Last week’s episode of Saturday Night Live was so solid, they couldn’t possibly carry that momentum into the final show of 2014, could they? Well, no. But the Christmas-week theme did mean they could pull out some more stops in the names of special all-star SNL alumni cameos, some pandering to the kids with One Direction, and some extra holiday cheer in the form of four songs from host Amy Adams. Four songs! So be grateful for that and not so cynical, especially since we started the show off so strong…
Let’s get to the recap!
Sam Smith/Dr. Evil Cold Open: Dr. Evil (Mike Myers) interrupts Sam Smith’s (Taran Killam) Christmas special to address North Korea and Sony Pictures directly about the hack. Before you can get settled into a non-political concept for a cold open, it’s immediately cut/hacked by the return of…DR. EVIL?!?!?! Yep, ’twas Mike Myers putting on the old bald makeup once more, after all these years. Great idea to have him call out both North Korea and Sony as not-quite-evil enough for Dr. Evil. Not so sure about the joke that Sony hasn’t had a hit since the Walkman. Even though it garners a laugh from the studio audience and SNL posted it out socially, um, don’t half the cast and crew play PlayStations? This other joke does hold up to fact-checking though:
“It’s easy to kill a movie. Just move it to January!”
Amy Adams Christmas Monologue: Kristen Wiig crashes Amy Adams’ monologue with a bevy of handsome men to help up the Christmas spirit. Did you know that Wiig crashed Adams’ monologue the previous time, too? I’d forgotten. But Adams reminded us. She didn’t really mention her own new movie, though. I have an increasingly burning desire to find out who’s assigned to write the host monologues now that it’s not John Mulaney. In the meantime, let’s sing Christmas songs! Instance #1 of Adams singing tonight. Take that, Timberlake.
Fake ad in the fake ad slot!
Asian American Doll: The Asian American doll has no academic strengths or weaknesses and comes with harmless accessories like an adorable puppy and a chef’s hat. Avoiding any potential stereotypes to avoid any potential controversy is a great premise, and it’s executed well here. Bonus for picking Asian American due to North Korea topicality.
Followed by a real ad for “Big Eyes,” the movie that Amy Adams is in but didn’t really plug much in her monologue!
Tenderfield Video Christmas Card: The Tenderfield family (Taran Killam, Amy Adams, Kyle Mooney, Kate McKinnon) releases its annual Christmas card, this time set to the beat of Will Smith’s “Miami.” And that’s why it’s not online. Instance #2 of Adams singing tonight.
Christmas Serial: Serial’s Sarah Koenig (Cecily Strong) investigates the story of Kris Kringle (Kyle Mooney), an elf who allegedly leaves presents in people’s homes. This is not making me feel like I’ve missed out on anything by not listening to Serial podcasts. Although this does make a compelling case for having Cecily Strong host an SNL-based podcast. Get on that. In the meantime, any Serial reference has me wondering what the folks who work on Dateline NBC or CBS’ 48 Hours feel, considering they’ve been focusing on one true-crime case each week for decades. Should they have been drawing out these tragic tales for weeks at a time instead? Were they ahead of their times? What time is it? Go to sleep, babies.
Girlfriends Talk Show with Amy Adams and One Direction: Morgan (Aidy Bryant) tries to keep her cool as she and Kyra (Cecily Strong) chat with the dance squad’s captain (Amy Adams) and its guy dancers. Guest appearance by One Direction. Nobody thought we needed another Girlfriends Talk Show sketch, but if you’re inviting One Direction to the party, then you might as well include them in a sketch centered on teen girls, anyhow. Get your dancing shoes on and try to turn down for what? Screaming girls who are pandered to, that’s what.
Office Christmas Party: Everyone cuts loose during the office Christmas party, even Becky (Amy Adams) from payroll. Did Bobby Moynihan’s office worker wish for The Lonely Island to come back? Close enough as Pete Davidson and Jay Pharoah are more believable bringing the party to the holiday office party, and as Amy Adams drops the mic, that’s instance #3 of Adams singing tonight.
Ladies and gentlemen and tweener girls, One Direction! Here’s their hit song, “Night Changes.”
Weekend Update 12-20-14: Weekend Update anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che tackle the week’s biggest news, including Sony’s decision not to release The Interview, the U.S. restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba, Serial’s final episode and the start of Hanukkah. Che has really come into his own by now behind the anchor desk and really brings his personality to it — particularly if you’re friends with him in person or online, and can get the jokes he’s making about social media, bloggers and criticism. Jost has some solid jokes tonight, too. Still making it a Christmas wish that if we continue with co-anchors, that Jost and Che develop their own signature bit together to make this Update theirs.
Weekend Update: Kim Jong-un: Bobby Moynihan stops by Weekend Update ready to play Kim Jong-un until his life is threatened on-air. Shades of that old Update bit with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler making jokes about Bill Cosby so Kenan Thompson wouldn’t have to. Moynihan insists, “Who’s Bobby?” “I’m Seth Rogen!”
Weekend Update: Willie: Michael Che’s neighbor Willie (Kenan Thompson) tries to convince Che why the holidays are the best time of year with some of his favorite sayings. OK, fine.
Weekend Update: Garth and Kat’s Hanukkah Album: Garth (Fred Armisen) and Kat (Kristen Wiig) perform songs from their new Hanukkah album, including “Simon’s Dreidel” and “Menorah in the Window.” Who felt more indulged by this, you or them? Your answer will determine your enjoyment level, so choose wisely.
A Very Cuban Christmas: Gloria Estefan (Cecily Strong) and Pitbull (Taran Killam) host A Very Cuban Christmas, featuring appearances by Hurley from Lost (Bobby Moynihan), Tony Montana (Kyle Mooney), Michelle Pfeiffer (Amy Adams), Elian Gonzalez (Pete Davidson), Diana Nyad (Kate McKinnon), Cuba Gooding Jr. (Kenan Thompson), Raúl Castro (Fred Armisen) and President Obama (Jay Pharoah). So we get two appearances each by Wiig and Armisen tonight. Feels like this could have been the cold open if Mike Myers hadn’t come through instead.
Convenient ad placement for the return of IFC’s Portlandia, eh?!
Once again, One Direction. This song is “Ready to Run.”
Singing Sisters: When their Christmas wish expires, three women (Amy Adams, Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong) return to their natural state. The Dundee Sisters show up at 11 minutes to 1 a.m. ET/PT with an old-timey dialogue with bar patrons, a song, and a threat to chew on garbage if they cannot guess what drinks the fellas buy for them. It’ll all make sense. As does its placement here in the final half-hour. And this is instance #4 of Amy Adams singing tonight. FOUR SONGS!
Cat Rescue Commercial with Amy Adams: At the Whiskers R’ We holiday cat giveaway, customers can choose from such felines as Cat Stevens, who boasts a beautiful voice and also recently converted to hardcore Islam. Two cat ladies, one love. It’s 12:55 a.m. which means time for the 5-to-1 sketch! Here we have Kate McKinnon, Amy Adams, and real-life cats and kittens. Awwwwww. And Adams just wants McKinnon to acknowledge their love affair. She’ll grab a boob if she has to! McKinnon scores a funny line with “I’m the dummy for giving him power of attorney.” Oh, the things we do for the love of pussy.
And that’s the show. Goodnight, everybody! Thanks to SNL alums Mike Myers, Kristen Wiig and Fred Armisen and the British lads from 1D, and thanks to Amy Adams for belting out the holiday tunes!
See you in 2015!