By Claire Zulkey
10:36 AM EST, December 22, 2013
Last night’s episode of “Saturday Night Live” was stocked with star power, including host Jimmy Fallon, musical guest Justin Timberlake and loads of surprise appearances from the likes of Paul McCartney, Madonna, and Michael Bloomberg. Yet they were were all overshadowed by a silly video by the “SNL” ladies about making love in a twin bed.
In what could be called the female answer to “... in A Box,” Cecily Strong, Kate McKinnon, Vanessa Bayer, Aidy Bryant, Nasim Pedrad and Noël Wells got naughty as they extolled the joys of sleeping over in their childhood bedrooms with their boyfriends. They detailed the visual accompaniments of "getting wild in a bed built for a child" while being surrounded by a christening dress, “The X-Files” on VHS, an old, barfy cat and photos of their seventh-grade selves (which the actresses all bravely volunteered for the video.) A funny, simple concept met clever writing and glossy production, and was tied together by bringing in all the ladies, which should happen more on “SNL” because the results tend to be pretty awesome.
Otherwise, what is typically the crackling combination of Justin and Jimmy fizzled a little last night. Some of it was a reliance upon recurring sketches that feel a little long in the tooth, like “Wrappinville,” wherein Timberlake and Fallon dressed up like holiday wrapping gear and danced around to music that was insanely popular six months to a year ago. “The Barry Gibb Talk Show” also fell flat, despite an appearance by Gibb himself. The sketch detoured thanks mostly to an appearance by Madonna, who practically has a talent for making any “SNL” sketch she appears in feel stilted and awkward.
Also, sometimes when Fallon and Timberlake get together, it can resemble a two-man fraternity. In “Celebrity Family Feud,” some funny bits (like Kate McKinnon as Jane Lynch suggesting that something sexy is “a smart overcoat") were overshadowed by Timberlake doing an impression of Fallon and then Fallon doubling over with laughter. However, to be fair, it wouldn’t be a Jimmy Fallon episode of “SNL” without Fallon laughing through at least one sketch.
The episode had some other good moments, though. McCartney gamely pretended to sing the Chipmunks Christmas song in Fallon's monologue, and Bloomberg delivered a good joke during "Weekend Update" about his dream retirement involving sipping a small soda on a smoke-free beach. During "Update," McKinnon also paid homage to Olympics ambassador Billie Jean King, who, unafraid to face down Vladimir Putin, claimed that she won her Grand Slams while wearing glasses that weighed 4 1/2 pounds.
The writers also took on two old Christmas chestnuts. In "Baby It's Cold Outside," Fallon and Strong sang the old romantic song to each other before making love, and then the song took a funny turn as Fallon's character tried to convince Strong to leave (and take the trash with her.) In "Christmas Past," old Scrooge, played by Taran Killam, visits his younger self (Fallon) only to realize that his younger self was, to put it mildly, extremely gay. The writers of both sketches must have been filled with the Christmas spirit, though, as both scenes came with a happy ending.
The cast and crew of "SNL" takes some well-deserved time off for the holidays and will return Jan. 18 with Drake serving as host and musical guest.
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