Miley Cyrus' SNL Performance Made Us Cry A Little

Photo: Dana Edelson/NBC.
Miley Cyrus did double duty as host and musical guest for the 41st season premiere of Saturday Night Live last night and reminded us exactly where her talent lies.

It's not in acting or comedy, though she did have some funny moments. It's in putting on a ridiculous spectacle and then somehow, miraculously, making us think — even cry? — about real things, even when she doesn't mean to. No, really. Just watch her second performance, "The Twinkle Song."

She's in a massive (and still controversial) dreadlock wig covered in butterflies, and the song begins with a description of a dream about a Gumby-shaped David Bowie teaching her to skateboard. And yet, as she looks at the photos of her deceased pets, after which her Dead Petz album is named, the tears streaming down her face are totally real. And we were about to well up right with her. She may be misguided when it comes to the need for politeness in the discourse about race. She may make terribly juvenile jokes about weed. She does, however, love her animals a whole lot.

Of course, crying was not the point of Cyrus's appearance. She opened the show singing "My Way" as the cast impersonated the infamous newsmakers of the summer. She was amusing in "The Millennials," a slightly new take on the same old criticisms we've heard a million times about kids these days. ("I need to go to the south of France to get some perspective," she whines, after her boss groans that she was talking about gender again.) And the writers matched her level of absurdity with a skit in which she marries an ungrateful Kyle Mooney and possibly proves herself to be "some kind of Time Lord." She also very appropriately took a backseat to Hillary Clinton during the former senator's cameo.

Still, those parts could have been played by any other young starlet. Any other young startlet, however, would not have succeeded in making us weep about the loss of a childhood puppy.
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