in Television

Saturday Night Live 39×02 “Miley Cyrus” Recap

Alternate Title – “I’m Miley Cyrus and I’m Edgy”

miley cyrus

Miley Cyrus is an interesting choice for host over at Saturday Night Live, considering that she’s following the Queen of SNL herself, Tina Fey.

Cold Open

Kenan Thompson opens the show sitting on old bench as he eats out of a tin can. He recounts what led to America being reduced to an apocalyptic wasteland: “Most folks say it was the government shutdown. Others blame Obamacare. But I remember the exact day America ended – it was the 2013 Video Music Awards.”

The screen then warps to Miley backstage before her 2013 VMA performance, dressed in the mousey outfit and sticking out her tongue (that would be the first time for this episode, I’m guessing we will see that tongue at least ten more times before this is all over). Then, after a quick cut back to New York to ask the lead-in question of “Did anyone try to warn her?”, Vanessa Bayer shows up at the backstage VMA set dressed as Miley Cyrus to warn the actual Miley Cyrus about her controversial performance.

Taran Killam makes an appearance as Robin Thicke, with Jay Pharaoh as Will Smith who asks if the performance will be G-rated because his kids are in the audience. The best cameo of the sketch goes to Bobby Moynihan dressed as a pink teddy bear and shouting “WE SHOULDN’T BE DOING THIS. THIS IS FOR CHILDREN” as he walks by.

Around this time Miley sticks her tongue out again, so the official count is at two now. The real Miley Cyrus says that as a 20-year-old she needs room to grow and make mistakes, and then promises past Miley that she will always stay true to Miley Cyrus no matter what shenanigans she gets into.

Cut back to New York where Kenan Thompson says, “And that’s how America ended”. He then announces, “Live from New York, it’s Saturday night!”

Opening Monologue

If this opening monologue is anything like Miley’s previous SNL hosting gigs, she’ll probably whine about how not everything she does is as crazy it seems. She does promise no twerking tonight cause “Now that white people are doing it, it’s kinda lame.”

She then starts off with “I know everyone has seen my VMA performance and I…”

Look, you know where this is going. We all know where this is going. Miley is going to talk about her VMA performance and how she got all this hate and how she doesn’t care. She then gives us an update about Hannah Montana (cause she is NOT going to do Hannah Montana tonight) – she’s been murdered.

Twerk all you want, Miley, no one is going to forget Hannah Montana.

She also says that maybe we shouldn’t do the “Wrecking Ball” sketch, as the camera cuts to Bobby Moynihan dressed in nothing but nude underpants on top of a wrecking ball – reminiscent of Miley Cyrus’ music video for her song “Wrecking Ball.”

“Fifty Shades of Grey” Auditions

This segment of SNL is one of my personal favorite concepts they do on the show. The Fifty Shades of Grey screen tests did not disappoint. Various SNL cast members portray pairs of celebrities auditioning for the part of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele – all of which are pretty spot on.

First up are Bobby Moynihan as Seth Rogan and newbie Noel Wells as Emma Stone, who both use their hilarious laughs as the selling point for their audition. Miley Cyrus portrays a raspier than usual Scarlett Johansson who is paired with Taran Killam as Christoph Waltz.

Killam as Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Wells as Kristen Stewart are next. The latter doesn’t say anything the entire time and actually pauses as if she were sleeping mid-way through. Steve Harvey (Kenan Thompson) and Rebel Wilson’s (Aidy Bryant) impressions are a little flat compared to the others.

The following pair is Jon Cryer and Jane Lynch. Kate McKinnon’s impression of Lynch is so spot-on that if you weren’t paying attention, you would have actually thought Jane Lynch was in this sketch. Plus, she gets the great punch line of “what is that – the half man of Two and a Half Men?”

That pair is followed by Nasim Pedrad as Aziz Ansari and Vanessa Bayer as Mary Louise Parker. Their bit focuses mostly on Ansari’s expressive personality.

Next up is Jay Pharoah as Tracy Morgan and McKinnon as Tilda Swinton. This pairing is actually quite hilarious since Morgan doesn’t realize Swinton is a woman. They run back through a few pairings before ending it with the pairing of Shaquille O’Neal (Jay Pharoah) and Kristin Chenoweth (Nasim Pedrad). The play here is the height difference between the two.

Girlfriend Talk Show

I’m not a big fan of this sketch since most of the jokes made by Aidy Bryant and Cecily Strong fall flat. Miley Cyrus appears as the wannabe gangsta Lil Teeny who reminds me of a female Justin Bieber (which is actually funny since Miley parodied him the last time she hosted).

If you’ve seen this sketch before, you’ll know that Bryant’s character always gets shunned for Strong’s new best friend, who is usually portrayed by the guest host. Nothing is new here and none of the lines really stood out enough for me to mention them.

Moving on.

“We Did Stop (The Government)”

Miley portrays Michele Bachmann while singing “We Did Stop,” a “We Can’t Stop” parody that centers on the government shutdown. Taran Killam appears as John Boehner dressed in Miley’s white leather outfit. Uncle Sam, an American Flag piñata, and Barack Obama portrayed by Jay Pharaoh make guest appearances during the song.

I’m pretty sure if the entire internet hadn’t already made a ton of parody videos of “We Can’t Stop” this sketch would have been so much funnier (see: The Key of Awesome’s parody on YouTube, their channel is all parody videos and “We Can’t Stop” is one of the best ones).

Despite that fact, it’s a pretty solid pre-tapped segment. If you have the time after watching all the other humorous parodies on YouTube, you should watch this one since it’s entertaining satire.

“Piers Morgan Live” Parody

Taran Killam’s Piers Morgan is spot-on, as per usual.

Nasim Pedrad plays Arianna Huffington, as they discuss the numerous Hillary Clinton television mini-series that are in the works after the real one was dropped by both NBC and CNN. A few fake-titles get a brief clip including FOX’s totally unbiased “Hillary Clinton: Cold Mean Woman” and AMC’s “Running Rodham” (a parody of Breaking Bad).

Others include TNT’s “Clinton and Bash,” ABC Family’s “Naughty Little Clintons,” and TLC’s “Say Yes to the Pantsuit.” The third fake title to get a sketch is MTV’s, where Miley Cyrus plays a Miley Cyrus version of Hillary Clinton. Put Miley in a pantsuit and that’s basically the sketch.

Miley Cyrus Performs “Wrecking Ball”

I actually like this song. It’s quite the power ballad for a pop song. If I was Miley Cyrus, I would have used this song to really show off my vocal chops and prove to the world that I could be slightly mature by not dressing in a weird outfit.

Well, unfortunately for my bank account, I’m not Miley Cyrus. And thus, Miley sang an emotional power ballad dressed in an see-through over-sized football jersey with Poison etched across it with a giant sparkly chain-choker that probably could pay for my entire college tuition a few times over.

Other than that, she still gave a solid vocal performance, considering that the version everyone is used to listening to is coated with a few layers of auto-tune that makes up for the fact that Miley’s voice is naturally an octave or two lower than what is heard in the song. Also, she only grabs her crotch one time. So there’s that

Weekend Update

This is my personal favorite SNL segment and is strangely missing Miley Cyrus. This would have the perfect opportunity for Miley to parody some of her haters or some of her peers that are defending her. Alas, the opportunity is missed. At least Seth Meyers is here to make up for it – at least for now.

Meyers and Cecily Strong tackle a few headlines such as a Canadian getting caught with a bag of marijuana on a bus, but the main focus is the government shutdown. They use the segment “Winners and Losers” to help explain. The losers included John Boehner, the GOP to which Meyer’s says “a Fox news poll says that the disapproval rate for the Republican party jumped to 59%, which is like getting booed on your home field,” and the Obamacare website.

The winners are The Tea Party (“like the naked lunatic who gets his own subway car”), Canada, teenage hormones, and Nicolas Cage, since no one is guarding the Smithsonian.

Kate McKinnon appears as Pat Lynart, a mother concerned over the game of Grand Theft Auto V who feels extremely empowered after playing the game. She is extremely involved into the game and McKinnon is hilarious portraying someone whose life is now GTAV. You should seriously take the time to search for this one on YouTube, but make sure you stop after McKinnon leaves since the rest of the sketch sort of tapers off in terms of laughability.

Cheerleading Sketch

If you were holding out for a Hannah Montana return, this is as close as you are going to get. Miley plays the leader of a young cheerleading squad in a blonde wig and uses her higher than normal Hannah Montana voice. The cheerleaders take turns introducing themselves, and while these are hilarious, the sketch takes a turn for the weird as aliens abduct two of them.

I think that it would have been better to just have the cheerleading sketch without the aliens but I guess that keeping that simply isn’t SNL’s forte.

Mornin’ Miami

Miley, along with Kate McKinnon and Bobby Moynihan, play upbeat news anchors who are filming their opening introductions. After each opening the three act tired and grumpy like real TV anchors. The recurring joke is that they don’t say their full names until the last day opener and they turn out to be Yolanda Natalie Portman (Miley), Jill A Mocking Bird (McKinnon), and Bitch Fantastic (Moynihan).

Miley Cyrus Performs Acoustic Version of “We Can’t Stop”

Normally, I love acoustic renditions of songs, and I can see the appeal of performing “We Can’t Stop” with three guitars but Miley has a few problems carrying the song vocally (it’s a tad nasally) until we get to runs at the end of the song. She sits on a stool and wears a white sleeveless hooded mesh jumper over a white bikini top.

Poetry Class

This would have been the perfect opportunity to bring back Hannah Montana, but she’s been murdered so we get Miley playing a disgruntled grunge teen attending a class with a guest poetry teacher played by Vanessa Bayer who lurves poetry. Stereotypical high school clichés are mentioned like school is so boring, homework sucks, and the idea that haikus were the first tweets.

Miley gets up to read her poem. I should have known, based on the oversized flannel she was wearing, where this sketch was going since the sketch was filled with your typical stereotypes. The poem ends up being about Miley’s character writing a love poem about the teacher and proceeds to “kiss” her on the neck.

I didn’t even chuckle on this one.

Final Sketch: Sex Tape

Miley Cyrus’ porn video. Basically, it’s Miley (playing herself) trying to have what will be gently known as romantic relations with new cast member, Kyle Mooney. Bobby Moynihan and Beck Bennett also appear as Kyle’s friends who try to convince him to go back in there and have relations with Miley. She even gets him concert tickets to every show, wants him and his friends to judge her wet t-shirt contest, gets all of his favorite stuff (including his older brother?) in his room.

Turns out his older brother Ricky gets the honor instead.

Grade: C+

This episode started out strong despite the weak opening monologue, but fails to keep the laughs going once we got past the halfway point. The good sketches are probably on YouTube. You could also go on Tumblr for the GIF highlights. Extra points earned for the government shutdown references and Miley only sticking her tongue out a few times.

Written by: Kaylie Bustamante