They’re all just twerkin’ 9 to 5.

Obama Press Conference
With  all the guests that Obama was bringing on to tell their stories, I thought this was going to be one of those every-cast-member-appears sketches, what with the huge cast and all.  But it ended up only covering about 60%.  There seemed to be a fair amount of applause for Beck Bennett – did people recognize him from the AT&T commercials?  Or was that just premature applause for Aaron Paul?  I had heard speculation that the cold opening would cover Ted Cruz, or maybe Breaking Bad – what do you know, they were both right!  Cecily’s appearance here was the first of several times this episode I was upset we’ll never see her again as a guest on the Update desk, with the complaint of a broken iPhone 5S a rather Girl at a Party-esque problem. B-

Tina Fey’s Monologue
I like a well-crafted pun, delivered with conviction (or a terrible pun delivered with conviction), so Tina’s fake recurring characters were a quick delight.  And I also like deconstruction, so Tina explaining that new cast members have to pay their dues as backup dancers to the host was better than just another plain old song and dance monologue.  And those outfits made it clear that we are living in a post-Magic Mike world. B+

Noël Wells clearly brought that Lena Dunham impression with here before joining the cast, and Cecily and Kate were unsurprisingly perfect as Marnie and Jessa, but I would not have guessed Vanessa for Shoshanna, but she nailed it.  Anyone else ever notice how “Eastern European refugee” is one of Tina’s go-to characters? B+

For the second time this episode, I thought this would be a big cast sketch with everybody: close, but not quite.  This was just an excuse to riff, with puns (children with small parents, air buds, X-Men: First Class/X-Men: Business Class) and social commentary (explain why your lifestyle would permit you to delay your flight to tomorrow).  Kenan’s huge luggage called to mind All That memories of Baggy Saggy Barry. B

New Cast Member or Arcade Fire?
This was like the definition of “the execution can’t live up to the premise.” But I appreciated the effort. B-

Is Brooks Wheelan SNL‘s new nekkid guy? B-

Arcade Fire perform “Reflektor”
I don’t know if the SNL stage was to blame or if the song itself is too quiet at the start, but Win and Régine were a little hard to hear clearly at first.  But then the song picked up, and there was a mirror booth, so you know, at the very least, Arcade Fire will always be interesting. B/B+

Weekend Update
-The Jokes: Cecily is excellent, but I wasn’t sure if she would be a good fit as Update anchor, and this first outing didn’t really assuage my concerns, though her burn on Low Winter Sun was the best joke of the night.  At the very least, we didn’t have to deal with Seth being by himself anymore.  Though even with a co-anchor, he still managed to have a Story That Was Funnier Than the Punchline (Dog Shoots Man). B
-The Segments: -Bruce Chandling: I have seen some clips of Kyle as Bruce Chandling online, and it’s a great character, but apparently it doesn’t work perfectly as an Update bit.  The “city of dreaming I could spend less than $200 for a decent cup of joe” line was incredible, though. B
-Drunk Uncle: I hereby nominate “Twerkin’ 9 to 5” as the Phrase of 2013. B+

Cinema Classics
This sketch had something of a premise, but not much of a journey.  But at least it gave us the phrase “mentally challenged taxidermist.” C+

“Cars” for Sale
Tina’s mental illness provided nice color, but this sketch was all about two lines: “every brand there is: Model T…” and “they’ve got everything: seats…” … perhaps that sort of flat affect is what Mike O’Brien will be good for. B

Kyle Mooney was in a spot for Xfinity during this commercial break!

Arcade Fire perform “Afterlife”
It appears that Arcade Fire have entered their futurism period.  What was up with the Lone Ranger makeup? B

Manolo Blahnik
This was the same thing we’ve seen as before, just with new lines, but we still love it.  I mean, how can you not?  Brookie and her friend are just so adorable! B/B+

This episode was a mix of really trying something new and playing it safe.  The playing it safe is fine, you got to do that a bit, and it worked out all right.  But the something new tried to get there, but it didn’t quite.  We’ll get there, though.  We’ll get there.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Arcade Fire that immediately followed this episode, which was the best thing I saw on TV all week.

Sketch of the Episode: (Ooh. Chic.)

See you later, Ali Larter!