was going to just be a series of soap opera scenes with Southern California accents, which would have been good enough for me, but then it turned into something Monty Python-esque when the obsession with the California highway system was introduced.  The cast could barely believe what they had created. A-

America’s Next Top Empire State of Mind Parody Artist
Are “Empire State of Mind” parodies an actual thing on the Interwebs?  Even if they’re not, I still would want this sketch to have existed, as it was so wonderfully esoteric.  The individual parts of this sketch weren’t brilliant – Andy’s Weird Al was decent, Kenan’s Chocolate Rain guy was pointless, Abby’s Ke$ha had one okay joke, and Jay’s Jay-Z was acting in a way that didn’t make a whole lot of sense – but, oh man, that premise was something else.  Also, I could listen to Fred sing a list of various exercises all day. B+

Digital Short: Laser Cats 7
A bit stale for a Laser Cats effort.  But I’m a sucker for purposefully half-assed references like “Catch Me If You Can The Terminal.” B

Gotye (ft. Kimbra) performs “Somebody That I Used to Know”
Nicki Minaj wore a wig, Win Butler of Arcade Fire wandered offstage, the Black Keys and Kings of Leon always sound good, Robyn toppled over backwards and danced with her head on the floor, and Foster the People had a keyboard that quacked, but in the end, it was Gotye who delivered the best musical performance on SNL since Kanye’s rendition of “Power.”  Gotye  and Kimbra may not have brought the look of the “Somebody That I Used to Know” video to the SNL stage, but they did bring the energy and the emotion. A

Weekend Update
-The Jokes: Seth was on fire.  He actually added good jokes to the stories that were already funny in the first place. B+
-The Segments: -What Are You Doing?: Really!?! has a new baby sibling. B
-Garth and Kat: G & K have a knack for digging themselves a hole, and then making it deeper and deeper, and then somehow finding a way out of it that doesn’t make any sense (see: “Garth and Kat Live at Every Auditorium Around Get Your Tickets Now It’s Live” being named after their grandma), but there’ s no arguing with them, and you don’t want to really, because it’s too much fun to see them convince themselves of something so ridiculous. B+

Piers Morgan Tonight
I appreciated the randomness, and the acknowledgement of said randomness, but each individual part didn’t do much of note, not even Fred’s Ice-T, which was put to such sublime use in the Celebrity Teen Crisis Center sketch from last season. B-

Woodridge High
More of a germ of a sketch than a fully realized sketch.  Characterization would have helped.  By the way, the song was “More Bounce” by Soul Kid 1. (Was that song meant to make it an homage to The O.C. or something?) B-

Digital Short: Gotye Backstage
With this short and the Game of Thrones commercial, this SNL episode made it clear that nudity is now de rigueur in comedy.  This sort of faux backstage encounter is bread-and-butter for the digital shorts, and Gotye’s laid-back persona worked well for bouncing off of. B+

Gotye performs “Eyes Wide Open”
Gotye picked two songs that have quite the dramatic (in the case of “Eyes Wide Open,” dramatically abrupt) ending.  I appreciated his ability to continue to belt it out while banging on those drums. B+

Wow.  Um, who ever expected the return of these characters?  I was too much in shock  by that surprise to be able to figure out if there was much of a point to this sketch.  But, anyway, I don’t think there was. C

Was it Appreciate Jay Pharaoh Day or something?  He got to bust out his Will Smith, Jay-Z, and Kanye and reprise a truly bizarre recurring character.  Actually, just about the entire cast got plenty of screen time (always a good sign).  This episode started off with several weird and fascinating sketches (and a weird and fascinating musical guest to go along with them), but it fizzled out with sketches at the end that felt like they weren’t fully thought out.