Following the departure of former SNL head writer Seth Meyers, the show struggled creatively this week, with a preponderance of weak material. The episode also marked the debut of Meyers' Weekend Update replacement—and successor as head writer—Colin Jost. As host, The Big Bang Theory's Jim Parsons gamely took on roles from figure skater Johnny Weir to Peter Pan, a dance floor serial killer, and a weak-boweled business executive, but his appealing presence wasn't enough to save the mostly sub-par sketches. Musical guest Beck performed "Blue Moon" and "Wave."
Colin Jost, Seth Meyers' successor as SNL head writer, makes his Weekend Update debut alongside Cecily Strong.
Cranky nineteenth-century newspaper critic Jebidiah Atkinson (Taran Killam) reviews Best Picture nominees, past and present. ("Don't get me started on Gravity. If I wanted to watch a depressed middle-age woman float around for 90 minutes, I'd go to the YMCA...")
12 Years a Slave—nervous white people audition for bit parts. (With Kenan Thompson as director Steve McQueen, and Jay Pharoah as the intimidating cameraman.)
Shaquille O'Neal (Jay Pharoah) and Charles Barkley (Kenan Thompson) return to Weekend Update to discuss the New Jersey Nets' signing of Jason Collins, the NBA's first openly gay athlete.
The monologue—together with fellow sitcom fixtures Urkle (Jay Pharoah), George Costanza (Bobby Moynihan), The Fonz (Taran Killam), and Bill Cosby (Kenan Thompson)—plus Murder She Wrote's Angela Lansbury (Kate McKinnon)—Jim Parsons protests typecasting and remindes viewers he's not Sheldon Cooper.
Also: The Bird Bible—"all your favorite stories, portrayed by birds..."
NEXT WEEK: Lena Dunham, with musical guest The National.