Miley Cyrus did double duty as Saturday Night Live's host and musical guest this weekend, and she got people to watch. Among the key 18-to-49 demographic that advertisers love, Cyrus drew about as many viewers as last week's season opener with Tina Fey and last season's closer with host Ben Affleck and musical guest Kanye West.
Cyrus quickly dispatched with the twerking controversy in the cold open (watch below), in which Kenan Thompson explained how the end of America started with Cyrus' VMA performance, in a bit oddly similar to Maureen Dowd's strange column in Sunday's New York Times. And Cyrus symbolically killed off her Disney incarnation in her monologue, explaining that alter-ego Hannah Montana "has been murdered."
But the standout sketch of the night was SNL's commentary on the government shutdown. Instead of tackling the big story in the cold open, as you might expect, Cyrus and Taran Killam starred in a nearly frame-by-frame remake of Cyrus' hit video "We Can't Stop." Cyrus played a scantily leather-clad Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) to Killam's equally undressed House Speaker John Bohner (R-Ohio). Watch "We Did Stop (The Government)" above.
From Killam's "Boehner snapping in a gold grill to the last image of Michele Bachmann groping the speaker over his mesh bra top," says Hillary Busis at Entertainment Weekly, this sketch "was damn near flawless." After you watch the parody, watch Cyrus' original video — "it'll make you fully appreciate how brilliantly this short twists that clip's bizarre imagery, from its french fry White House to elephant bleeding Pepto Bismol to the smoke radiating from Uncle Sam's crotch."
Yes, "the stars totally aligned" for the "We Did Stop" video, says Gwynne Watkins at Rolling Stone, and "kudos to the prop person who assembled the Pentagon out of freedom fries." But "there was only one thing I really wanted from this episode, which was to see Vanessa Bayer's pre-2013 Miley Cyrus talking to the real Miley." That happened in the show's first three minutes, in the cold open:
If you didn't get enough of "We Can't Stop" (or have never heard the original), Cyrus also performed an acoustic version of the song:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- This is why you can't trust the NSA. Ever.
- Innocent before proven guilty? The bizarre bipartisan rush to clear Rick Perry
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- 10 things you need to know today: August 22, 2014
- Don't listen to Paul Ryan: The GOP is still the party of makers and takers
- 7 of the scariest spiders in existence
- 4 things NASA can teach you about a good night's sleep
- ISIS and the echoes of the West's religious terror
- What's wrong with Europe’s economy?
- The single best way to help your kid succeed at school
Subscribe to the Week