It's almost like Kristen Wiig never left "Saturday Night Live." As she said in her opening monologue, she only departed the show "eleven months and thirty days ago."
Wiig exhibited the same charming kookiness and playfulness that made her a star on "SNL." Her chemistry with the cast members was every bit as easy and electric as it had been a year ago.
The problem? Wiig has proven she's capable for bigger and better (and far funnier) things than the rehashed jokes and lifeless sketches that "SNL" gave her last night. She's evolved in her comedy; "SNL" has not.
When she reprised her most memorable characters, including Gilly and the Target Lady," it wasn't exciting to see them again -- it just felt stale. And that's been the refrain for "SNL" all season long: There are no new ideas.
Take her monologue, which mashed up every monologue staple there is: a song, a backstage tour, and cameos (by Maya Rudolph and Jonah Hill). Instead of making us go "ooh!", we were more like, "Ehh."
Here's what we thought of the rest of Wiig's sketches from this week's "SNL":
Is it a coincidence that Wiig's best sketch was the one that reminded us most of her character in "Bridesmaids"? Plus, the pre-taped segment has been one of the (maybe the only) things "SNL" has done well this season. Wiig was the frustrated daughter of Kate McKinnon's annoying mom -- you know, the kind that demands to know if there are nuts in her eggs Benedict and can't find her debit card. Oh mom, gotta love/hate you!
"SNL" doesn't often do just straight-up slapstick or gross-out humor, so this bloody spectacle was an unexpected delight. Wiig and Aidy Bryant (who is great and needs to be on the show more) were just perfect in their silent, scared panic at dealing with the blood squirting out of Jason Sudeikis' back. Maybe it was too gross for some, but we loved it.
Worst: "Double Date"
Maybe it's just us -- are we the only ones who don't find situations where middle-aged adults are hitting on teenagers super, uncomfortably creepy? We also hated a similar sketch in Vince Vaughn's episode. It's just icky. "SNL," please stop.
Why, Oh, Why?: "The Californians"
We. Do. Not. Get. It. Why … why … why does this sketch keep recurring? It wasn't really funny the first time; the 712th time is just excruciating. And yet the cast seems to have such a blast doing it. Why?!?!
Best Wiig Character Return: Dooneese in "The Lawrence Welk Show"
We've always had a soft spot for Wiig's weirdo sister, with her baby hands and hair-raising smile. Dooneese dementedly popping bubbles was one of the evening's highlights.
Worst Wiig Character Return: The Target Lady
Everything old is merely old again. Unlike Dooneese, who's meant to merely be silly and strange, the Target Lady's shtick is too specific to feel fresh anymore. And the writers haven't given her anything new to do. At all. It's the same old Target Lady, same old sketch. It feels like it could've been taped last season when Wiig was still on the show and played this week.
Also Good: "Aw Nuts! Mom's a Ghost"
Again, "SNL" shows it can do pre-taped bits well. Is it because they have more time to tinker with the lines or performances? This was a pretty funny take on those effervescent Disney Channel shows, except with Wiig's mom as a "Ring"-like Korean water ghost. When she climbs out of the TV set, the kids don't scream -- they just complain about her being in their way.
Worse Than Usual: "Cold Open: CSPAN Benghazi Hearing"We don't expect much from cold opens anyway, especially if they're current events-based, but this one was even less funny and more confusing than usual. They bring in convicted murderer Jodi Arias to boost media attention, but she says basically two words and leaves. Did they even try to do a single joke here? If they're going to give up on cold opens, why not put a regular sketch in its place? Or one of the much-funnier pre-taped segments?
"Saturday Night Live" airs Saturdays at 11:35 PM on NBC.
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- Kristen Wiig