‘SNL’ Recap: Kristen Wiig And Vampire Weekend

Senior Pop Culture Editor
05.12.13 65 Comments

It was no surprise to anyone who’s watched SNL over the past, oh, 30 years that last night’s all-around terrible episode was one big greatest hits album for a returning cast member, in this case Kristen Wiig, with Gilly, Target Lady, Garth and Kat, and the Californians all rolled out for our so-called amusement. It’s just a shame that rather than the Beatles’ 1, it was The Best of the Baha Men.

Wiig is a very funny performer and, even when she’s playing someone universally derided (or so I thought) like the Target Lady, her restrained excitement bursting out is impressive, but goddamn are her characters bad. I’m honestly wondering if this episode was one big phoned-in in-joke between the cast and writers, so they could take a week off and prepare for next week’s finale. That episode better be nothing short of perfect.

Pay attention to the background extras, with their dead eyes and cold smiles. They look the way I felt about this Cold Open. Was there a single Benghazi joke? It was sloppy, confusing, and shockingly unfunny.

After a cute, if shaky musical monologue came the forgettable 1-800-FLOWERS “mommy and me” commercial and then, of course, “The Californians.” I want this sketch to die in a car crash, right off Interstate 5 by way of…GAHHH. In 20 years, when an oral history of SNL‘s 2010-2020 decade is written, I will buy a copy of the book, just to read the chapters on “The Californians,” to find out who pushed this sketch so hard, where they live, and where can I buy a baseball bat to, um, take care of some business.

Aw Nuts! Mom’s a Ghost!? I’d watch that. Expertly put together, well acted, which is another, searching-for-positives way of saying, “Yeah, sure, it was fine, I guess.” This was a nice touch, courtesy of @Big_Heat_34:

I take it back: he looks the way I felt while watching this episode.

Dooneese is my “favorite” of Wiig’s many characters (I’m easily distracted by bubbles), so while I wasn’t dreading her inevitable appearance, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to it, either. Yup, she’s still ugly, still has tiny hands, still is fascinated by squirrels, still is all about the groping, still comes across as a weirdo to the male singer. One concept done eight different ways, beginning back in 2008, yet they’re all basically the same.

That high pitch was very unpleasant.

This was the part of the episode where I started to get cranky. It had become a parody of itself: with old character after old character shoved out onto the stage, not for our delight, but for the cast’s. No enjoyed Garth and Kat as much as Fred and Kristen, and while that’s normally fine, it was EVERY sketch.

See: everything I just said, but replace “Garth and Kat” with “Target Lady,” in all her shrieked glory.

Thank GOD. A new* idea…with a funny premise…done very well. Or maybe it sucked and I was just so happy to see something original, something that felt not exactly risque but uncomfortable (gushing blood EVERYWHERE), that anything not involving one of Wiig’s characters would feel like a masterpiece. But I wouldn’t know, because by 12:20 a.m., or whenever this sketch aired, I was desperate and “Acupuncture” hit the spot.

*Well, new-ish.

Don’t let “Diane Young,” Vampire Weekend’s first song, fool you — their new album, Modern Vampires of the City, is much closer in sound to this one, Unbelievers.” It’s very, very good, a review I didn’t think I’d say in this recap.

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