Saturday Night Live With Christina Applegate: Best and Worst Sketches?

I’d be willing to bet that this week’s Saturday Night Live with host Christina Applegate had fewer laughs-per-minute than the three episodes of her NBC sitcom, Up All Night, that are currently backlogged on my DVR. But thanks to a couple of cameos by Olympic champ Usain Bolt (including a blonde moment on The Californians!), a particularly strong “Weekend Update,” and Applegate’s undeniable charm, the show nevertheless improved upon last week’s dismal Daniel Craig-led outing.

One nitpick, though, that I’ve got to get off my chest: SNL needs to stop saddling its hosts with cute-but-not-really-funny song-and-dance routines in their opening monologues. Applegate didn’t have a single decent zinger in her ode to the pre-holiday season, while getting upstaged by “The Fruppets,” a low-rent substitute for Jim Henson’s famed puppet characters. Surely, there would’ve been more punch lines avaialable to her had SNL‘s writers delved deeper into looking back at her prior hosting gig in 1993, no? I’ll look forward to that debate down in the comments section, but until then, here are my picks for the week’s best and worst:

BEST: Odysseus and The Sirens
We all know the story of Homer’s legendary hero encountering the sweet-voiced temptresses, but who knew they’d have Lisa Loeb, Shania Twain, and Paula Cole in their repertoire? The total soaking of this week’s MVP Jason Sudeikis — how much fun was his raucous Joe Biden, BTW? — as his men went overboard was an especially nice touch. (Alas, this video isn’t available online — probably due to song clearances, or so I’m guessing.)

BEST: Weekend Update (just winning out by a nose over the Vice Presidential debate)
Seth Meyers landed some of his best zingers in recent memory: I laughed especially hard at the contention that Mitt Romney thinks life begins with anyone who makes more than $250,000 and Philadelphia police breaking up a fight between two wedding parties by asking them to “shout — a little bit softer now.” Nasim Pedrad’s Arianna Huffington — arguing that if men could get pregnant, the morning-after pill would come in sea salt and cool ranch flavors — was pretty excellent, too.

WORST: Jean K Jean
Why is it that even when Kenan Thompson is playing a French Def Jam comic, he uses the same voice, accent, and mannerisms that you’d get in 70-80% of his other characterizations? Dude really should make sure the audience is in stitches before he veers toward cracking himself up mid-scene.

WORST: Give Us All Our Daughters Back
Okay, okay, I can’t lie and say I didn’t chuckle at this fake movie trailer for a movie starring Liam Neeson, Denzel Washington, Steven Seagal, Uma Thurman, and Mel Gibson — I especially liked “one review” from Rolling Stone‘s Peter Travers, and Jay Pharoah’s absurdist Denzel — but I couldn’t help but feel like the execution was a little rushed, the punch lines not as fully realized as they could have/should have been. This one makes my “worst” list only by not living up to its true potential.

What are your picks for best and worst on this week’s SNL? How did you feel Applegate fared as host? Hit the comments with your thoughts!

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47 Comments
  1. TV Gord says:

    The only sketch I thought was any good was the Tech Talk bit, where iPhone nitpickers were confronted by their sweat-shop manufacturers. There were some very funny moments in there, including the “jab” (pun intended) that the only thing made in America these days is diabetes. It’s funny because it’s true!

  2. M says:

    I thought that the debate was funny, but that was about it. I don’t find Christina Appplegate funny at all. I had to quit watching her show because she was just more annoying than funny. I sure hope the writers can give decent material to Bruno Mars next week.

  3. The Sirens sketch was funny and Tech Talk were good…but then there was the reoccurence of characters I just don’t get or find funny. The Californian’s sketch seems like a joke that was funny one night at 1:00am, and has now been on the air twice. New York Audience’s are laughing, but is the rest of the country/world? And then there was the Def Jam…I love Kennan, but he seems to just play an offshoot of his Good Burger Character.

    I personally did like the opening Monologue – which was clearly written for who ever was hosting and had nothing to do with Christina. It’s too bad that Will Arnett, or Maya Rudolph or Ed O’Neill didnt make a surprise appearance…There would be so much potential….

    Retro is in right now so a reference to the past/Married with Children was ripe for the picking.

    Finally -how is Kate McKinnon still a featured player – by my count she was in at least 90% of the show last night….

    • Am says:

      I think they have found their new Kristen Wiig

    • DL says:

      I’m not sure if there’s a precedent for upgrading a featured player’s status in the middle of a season. If it’s been done before, I’m sure McKinnon will be a regular soon. If not, she may not get bumped up to full cast member until next season.

      • p0pculture says:

        It actually has been done before. Both Eddie Murphy and Amy Poehler both became repertory players midway through their first seasons on SNL, respectively. Although this is technically Kate’s second season (as she came on for the last 5 episodes of Season 37), I think she deserves to be moved up. She is fantastic!

    • Rich says:

      Melissa McCarthy could’ve made a cameo. She was on Samantha Who? with Christina Applegate.

    • chatulim says:

      I suspect that “The Californians” is a lot funnier to those of us who have spent time either in Southern California or with people who live there. My husband doesn’t get them. My kids who went to school in Los Angeles and I laugh hysterically every time.

      • Hannah Ross says:

        i actually have been to south cali and the around san diego and palm sprigs, and that sketch i found funny as crap. same with the sirens one. im a 15 year old girl, so of course i sang along with the siren sketch….one thing though: WHY IS ANDY SANDBERG GONE?!?!?!?!?! go i was in love with that guy. <3 you Andy!!!

  4. Julia says:

    I was laughing so hard at the Tech Talk bit! How did that not make your Best List? The debate was also very funny. I didn’t think the Sirens bit was that good, and SNL needs to kill the Californians because it was never funny. Usain Bolt’s appearances didn’t really have any substance, so I felt like if he weren’t there the show would have been the same. Christina Applegate is hilarious though and I felt like her parts of each sketch were great!

  5. DDB says:

    The Sirens sketch was hilarious! I can’t get “Stay” and “I Don’t Want To Wait” out of my head now. Loved Kate McKinnon in that sketch, but Cecily Strong was great too. Who knew that both if them could sing?

  6. eds says:

    The Californians skit was horrible…again. I kept thinking it was over, but it kept going on, and on, and on. Do people who live in California think it’s funny? ‘Cause this Iowan just doesn’t get it.

    • Mina says:

      It was funny the first time around, but perhaps only to us, southern californians, who spend approximately 60% of our time mapping our drives. The second, third, and fourth…the cleverness depreciated to a 0.

    • Olive says:

      Yes, this southern Californian thought it was hilarious. “You drive down the 405 until you can’t drive anymore.” Maybe not the whole skit, but when they start giving directions it’s just so hilarious to me. I also love the wine pouring intro.

  7. Amanda says:

    The Californians seem like such a waste of SNL airtime just as Jean k Jean seems like a waste of weekend update airtime.

  8. Kathy says:

    I loved Tech Talk. I loved how they mocked everything wrong with iPhone5. “Oh, you wanted to go Starbucks, but instead sent you to Dunken Donuts. Boo hoo, to you.”

  9. Ron says:

    Decent episode, on balance. “Sirens,” Weekend Update, “Tech Talk” and the Fosse dance instructor were all very strong.

  10. David says:

    If anyone from SNL reads this….we never need to see another Californians skit. Ever.

  11. Mark says:

    Isn’t there a fat chick on snl? I didn’t notice her in any skit.

  12. Aria says:

    Kate McKinnon is hilarious. The Sirens skit was the only one I remember well, and parts of the VP debate spoof were great.
    Overall, this was a forgettable episode, though, and that’s coming from someone who really likes Christina Applegate.

  13. Nat says:

    I’m probably the one person who enjoys the Jean K Jean sketch, but then I’m Belgian, so what do I know? The Californians is a waste of time, but seeing Usain Bolt trying to act was hilarious in and of itself. Otherwise I thought the week was strong, definitely better than the last 2 weeks.

  14. I liked Give Us All Our Daughters Back and tech talk. The Californians skit was so bad though.

  15. Brigitte says:

    I think that by leading with the Californians that they killed the whole show for me.

  16. Morisot says:

    I thought Christina Applegate did a great job. Great delivery, very good song and dance. Thought the debate opening, sirens, dance instructor, give us back our daughters, tech talk were all good. I didn’t even mind the Californians.

  17. Tru says:

    Totally agree with you 100%. I loved The Sirens sketch. I wish they would have sang more though. Plus Nasim Pedrad’s Arianna Huffington was my other favorite.

  18. ER nat says:

    I agree that Kate McKinnon needs to be upgraded like NOW, she’s amazing. As for the “Californians” I’m from Ca, born and raised. I get the jokes, I’m certainly not offended by them, they’re just annoying.

  19. alan says:

    love miss applegate..but snl was almost unwatchable last night…i ended up muting parts of it..starting with the horrendous california skit…what crappy crappy writing last night.

  20. Mike says:

    I thought AppleCare was a good host, but the writing was once again off, Tech Talk and Sirens were great but the rest was not great, and seriously s

  21. Jean K. Jean just makes me miss Pierre Escargot.

  22. Kim R says:

    I thought it was an average good night with the SNL peeps. The last sketch I’m pretty sure Kristin Wigg came back as the dance instructor! ;) SNL could do a spoof on Keenan where every skit he’s in he sound exactly the same, like Zoolander’s “blue steel”. :)

  23. Eric says:

    I found the first 2/3 or so of the show about the best so far this season.

  24. GeezerDave says:

    Best: Tech Talk Runner Up: Sirens (great vocals!)
    Worst: the Californians

  25. Lena says:

    Not a bad show, but I think SNL might be overusing songs in the monologues. The monologue is supposed to be for the host to kind of do some standup. I feel like there’s been too many songs as of late.

  26. Davey says:

    I watched The Choreographer sketch today and thought Applegate was hilarious.

  27. Jo says:

    If they could get rid of Keenan this show would automatically be 20% funnier.

  28. Joe says:

    Yeah, Keenan needs to go. By far the worst actor on the show. How the hell is he in every skit?

  29. emr says:

    I guess I’m in the minority here because I have always loved Jean K Jean and I really hate Kate McKinnon. The Californians is awful. I enjoyed the dance sketch, Christina Applegate was giving off serious Kristen Wiig vibes there.

  30. Jay K says:

    I am a californian and ALWAYS think the skit is hilarious! the joke is that we (californians) do NOT think we have an accent, but we do and we sound really dumb. I thought the writing staff got a little sarcastic and snarky (tech skit) and it paid off. Monologue and movie ad were a bit boring. Keenan is better as jean k jean than the ‘whats up with that?’ skit. LOVE SNL – wish the skits for joseph gordan lovett were as funny.

  31. Lindsey says:

    Where has Bill Hader been lately?! I think he was only in one skit last night and hasn’t been in many the previous weeks either! Are they preparing us for his exit to come this year??? He’s the main reason I watch! :(

    Oh, and I agree that Tech Talk was the best of the night… Can’t believe it wasn’t listed in Slezak’s picks for best! And I thought the Sirens one was terrible! Love those songs, but didn’t think it was funny at all! I thought this week was the worst so far this season… They better pick up soon!

  32. Paul B says:

    Loved the Californians and Jean K Jean. My gf and I still say “ahmeeahzing” from KW’s last appearance. It’s hilarious to hear the hyper-inflated accents. Let’s face it, everyone has their favorites, and there’s no accounting for tastes in humor.

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