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The Telefile
Jane Lynch Gives <I>SNL</i> Her Best Salvage Efforts

After Week 1's pretty terrible Amy Poehler episode and Week 2's disastrous Bryan Cranston episode, SNL started to find its way back with Jane Lynch this weekend. It wasn't exactly a stellar episode, but they at least made a better effort to use Lynch effectively (unlike how they just stripped Cranston down to his underwear and shoved him in a corner all episode long last week), and there were a couple honest-to-god highlights. Still not convinced Jay Pharoah should be working in this format, and I'm baffled as to why Bill Hader's been but a minor presence so far, but it was only the third episode of the season, so I digress. Here are the best and worst sketches of the night:

Best: They squandered their first stab at Christine O'Donnell, but I think this one pretty much nailed it. You know, like how all of us ordinary hard-working Americans have to fend off accusations of witchcraft all the time.

Worst: There was a perfectly adequate Glee parody here (that isn't up on Hulu for some undisclosed reason), until it turned into a Will Forte-less Gilly sketch. Does SNL actually think anyone who likes Gilly sketches (and very few people like Gilly sketches to begin with) like them because of Gilly? Because Will Forte has always been the strongest part of Gilly sketches. Time to stop doing them now that he's off the show.

Best: "Mom's on Facebook." It was a little stale and it's certainly no "Mom Translator" but I definitely laughed. It's funny 'cause it's true!

Worst: Jay Pharoah struck out again with the Denzel Washington thing, but it was closer to a legitimate sketch than his other attempts have been. And though it wasn't very funny and it completely fell apart at the end, it was at least a very good impression. I'd rather it have been funny than accurate (or, ideally, a mix of both, which is something you'd think would be obvious, but apparently isn't -- at least not to Lorne Michaels and the writers -- at this point), but I'm counting this sketch as a marked improvement in Pharaoh as a cast member.

Best: "Secret Word." Jane Lynch was hilarious, if a little overshadowed by Kristen Wiig, and the sketch as a whole had a preferable laughs to impatiently waiting for laughs ratio.

Worst: "Sunday Night Football" had a solid premise -- the Faith Hill interstitials are really annoying on those broadcasts -- but it fell into every SNL trap there is. It went on too long, was way repetitive and the writing was lazy and forgettable ("Quarterback Michael Vick/He used to fight dogs/But now he's sick" could have been written by anyone. Ditto the recipe for seven-layer dip).

Best: Suze Orman was hands down the best moment of the night. It's still one of the best things Kristen Wiig does, it had a cameo from Bill Hader, who I guess is only kind of on the show this season, and Jane Lynch brought it, as expected. She loves her husband very much, and you can ask anyone on her softball team. Or anybody in the Indigo Gulls. Or Meredith Quackster-Birney. Great sketch.

Your thoughts on the episode? Leave them in the comments!

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