This seems like a cowardly time to bring up my disdain for Justin Timberlake’s Saturday Night Live appearances because last night’s episode, the 36th season finale, was an obvious bomb — but oh well! The Emmy-winning ‘D*ck in a Box’ man plays the same hammy caricatures and embarrassing lovermen with every SNL hosting gig, and the result always feels more like an attempt at “cool” than “funny” to me. Even sketch cameos by musical guest Lady Gaga couldn’t save his tired act, and neither superstar could save the tired writing. Let’s pick two standout sketches, one dud, and leave season 36 in the dust.
Best: “3-Way (The Golden Rule)”
Rejoice: This naughty digital short, a sequel to the “Mother Lover” video, again featured cameos from Patricia Clarkson and Susan Sarandon. Wee! More importantly, it showcased the comic prowess of Lady Gaga, who played a woman determined to sleep with Timberlake and Andy Samberg simultaneously. Get it, girl. The chorus spelled out a memorable three-way truism: “It’s not gay when it’s in a three way / With a honey in the middle there’s some leeway.”
Best: Barry Gibb Talk Show
Jimmy Fallon showed up in a last-minute sketch to exhume his impersonation of the most leonine Bee Gee. The results were easily the night’s most inspired theatrics. Defibrillating disco icons is always a hilarious idea. Let’s try Thelma Houston next season!
Worst: Secret Word
As a game show connoisseur, I was personally offended by this Password sendup. Kristen Wiig played a loopy Broadway actress who kept blurting the password, and Justin Timberlake played a magician who — hmmm — stared at the camera? Held a hypnotic spiral prop? Something? I didn’t understand any of it. I scanned the credits after the show to see if “Allen Ludden rolling over in his grave” was listed as a musical guest. No dice.
What did you think of the 36th season finale? Was it funnier than last week’s bizarre Ed Helms episode? Did Lady Gaga bring the goods? Will you miss SNL over the summer? What changes should the show make? Leave it in the comments, follow me on Twitter at @louisvirtel, and read me regularly at Movieline.com!