So … it could have been worse!
This was Miley Cyrus’s third time hosting (second time both hosting and performing!), and she’s certainly down to clown, but here’s hoping the SNL decision makers don’t actually think they’ve found another Justin Timberlake in Miley. I will say that her singing was really impressive. I will also add that I cringed hard at the framed photo of her dead dog on her piano during her second musical performance. And I love dogs! My dog died recently too! Maybe I just need a nap. Other than that, the 41st season premiere was a mixed bag. Here’s the good stuff!
Perhaps the strongest sketch of the night was the one in which Hillary Clinton made her much-anticipated cameo. Kate McKinnon was, as usual, on point as the ever-desperate HRC, and Hillary was delightful as Val the Bartender. I’m really glad they gave Hillary a character to play, because 1) she pulled it off, and 2) it allowed the gay McKinnon to needle her a little by lamenting (as Hillary) that she “could have supported” gay marriage sooner. Real-Hillary’s quick impression of Trump was wonderful, and I have never seen her smile SO HARD. It was equal parts adorable and disconcerting.
In a similar vein as last year’s “The Beygency,” “The Squad” is a movie trailer that makes fun of Taylor Swift’s weird collecting-famous-friends thing. Aidy Bryant and Vanessa Bayer play BFFs who one day wake up in the middle of a dystopian world that T-Swift seeks to dominate by brainwashing everyone into joining her #squad. Maybe only people who are very aware of Taylor Swift’s celebrity presence will find this funny, meaning I loved it, but I’m sure my dad didn’t get it at all.
This week saw a lot of Leslie Jones and that’s a great thing! Jones, who was perhaps not used as well as she could have been last year, shines in this sketch where four friends sit at that table where Meg Ryan faked an orgasm in When Harry Met Sally. Cecily Strong and Miley Cyrus make the same fake-orgasm noises (after Vanessa Bayer’s character does a “spot-on” Billy Crystal impression), and they cajole an austere Jones to try it, too. Jones eventually relents and delivers a big, rollicking bit in which every orgasm she’s seemingly ever had has been accompanied by absurd circumstances and a broken condom. Uh, check please!