Kristen Wiig comes home for a ‘Saturday Night Live’ Christmas

Saturday Night Live
Kristen Wiig & Dua Lipa
December 19, 2020

Kristen Wiig, one of Saturday Night Live‘s most successful female cast members, returned home for the annual Christmas episode. (And I had it in my head for some reason that it’s a tradition for a former cast member to host this particular episode. But going back 20 seasons, I learned it’s only happened a handful of times: Jimmy Fallon has hosted this episode twice; Tina Fey and Amy Poehler co-hosted one year; Eddie Murphy hosted this episode last year; and Martin Short hosted this episode a few years back — and that’s it. And now you know this worthless trivia, too.)

BUT AS I WAS SAYING: Wiig returned and was her Wiig-y self: funny, wacky, and game, clearly enjoying herself and the material. Which is why I’m sort of baffled as to why after the grading was done the episode ended up with such a relatively low grade. I don’t remember disliking this episode, but I suppose if you include enough mediocre material, it drags the entire average down.

The last cold open of this God-forsaken year is about Vice President Frozen Yogurt receiving his vaccine, and it’s the same mixed bag of “Mother” and Mike-Pence-is-a-closeted-homosexual jokes that they’ve been giving us for four years. More interesting, Jim Carrey and his obnoxious mugging are officially out as Joe Biden, and Alex Moffat is in. I admit, Carrey looked more like Biden, and Moffat isn’t doing anything particularly memorable here (Sudeikis will always be the platonic Biden for me) but at least a cast member has been assigned the role and we won’t have to deal with insufferable celebrity cameos for the next four years. THAT SAID: Maya Rudolph is always welcome back as Kamala. In fact, if we could just add her back to the cast full-time, that’d be great.

Grade: B

Our host, Kristen Wiig, with the help of Maya and Kate McKinnon, sings a nonsense version of “My Favorite Things.” I’m not angry, the lyrics are kinda funny, but boy, do I hate the singing monologues.

Grade: B

Wiig revives two of her recurring characters in tonight’s episode. First up: Mindy Grayson, the overdramatic 1950s actress who appears on the game show Secret Word, and always just blurts out the secret word. Kate McKinnon does some heavy lifting as an aloof European actress Elka Legerdi, who does not understand the game at all. It’s fine, as this sketch is always just fine, and it works one particularly naughty joke in there. 

Grade: B+

In this “Christmas Morning” rap, a family celebrates all the awesome gifts they received and how Mom got a robe. That’s it, just a robe. And I’m not saying that this is the best sketch of the night because as a mother I identify with this sketch — my family has always been very generous with me — I’m saying this is the best sketch of the night because it is truth. Also, you still have time to return that robe you bought for your mom and get her something different.

Grade: A++

In this sketch, Kristen Wiig’s 1940’s military nurse gives a U.S.O. performance with a soldier, played by Bowen Yang. The song is inappropriately racy, and Wiig and Yang gender swap the song roles, which confuses the audience. Also, Dua Lipa is involved. I had to look up the lyrics to see if this was a real song and maybe I was just missing out on some context, but nope! This is it. This is the entire joke.

Grade: C+

So, there’s this Hulu miniseries called A Teacher, in which Kate Mara plays a high school teacher who has an affair with one of her students. In this imagined sequel, Ego Nwodim plays a teacher who does not have time for one of her students trying to seduce her. “You’re pulling a C- in my class. That’s not hot for me. You can barely read.” Fantastic.

Grade: A

Recently, Piers Morgan had to deny that he’s the Pigeon Lady in Home Alone 2, which … color me unconvinced:

Anyway, I am thinking this was the inspiration for this sketch in which the Home Alone 2 Pigeon Lady becomes SUPER VIOLENT towards the wet bandits after they threaten to take Kevin’s credit card. See, it’s funny because this sort of violence is inappropriate for a kid’s film. 

Grade: C+

“Weekend Update” is solid this week: to celebrate the last “Weekend Update” with Donald Trump as president (just 31 more days, guys), they create a “greatest moments in office” montage and it’s … it’s really something. It’s been a hell of a four years, y’all, but we’re almost there. We’re almost to the finish line.

“Update” closes with Che and Jost doing their annual joke exchange, and the Scarlett Johannson joke … ~chef’s kiss~ Merry Christmas! Your marriage is over!

Grade: A+

To get this next sketch, you need to watch this unintentionally hilarious — and somehow very sweet? — Smokey Robinson Cameo video a son bought for his father for Chanukah:

Smokey then shows up to the “Weekend Update” desk to reveal he just now learned about Jewish people, complete with plenty of other mispronunciations. “Enjoy some latch-keys and monster ball soup.”

Grade: A-

Kenan Thompson’s Che’s neighbor Willie is back to talk about COVID and the vaccine, and despite his optimistic attitude, things get REALLY dark.

Grade: A-

Finally, Heidi Gardner is Instagram influencer Landis Trotter who comes to the desk with her holiday gift guide, and it’s all sponsored ads. Easily the weakest bit of the entire segment.

Grade: C+

I’m going to post something here that you are never going to be able to unsee, and I AM SORRY. But to understand the next sketch, I think you have to know that this is a thing that has been floating around on the internet for three weeks now.

“And for the record this is common among women.”


Yeah, so, I’m pretty sure this is what inspired this sketch in which some Whoville residents had a three-way with The Grinch — at least I hope it was and this wasn’t somehow independently manifested in the universe. If that’s the case, we are all fucking doomed.

Grade: C

The second of Kristen Wiig’s recurring characters to make an appearance last night was Sue, the Surprise Lady who can’t contain her enthusiasm for surprises, and wackiness ensues. Look, it’s a one-note character, but at least it’s not Gilly.

Grade: B

Cut for time was this “Middle-Aged Ninja Turtles, Ep. 2” animated sketch which is just so wonderfully melancholy. I wish I could include it in the grade, because it would have upped the average.

Final Grade: B-.

Saturday Night Live airs at 10:30/11:30 p.m. Saturdays on NBC.

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