SNL Brings Us "Shy Ronnie," The Salahis, And Gossip Girl: Staten Island

Though last night's SNL wasn't a terribly memorable episode, there were a few highlights, including another strong digital short from Andy Samberg, a silly take on Gossip Girl, and a series of commercials starring the great Bill Hader.

The show opened with a take on the White House party crashers, and though it felt a bit long at times, the overall premise was pretty good:



Blake Lively then arrived on the scene in a dress that probably made a few censors nervous, and was joined by the cast playing Muppets for her monologue, a joke that felt somewhat tired, considering that the real Muppets went viral recently with their "Bohemian Rhapsody" cover, and the SNL Muppets just couldn't compare.



Musical guest Rihanna appeared in what was probably the strongest part of the show, a digital short starring Andy Samberg as "Shy Ronnie," a dork who was too shy to sing whenever it was his turn.



This "Underground Festival" skit, a parody of an actual promo video for the "Gathering of the Juggalos," was spot-on and hilarious...if you got the reference. I loved it, though I wonder if perhaps it was a bit too obscure for a wider SNL audience, or if it still played as funny for people who didn't get the reference whatsoever:



And of course, there was an obligatory Gossip Girl sketch, called Gossip Girl: Staten Island, which was pretty funny, though I think I laughed more at the adventures of Snooki and The Situation on Jersey Shore earlier this week:



And Bill Hader gave us a funny take on those terribly annoying UPS commercials:
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Overall, it was a decent show. Lively did the best she could with the parts she was given and seemed to be having a good time, and most of the sketches were okay, though there were some obvious missteps, such as a "Virginiaca" skit starring Kenan Thompson and Lively that didn't draw many laughs from the studio audience and a Tiger Woods skit that centered around domestic violence jokes, a classy move when you consider that Rihanna was the night's musical guest.

Weekend Update relied on Kenan's worn out Bill Cosby impression and a good but somewhat unnecessary Brittany Murphy impression by Abby Elliot, and it's becoming increasingly obvious that Seth Meyers needs to be balanced out on the desk by a co-anchor, as his smarminess tends to overwhelm the jokes at times and the "special guests" are getting watered down by the week. It would also be nice to see more than one female cast member on the screen at a time; remember when Cheri Oteri, Ana Gasteyer, and Molly Shannon performed together? Or Amy Poehler, Rachel Dratch, and Maya Rudolph? It seems this season's cast of women never get a chance to interact unless they're surrounded by men in drag or playing backup dancers in someone's else showcase.

Anyway, next week's episode is hosted by Taylor Lautner, with musical guest Bon Jovi, which I'm sure is a Christmas dream come true for your Twilight-and-Jon-Bon obsessed Aunt Helen. Let's hope it's dreamy, or at least worth watching, for the rest of us, as well.