Given that this season's best episode (to date) — Jimmy Fallon's — involved a former cast member returning as host, it stands to reason that Maya Rudolph's guest-host début would be a special treat for the audience. In fact, Rudolph's episode was so full of pleasures that, for the first time this season, I can't even name any sketches that were "worst"s: Instead, we got a bunch of "best"s and one "so-so." (Oh: And a whole bunch of sketches you already read about in this week's Sketch Predictor.)
Best Recurring Characters:
As I predicted (and Rudolph confirmed — and I swear I had already filed the Sketch Predictor before that episode of Late Night aired!), Amy Poehler returned to the show so that she and Rudolph could reprise Bronx Beat. Stay to the end for the sketch's bonus cameo.
Second-Best Recurring Characters:
It's been a good long while since Fred Armisen's Prince and Rudolph's Beyoncé appeared together in a sketch, but given that Rudolph's return coincided with the birth of Beyoncé's first baby, their reunion last night was both perfect, and predicted (by me) (as was an appearance by Nicki Minaj).
Best Contraception-Opponents Takedown:
Last week was a busy one for politicians and activists determined to send reproductive rights in this country back to the…I don't even know what decade would make them happy. 1790s? Anyway, if the Congressional hearing on women's health that featured exactly zero women had you shrieking "Really?!," the revival of "Really?! With Seth And Amy" will be particularly satisfying.
Best Sitcom Parody:
Though I predicted that Armisen and Rudolph would play the President and First Lady, I never could have anticipated this brilliant take on their relationship, envisioning their life in the White House with The Cosby Show. We'll be seeing this sketch in "Best Of" specials for decades to come.
If Rudolph's bawdy opening-monologue song, recounting her libidinous habits during her time in the cast, seemed strangely familiar, you're not crazy: It's a retread of a song she and Fey performed together in the monologue last year, when both were pregnant. Last night's version — which was fine, if familiar — has not been posted online.
PS: One more sketch that I had predicted: Sportscasters making a million puns about Jeremy Lin.