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SUNDAY MORNING LIVE: Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake Take 'SNL' to Wrappinville, Deliver Season's Best Episode

Welcome to Edition No. 31 of Sunday Morning Live, Popculturology's look at the latest episode of Saturday Night Live. All of your questions about the Jimmy Fallon-hosted episode will soon be answered.

How'd Jimmy Fallon do?

Are we really going to ask how Fallon did? This is the guy who somehow went from "star of Taxi" to "king of Saturday Night Live and NBC." If that wasn't enough, Fallon got to host with SNL icon/his best friend Justin Timberlake aboard as musical guest. So how'd Fallon do? Oh, he only hosted the best episode of the season. No big deal.

SNL wasn't screwing around when it came to establishing right off the bat that this episode was going to be awesome, leading off with a new installment in the Omletteville/Homelessville/Veganville series and bringing back favorites like The Barry Gibb Talk Show.

When Fallon hosts, you don't have to worry about him reading cue cards or not having any idea how to be an SNL host. Fallon owns this show now. People like Timberlake and Alec Baldwin may have an open invite to host whenever they want and Kristen Wiig may be Lorne Michael's darling, but Fallon is the key to everything NBC is trying to do. The only thing that's going to keep him from eventually joining the SNL Five-Timers Club is his busy Tonight Show schedule.

What were the best sketches of the night?

As of late, SNL has wasted its cold opens with toothless political sketches, often kicking episodes off on very squishy ground. That was not the case this episode. This weekend's cold open was as chest-thumping of an opening sketch that SNL could deliver. Not only did SNL slot the latest Omletteville/Homelessville/Veganville sketch as its opener AND add Fallon alongside Timberlake in it, but they boldly had Timberlake and Fallon's character talk about being a "deck sacker." Yeah, say that slowly — take a second to figure that one out. SNL doesn't usually break out this kind of humor until later in the show when it's easier to slip by the censors.

Kudos to Aidy Bryant for working through the insane level of applause and cheers Timberlake and Fallon kept getting during this sketch. There were parts that even after rewinding and rewatching, I still can't make out what they were trying to say. Of course, Fallon and Timberlake rapping together on an NBC stage isn't a new challenge for the duo ...

During at least one of his countless Late Night appearances, Timberlake has poked fun at Fallon with an impression of Fallon. SNL allowed Timberlake to use that this episode during a Family Feud: Celebrity Edition sketch. While Fallon played The Big Bang Theory's Jim Parsons (or, more accurately, the character of Sheldon), Timberlake played Fallon. The impression was so good, Timberlake caused Fallon to break at a level where SNL actually switched over to a camera watching Fallon break.

Let's talk about Noel Wells' Alyson Hannigan impression for a second. Wells seems to be a talented impressionist, but her Hannigan bit veered into Zooey Deschanel territory, which was made even more interesting by the fact that a sketch later in the episode actually featured Wells as Deschanel.

I was hoping for a Lonely Island sketch with Timberlake, maybe a reunion of the Dick in a Box guys that somehow added Fallon, but "(Do It On My) Twin Bed" was a fantastic substitute. The short featured the entire female cast of SNL (all of them looking quite hot, too) singing about bringing their boyfriends home to their parents' houses for Christmas and having to deal with finding some, um, private time in their childhood bedrooms.

I was kind of shocked that SNL brought back The Barry Gibb Talk Show. Despite everything Fallon and Timberlake have done together, this series of sketches was really the only time they collaborated on SNL, but with the death of Robin Gibb, I didn't expect SNL to bring back Fallon as Barry Gibb and Timberlake as Robin.

I was wrong.

Not only did SNL bring the sketch back, but they got the real Barry to show up. I guess if the real Barry Gibb stops by for The Barry Gibb Talk Show, it's OK to feature the sketch again.

Madonna played herself in the sketch, but seemed to not only have trouble getting her lines out but also pulling a golden grill out of her vest pocket. C'mon, Madonna, pull it together. Do you think I'm one of the Wiggles?

I loved the first time SNL did The Kimye Talk Show, probably because it perfectly pairs Jay Pharoah's bombastic Kanye West and Nasim Pedrad's air-headed Kim Kardashian. This sketch was very short this week, not featuring either Fallon or Timberlake. The sketch did give the world Pedrad dressed as Kardashian dressed in a sexy Santa suit, spoofing the "Bound 2" music video. Uh huh, Rudolph.

How about any shorts or commercials?

Besides the "(Do It On My) Twin Bed" short, SNL had one other short this weekend, a new installment of Now That's What I Call Christmas. This is where the aforementioned Wells' impression of Deschanel comes in. That's a strong impression, easily replacing Abby Elliott as SNL's resident Deschanel impressionist.

How was Weekend Update?

I had a feeling we'd see some kind of recognition this episode by Fallon that Seth Meyers would soon be following him as host of Late Night. This segment wasn't as extravagant as I expected, but with Meyers having a few more episodes left before he departs SNL, I guess it makes sense to hold off on a giant farewell. I'd bet money we'll see Bill Hader return as Stefon when that moment comes.

Kate McKinnon is SNL's first openly gay female castmember, so offering a "big, gay middle finger" to Russia's bigoted anti-gay laws must've meant something to her.

Anything else worth mentioning?

Everyone always jokes about the rapey overtones of "Baby, It's Cold Outside," but SNL went a different direction when building a sketch around the Christmas song, picking up 12 minutes after the guy actually hooked up with the girl he was trying to convince to stick around with threats of bad weather.

The sketch ended on a sweet note, which was nice for the sketch but awkward for the episode as a whole. SNL followed the sketch with Timberlake's final appearance of the night, a performance of "Pair of Wings." The song is a hidden track on the second part of The 20/20 Experience. It's very quiet and low-key, which when combined with this "Baby, It's Cold Outside" sketch, ended SNL with a whimper.

Despite this episode being awesome, it was possible to pick a worst sketch of the night, and it's the one based on the idea of A Christmas Carol's Scrooge realizing he was gay. I don't get it.

What's next?

SNL is back on Jan. 18 with Drake as the host and musical guest.

Previous editions of Sunday Morning Live

Dec. 15, 2013: John Goodman
Dec. 8, 2013: Paul Rudd
Nov. 24, 2013: Josh Hutcherson
Nov. 17, 2013: Lady Gaga
Nov. 3, 2013: Kerry Washington
Oct. 27, 2013: Edward Norton
Oct. 13, 2013: Bruce Willis
Oct. 6, 2013: Miley Cyrus
Sept. 29, 2013: Tina Fey
SUNDAY MORNING LIVE: Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake Take 'SNL' to Wrappinville, Deliver Season's Best Episode Reviewed by Bill Kuchman on 12/22/2013 Rating: 5

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