What Are The 7 Best Christina Applegate Performances, According To Fans?

Christina Applegate has proven time and time again that she is a force to be reckoned with in the entertainment industry. From her breakout role as Kelly Bundy on the hit sitcom “Married… with Children” to her recent portrayal of Jen Harding in the dark comedy series “Dead to Me,” Applegate has consistently delivered captivating performances that have left audiences in awe. In fact, she has had such an impact on the entertainment industry that she received a standing ovation at the 2024 Emmy Awards, where she presented despite her ongoing battle with multiple sclerosis. She was even awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2022 for her contributions to film, television, and theater. We ourselves are big fans of the actress as well, which is why we decided to delve further into some of the best Christina Applegate performances that have showcased her star power and longevity in the industry. Let us know if you have a favorite we missed in the comments!

The List: Best Christina Applegate Performances, Recommended By Experts

7. “Bad Moms” (2016)

Last but certainly not least on our list is “Bad Moms.” This film is iconic for many reasons, one of them being an R-rated female-led comedy (which is rare) and another being the absolutely star-studded list of ladies that make up this film. The core three “bad moms” consist of Kathryn Hahn, Kristen Bell, and Mila Kunis, “who decide to take some time off from their difficult lives and engage in life without responsibilities,” explains We Got This Covered. However, Applegate’s portrayal of the trio’s antagonist earn it a place on this list.

“Bad Moms” (2016)

“The Sweetest Thing” and “Vacation” come to mind as other adult comedies Applegate appeared in during the 2000s and 2010s, but it’s her role as former mean girl and head of the PTA Gwendolyn in “Bad Moms” that really stands out (Looper).

Movie Web notes the film’s great list of names, including a supporting cast of Jada Pinkett Smith and Annie Mumolo, who serve as Applegate’s posse. The film is a great watch for moms needing a good laugh and a break from their heavy responsibilities. It also serves as a reminder of the importance of self-care and strong female friendships. “Bad Moms” is currently available to stream on Hulu

6. “Friends” (1994-2004)

“Friends” is undeniably one of the greatest shows to come out of the ’90s and, honestly, one of the greatest comedy series of all time. The show is known for its lengthy list of guest stars, including Bruce Willis, Susan Sarandon, Reese Witherspoon, and, yes, Christina Applegate. Applegate played Amy, one of Rachel’s sisters, who is a “bit self-centered, to say the least, and has trouble remembering important facts about her sister’s life,” adds Screen Rant.

Applegate appeared during the show’s ninth and tenth seasons and “highlights include several wonderful back and fourths with Ross (‘Did I buy a falafel from you yesterday?’)” and her inability to remember Phoebe’s name (“That’s a funny noise”). “She’s a very simple, one-joke character, but Applegate exploits the indulgent spite marvelously,” writes What Culture.

Amy only appeared in two episodes of the series but left an undeniable mark on “Friends.” One of the episodes she appeared in was even one of the series’ iconic Thanksgiving episodes. Applegate was nominated twice for the Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Award, winning once in 2003, for her time on the show, notes We Got This Covered

5. “Samantha Who?” (2007 – 2009)

The short-lived but memorable “Samantha Who?” is next on our list! The story follows Applegate as she stars as a vice president of a real estate company who gets hit by a car and develops amnesia. Samantha has to figure out her “new-old” life and try to recover her old memories (Screen Rant).

“Samantha Who?” (2007-2009)

However, there is always a catch. Along her journey of self-discovery, Samantha realizes the person she was before was less than stellar; one would even say selfish and unlikeable. “Now she’s setting out to find out who she really is” and change her life for the better, adds Movie Web. This includes making amends, being kinder, and reconnecting with her parents.

“Samantha Who?” aired for just two seasons, but the acclaim Applegate received for the role was lengthy, even “earning nominations for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series at the Emmys, and Best Actress nominations at the Golden Globes,” notes We Got This Covered. Applegate even went on to win the People’s Choice Award in 2008 for her portrayal. For those who may have missed this hidden gem, it can be streamed for free on ABC

4. “Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy” (2004)

The first “Anchorman” film earns the next spot on today’s list. The movie follows Will Ferrell’s Ron Burgundy, who works as an anchorman at the male-dominated Channel 4 news. However, Christina Applegate’s appearance as Veronica Corningstone provides the conflict for our story. “Ron becomes increasingly resentful of Veronica’s success, beginning a fierce rivalry between the two,” explains Through The Clutter.

"Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy" (2004)
“Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy” (2004)

Taking place in the colorful 1970s, this comedy, directed by Adam McKay, is a “laugh-out-loud film” that “showcases an ensemble cast” including the incomparable Paul Rudd, Kathryn Hahn, and Steve Carelladds Ranker. The film is a hilarious and satirical comedy that takes a comedic look at the world of broadcast journalism and gender inequality in the workplace. 

Movie Web goes on to describe the film as even “tongue-in-cheek” in its take on sexism and gender politics, which are still prevalent today as it applies to the lack of female representation in specific business roles. However, wrapped up with its groovy aesthetic and laundry list of comedic actors, you get yourself a pretty memorable comedy film. Plus, who can get the vision of Applegate insulting Ferrell with a “you look like a blueberry” out of their minds? 

3. “Married… With Children” (1987 – 1997)

The next performance on our list is the one that made Applegate a star, that of Kelly Bundy on “Married… With Children.” Her character is described as “a dim bulb who loves easy fame, rock and roll, and boys,” says Looper. With many big personalities in the Bundy house, it would be easy to get lost among the crowd. Applegate stood out, and her career that followed is a true testament to her work here. 

“Married… With Children” (1987 – 1997)

Screen Rant describes the show as being the opposite of a “quintessential” family sitcom. As the head of the house, Al, portrayed by Ed O’Neill, is everything but a loving husband to his bon-bon-eating wife Peggy (Katey Sagal), who would rather watch TV and serve toaster “leave-ins” than make a meal. The family is of course rounded out by two children “who are not exactly what every parent dreams of raising,” Kelly and Bud (David Faustino). 

We Got This Covered calls the series one of the “longest-running sitcoms ever,” with 11 seasons under its belt. The show, which follows the anti-“Leave It To Beaver” Bundy’s, has more than 250 episodes navigating life as a low-income family in Chicago. In real life, the stars have seemingly remained tight-knit since the show’s ending. With Applegate guest starring on Faustinio’s show “Star-ving” and Sagal appearing in the final season of “Dead To Me.” Members of the on-screen family even reunited for Appelgate’s Hollywood Walk Of Fame ceremony, with her star placed adjacent to Sagal and O’Neill’s. 

2. “Dead To Me” (2019 – 2022)

Next on our list is a more recent Applegate performance in Netflix’s “Dead To Me. ” The show follows the story of two women who form a strong bond after meeting in a group for those who need help managing their grief. “Both attended said support group because they’ve both just suffered traumatic losses,” notes Screen Rant. How their losses are connected is what makes for a major plot twist early on.

Applegate plays the role of Jen Harding opposite Linda Cradellinis’ Judy Hale in the three seasons of this dark comedy. The show follows as the duo gets closer and becomes more vulnerable, adds We Got This Covered, to the point that secrets between the two begin to unravel.

Both actresses received endless praise and accolades for their performances, and for good reason. The show, created by Liz Feldman, had no lack of material for the two to work with, “There’s comedy, moments of intense sadness, moments that warm your heart, and loads of drama,” writes Movie Web. The pair alongside James Marsden all stepped up to the plate!

1. “Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead” (1991)

If “Married… With Children” solidified Christina Applegate’s status as a TV starlet, then “Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead” solidified her place in film. The actress stars as 17-year-old Sue Ellen “Swell” Crandell, who is left with a cranky babysitter while her mother vacations in Australia. “Swell looks forward to a liberating summer,” says Collider, until the elderly babysitter croaks, leaving Sue Ellen in charge of her four siblings

“Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead” (1991)

Not wanting to alert their mother to the risk of her coming home and ruining their summer, Swell masquerades as a grown woman with a fake resume to boot and “must juggle keeping her siblings in check and holding a fashion job to keep them afloat financially,” says Ranker. The movie is a wild rollercoaster from start to finish but showcases a coming-of-age story for the history books as we watch Sue Ellen grow into a mature young lady throughout the process. 

“Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead” features tons of memorable moments, including Swell’s budding romance with Clown Dog delivery driver Josh Charles. Looper also notes that “Applegate gets to play a role that requires serious moments and character growth,” a departure from her portrayal at the time of Kelly Bundy. The film is definitely a must-watch and can be viewed now, streaming on Hulu!

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About the Author

Jilly Hite

New York raised and Florida-based Jilly Hite studied screenwriting and theatre at The Lee Strasberg Institute before becoming a full time content creator and podcaster. She loves old movies, musical theatre, and her pup Ted.

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