The 38th season of SNL is drawing to a close, and the show is bringing out the big guns to close out what has been, overall, a pretty darn good year for the TV and comedy institution. It was Zach Galifianakis hosting last week, and now Kristen Wiig, one of the show’s great modern cast members, steps back up to the plate in the season’s penultimate episode. At worst, this is going to be a solid week, right?
Oh boy. Let’s get to it:
Cold Open: Benghazi Hearings
Here’s how poorly this went: I legitimately think Bill Hader might have said “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!” like two minutes before this sketch was planned to end, just to stop the suffering. I mean…wow. It’s UNBELIEVABLE that this made it to air, much less as the cold open. Calling this a “catastrophic” start might not be stating it strongly enough. (Rating: 0.0/10)
Kristen Wiig Monologue
Ok, so after that mess of a cold open, the presence of Kristen Wiig makes everything better. She’s singing a version of “I’m So Excited” and touring around the studio, acting like she still remembers everything when she really doesn’t. A Jonah Hill/very pregnantMaya Rudolph cameo works, a Gilly cameo does not, but overall it’s a fun monologue. (Rating: 6.5)
Kate McKinnon plays Kristen Wiig’s mom and she’s doing annoying mom things. I enjoyed this quite a bit. We’re rolling, baby! (Rating: 7.5)
NOOOOO WHYYYYY??? Somehow ‘The Californians’ is back for another go, even though it wore out its welcome like 6 months ago. At this point, only Bill Hader’s insane line readings are worth noting. Everything else is…well…not good. (Rating: 2.0)
Aw Nuts! Mom’s a Ghost
Pre-recorded bit with Kristen Wiig as a ‘The Ring’-style ghost lady starring as the mom on a Disney Channel show. Lots of great sight gags and horror movie homages follow, and this got multiple laughs out of me. Really good! (Rating: 8.0)
The Lawrence Welk Show
We all knew it was coming, and this is a pretty standard, suitably creepy rendition of this formerly recurring sketch. I have to say though, after the legendary rendition of this sketch with Jon Hamm, I found myself really missing him this time around. (Rating: 5.5)
Vampire Weekend: It’s been a somewhat rocky start, so fresh-faced Vampire Weekend are here to cheer everyone up. I definitely don’t “get” Vampire Weekend the way others do, but they’re pleasant enough.
Not the best Seth Myers material this week, or guests for that matter. Anthony Crispino, probably Bobby Moynihan’s worst recurring character, stops by to deliver some second-hand news. The voice getting higher bit at the end was cute, but not much else went on. Then Wiig and Fred Armisen reprise their Garth & Kat characters to sing some more songs that they’re pretending they prepared in advance. What’s funny about these characters is that they’re obnoxious, but then in about minute three they stop being funny and just become for-real obnoxious. This Weekend Update really felt like it dragged. (Rating: 4.5)
Another sketch that we knew was coming, and one that wore out its welcome last season. You know, going in to this week I probably should have remembered that I was tired with pretty much all of Wiig’s recurring characters by the time she left. Why did I forget this? Anyway, there’s a good line near the end about placing cut-outs of models eyes from magazines over her eyes while she sleeps, but that’s about it. (Rating: 4.5)
I mean…do we really need to talk about this? WHY SNL, WHY! WHAT COULD POSSIBLY COMPEL YOU TO DO THIS?! WHY ARE YOU TROLLING YOUR AUDIENCE?!(Rating: 0.0)
Vampire Weekend: SAVE US, VAMPIRE WEEKEND! PLAY ANYTHING! PLAY FOR THE REST OF THE SHOW FOR ALL I CARE!
Tim Robinson and Bobby Moynihan play children who are at a restaurant on a date with grown women Kristen Wiig and Cecily Strong. Despite the weird premise, this is genuinely funny, with WONDERFUL performances from Wiig and Robinson in particular. The live sketches have completely struck out to this point, so to say this was much-needed would be an understatement. Finish strong, SNL! (Rating: 8.5)
Classy Sexy Elegance
Hey, it’s a parody of all the reality show divas who come out with albums. You know…those women? At least the premise is explained up front so I know what I’m watching. And actually, this isn’t half bad. It didn’t make me laugh, but at least it didn’t make me want to vomit (LOOKING AT YOU, ACUPUNCTURE). (Rating: 6.5)
Overall Rating: 2.5
All I can say is thank goodness for Daniel Craig, because I’d hate for someone as likable as Kristen Wiig to be involved with the worst SNL of the season. She’ll settle for second worst. Tonight wasn’t entirely unredeemable – “Mom’s a Ghost!” and “Eddy’s” were very funny sketches – but the good was overshadowed by the impossibly bad cold open and ‘Acupuncture’. You know it’s a bad week when ‘The Californians’ barely cracks the bottom-3. Here’s hoping for a better finale next week (which is already guaranteed because KANYE, BABY!).