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SUNDAY MORNING LIVE: Is It Really Possible That Kristen Wiig's 'SNL' Return Was a Letdown?

Welcome to Edition No. 20 of Sunday Morning Live, Popculturology's look at the latest episode of Saturday Night Live. All of your questions about the Kristen Wiig-hosted episode will be answered after the jump.

How'd Kristen Wiig do?

Um, guys, this is going to be awkward to say, and I know it's going to hurt some feelings, but here goes: Kristen Wiig's return to SNL was pretty mediocre. Look, I was as excited as you were at the idea of Wiig coming back to host the show. For years, she was centerpiece of SNL. Sketches were built around her. She was the go-to female talent. She got a lavish farewell when she left at the end of last season. All logic said that Wiig would be a great host.

The problem with Wiig, though — and this was a problem while she was on the show too — is that a lot of her sketches are more fun for the SNL cast to perform than they are for audiences to watch. The Californians? Wiig, Bill Hader and Fred Armisen do everything they can to crack each other up, but at home, this sketch is the same thing every single time. Garth and Kat? Wiig and Armisen obviously adore this sketch, but it stopped being funny after the first go-round. Luckily SNL used Gilly as a throwaway joke during the monologue or else we would have had to been subjected to that again. While Wiig was on SNL, the show stopped trying to find new characters for her, instead choosing to grind her established characters into the ground. Except for The Two A-Holes. It's a shame SNL stopped doing that sketch.

For her monologue, Wiig took us on a tour of the SNL studios (something that Jimmy Fallon did when he hosted), with the joke being that Wiig no longer remembered where anything was or anyone's names. Speaking of Fallon, when he Fallon hosted SNL last season, we saw what it looked like when one of the show's legends returned. Fallon proved that he was the new godfather of SNL (after Lorne Michaels, that is) as he managed to get a ton of former castmembers to come back for cameos. Wiig was only able to draw an extremely pregnant Maya Rudolph back for her episode. (Because Wiig's monologue song was a parody of I'm So Excited, NBC doesn't have the rights to put it online.)

What were the best sketches of the night?

To prove my point about Wiig's popular sketches being more fun for the cast than the audience, the best sketches of the night weren't sketches that Wiig had done before, they were sketches that were introduced for this episode. Unfortunately, SNL slotted these sketches at the end of the episode.

Prior to this, I can't remember a good physical humor sketch from this season of SNL. I thought we would get one when Melissa McCarthy hosted, but that episode kind of disappointed too. Watching Wiig, Aidy Bryant and Kate McKinnon try to deal with the blood spewing from Jason Sudeikis' back was the highlight of this episode. Kudos to whoever created that fake back.

This sketch just oozed awkwardness. The concept of Wiig and Cecily Strong playing adult women on a date with sixth graders played by Tim Robinson and Bobby Moynihan had so much potential. I only wish SNL could figure out how to stick the landings with these sketches. All too often this season, we've watched as sketches with promise fizzle out at the end.

If Seth Meyers winds up leaving SNL to host Late Night, Moynihan is going to be one of the names tossed around as the next Weekend Update host (possibly with Strong). He would be great at it, but if Moynihan became the Update host, the show would lose a ton of great characters. No more second-hand news, no more Guy Fieri, no more Drunk Uncle.

So what classic Kristen Wiig sketches returned for this episode?

Everyone loves Target Lady, right? Why did SNL air it so late into the episode then? Wiig's enthusiasm for the character was on display when she hopped over the checkout counter and yelled, "Take your cash drawer, and get the eff out of here." I was shocked to hear that Keenan Thompson's Target Lady character had switched his allegiance to Kohl's. What happened to shopping at Wal-Marts?

I've talked to people from California, and they have no idea where the concept for The Californians came from. It's basically just an excuse for the cast to use the weirdest accents possible, pronouncing words in ways that crack everyone up. Half of what Armisen said wasn't even real words.

Was it just me or was it odd to have The Lawrence Welk Show in the middle of an episode of SNL? I can't remember a time when this sketch aired as anything other than the cold open. It actually slowed the episode down in the middle. The visual of Wiig's high forehead and tiny hands is still funny, but after Jon Hamm's cameo in the last edition of The Lawrence Welk Show, going back to Sudeikis was deflating.

Garth and Kat is the prime example of Wiig sketches that are more inside jokes than anything else. Wiig and Armisen have great chemistry, and they clearly love performing as Garth and Kat, but it was a buzzkill when Meyers introduced them. We couldn't have gotten Judy Grimes instead? Just kidding. No wait, I'm just kidding about just kidding.

How about Pseudo Digital Shorts or commercials?

The reference may be a few years old, but I enjoyed Aw, Nuts! Mom's a Ghost, the Disney Channel series about two kids and their mom who was drowned and turned into a Korean water ghost. Strong and Moynihan were again paired up for this sketch, making me think SNL could be further test running the duo as future Weekend Update hosts.

Mom's say silly things and can be inappropriate at times. Symbol crash.

Anything else? Did any sketches really not work?

For the second week in a row, SNL couldn't figure out how to touch on the political news of the week. Like last week when the show just lumped everything together in a Fox and Friends sketch, SNL used a Benghazi hearings sketch to check off the hearings, Darrell Issa, Jodi Arias and Ariel Castro. Also, not sure if was supposed to be part of the joke, but everyone but Issa's name tags were wrong.

One, is Strong reusing her Swarovski Crystals/former pornstar wig for this sketch? And two, why you gotta pick on Craig T. Nelson, SNL?

What's next?

SNL is back on May 18 with Ben Affleck hosting and Kanye West as the musical guest.

Previous editions of Sunday Morning Live

May 5, 2013: Zach Galifianakis
April 14, 2013: Vince Vaughn
April 7, 2013: Melissa McCarthy
March 10, 2013: Justin Timberlake
March 3, 2013: Kevin Hart
Feb. 17, 2013: Christoph Waltz
Feb. 10, 2013: Justin Bieber
Jan. 27, 2013: Adam Levine
Jan. 20, 2013: Jennifer Lawrence
Dec. 16, 2012: Martin Short
Dec. 9, 2012: Jamie Foxx
Nov. 18, 2012: Jeremy Renner
Nov. 11, 2012: Anne Hathaway
Nov. 4, 2012: Louis CK
Oct. 21, 2012: Bruno Mars
Oct. 14, 2012: Christina Applegate
Oct. 7, 2012: Daniel Craig
Sept. 23, 2012: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Sept. 16, 2012: Seth MacFarlane
SUNDAY MORNING LIVE: Is It Really Possible That Kristen Wiig's 'SNL' Return Was a Letdown? Reviewed by Bill Kuchman on 5/12/2013 Rating: 5

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