Jimmy Fallon was the official host of last night's jolly, enjoyable Christmas-themed Saturday Night Live episode—but this was one of those episodes where the host completely dominated the show over the regular cast, and brought along a lot of guest stars for (mostly) minor cameos (just like last year's Christmas episode!). So musical guest Justin Timberlake was essentially Fallon's co-host (appearing in three sketches), and Paul McCartney, Madonna, Barry Gibb and Mayor Bloomberg were all there as well.
Your enjoyment of the episode really depends on how much you like Fallon (and Timberlake)—and in particular, how much you get off on impressions, parody songs, and old recurring sketches (Barry Gibb Show, WrappingVille). Family Feud is not one of SNL's best game show parodies (was the joke that Jim Parsons IS his character from Big Band Theory, or ...?)‚ but Timberlake's Fallon impression was pretty fantastic (and caused Fallon to have his first break of the night). Now That’s What I Call Christmas was one of those fake ads filled with hit-and-miss rapid-fire musical impressions, with Kate McKinnon's Shakira, Cecily Strong's Alanis Morissette, and Fallon's Harry Styles all particularly good.
Despite the fact that most of the regular cast members (like Bobby Moynihan) had very little to do (and the new castmembers had so little to do, their lack of screen time was a punchline in the Family Feud sketch), the absolute best sketch of the night had almost nothing to do with the hosts (or guests). That would be Let’s Do It In My Twin Bed, a digital music video (ala What Does My Girl Say and last week's H&M one) that gave the ladies of SNL a chance to shine. It was one of the out-and-out highlights of this very average transitionary season. And it was another reminder that these ladies—especially McKinnon and Aidy Bryant—are by far the best new additions to the show in the last few years.
Strong also had a great episode, with a charming role in the evening-ending Baby It's Cold Outside duet with Fallon. In general, the musical duets were quite lovely, a touch sentimental, and very well done—in addition to that one, there was McCartney and Fallon singing "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," Timberlake and Fallon's WrappingVille cold open (hey, I'd take this every week rather than some horrible political press conference sketch), and the Gibb Show (featuring the real Barry Gibb).
So click through for all those sketches, plus the return of Kimye's talk show, an absolutely terrible Scrooge parody, Weekend Update, and Timberlake performing two non-parody songs. This was the last SNL episode of 2013; it'll return in January with Drake pulling double duty as host and musical guest. We'll also get the final Weekend Update episodes with Seth Meyers, and likely meet the new [female black] castmember.