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October 6, 2015

'Saturday Night Live' - Miley Cyrus / The Strokes Recap

by Dr. Ryan Vaughan, PhD (no, seriously), posted Mar 6th 2011 1:00PM
Miley Cyrus Saturday Night Live['Saturday Night Live' - 'Season 36, Episode 16']

Miley Cyrus has finally put the icing on the "I'm all growed up" cake. Like Britney Spears before her, she spent most of her life creating a likeable, wholsome image of herself to sell to parents -- only to have that image systematically dismantled by a culture that builds people up so we can eventually make them shave their heads and dance on poles just to feel alive. While Miley's recent public shortcomings may seem like Britney-lite, her hosting gig could be as significant.

'Saturday Night Live' can do wonders for a person in Miley's situation. What better way to announce yourself to adulthood than by shooting a digital short in which you beat the crap out of Carly from 'iCarly,' then make out with her a little? There is none, as far as I know. Being able to make fun of yourself is the key to being a quality host, and it can go a long way toward ingratiating you in the eyes of a discerning public ... and that's, pretty cool.

Cold Open: Duh! Winning! was the new talk show hosted by, not surprisingly, Charlie Sheen (Bill Hader), and ran the crazy gamut all the way from Sheen through Qaddafi (Fred Armisen) to Lindsay Lohan (Miley). Whether it's clarity or insanity, Sheen has discovered an end of the pool we never knew existed off of which he can go, and the implication seemed to be that there are any number of public figures that might be worshipping at his delusional feet. Lost in all the inanity were the brilliant ideas to shoot "Hot Shots: Part Quatro" and "Platoon 2: Electric Platoonaloo."

Monologue: Miley (I will only be referring to the host as Miley throughout this post, as that is how we refer to her around my house) understandably came out a little shaky, rushing through a couple applause breaks, but started to settle in once the "'Hannah Montana' is the Disney Channel version of 'Black Swan'" joke landed. From there, she dove into a song explaining how her recent indiscretions are miniscule when compared to those of other celebrities, with the refrain "I'm sorry that I'm not perfect." It's actually kind of true, Miley is more a vicitm of a voracious media than she is a deviant, no matter how much we want her to be.

Baby Spanx: I'm on the record as saying that rehashing old commercial parodies is lazy and unacceptable, no matter how funny they might be. Baby Spanx was decent, but definitely not worthy of the coveted "out of the monologue" slot. You had Miley Cyrus for the week, certainly there was something that could have been done -- a Hannah Montana tampon line... something.

Our Time: Taboo (Andy Samberg) and apl.de.ap (Kenan Thompson) -- the two Black Eyed Peas not named Fergie or will.i.am -- siezed the opportunity to get some much needed face time despite being largely untalented and "vaguely Asian." If nothing else we were repeatedly made aware that they were indeed "in the Black Eyed Peas," even as Fergie (Miley) and will.i.am (Jay Pharoah) crashed the party at the slightest mention of their names. They could have done a lot more with this sketch if they had brought out more overlooked "celebrities" than Khloe Kardashian (Abby Elliot), perhaps Emilio Estevez or Billy Baldwin.

Disney Channel Acting School: I'm not ashamed to admit that I watch an unhealthy amount of Disney Channel programming, and that I would do so even if I didn't live in a house with three kids under 11. That helped considerably in making this sketch a delight. It will be interesting to see if, over the next ten years or so, the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon (let us not forget Kenan's ties to old school Nick with 'Kenan & Kel') were successful in creating a workforce of loud, know-it-all, sassy, neon-wearing, scooter-riding buffoons. Which is not to say that I won't be implementing the "Pause & Dis" in everyday situations.

Miley Cyrus Show: This was inevitable. It really came down to how they were going to implement Miley. Would she be the host, in an uber-meta parody of the parody, or would she emerge as the guest and allow Vanessa Bayer to have some fun at her expense? They went with the latter, and Miley came out as Justin Bieber, using the alternate reality to highlight how legal it was to smoke salvia, and if Biebs/Miley says it to Miley/Bayer, it has to be true. If nothing else, we should all start narrating our simplest of day-to-day routines at the request of our swagger coaches.

Weekend Update: Seth Meyers did his Update bit with a little more of an acid tongue than usual. Jokes aimed at Charlie Sheen, the Playboy Mansion, and Steve Jobs in particular showed an edge and a fire that gave them some added punch, something I hope to see more of in the future, as it almost harkened back to the days of Norm McDonald behind the desk.

Satan (Jason Sudeikis) appeared to explain his involvement with a selection of our current cultural malaise, including the McRib's return and the Oscars. But what started as a tired old devil bit turned into a very pointed criticism of the Westboro Baptist Church and its recent protesting at military funerals. Even Lucifer isn't siding with these people, and he even went so far as to say, "I hate 'em [gays], but I just can't stay mad at 'em." Comedy is best when it makes a statement, regardless of whether or not you agree with it.

Les Jeunes de Paris: The last time they did this sketch I believe I said something along the lines of "I wish someone had murdered me seconds before this sketch came on, just to spare me the torture," so this time around I tried to observe with an open mind. I enjoyed watching Miley and Nasim Pedrad dance around in short skirts, and seeing Andy Samberg as a mime, but I'm not going to tell you what kinds of dreams I had as a result.

Rock-A-Billy Lady Party: This was one of those sketches that I thought was hilarious, but if you asked me to articulate why, I wouldn't have an answer for you. The idea of two dead-eyed Reba McIntyre impersonators developing a facial cream informercial for the sole purpose of selling their original CD of rockabilly music was absurdly funny. It was the glimpses of desperation/futitlity/angst/stupidity bubbling just under the surface of this partnership that did it for me.

Ginger Rangers: Miley took another turn as a singer on the show, this time as a disgruntled starlet begrudgingly singing for shmucks on a cruise ship. In typical lounge lizard fashion, she ventured into the audience in a folksy attempt to somehow connect with them through her crippling disdain for their very being, despite the chorus of "You people are gross to me."

CBS Gurney Month: Someone at SNL realized that no network has more shows that start with a dead body than CBS, and poof, a sketch was born. Why wouldn't CBS celebrate this fact, if only to brag about "Meredith Baxter-Birney on a gurney?"

Host: B/B+
Musical Guest: Played music.
Laughs: B

Tune in March 12 for host Zack Galifianakis and musical guest Jessie J, 11:30PM ET on NBC.

Dr. Vaughan teaches English/Media/Humor courses at Binghamton University in upstate New York, and he bathes infrequently. You can also check out his blog at drvtv.wordpress.com or www.facebook.com/pages/Ryan-Vaughan/21931402981

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"Taboo (Andy Samberg) and apl.de.ap (Kenan Thompson) -- the two Black Eyed Peas not named Fergie or will.i.am -- siezed the opportunity to get some much needed face time despite being largely untalented and "vaguely Asian." ----Sorry they made (and still can make)more money than you ever wished you could!!!!LOSERRRRRR!!!!--- This review is as lame as you are!!

March 07 2011 at 5:11 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Ba Ba Bauf

I'm sorry, I just don't understand Miley Cyrus. She absolutely CANNOT sing, and her acting is only somewhat acceptable. I guess that's alright for the Disney Channel, but I just don't think she's going to have much of a future in show business as she gets older and is forced to take on more mature roles.

Of course, we're never going to get a ciritcal review from this particular recapper, as we already know he has a strange effinity for the stars of tween-entertainment. Just a few weeks ago, he fawned over Justin Bieber, saying "The more Biebes, the better", and today he has pretty much nothing construcitve to say about Miley Cyrus. If any more of those "High School Musical" Kids host the show, I'm pretty sure our recapper will go into convulsions.

March 06 2011 at 3:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Ba Ba Bauf's comment
Ryan Vaughan

Fingers crossed for Ashley Tisdale!

March 07 2011 at 11:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
R.H. Golem

Nobody seems to be remembering there was a "Sound of Music" TCM parody last night. I guess they couldn't get music clearances to show it on Hulu?

March 06 2011 at 3:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Miguel Lopez

Where is that digital short with iCarly? I missed it!

March 06 2011 at 1:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Miguel Lopez's comment

There wasn't a digital sketch with iCarly. The review is confusing as it makes it sound like that short exists. Instead it was a terrible spoof of "Beastly", which fell flat.

March 06 2011 at 2:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ryan Vaughan

My bad. I wrote that as a hypothetical short, one that I was hoping would be on the show. It only exists in my mind. Sorry if I got your hopes up.

March 06 2011 at 2:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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