Cold Opening – Obama and MLK
Why did the crowd applaud wildly for Kenan as MLK?  This seemed like a wasted opportunity, but not completely, thanks to Kenan’s delivery of “another one of my famous DREAMS” and the unexpectedly pointed comment about the lack of black magicians. B-

Adam Levine’s Monologue
It was more fun than funny to see Andy Samberg, Cameron Diaz, and Jerry Seinfeld, though they did get in some good gags.  “I could ask myself the same question” was quite the retort, and Jerry’s description of Adam and himself as less Jewish than their names was illuminating.  The idea that Adam needed to be coached at comedy made sense. B

Rosetta Stone
I guess this was a funny premise, but, just, you know, nothing beyond the obvious happened.  Kenan is really underrated as a straight man, though. B-

Circle Work
Well, Kenan spelling out the gay goose sentence was certainly funny. C+

The Sopranos Diaries
Obviously this concept wasn’t supposed to make sense, but this bit too often went out of its way to point out how nonsensical it was.  That being said, Bobby’s Tony Soprano was solid and surprisingly different than his usual Italian guy roles, and the conversation about the “space bears” in Return of the Jedi was fantastic. B

Fire Department Fundraiser
At first, I thought, “Another sketch making fun of gays?  Why the lack of progression, SNL?”  But then it turned out that Bill Hader’s character was not gay, so this sketch became … interesting.  I imagine a shouty character like this could have been brilliant if Will Forte were involved.  I share in the frustration over the fate of Don’t Trust the B—-B-

Digital Short: YOLO
I figured The Lonely Island would make some return visits eventually.  This didn’t build and build with surprises like the best digital shorts, but it was a nice interpretation of “YOLO” that was at least committed in taking its premise to the furthest extreme. B

Kendrick Lamar performs “Swimming Pools (Drank)”
After really listening to this song for the first time during this performance, I would agree with the reviews I’ve read that describe it as a poignant commentary on the hip-hop alcoholic lifestyle. B+

Weekend Update
-The Jokes: It’s back to usual.  Nothing to recommend here.  This week’s Story That Was Funnier Than the Punchline: apps for apes. C
-The Segments: -Arianna Huffington: This was pretty much coasting. “Sex Meyers” was was worth a chuckle. C+
-Ray Lewis: Kenan had the Ray Lewis crying thing down, but other than that, this was – as is typical with Kenan – really not an impression, which is disappointing because Ray has a distinctive enough voice to mold an impression out of.  Closing this out with the ascending into heaven line did make this ultimately worthwhile, though. B-

Maroon 5 vs. Train vs. Jason Mraz vs. John Mayer
This sketch seemed to have potential, but man oh man, did nothing happen.  Maybe that was the joke? C

I’ve never watched the Catfish TV show, so I don’t know if Nev is that much of a camera hog.  But it felt right.  And “the people who Nev our help” was a hilariously awful pun. (You could see a reflection of the cue cards in the window at the end of this sketch.) B

Kendrick Lamar performs “Poetic Justice”
Maybe I’ll need to listen to this song again to see if it has much depth as “Swimming Pools (Drank),” because upon first listen, I didn’t really notice much. B

Janet and Adam
The voiceover intro portended something great, and the Law & Order-style setting text was a brilliant non sequitur, and Janet is a fascinating character.  But, ultimately this sketch was satisfied with being underwhelming. B

Biden Bash
Unfortunately staid for a Biden-centric sketch.  The slogan of “What Happens in Delware-” and then nothing after that was as good a slogan as any, at least. B-

I believe I’ve said before that the overall quality of an SNL episode is not necessarily the average quality of its sketches.  I usually point that out to say that an episode was better than the sum of its parts, but in this case, it was actually worse than the sum of its parts.  Nothing was awful, but just about everything was either uninspired or short of its potential.  Levine was essentially unimpressive.  He relied on the cue cards pretty hard (though I can’t be too harsh on him about that, because it seemed like the cue card holders were sometimes in a bad position).  He just didn’t really seem to know how to imbue his performances with much personality.

The Sopranos Diaries gets the edge as the best sketch of the night, thanks to the space bears conversation: