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The Telefile
The <I>SNL</i> Season Premiere Needed Less Katy Perry and More Ron Swanson

Saturday Night Live premiered over the weekend with an awesome host in Amy Poehler and a relevant musical guest in Katy Perry, but somehow the episode as a whole was a real miss. Every episode has a few great sketches and a whole bunch of bad ones, but this week's episode felt like the ratio tipped far further in the direction of the bad ones, especially for an event episode that should have brought everyone's a-games. Suffice it to say that it was no placeholder for Parks & Recreation. I've listed the best and worst sketches of the night after the break, so watch and play along.

Best: Solid monologue, helped greatly by the magic of Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon together again. Still, Amy Poehler was overall very funny, and Kristen Wiig was perfectly utilized -- briefly and weirdly.

Best: The Ground Zero Mosque of gay military weddings, free naturalizations for Mexicans, state-o-the-art abortions and espresso was the best "topical" humor of the night, particularly with that nice little dig at the DNC at the end. Bill Hader really is the best thing this show's got right now.

Best: And the final highlight, the always funny "Bronx Beat" returned for the second time this calendar year (first time was Betty White) and was amazing until stupid Katy Perry brought her awful, overly goofy schtick into it, like anybody besides Katy Perry is outraged that Sesame Street snubbed her.

Best and Worst: The Showtime sketch almost worked -- it's true that Showtime only has shows about zany, complicated ladies -- but Amber isn't exactly an evergreen character. Seeing Amy fail to keep the leg up and hop away while farting is really only funny a couple times, and it feels like this is about the 12th Amber sketch I've seen in my life. Good work making fun of actor interviews about their characters, though. Those are the most pointless things in the world.

Worst: "Maternity Matters," in which Fred Armisen repeatedly tells women to shout uncomfortable questions until he decides to give them bad advice is one of the worst recurring sketches SNL is doing lately. This one felt particularly drawn-out and painful, though.

Worst: As for this week's Digital Short, I don't know what I find less funny -- boogers, Katy Perry "hilariously" saying "It's great to be here!" 50 times, or canned shots of people clapping at this year's Emmys. One of the laziest, least funny ones they've ever done.

Worst: "Really?!" usually has something outrageous to say about an issue, but this week's reasonable and obvious reactions to overturning Don't Ask, Don't Tell and Ahmadinejad being a crazy-talker felt like something I'd rather see done better on The Daily Show. It was probably hurt by the fact that "Really?!" also made a return during Betty White, but that didn't matter for "Bronx Beat" because "Bronx Beat" was hilarious. This wasn't.

Worst: The new guy as Will Smith. Since this wasn't at all topical, I'm left with no other option than to believe it was showcased so prominently because it's his best material. I know he's got his fans, but between this and his poorly executed Chris Tucker, it's going to be a long road to liking Jay Pharoah in this format, I think. Especially if he has to take over Kenan's duties of playing every black woman on the show since they apparently refuse to hire a real one.

Other "Meh-lights": The tiny hat sketch that was pointlessly bizarre (in a bad way), and that also allegedly ripped off Tim and Eric; Governor Patterson, who was as stiff and awkward as politicians always are on this show (though remarkably good at memorizing lines!); the Christine O'Donnell cold open, which, considering how hilarious everything about that woman is, should have been much better; the pube-head sketch that I thought was funny until I realized that I only thought it was funny because of Bobby Moynihan's face, and the fact that Kherington from So You Think You Can Dance has been downgraded to a Katy Perry back-up dancer. Sad.

Did you see it? Tell us what you thought below!

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