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WATCH: Andrew Garfield Hosts a Fantastic, Instant Classic SNL (VIDEO)

WATCH: Andrew Garfield Hosts a Fantastic, Instant Classic SNL (VIDEO)

At last–a genuinely
great episode of “Saturday Night Live.” Bolstered by the measured
goofiness of Andrew Garfield, this episode was inspired and consistent. There
was nothing experimental or wild, but it was SNL doing what it does best and
hitting all of its marks.

Emma Stone–Garfield’s
co-star in “The Amazing Spiderman 2” and his girlfriend in life–was
around for the host monologue and made a lovely addition for the
“Spiderman Kiss” sketch, in which the pair couldn’t figure out what
normal kissing looked like. Musical guest Chris Martin of Coldplay made
a fun assist at the end. 

The cold open this week
took its shot at Donald Sterling. Bobby Moynihan gave a worthy (almost
unsettlingly creepy) performance as the sneering, wrinkled, unapologetic
Clippers owner. Though it ended with a cheery “LIVE FROM NEW YORK, IT’S
SATURDAY NIGHT,” the conclusion of the short was that money is power and
Sterling can buy off his consequences. A hard hit like this marks “Saturday Night Live” as a great force of satire. 

The best sketch of the
evening was “The Beygency”–a fun pun that turned into a hilarious
digital short about Beyonce’s power over America. When a man criticizes her
latest album, he becomes a fugitive. In honor of the resurgence of 
24, Keifer Sutherland and Mary Lynn Rajskub made a well-timed
cameo. The sketch was well-written, played, cut—and concluded, something that has never been SNL’s strong suit.  

“The Beygency”
fell among a happy pile of great skits this week–a slight but hilarious bit
called “Wing,” which used a 1990s TV family drama aesthetic. Another
sketch with a random premise (Oliver Twist!), shone because of Cecily Strong’s
performance as a down-on-her-luck jerk with a reality-TV-style bravado. And
“Celebrity Family Feud” featured some deft quick impressions, particularly Kate
McKinnon as Shakira.

Although Andrew Garfield’s
jocular energy helped to carry the show, Taran Killam should get separate
congratulations for his carrying a big handful of different roles throughout this episode. He doled out some subtle one-liners as the
director of “Spiderman,” a secret agent in “the Beygency,”
and as the NBA commissioner. His impression of Russell Crowe, intoning
recitative from “Les Miserables,” was top notch.

This well-rounded episode is SNL at its best and confirmation that this “rebuilding” year is
finishing up in style. 

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