Now that's more like it! A genuinely good episode tonight, Jimmy Fallon was a terrific host as usual, and the skits all clicked in one way or another. Hands down the best show of the season and a perfect way for SNL to close out 2013. See what having a former cast member back can do for the show?
COLD OPEN: As I predicted last week, the opening tonight confirmed that Jimmy and Justin would essentially be co-hosting, because it's Wrappinville! Right off the bat, what's basically a JT sketch opens the show and the crowd goes WILD. Seriously, they started freaking out the minute Justin stepped on stage, and Jimmy joins in in a Christmas bag. Good way to start off (even though there seemed to be some technical difficulties towards the end).
MONOLOGUE: Jimmy comes barreling out, excited to be hosting "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," starting in February, but now he's going to sing and simultaneously do his impressions of David Bowie, Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney joining in, because of course they couldn't be there themselves. But oh wait, one of them does pop in, and it's Paul McCartney! Paul thrills the audience and sings "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" with Jimmy to kick off SNL's "official" Christmas show in a great musical moment.
CELEBRITY FEUD: Kenan's Steve Harvey comes out to host Celebrity Family Feud, a showcase for a bunch of cast member impersonations. The best are Taran's Ashton Kutcher, Jay's Ice-T, and one of the newbie's Jon Cryer, but the big joke is that JT comes on as Jimmy Fallon and even though Jimmy's doing Jim Parsons, he of course breaks character and cracks up at Justin's Jimmy-isms. It's funny stuff.
(DO IT ON MY) TWIN BED: All the SNL girls perform their own digital short, rapping about coming home for Christmas and doing it on their childhood bed. Jimmy raps too, and even though these aren't really my thing, I can see a lot of people loving this pre-recorded bit.
BARRY GIBB TALK SHOW: Jimmy's classic sketch is back (which of course, with Justin there, everyone knew would happen), and it's a great one. A random cameo from Madonna is actually the weirdest part (she seems to have trouble reading off the teleprompter), but Jimmy's at his absolute manic best and owns it, especially chewing out Taran's Paul Ryan, which was hilarious. Justin's great too, and to top it all off, the real Barry Gibb pops in at the end to sing along for the first time! LOVED it.
JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE: Justin performs in a really distracting light show spectacular, which kinda took away from the song if you ask me.
WEEKEND UPDATE: Some Duck Dynasty jokes straight off, and then Kate comes out as Billie Jean King, who's being sent to the Russian Olympics on purpose to spite Putin ("one of the only groups in this world who couldn't give less of a flip are 70-year-old lesbians"), and Jimmy and Michael Bloomberg make an appearance talking about their upcoming life changes. Jimmy faux cries as he ponders Seth taking over Late Night, but Bloomberg's deadpan delivery makes the moment.
WAKING UP WITH KIMYE: This sure came back fast. No Justin or Jimmy in this one, but it's still a good sketch, as Jay and Nasim continue to accurately crap all over Kanye West and Kim Kardashian's idiocy (and spoof their own near parody music video). Keep it coming, guys.
NOW! CHRISTMAS SONGS: Ok, so this one's a little lazy, just Christmas carols by famous people, or another excuse for celebrity impersonations, which they kind of already did. Short and sweet though.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL: Spoof of the Dickens tale, with Taran as Scrooge and Kenan as the Ghost of Christmas Past, showing him his young, closeted gay self, with Jimmy camping it up in style. Another funny one- I can't believe so many have hit tonight.
BABY IT'S COLD OUTSIDE: The final sketch of the night is maybe my favorite one, as Jimmy and Cecily perform an old-school duet of the classic tune, changing the words after Jimmy freaks out at her clinginess when their one night stand is over. Very old school variety show special, and I loved it.
JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE: JT's final ballad is ok, but not my favorite song. Hardly matters though, because it's the last segment of the night.
So that's it! Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake bring the funny and SNL finishes the year with it's best episode of the season. It's a solid A- (Justin's songs could have been better). Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everybody! SNL will be back on January 18th with host and musical guest Drake, so until then!