Cold Opening – A Message From Donald & Melania Trump
- The debut of Taran’s short-lived and forgotton Donald Trump impression. It feels so surreal for me to review it now, knowing Taran’s trajectory this season.
- Also, the debut of Cecily’s Melania Trump which I’ve always enjoyed.
- Ok, I can see what Taran’s intending with the voice here, and the mannerism are funny, even with Taran mugging up a storm, but this impression so far feels a bit “off” to me.
- The Hogwarts line gave me a pretty big laugh, but this open is dull so far, and not to mention that it aged pretty poorly, not as bad the Trumpwin (*shudder*) opens, but still it’s not a good watch now.
- I’m not caring for Taran’s mugging here, I know he’s trying to imitate Trump’s real-life facial expressions, but these bug me more than amuse me. Also, they remind me of what some disliked in Taran & his supposed “mugging” tendencies in his tenure. I’m only noticing his extreme mugging in this sketch.
- An overall blah way to start this season, which is surprising in hindsight, considering this season’s quality & reputation amongst the fans.
- Same montage from last season.
- The “40” from the preceding season’s SNL logo (as a commemoration of SNL’s milestone 40th season) has been removed now.
- Beck Bennett, Colin Jost, Kyle Mooney, and Sasheer Zamata have been promoted from featured players to repertory players.
- Jon Rudnitsky has been added to the cast.
- Already, Miley is coming off more likable and at ease than in her previous hosting stint, especially without her wild, “twerking in your face” persona.
- Oh, I’m loving the premise of this musical monologue, with a recap of the Summer of 2015. Not only a fun way to start the season proper, but it also serves as an interesting time capsule to that Summer’s wildest stories.
- Ugh, glad I forgot about those people, especially Dolezal, the asshole who killed the lion, and Kim Davis.
- Kate’s stealing this whole monologue with her brief bit as Martin Shkreli, her facial expression alone is killing me.
- New cast member Jon Rudnitsky makes his first appearance. And my god, does he and Colin A LOT like siblings in this monologue.
- Bobby steals this whole monologue with his whole bit, initially playing Jared Fogle (*shudder*) and making cheesy, fun expressions, and then removes his glasses and faces the camera again with us being told that he’s now playing Josh Duggar (*double shudder*), with a scary, stern look into the camera. Bobby was excellent and pulled the whole bit flawlessly.
- An overall fun, great monologue. An excellent way to start the season proper.
Abilify For People Who Think They Can Be President
- A funny premise, and quite timely with both the Republican and Democratic primaries happening at the same time.
- Odd casting of Miley in this commercial.
- Beck is cracking me up with his facial expression alone as Jim Gilmore.
- OH NO. And now we get a joke about how “ridiculous” and ”impossible” it is that Trump will ever become president. needless to say that this bit, and the upcoming Bar Talk sketch, both aged like fucking milk. The smugness of some and their dismissal of Trump, is what really led to him to eventually become president, and the free media coverage of his tired ass helped him get bigger exposure, not to mention that I’ll have to review him (*shudder*) very soon, and if you couldn’t tell, I’m dreading the eventual review from now.
- Wow, new cast member Jon Rudnitsky gets a lead role in his very first episode, AND in the lead-off sketch portion of the season. Whoa to say the least. Funny how damn good his debut episode was, knowing how Jon will fare in his short-lived tenure.
- Blah at this premise, reminding me of that awful Booty Rap sketch from last season’s premiere, these sketches focus on “humor” that I can’t STAND.
- I would say, however, that Miley is quite energetic and committed here, giving it all with her energy. Yet, it’s sad that it has to happen in THIS sketch. I’m assuming that they know the target demographic with Miley hosting, and this sketch feels like SNL trying to sound “hip” with the youth.
- I’m NOT caring for the dancing & singing in this, it’s boring me to death, and strangely feels lethargic and dull.
- Just rolled my eyes at the whole “Montana” spiel, please end this sketch already, SNL. I cannot take this overt lameness anymore.
- Great to see Kate’s Hillary Clinton, considering the very memorable debate sketches that she’ll star in very soon.
- I love the premise of this sketch with Kate’s Hillary stopping at a bar for a drink after her long campaigning. And that it wasn’t our cold open too makes it better & the eventual surprise more meaningful.
- And here comes the real Hillary Clinton to meet her impersonator on SNL. What I like about this sketch, and why I find it to be the definitive “real-life politician meets their SNL impersonator” is that Hillary is playing a character and NOT her real self, unlike what she did in season 33 when she last cameoed.
- Hillary is performing this very well, and is coming off more likable than usual. As a person who never cared for her, I’d assume she’s much funnier and loose without her political advisors and teleprompters. And she’s a billion times better here than a certain upcoming political host.
- A good sport from Hillary that she agreed to make fun of herself, and you could tell how much Kate admires her just by how she’s looking at her.
- Hoo, boy. Yet another mention of how “absurd” that the idea of Trump becoming president is. And Hillary’s smugness here (even when she absolutely mopped the floor with the real-life Trump in the debates), which is scripted, has aged very poorly.
- A great, memorable ending to this sketch.
Musical Performance – “Karen Don’t Be Sad”
- Jesse Nathan: Interesting outfit that Miley’s wearing.
- Oops, I spoke too soon, as everyone in the band is wearing ridiculous animal outfits. Seriously, what’s up with that? Ooh-wee.
- Nice intro, and it’s giving me MGMT vibes, which I love.
- Poor mixing of Miley’s vocals, which is something I might have to get used to, as at least 80% of this season’s musical performances are on YouTube, and most of these uploads suffer from poor audio mixing. I could watch this on Internet Archive, but unfortunately, their copy of this episode is not the live version.
- The guitarist on Miley’s left kinda looks like RoomieOfficial.
- “You gotta try to understand” I am trying to understand…the words.
- Nice hook. Not great, but nice to listen to, and it makes me feel like I’m in a trance.
- I like the brief instrumental in between the chorus and the second verse.
- Miley seems like she’s about to tear up during this performance.
- Okay, this song is starting to become a tad bit boring the more it goes on, which is another thing I’m gonna have to get used to as I review these performances, as I recall a LOT of the songs being performed boring me.
- I know I already made fun of the costumes, but…seriously, why the fuck did they choose this?
- Very solid breakdown, as always, from Colin on how boring the eventual Democratic debate is going to be. These stand-up-esque breakdowns by both Colin & Michael truly give this era of Update its own distinct feel, and makes it superior than the two previous dull, low energy, and smug Seth Meyers-anchored ones.
- Michael is also quite in his element here with his own strong stand-up-esque breakdown of both Subway and Pope Francis.
- Speaking of The Pope, here comes Kyle in his very first Update commentary of the season.
- Kyle’s very loose portrayal of Pope Francis is cracking me the hell up, even when he’s leaning too much into the goofy side of his humor, Kyle’s selling it well.
- Ok… this commentary is now devolving into extreme mugging from Kyle with all those Emoji faces, I’m getting my usual laughs from Kyle, I’ll tell you that.
- Oh no at these never-ending Trump mentions & jokes, and I most certainly don’t need to be reminded of that horror show of an episode that I’ll eventually review.
- Here comes Pete Davidson with ANOTHER Update commentary, geez SNL, don’t you have other cast members? Where is Aidy & her one-off Update pieces? Or for that matter Cecily and Kate?
- A hilarious, memorable cutaway to Colin with a cheesy smile & thumbs-up in response to Pete’s comment that his racist grandpa is a huge of fan of him.
- After that aforementioned bit, this whole commentary is just washing over me.
- OH FUCKING NO. A Leslie Jones commentary? After we just had Pete on?! Does SNL have any other cast members?? Stop pushing Pete & Leslie as some big Update fixtures SNL! Man, Alex, Mikey, and Heidi cannot come any sooner to the show. These endless Leslie/Pete Update appearances make me appreciate Alex, Mikey, and Heidi’s Character work behind the desk even more than ever.
- As usual, I appreciate Leslie’s energy and likability, but this commentary is a whole bunch of LESLIE SHOUT! for me, which makes it surprising how much I enjoyed her previous commentary before this one. Maybe because that one had actual, you know, JOKES.
- Ugh, I recall not caring for this sketch at all back when this episode originally aired.
- Look, I’m all in for generational takedowns and biting satirical takes, but the way this sketch is presented in a soap opera-esque way, with the mock-dramatic performances especially feels way too stereotypical and lazy, reminding me of that wretched Gen-Z Hospital sketch (*shudder*) when Elon Musk (*double shudder*) hosted in season 46.
- Yeah, this sketch is pretty much a dud so far, not even Taran can save this.
- Ok, I just got my first (and only) laugh from Taran encouraging Jon to commit suicide in a deadpan, monotone manner.
- OH, GOD. It looks like I’m in for a Leslie Jones shoutfest and hamfest, oh spare me.
- A very lame, outdated, and questionable premise to base an entire sketch around. I shouldn’t be surprised that this is a Leslie showcase, as I’m sure she had a hand in writing this lousy & quite flimsy dreck.
- Are those awkward, halting pauses from Leslie supposed to be amusing? This sketch is god-awful.
- Ugh, I’m now more than halfway through this sketch and it’s been almost unwatchable, not to mention that my eardrums are getting abused YET AGAIN tonight by Leslie Jones shouting her way through one of way too many sketches throughout her tenure.
- Even the straight man work from the other performers here, with the always-insufferable REACTING portions is starting to get on my nerves.
- (*sigh*) Please end this mess of a sketch, SNL. I really cannot take anymore of this lethargic, lifeless dreck.
- Some great production values on this short, and an accurate color grading & atmosphere to the typical apocalyptic movie.
- A big laugh from the reveal that the world is now ruled by Taylor Swift, even if it feels kinda like SNL wanting to make a variation of the classic The Beygency short from two seasons prior.
- Nothing much to say here, but that this is performed rather well and contains enough laughs for me to give a good rating, even when it’s nowhere near as memorable or strong as the aforementioned classic.
Musical Performance – “Twinkle Song”
- Jesse Nathan: I like the way the piano is decorated.
- Interesting how the stage has been remodeled for this performance. Either that or this was the same stage as the last performance, and I didn’t notice until now. Nevertheless, something about it feels different. I believe it’s the size and scope, but I can’t tell if it’s bigger or smaller.
- Nice opening lyrics.
- Okay, seriously, what is up with Miley’s different experimental outfits tonight?
- Just like before, Miley seems like she’s about to tear up.
- Weak chorus on paper, but Miley’s selling it well.
- I’m not a huge fan of piano ballads, but this is kinda working for me.
- Now Miley’s really starting to let loose on the vocals. I know that some people don’t like her voice when it sounds like this, but I personally never minded it.
- What’s with her huge emphasis on “mean”?
- Holy shit, now her voice is literally breaking the more this goes on.
- And now a tear has seriously shedded from her eye.
- Great ending.
- What did Miley say at the end? It got very drowned out by the applause.
- (*sigh*) A THIRD Leslie Jones showcase tonight SNL?! After how much of an abomination her previous sketch was? What did I do to deserve such punishment? Stop trying to make Leslie Jones happen SNL.
- It feels so sad to see a nuanced, low-key performer like Sasheer introducing our typical loud black lady sketch with Leslie Jones. Especially considering Sasheer’s solid work & her sketch comedy experience which were both wasted on SNL in favor of a mostly talentless, limited, sloppy performer like Leslie Jones.
- Much like several portions in tonight’s episode, this sketch feels dull, dreary, lethargic, and pretty lifeless despite the usual shouty performance from Leslie. I mean, what’s happening with this premiere SNL? Why is this episode sinking all of the sudden in the post-Update half?
- This sketch so far is oof. Just a whole bunch of loud black lady stereotypes from Leslie. It’s quite sad that this era leaned heavily into Leslie when it comes to racial humor, as she’s the absolute WRONG person to do them. I’m quite pleased in hindsight, that current cast member Ego Nwodim is a FAR better performer, and more low-key, nuanced, and professional. Ego’s comedic styling, and the way she presents race problems, particularly on Update is fantastic. It makes the wait truly worth it.
- That’s it?! This is how the sketch ends?! This was just a waste of my time. Thankfully, it wasn’t longer, because it would’ve gotten an even lower rating.
Miley Wedding Tape
- Hopefully Kyle can save the shaky 2nd half of this episode with his patented oddball pieces.
- A sequel to the Miley Sex Tape from Kyle’s first season.
- Boy, Beck lost a lot of weight since the Summer, he’s looking even better than usual here.
- So, Bobby is still playing the Nick Rutherford stand-in in these shorts? A shame that Nick couldn’t make it as a writer nor performer on the show. As he was both a talented writer with the enthralling Toby’s House sketch, and quite easy on the eyes too.
- Like always, I love how fast time passes in these shorts, these absurdist subtleties give these shorts their own flavor, and a unique, distinct atmosphere.
- Jon’s big night continues, savor it as much as you can Jon, this is the best that’s it going to get for you.
- I love the part with Kyle’s funeral, especially the old lady they brought to play an elderly version of Miley.
- An overall great short, as expected from Good Neighbor. I do recall sadly this season being one of their more low-key seasons, as they couldn’t get as much on air as they did in their first two years, I do recall the rest of their shorts this season being particularly strong.
Cut For Time: Workplace Warriors
- A promising concept, especially with how creatively bankrupt the aired episode was.
- Bobby’s laughing face is cracking me the hell up, and the old-school way this sketch looks makes it quite promising to me.
- Ok, the turn with the 80s theme music and each of the ladies entering through a breakaway wall seems cheesy, yet harmless enough.
- A good laugh from Kate’s struggle to break the wall down.
- Fucking UGH at Leslie Jones’ cracking up and freaking corpsing her very brief scene. What a lousy performer, and if you think that I haven’t teared into her enough in this review, just wait for the next few seasons, I’ll have A LOT to say about her. How some very vocal minority of fans showered praise at her when she’s THIS unprofessional and weak is baffling to me.
- An overall ok sketch, certainly better than half of what aired, I would’ve replaced that wretched LESLIE SHOUT! dreck with this one.
Segments Ranked From Best to Worst
Miley Wedding Tape
Abilify For People Who Think They Can Be President
CFT: Workplace Warriors
A Message From Donald & Melania Trump
- A shaky premiere, which is surprising when it comes to this season, knowing in hindsight its quality. The 2nd half of this episode was particularly frustrating, with several laughless, painful sketches, including two wretched Leslie Jones showcases, who almost singlehandedly dive-bombed this entire premiere. Also, the premiere was strangely lethargic, dreary, and lifeless in several sketches, particularly in the 2nd half which really brought down an otherwise agreeable enough premiere.
- Miley Cyrus was a likable and energetic host throughout the night, but much like her previous hosting stints, she wasn’t given much to work with, and some of the sketches she was given were focused on humor I can’t stand. She did a good enough job as the host, making it surprising to me that she didn’t at least host one more time in this era.
- Any Schumer hosts with musical guest The Weekend.
4 Replies to “October 3, 2015 – Miley Cyrus (S41 E1)”
Yeah, this episode took just as many wild swings and misses as I remembered. I don’t remember outright HATING Leslie as much as you did, but I’ll admit very few of her Update commentaries landed with me like much of Pete’s early ones did. His commentary in this episode was a favorite of mine at the time. Yeah, I remember this and the Amy Schumer episode felt like they were suffering from the same issues that plagued tye latter half of season 40 but the Tracy Morgan episode this season truly felt like the show was finally making some much needed changes to bring it into a new era (of course none of them lasted…and considering who hosts right after Tracy this season consider Tracy’s episode the deep breath before the plunge). Anyway, good work!
Nice to see you finally start these reviews. As I hinted in a Twitter DM, I haven’t seen this episode, and the only ones I’ve seen are Morgan, Trump, Banks, Gosling, Driver, David, Dinklage, and Armisen. However, I’ve definitely seen enough to know that this is a damn strong season. And I’ve always looked at this season as the moment where my SNL fandom started slowly rising, before hitting full effect in Season 42.
One thing I’m looking forward to seeing you cover is how bad Taran’s final year was, both in terms of performances and airtime. Every sketch this season I’ve seen him in, he just seemed out of place, and it was really sad to witness. How in the world does Bobby not seem out of place when he joined before Taran?
Another thing I’m looking forward to seeing you cover is what went wrong with our newbie. He’s made so many baffling decisions, and it seemed as though SNL gave up on him the more the season went on, being reserved to Luke Null-type bit roles. Say what you will about Luke, but at least he seemed like a nice guy, which is more than I can say for Jon.
Another thing I’d like to mention: I’m looking at SNL Archives, and let me tell you, I LOVE the bumper photos they have for this season. In fact, I’d say Seasons 39-43 have some really great bumper photos in general.
Also, this is more of a minor nitpick, but it’s really staggering how many sketches from this season are on nbc.com and not YouTube. Fortunately, I think they’ve moved on from that, but still, it’s pretty frustrating.
And now, let’s start the averages:
Cyrus – 5.5
Hey sorry I’m late
Cold Open ***
Ability for People who think they are president ***½
Katz’ Delicatassen **
Miley Wedding Tape ****½
I really think Miley episodes are just limited. She seems like she’s grown into a perfectly fine person, but can only play certain roles, particularly in live sketches. As a result, they had to fill time with garbage like ’50s Dance and Katz Deli.
Honestly, there’s not one piece here that stands out besides the terrific, terrific monologue. Oh, that monologue. Between Miley’s gorgeous singing and all of the pitch-perfect silent impressions, it probably stands as my favorite monologue of the last decade.
Bar Talk ****
Miley Wedding Tape ***1/2
Trump Cold Open ***1/2
American Voices ***
The Squad **1/2
Katz Deli *1/2
’50s Dance *1/2