Kristen Wiig was back on “Saturday Night Live” this week, returning as host for the first time since her departure at the end of last season. There wasn’t much new on the show, as Wiig brought back many of her trademark characters back for a show that could have been labeled an “Almost Best-of-Kristen Wiig” special. This week’s version of the Internet was loaded with posts offering various “Top 10″ Kristen Wiig characters and sketches.
The pull to revive many of them this week was obviously irresistible. That also dulled much of what we saw.
Among the many notable Wiig characters who returned for this week’s show were “Gilly,” “The Target Lady” (above) and the female portion of “Garth and Kat.” Wiig is a remarkable talent and was perhaps the funniest comedienne on TV this side of Carol Burnett (Kids, ask your Mom today at dinner about Burnett or check out her legacy on You Tube.) Wiig’s comedic big-screen potential is limitless if her incredibly hilarious “Bridesmaids” is any indication of future performance. That movie grossed more than $169 million, making it by far the most-successful R-rated female comedy of all time.
It was clearly an emotional return to the SNL stage for Wiig. Unfortunately, there were not nearly as many laughs as one might have expected, especially with the return of the flat-out funniest female cast member in the history of the show. Tina Fey was a better writer for sure, but became too much of a one-trick Sarah Palin pony in the end. Wiig’s diversity on the character front gives her the long-term edge.
Things began with an abysmal cold-opening that tried to get laughs with convicted killer Jodi Arias and accused rapist and kidnapper Ariel Castro as last-minute guests at the Benghazi hearings. Missed the humor in the deaths of four American heroes in Libya – no matter one’s political views are. Perhaps the SNL writers will come back with some Sandy Hook or Boston Marathon bombing jokes next week.
Wiig’s monologue turned into a snappy dance number that featured a cameo of Jonah Hill making out in a closet with a very pregnant Maya Rudolph, who co-starred with Wiig in “Bridesmaids.” Even “Gilly” herself showed up live on tape talking to producer Lorne Michaels.
Here are some of the clips worth watching:
A 1-800-FLOWERS spot that featured a frustrated daughter (Wiig) buying her meddling mom (the always-funny Kate McKinnon) some Mother’s Day flowers hit close to home on multiple fronts.
A Disney Channel show where mom becomes a “Korean Water Ghost” called “Aw, Nuts, Mom’s a Ghost,” scored points for creativity and produced this GIF from SNL’s Tumblr page:
Unfortunately, we were brutalized with another episode of “The Californians” early in the show. This regular-sketch might have been funny in the 1980s, but since daily and weekly soap operas have gone the way of afternoon newspapers, this one might be better off as a “web-exclusive.” The acting talent continues to be wasted on a sketch that appears to be more of a time-filler than anything else. The only laughs came when the cast members failed to keep it together.
The singing Merrell Sisters, featuring Wiig’s Dooneese, returned to the “Lawrence Welk” show. Wiig’s man-hungry antics still brought home plenty of laughs. While Welk’s show peaked about 30 years ago, this skit has the staying power “The Californians” lost somewhere deep inside the San Andreas Fault.
Post 12:30, Jason Sudeikis‘ acupuncture session turned into an impromptu blood-letting that allowed Wiig, Aidy Bryant and McKinnon offer a dark interpretation of Lucy and Ethel’s candy-assembly line sketch with a gruesomely funny twist. The blood kept coming and they could do nothing to stop it. (Kids, you can ask your Grandmother about Lucy and Ethel today at dinner, as well.)
Wiig and Cecily Strong played a pair of boozy, somewhat-desperate cougars out on a date with a pair of sixth-grade boys, Tyler and Drew (Tim Robinson and Bobby Moynihan). While the girls ordered drinks, the boys ordered “noodles with a lot of butter.” Funny and not nearly as gross as it could have been.
Seth Meyers didn’t disappoint during “Weekend Update.” While remarking on a report that said Finland is the best place to be a mother, he deadpanned that high school is the worst. And citing another study this week that said three children is the most stressful number when it comes to having children. Meyers remarked, “especially if you had four when you got to the mall.” Singers “Garth and Kat’ returned and once again failed to produce anything in tune.
Ben Affleck hosts next week’s season-finale with musical guest Kanye West.