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From 'Mad' to bad? January Jones' 'SNL' debut meets tough reviews

MSN Entertainment

Reviews of this week's episode of "Saturday Night Live" poured in early Sunday--and they were not as pretty as host January Jones.

That said, this week's "SNL" had its moments, especially for "Mad Men" fans, who were treated to a tongue-in-cheek look at what Jones has to deal with as a result of the show's popularity.

Superfans: Will Betty end up with Henry? Get the latest "Mad Men" dirt

A cluster of superfans who called themselves "Mad Mennies" appeared as Jones began to deliver her monologue, and proceeded to pester her like a pack of pre-teen girls nipping at the heels of a "Twilight" star.

"We even have a drinking game," yelped one Mad Menny, explaining that they take a gulp of booze whenever someone on the show does. Another quickly clarified that they can never get through a whole episode because they're always blacking out.

Reviewers across the board seemed to find that things went downhill after that.

"From the season's best edition to the season's worst in the space of a week," wrote Entertainment Weekly's Ken Tucker, contrasting it with last week's surprisingly hilarious performance by country diva Taylor Swift.

More: Watch the full episode of Taylor Swift's 'SNL' debut

Pointing to problems like gas humor and a theme of homophobic jokes, EW suggested that the writing didn't help Jones' cold, Betty Draper-like delivery.

"Jones seemed stiff during the monologue," the Wall Street Journal complained, "and she didn't seem to be a natural comic, or even a graceful straight woman, which left her as a spectator during most of her skits even when she was supposed to be the focus."

The writers predictably leaned on Jones' back-in-time vibe, running a spoof of the Hitchcock film, "Rear Window" in which her perfect blond coif mirrored Grace Kelly's but the "rear" in the title took on a whole new meaning.

Another sketch poked fun at old standards about how women were expected to conduct themselves while hosting a party, and managed to draw more laughs than the puerile gas attack humor did.

Later, musical guests the Black Eyed Peas literally punched up one of the skits.

During a lambast of the "fourth hour of the Today show" and Kathie Lee Gifford, the Peas got tired of waiting around backstage to appear as guests and finally came out to beat the daylights out of Kristen Wiig's Gifford.

Meanwhile, the recently fired Michaela Watkins was noteably absent in her former Hoda role, replaced this week by Jenny Slate.

Jones is the second "Mad Men" star to take a stab at hosting the long-running sketch comedy show, following in the footsteps of her on-screen husband, Jon Hamm.

But as the Wall Street Journal aptly notes: Elisabeth Moss, who plays the career-minded Peggy on "Mad Men" and recently married "SNL" veteran Fred Armisen, could probably handle the burden of hosting with the same aplomb that her character handles Sterling Cooper's creative department.

Photos: January Jones as Betty Draper and more | The Black Eyed Peas