But who will play Miley?

Oval Office
Good on SNL for addressing this issue and being essentially clever about it, but it was kind of a catch-22 if the show was going to be the one addressing it.  So Al Sharpton’s assurance that nothing was learned was the only way to end it. B+

Kerry Washington’s Monologue
I didn’t even blink when Bobby called Kerry “Olivia.”  Predictable.  Amusing enough. B-

Career Week
I am a sucker for immigrants espousing the importance of computers, so that line garnered a laugh.  Other than that, I appreciated the effort, Nasim, but I had very little idea what you were doing. C+

My Girl
I’m tired of these tired snippy gender politics.  There were some nice rhythmic moments, but I’m tired.  I did like the sounds that all the family members made at the beginning though.  I wish the whole clip had been that. C+

How’s He Doing?
Incredibly predictable, but the white person smiling at a party because he’s about to talk about The Wire was surely well-formulated, and “Mazel Tov, Baruch” was certainly something. B-

Miss Universe Moscow 2013
I felt like Miss Uganda while watching this – what is this? who is she? what is how? C

Eminem performs “Berzerk”
The opening with Rick Rubin spinning was absolutely incredible television, and really emphasized how well-mixed this track is.  The rest of the performance didn’t have any surprises though. B

Weekend Update
-The Jokes: Cecily seemed to start developing her own style in this edition, when she talked to an audience member (something Seth would never do) apparently to convince him that her joke wasn’t that funny.  She also had the best joke of the night with “sentences how make.” B-
-The Segments: -Angela Merkel: I highly doubt that Kate was anywhere close to Merkel’s actual personality, but I suppose that wasn’t really the point.  I do wish the point had been more clever or unique, though.  Though the idea that Obama Googles “Jason Segel fully clothed” instead of Merkel searching “Jason Segel shirtless” was interesting and worth a chuckle. C
-Charles Barkley and Shaq: Shaq is not that dumb.  He’s a doctor, for God’s sake!  Also, he’s not cross-eyed.  He’s not, right?  (Is he?)  I mean, Jay’s performance was kind of funny, but whenever I see Shaq, he is generally articulate.  Sure, he mumbles, but he actually seems like someone who is aware of himself.  Meanwhile, Sir Charles was Kenan’s usual rendition, which is to say, one of the best things he’s ever done on SNL. B

Lou Reed appeared on SNL.  This is a relief to know.

Cartoon Catchphrase
I give it credit for going in a completely unexpected direction.  Melanie Griffish, I knew O.J. Sampson, and you, madam, are no O.J. Sampson. B-

Booker T. Washington Fall Carnival
Wow, this sketch has appeared a lot. C+

Eminem performs “Survival”
“Survival” has a solid beat, and Skylar Grey can bring it, but it just feels too unmemorable.  Maybe I would feel differently if Em didn’t rap so fast and I could figure out what he was saying.  I suppose I could look up the lyrics, but a great beat should be a prerequisite, and the beat of “Berzerk” is surely better than that of “Survival.” B/B-

date or diss
I wondered if it would have worked better to reveal at the end instead of at the beginning that MTV had supplied the lines to the girls, but either way, it was a twist worth knowing, thanks to its media commentary.  And I really appreciated how strangely they committed to that conceit. B+

Ice Cream
Kyle Mooney, this is the first day of the rest of your life. A-

The early sketches employed the typical humor that is trotted out whenever a black person hosts, and it’s not necessarily offensive, and it’s not necessarily unfunny, but it is tired.  If they must do sketches like How’s He Doing? and What Does My Girl Say?, surely they can take them in more unexpected directions.  At least the rest of the episode was different, even when it wasn’t successful: Miss Universe was mostly a misfire, but at least it was weird.  Cartoon Catchphrase was the umpteenth game show parody, but it did take a surprising turn.  For the most part, this season has been willing to be different, though it hasn’t quite been consistently successful with those efforts.  But when they are successful, you get something clever and wild like date or diss, or something idiosyncratic like whatever Kyle Mooney is doing that week.

Someone on Twitter called the Best Sketch of the Episode “the Upstream Color of digital shorts”: