It's hard to believe that it has been well over six years since Amy Adams hosted Saturday Night Live for the very first time – she memorably battled then-cast member Kristen Wiig in her opening monologue, a jazzy little number that was unexpectedly resurrected during Adams' latest round of hosting – because the Oscar-nominated actress slipped right back into the fold with nearly infectious energy and plenty of so-called "flash and sizzle." Adams' unique mix of wide-eyed charm and genuine talent was a cheery fit for the show’s annual Christmas show, the television sketch comedy equivalent of a big glass of hot cocoa. Delicious!
The last episode of SNL for the 2014 calendar year was an appropriately festive one, but it was also an entry that included some big nods to uncomfortable current events, which just so happens to be SNL's sweet spot. Complete with a surprisingly large batch of returning talents – from former SNL stars to the musical guest boy wonders that are One Direction – the episode hit most of its highs early, but this one still belongs firmly on the nice list. Happy holidays to us all! And especially to Amy Adams' ability to hold a tune no matter the situation!
"Sam Smith/Dr. Evil Cold Open"
Taran Killam's consistently great celebrity impression work doesn't get the attention it deserves, and while his scarily spot-on send-up of singer Sam Smith wasn't the main attraction of this week’s cold open, it was a strong start for the show. Killam's sadsack Christmas celebration was hijacked by Mike Myers – really! – early on, as the former SNL star resurrected his perennially popular Dr. Evil character to poke fun at the so-called "Guardians of Peace" hackers and the current Sony kerfuffle.
Evil’s jokes, including mocking the GOP for their confusing choice of moniker and a pointed crack about his Myers’ own The Love Guru, weren’t exactly groundbreaking, but the entire sketch proved to be a canny enough way to address world events. Kim Jong-un himself (read: Bobby Moynihan) popped up in the show later on, but that couldn't overshadow the pure unexpected joy of seeing Myers evil it up again.
Bonus: the world's most terrifying fake hairless cat. Mr. Bigglesworth!
The first season of collective national obsession Serial may have wrapped up this week, but the Saturday Night Live team already has a solid idea for where the popular podcast can go the next time it grabs hold of your earbuds and never, ever lets go. Cecily Strong's Sarah Koenig impression is terrifyingly good – there’s little doubt that the comedienne is a fan of the podcast, who else could hit those specific voice tics with such care and perfection? – and the entire sketch seamlessly translates the specific sound and feel of the podcast to video without a hitch.
In fact, it's all so good that its holiday-specific plotline is almost unnecessary, though it certainly adds in a seasonally appropriate tie-in. For the second season of Serial, Koenig and her team take on the creepy tale of Kris Kringle and the lingering question as to his ability to deliver presents near and far in just one night. By the time Strong-as-Koenig starts building her own sleigh to retrace the accused elf's steps, you'll be ready to watch the whole thing again.
"Girlfriends Talk Show With Amy Adams and One Direction"
Cecily Strong and Aidy Bryant's "Girlfriends Talk Show" sketch may have fallen flat during its last few outings (trying to stretch any recurring sketch past the half-dozen appearance mark is always difficult), but the ladies finally breathed new life into it, thanks to the charms of musical guests One Direction.
It was a natural enough fit – after all, Strong and Bryant play sassy teens on their fake show-within-a-show – and there's nothing sassy teens like more than 1D. The boys (men?) of One Direction returned to the Saturday Night Live for their third outing and, over the hysterical screaming of their many dedicated fans, they masqueraded as an exceptionally ragtag bunch of male high school dancer. Britain's most important current export didn’t actually say much – just lots of greetings, really – but there was plenty of purposely wacky dancing and we’re willing to guess that no one had as good a time on this week’s show as Harry Styles and his giant hat did. "Girlfriends Talk Show" is, like, oh my god, totally back, you guys.