Cold Opening – Town Hall Debate
Right from the get-go, everyone was rearing to go, and I could just feel that we were finally going to get a political sketch this year that hit all the right beats.  The Romney-Obama sniping was palpable (“I am not your friend”, “Candy, is he bothering you?”, “I’m about to cut you”), Aidy Bryant delivered as Candy Crowley in the first big role of her SNL career, and the Long Island milieu was right in place (particularly Bobby as the ass-kicker in the Giants jacket).  Then Obama dropped his mic and wiped dirt off his shoulders, and I just about lost it. A

Bruno Mars’ Monologue
Ignoring everything else for a moment, the song was all right, I guess, and of course Bruno Mars has a great voice.  But this monologue was about Bruno Mars asking why he was chosen to host SNL.  So he brought up that question, acted like he was going to answer t, and then … he didn’t answer it.  (What was the point of Kenan’s appearance?) C

Brad Pitt for Chanel
“Splendiferous” – I feel like I’ve heard that word before.  This was about as pointless as a real Chanel ad. C+

What?!  Come on. C-

Brad Pitt for Taco Bell
This had a rhyme and a rhythm to it that the other Brad Pitt commercials were sorely lacking. B+

A few decent performances couldn’t overcome the fact that this sketch had one of the dumbest premises ever. C

Sad Mouse
A slice of beauty.  A unique sort of melancholy. B+

Bruno Mars performs “Locked Out of Heaven”
I definitely enjoyed Bruno’s band,  particularly their choreography. B+

Weekend Update
-The Jokes: Seth’s back to his old ways.  The trampoline bridge joke was barely funny. C-
-The Segments: -Do’s and Dont’s: The observation about the milling about looking like the lights going up at a boring nightclub was on target. C+
-Stefon: “I’m Stefon”: what a perfect introduction for Stefon’s 15th appearance.  Good to know they’re finding a way to somehow keep him fresh.  And hey, surprising Hader with new bits on the prompter obviously still works, Sidney Applebaum.  The “not midget – fun-size” crack served as a quick little social commentary. B+

Merryville Brothers
The first Merryville Brothers was an excellent freak show.  But the subsequent editions have shown that it can’t really be done again.  In fairness, this one may have actually had the best ending. B

Brad Pitt for Franklin’s Dog Condoms
Ehhh, come again? C-

Yeti Point
An odd little tale of a sketch that was about half-baked.  Well, maybe about three-quarters baked. B

Brad Pitt for Dr. Zizmor
Dead on arrival. D+

Bruno Mars performs “Young Wild Girls”
Am I biased against ballads or is Bruno Mars actually only so-so? C+

Donkey Punch the Ballot
It’s getting harder to explain why the Under-Underground Records sketches are so great without just making a list … George W’s Bush, Todd Akin and the Legitimate Rapes, picking Jon Huntsman out of a lineup of Sears catalog models, Linkin Park vs. Buster Douglas, the Borat impression-off with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the binders full of women who are actually dudes, etc. A-

The results of the great Bruno Mars hosting experiment are in … and he didn’t ruin anything, but there really wasn’t much of a point in having him host.  The first and last sketches were excellent, and in between was a crazily mixed bag.  There were a few simply unbelievable sketches, but also a few surprising and wonderfully unique ones, and there was even some time for a few old favorites.  And even with all that, the best part was the announcement of Louis C.K. as the next episode’s host.

Oh my god, the debate was the best sketch of the episode: