Cold Opening – Biden’s Room
Biden’s presence in political sketches the past few seasons has generally worked in SNL‘s favor, as he brings a silly energy that tends to mix up the staid formula that has set in for most recent political sketches.  Biden’s starring role – along with Will’s goofy-at-a-Hall-of-Fame-level Dubya – set the tone for an episode that was at its best when it was seriously silly. B+

Will Ferrell’s Monologue
The cue card gag was on a par with Steve Martin saying, “Line?” at the end of the Not Gonna Phone It In Tonight cold open.  Will Ferrell and Mom = Will Ferrell and emotions, which is always a formula for at least some success. B

One-a-Day Extra Strength Nasaflu
Well, one doesn’t really need any reason to listen to Will Ferrell scream-sneeze, but it would have been nice to have more of a sketch built around it. B

Alternative Prom
So-so for a Culp appearance.  One would think the LGBT community would have been friendlier towards them. B-

Stay Free Maxi Pads Ladies Long Drive Championship 1994
This was a little low energy for an ESPN Classic sketch, and the OJ elements didn’t really do much except establish the setting.  Fortunately, though, the uterine lining-Shining line may have been the best metaphor Pete Twinkle has ever delivered about the sponsoring feminine hygiene product. B-

The 100th Digital Short
I suppose it would have been tough to fit everything in, but where were The Tangent, Close Talkers, Andy Walking, Nurse Nancy, Andy Popping Into Frame, Business Meeting, The Mirror, Everyone’s a Critic, Cookies, The Date, Get Out!, Tizzle Wizzle Show, Booty Call, The Other Man, Boogerman, Rescue Dogs, What Was That?, I Just Had Sex, Interviews with Drake, Seducing Women Through Chess, Gotye Backstage, Please Don’t Cut My Testicles (the most underrated short ever), and, geez, Lazy Sunday (still the best)?!  Anyway, ’twas appropriately celebratory.  It made sense that they went with the dick-sucking celebration in a Will Ferrell-hosted episode, as he once starred in this. B+

Usher performs “Scream”
Usher is one of the best – if not the best – dancers among pop stars of the past 15 years.  His music has never been particularly stunning, but, hey, it’s dance music, so whatever. But it has often been better than just dance music.  “Scream,” however, was rather bland.  The dancing was still fine.  About halfway through I got up and started learning the moves. B-

Weekend Update
-The Jokes: Obama being outed as a Democrat was pretty funny.  There was enough funny to get by. C+
-The Segments: -Really!?!: Seth’s best “Really!?!” by himself.  I had essentially the same reaction to the Time cover: I have no problem with a story about attachment parenting, or an accompanying cover photo of breastfeeding, or the fact that the boy is 3 years old, but that is one awkwardly posed photograph. B+
-Get in the Cage: The next installment of a recurring bit following the appearance of the person being impersonated in the last installment is always going to be a comedown, and this “Get in the Cage” was no different, but in all fairness it ought to be judged on its own merits, and on its own merits it was unrestrainedly silly (more so than any other Get in the Cage) and full of manic energy (perfectly capturing the essence of Cage). A-
(There is a bit online with Bobby Moynihan as Bruce Banner/The Hulk that must have been cut after dress.  I normally don’t cover the dress rehearsal cuts that end up online in my episode reviews, but I just had to mention this one, since its triumphant silliness was consistent with the silly tone in the rest of this week’s Update, so if I were reviewing it, it would get a B+.)

The 2012 Funkytown Debate
Broadway Sizzle
When Will Ferrell was on Jimmy Fallon the Thursday before this show, they were talking about how Will would always completely commit to his performances, no matter how much the sketch was not working, and it felt like these two sketches were conceived with just that in mind.  I have to appreciate these sketches for being different, and for there being such commitment (especially with the Funkytown Debate) to the music, costumes, and background performers, but, yeah, these sketches really weren’t working, and the only thing they had going for them was the level of commitment from Will Ferrell (and everyone else, in fact). Both: C+

Usher performs “Climax”
Yeah, this song isn’t very good.  At least he performed it kind of well. C+

Anniversary Toast
Not as delightful in its outrageousness or as consistent in its energy as the Funeral Remembrances sketch.  Will’s pyschic character wasn’t as memorable as botanist/stand-up comedian Graham Yost.  The return of Hamilton was satisfying, though.  And Bobby did a good job as his mirophone dropper considering we knew exactly what he was going to do. B-

Almost Pizza
Odd that they would need a time-filling repeat at the end of a Will Ferrell-hosted show.  At least it was the (EDIT: 2nd) best commercial parody of the season. Original Grade: B+

I am usually not one to review a work of art for what it doesn’t have, but, it must be said, where was Celebrity Jeopardy?  Darrell Hammond couldn’t have been busy (could he have?).  I’ve come across reactions to this episode with several great suggestions for what impressions they could have used (Jay as Denzel, Andy as Nic Cage, Abby as Zooey Deschanel – I mean, come on, the current cast members do have good impressions of celebrities who could totally be awful at Jeopardy!).  But anyway, as for the show itself, this episode continued the trend of underutilizing a capable host, and that statement just feels unfathomable as I type it.  The host was Will Ferrell – the greatest SNL cast member of all time.  This episode revisited some old favorites, but more so old favorites from the current cast than from Will’s time.  And that’s okay, because, for example, the 100th digital short was a blast, but you’d think, or know, or insist, or just feel super confused if it’s not the case that they would have wanted to incorporate Will Ferrell more than they did.