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What a Difference a Week Makes on the Elizabeth Banks' Hosted 'SNL'

By Dustin Rowles | Saturday Night Live | November 15, 2015 |

By Dustin Rowles | Saturday Night Live | November 15, 2015 |

A week after Donald Trump hosted SNL one of the lowest points in the show’s history, it rebounded very nicely with host Elizabeth Banks. It was not a show for the ages, but it was a solid one, consistently funny and likable throughout, successfully ridding us of the sour taste left by last week’s ep.

Cold Open — This week’s cold open was Cecily Strong saying some kind words in English and French in support of France in the wake of Friday night’s attacks. It was thoughtful and classy, and the exact way to open the show.

Elizabeth Banks — Now that she’s also a director (she directed Pitch Perfect 2), Banks “directs” her opening musical number. Not a great voice on her, but it’s a sketch that’s hard not to smile through. Banks is ingratiating, and you can never go wrong with more star wipes. (Score: 7/10)

ARONS List — A commercial for plumbers who work cheap … because they’re on the list of non-violent sex offenders. Meh. (Score: 4/10)

Black Jeopardy — What happens when a clueless white woman ends up in a game of “Black Jeopardy”? It’s not comedy gold, but it’s pretty goddamn funny. (Score: 6.5/10)

First Got Horny 2 U — The Ladies rub out another great musical number, this one about their first masturbation experiences. It involves a lot of Tiger Beat, couch humping, shower heads, and a reference to Dinosaurs. (Score: 8/10)

Abstract Art TheaterSNL hasn’t seen a lot by way of recurring sketches in the last few years, and I’m not sure this is the one I’d choose to recur, but either it’s getting better, I’m in a better mood, Elizabeth Banks makes me like things more, or it’s gotten so absurd that it’s started to work, because I absolutely did not hate it. (Score: 6/10)

Weekend Update — Love that Colin Jost’s very first joke was at Donald Trump’s expense, one week after Trump hosted. Again, “Update” continues to improve as Jost and Che’s chemistry continues to improve, although Che’s jokes at the expense of Jost’s whiteness are sometimes harsh, right? (Score: 8.5/10)

Resident Young Person — Pete Davidson discusses how the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance didn’t pass because of the fear men would pose as trans women in order to use the women’s bathroom. (Score: 7/10)

Bruce Chandling — Go away Kyle Mooney, You’re killing an otherwise great “Weekend Update.” (Score: 2/10)

Olya Pavlovsky — Olya covers the blood-doping scandal involving Russian Olympic athletes. It’s mediocre, redeemed somewhat by a tasteless dead-baby joke. (Score: 5/10)

The Adventures of Young Ben Carson — Jay Pharoah does a mean Ben Carson impression in this sketch mocking Caron’s beliefs, and they add extra absurdity to the sketch by including actual Ben Carson quotes. (Score: 4/10)

The Bureau — A guy wins a walk-on role on a TV show and doesn’t realize until he shows up that his character is a serial-killing child pedophile. Heh. (Score: 5/10)

Uber Short Film — A short film from Mike O’Brien is better than a short film by Kyle Mooney (and this one was quietly amusing). (Score: 6/10)

So Ghetto — What happens when a bunch of upper class women who hyperbolically use the phrase “that’s so ghetto” confront a woman who actually lives in the ghetto? Well done. (Score: 7/10)

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.