We really were excited for this week's Saturday Night Live: this was the first time Kristen Wiig has been back on the show since she left...a year ago. Even if it hadn't been that long, we had really started to miss her presence; she was one of the few breakout stars of recent years, and she showed she could headline a movie with Bridesmaids. But our enthusiasm was cruelly bludgeoned with godawful recurring sketches over the course of last night's disappointing episode.
It seems the team at SNL decided that they would just resurrect all of Wiig's most irritating characters instead of coming up with anything new—we had Target Lady, The Lawrence Welk Show, Garth and Kat, and even a surprise appearance from the dreaded Gilly. There may have been a time when a character like the small-handed Eunice Maharelle was funny, but these bits had been worn out years ago. They even threw The Californians into the mix—the ultimate SNL in-joke—because somebody hates us.
As if those sketches weren't bad enough, we also had possibly the worst cold open of a season filled with bad cold opens. Whatever they were trying to do by bringing in Jodi Aras and Ariel Castro for the C-SPAN Benghazi Hearing, it failed on every level. There was no rhythm to the jokes, there was no logic to the bit, there were no laughs to be found anywhere, and then it just ended.
But even if all that made us pray to Pluto for a quick death, there were some bright spots, especially with the pre-taped segments: the Mother's Day Flowers ad was the best of the night, wisely pairing Wiig with standout rookie Kate McKinnon for a perfectly passive-aggressive teamup. We enjoyed the "Aw Nuts! Mom’s A Ghost" bit, especially thanks to Cecily Strong and Bobby Moyniham's Disney channel acting. The Acupuncture Clinic was thoroughly bloody and a great late-in-the-show WTF moment.
Oh, the other highlight of the night: a ridiculously pregnant Maya Rudolph dancing her belly off in the monologue. Unfortunately, it's not on NBC, most likely due to song rights—but you can catch it here while you can.
So click through for those high and lowlights, as well as Anthony Crispino on Weekend Update, cougars on a date with sixth graders, and musical performances from Vampire Weekend. We still like Wiig—we just hope this is the death knell for all these terrible recurring characters. If (or more likely, when) she returns to the show again, can we get some new bits?