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<i>Saturday Night Live</i>: The Best and Worst of Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga and her giant, unblinking eyes served as both host and musical guest on this weekend's Saturday Night Live. The main themes of the episode seemed to be Gaga poking fun of herself poking fun at other celebrities, and who could forget (no, really, just try and scrub it from your memory), simulating sex with R. Kelly on live television. She was, unsurprisingly, an enthusiastic performer and gave her first hosting effort her best (she's appeared as a musical guest and had cameos on the show before), but the episode still provided way more moments of discomfort than actual laughs, not to mention all the mixed messages. Was she actually showing us her true colors, or as she suggested in the opening monologue, just pandering to all of us? Either way, it worked, because Gaga earned season-high ratings. Here are the best and worst moments from her episode:

Best: Whaaat? The Worst Cover Songs of All Time
No, these sketches that parade out a bunch of celebrity imitations aren't exactly trying, but when they work, they work. (On the other hand, the evening's other celebrity imitation sketch, "Waking Up With Kimye," didn't.) Taran Killam played Counting Crows lead singer and human pineapple Adam Duritz in a fake commercial for a fake album featuring the worst cover songs of all time, including his band's take on Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi." But that was nothing compared to Kenan Thompson as Rick Ross singing the "Cups" song or Aidy Bryant as Adele "singing" the theme song to L.A. Law. And Lady Gaga took an opportunity to poke fun at the now years-old controversy that her song "Born This Way" sounds an awful lot like Madonna's "Express Yourself." That video is not available online, but MVP Taran Killam's other great moment of the night, a quick thinking save from "Weekend Update," is.

Worst: Weird Co-Op Board
The only thing you could hear from the audience was squirming in their seats at this terribly unfunny bit about a couple interviewing with a creepy co-op board. It's too bad Lady Gaga's take on Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny went to waste, because this was truly one of the flattest sketches of the season to date:

Best: Blockbuster
If there's one thing that can be said about Season 39 thus far, it's that the taped segments have been infinitely better than the live sketches. (What that says about a show with the word "live" right there in the title, I don't know). That was proven once again with the very funny, on-point bit about a group of snarky Blockbuster employees coping with the shutdown of the rental chain. Watch:

Worst: The Rose Zone
Get it? Because men love sports and women love trashy reality television.

Best: Lady Gaga in the Year 2063
Celebrities can poke fun at themselves and their eccentricities all they like (in one sketch during the evening, Lady Gaga, in character as a dowdy Apple store employee, declared, "People who try too hard with their outfits are maybe hiding something… like, come on, dress like a person") but it takes real guts to play up the reality that, someday, you could end up old and alone and with the reality that no one remembers you. Lady Gaga playing an old, crazed version of herself in 50 years living on the Upper West Side wasn't the funniest of the night, but it certainly was the most daring and the most effective take down of fame monsters. But, since that video also isn't available online, watch this amusing sketch -- one of the few highlights of the evening -- with Gaga as an overenthusiastic dance mom:

Whaaaaat: Lady Gaga and R. Kelly Do It On Their Duet "Do What U Want"
For an evening packed with self-awareness statements from Lady Gaga, this moment proved to be the most shocking, but not for any of the right reasons. There's something unnerving and hypocritical about watching a sexuality advocate and a self-proclaimed role model like Lady Gaga simulate sex acts with R. Kelly and tell him to "do what you want with my body" (for some pretty obvious reasons). But really it just felt as desperate and pandering as a "cheap applause" stunt she made fun of moments before. This performance doesn't have anything to say, it just wants to get tongues wagging at a wildly un-sexy act. If Lady Gaga is out to demonstrate that she has more staying power than say, Miley Cyrus, this won't prove anything other than the fact that she only lives for the applause.

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