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!