‘Saturday Night Live’ Miley Cyrus Review: Another Step in the Right Direction?

Published 2 years ago by

snl miley bumper Saturday Night Live Miley Cyrus Review: Another Step in the Right Direction?

For the second episode of this transitional season, Saturday Night Live swapped a comedy safety net (last week’s host, Tina Fey) for one of the most controversial celebrities of the moment in the form of Miley Cyrus, who pulled double duty as the host and the musical guest. Did SNL capitalize on the confluence of curiosity and Cyrus’ easily lampooned recent past?

Unfortunately, they did not. Instead, the writers burned through Cyrus’ twerky quirks in the show’s first few moments, sending Vanessa Bayer’s now obsolete Miley Cyrus Show persona (aka “Past Miley”) into the future to warn her future Cyrus not to take the stage before her infamous MTV VMA performance.

The stale premise was punched up by Cyrus’ answer to why she is constantly sticking her tongue out (“I’m having tiny strokes, yo”) and Bobby Moynihan’s walk-through as an emotionally abused teddy bear. But after we saw Moynihan nudely straddling a wrecking ball and while Cyrus threw out a few wooden jokes about twerking during the monologue, it seemed clear that we were both done with Cyrus’ past and in for a long night with only a few bright spots.

Of those bright spots, none had more punch than the 50 Shades of Grey casting session sketch that followed the monologue. The writers went back to a familiar well with this one, repeating a bit that has worked so well over the years with Star Wars and Back to the Future. Rebel Wilson and Mary Louise Parker aren’t characters that are usually going to find a way onto the show, so it’s nice to see these fringe-y impressions get a chance to live. The best among them, though, was Taran Killam’s outstanding Christoph Waltz, which stood beside Cyrus’ passable Scarlet Johansson.

snl miley killam Saturday Night Live Miley Cyrus Review: Another Step in the Right Direction?

This was a stand-out episode for Killam – who also went for it with the very physical and exaggerated performance in the government shutdown inspired parody of Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop” video – this is the kind of episode you expect from someone who people are looking to as a leader during this new era on SNL.

Jay Pharoah is another senior cast member that got a chance to grab the spotlight last night, presenting impressions of Will Smith, Shaq, President Obama, and Tracy Morgan – but as is often the case with Pharoah’s work on the show, they come off as one-note jokes and compliments to something else. This is Pharoah’s fourth season on SNL and he still hasn’t really created any memorable characters or found a way to carry his celebrity impressions beyond the identifiable catchphrase stage. Maybe it’s time that we realized that his limit is as a valuable bit player, but not the star that some foretold when he debuted and unfairly had Eddie Murphy comparisons hoisted onto him.

Speaking of unfair comparisons, Cecily Strong is sitting next to the measuring stick for her own success every time she sits beside Seth Meyers at the Weekend Update desk, but in her second week, it seems like she’s starting to belong there, exhibiting a bit more confidence with her fake news reads this time around. Bayer and Kate McKinnon took over Update, though, with the return of Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy and also, a Grand Theft Auto 5 addicted wife and mother, whose absurd dissent into Los Santos hits all the right notes.

snl miley weekend update Saturday Night Live Miley Cyrus Review: Another Step in the Right Direction?

Maybe Kyle Mooney will get to that point, but after debuting the disappointing Bruce Chandling on Update last week, Mooney got another chance to step above his fellow rookies (who are a bit quieter this week than last) and whiffed with a pre-recorded video co-starring an amorous Cyrus wherein Mooney gets somewhat freaked out by Cyrus’ willingness to please.

That was the night’s closer, but it followed a series of other lackluster sketches that made the last 1/3 of the show feel like a joyless slog. Again, there were bits of brightness, even in those bad sketches, but all in all, this is a two steps back situation for SNL after last week’s slight step forward.

Don’t blame Miley, she did an adequate job on the show and she turned in some surprisingly mellow musical performances. This one falls on the writers who pulled their punches and missed an opportunity in a week that offered them a full cupboard of material.


Saturday Night Live airs on Saturday’s at 11:30 PM

Photos: Dana Edelson and Mary Ellen Mathews; NBC

Follow Jason Tabrys on Twitter @jtabrys
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  1. I hope SNL the best. I hope they improve and that the new cast members make their own.. but I refuse to watch an episode where there is a host like Miley Cyrus. She disgusts me.

    • I wouldn’t give Miley any hate. She’s basically followed the same unwritten formula other child stars have in the past that decide to use nudity and sexuality to break free of their past and take it a step too far.

      Substance abuse and arrests usually follow so look out for that in future.

    • i totally agree miley is an over hyped moronic retard she belongs in an asylum with lindsay lohan lol!

  2. I thought the episode was pretty solid.

  3. Truly pathetic, the joke that Miley has made of herself. The image that comes to mind of her, as of late, is of a barely dressed, overly sexualized girl bending over, sticking her a– in the air, tongue hanging out, and waiting for it…

    Can’t believe she has sunk so low as to make Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan appear more “normal” and “well adjusted”.

    All for what…ego and money. Sad, sad, sad.

    • Again, not for ego and money in the case of child stars, they’re just trying to break free of their child star persona and going about it entirely the wrong way because that’s the only way they can think of that’s so vastly different from what they were known for before.

      I find her behaviour disgusting in the fact that she somehow claimed to have used a Sinead O’Connor video as inspiration and Sinead wrote an open letter asking her not to wh*re herself then Miley blasted her with insults about Sinead’s mental health issues.

      Annie Lennox also posted something yesterday on her Facebook page finding it disgusting that sex is used so predominantly to lure young girls into buying albums and such but what’s happening with Miley appears to be her rebelling against her Disney image and money grabbing parasites in the entertainment industry taking advantage of that and pushing her towards a more sexualised image and way of behaving.

      • Agree with everything you said, but although she is young, she is still personally responsible for all of the choices that she has made.

        If she lives to be older and wiser, I have little doubt that she will look back on herself with contempt and disdain for the image that she is presenting right now.

      • By the way, many more should add their voices to those of Annie Lennox and Sinead O’Conner. It is obvious that alleged “artists” like Miley Cyrus are surrounded by “yes men”, offering little to no proper criticism or guidance. The harm they are doing to young, impressionable girls, as well as boys, could last for a generation or more.

  4. I personally thought this was a great episode of SNL.

    • I thought the ep was good in spite of the Miley self deprecating jokes. No mention of Kenan who was also a standout. Glad to see him getting more airtime.

  5. I had preconceived notions of what the show would be and I’m glad to say that I was wrong. I loved it and like someone else said, “It was a solid show”. I loved her singing as well on her two solo songs especially the 2nd which was an acoustic version. All in all–they made me laugh and that’s been missing from SNL the past few years.

  6. Saturday night live was funny for once
    Miley Cyrus was a great host

  7. Why go out of your way to bash Jay Pharroah? Racist.

    • Looks like someone can’t handle the truth so resorts to the age old “you’re racist” cliche. Nice one.

      *golf clap*

  8. show was weak

    Miley is about 15-20 years late on rippin off reggae dancers, but thats usually the case with pop artists

  9. I thought it was decent. Miley wasn’t bad but she didn’t stand out as a host either. And I agree completely on Jay Pharoah. If he isn’t doing an impression of someone (which are great by the way), he really just becomes a standard performer. Taran Killam is probably the strongest performer right now and is definitely my favorite. He gives every sketch one hundred and ten percent and is usually the standout.

  10. Vanessa Bayer and Killam are going to have to step up and take over the show. Those two have the most potential.

  11. I think the cast did great, but I thought nearly every role Miley played was cringeworthy and could’ve been better served by a cast member. I mean, you can’t expect every host to be a comedian, but most other hosts have had better comedic timing than her.

  12. Plus, I thought Kyle Mooney’s sketch and Jay Pharoah’s bit on Weekend Update were the highlights.

  13. Beck bennet and Kyle mooney will be solid oncethey find thier groove. Their sketch comedy on youtube “goodneighborstuff” has always delivered and I think they should do morr digital shorts like the one kyle did at the end.

  14. Miley’s image can only last so long, next thing you’ll see her doing is wearing meat as a dress. I don’t pity her or the warped way of thinking she has let herself go towards to.

  15. You people still watch SNL. That s*** has been lame since the late ninties

    • +1

    • i agree it has been lame for ALONG time, a few jem moments, but with this new cast, i see hope in the future of it.

  16. I personally think she’s a talented and beautiful young lady with a great sense if humor. I do wish she’d slow down – I get it – she’s no longer a Disney star… I don’t believe she deserves to be called talentless – scandaless and at this point in her life tasteless, oh yes.

    I’m hoping she classes up soon though – I cringe at her performances. For what’s it worth her SNL hosting and performing were great – most skits were funny, but every episode has dragging points.

  17. This week’s episode of SNL was brutal. After everything Miley has done recently I expected a bit more edgy episode, not necessarily from her but from the writers. Instead what I got what a surprisingly okay performance by Miley and a boring episode. Not only was it boring but it was full of technical errors. At one point I saw a crew man putting a harness on a cast member (clearly the wrong camera was on) and it was full of commercials that would break up the sketches and were just so overwhelming. I did like the 50 Shades of Grey sketch and the We Did Stop the government sketch. People are criticizing Jay Pharaoh for his impressions of the same actors and not having any recurring characters but you know this is exactly what I expect each week out of him and he doesn’t disappoint. Taran Killam is by far one of the funniest cast member.

  18. My review of SNL latest episode:
    PLEASE–share your rationale with me! When the show introduced some supposed financial guru—I tried to continue watching this “skit” on your show tonight and had to turn my television off. I was furious, angry, humiliated, you name it (all traits from the negative column)!

    When things like this happen, I wonder how one of your famous actors would feel if s/he gave birth to a child with CP or another form of neurological difference. Wouldn’t that be a fun skit to create–you could make fun of how the child of one of your own has to stutter, stammer, fall, and try to navigate.

    The way that your producers and writers portrayed a person with a neurological disorder in this evening’s show was despicable, mean-spirited, horrible, and a perfect example of an albeist* mentality. Seriously—what were you thinking? How can you make fun of people that have no choice in terms of their neurological condition?

    In case your brilliant writers and actors are not familiar of the term, I have included a brief definition.

    From a former watcher of SNL,
    Maureen W. Keyes

    Ableism is a form of discrimination or prejudice against individuals with physical, mental, or developmental disabilities that is characterized by the belief that these individuals need to be fixed or cannot function as full members of society (Castañeda & Peters, 2000). As a result of these assumptions, individuals with disabilities are commonly viewed as being abnormal rather than as members of a distinct minority community (Olkin & Pledger, 2003; Reid & Knight, 2006).

  19. I do not feel that Miley is always treated fairly. do not love her but come on guys, give her a chance.