The Christmas episode of SNL tonight is mildly decent, which is a relief. It isn't hilarious (that's just asking too much), but it's mediocre and actually contains a couple of chuckles, so that's something I guess. Mostly because of the opening, in which a beloved character is brought back.
COLD OPEN: I didn't say it was a beloved SNL character. That's right- for some random reason, Mike Myers shows up as Dr. Evil of all people, to lecture North Korea for being super lame in its attempts at evil-ness in bringing down Sony. It may not make sense, but you know what? It's funny, so I welcome it. So funny that I fully presume (in fact I know) that Myers wrote this himself. I forgot what it was like to have a cast member with the balls to call the GOP an "evil organization." Well played.
MONOLOGUE: Amy Adams comes out to sing about having Christmas cheer, but her monologue is crashed (for the second time) by Kristen Wiig, who steals the spotlight by adding a bunch of pizzazz to the proceedings. I love her, but does Kristen have to come back every few weeks? It feels like she was just there. Of course, once again I'm not going to complain about anyone doing something funny.
ASIAN-AMERICAN DOLL: A commercial about an Asian Barbie that makes fun of the fact that it can't be at all specific about her without offending anyone. It's alright.
HOLIDAY RAP: Online video from The Tenderfields family rapping about the year they had in their "Christmas sweatpants." This one just kinda sits there, but Taran does his best as the energetic dad.
SERIAL: Cecily does a spoof of the Serial podcast, researching "Chris," the mysterious holiday gift-giver. It's on point, but I have a feeling this one will play much better to people who actually get what she's parodying here- I'm only vaguely familiar with the NPR podcast phenomenon myself.
GIRLFRIENDS TALK SHOW: Ugh- one of my least favorite sketches is back. Sigh, let's get it over with. Amy is a popular dance squad leader who comes on the show to embarrass Aidy's Morgan, as is the joke with every GF Talk Show skit. Bleh. Not as painful (or as long) as usual though.
OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY: Pre-taped bit with Pete and Jay attempting their version of a Lonely Island digital short (they're even wearing the same suits from Dick-in-a-Box, although I wonder if anyone else noticed that). There's a bunch of jokes in the song about stiff office guys going nuts at the Christmas party- it's only okay.
UPDATE: Michael and Colin lob a bunch of softball jokes about Cuba and North Korea at us while Bobby shows up (for a split second) as Kim Jung-un, Kenan has a minute as homeless guy "Positive Willie," and finally, since they're there, Kristen and Fred Armisen return as Garth and Kat. They're reliable for a few laughs of course, but once again, it's sad that they have to bring back people from the Seth Meyers era in order get those laughs.
A VERY CUBAN CHRISTMAS: Really awful sketch showcasing random Cuban celebrities happy about the embargo lifting. Even the audience doesn't seem to appreciate this one (my guess is they know absolutely nothing about Cuba and get none of the references), but the whole thing was flat from the start.
DUNDEE SISTERS: Kate, Amy and Cecily are the Dundee Sisters, a singing trio in a bar on Christmas who keep wanting to eat garbage, and then it's revealed they're really raccoons. Yeah, you read that right. Um....I don't know what to say. It's stupid beyond belief.
WHISKERS R WE: Kate brings back her fairly amusing skit about the lesbian cat lady and shows off kittens for the holiday sale while Amy paws at her for real. It's not exactly a high note but better than ending on that raccoon sketch.
So that's it, guys. A mild episode where the best stuff came from former cast members, which continues to not say very much about the current set. At this rate, they really need to get rid of Colin Jost as head writer- he's clearly not working out and neither is Michael Che as co-anchor. Don't know how many times I (and other TV critics) have to say it before Lorne Michaels pays heed- fix Update first and the rest might improve upon that. But this one was probably a C, so compared to the rest of the season so far, it's a step below the only decent episode of the year, which was Bill Hader's. Let's hope it comes back a little better, although Kevin Hart's hosting on January 17th, so don't count it. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everybody!