For the last week we’ve been taking a look at NBC’s Thursday night comedies, but with Kristen Wiig’s sendoff on ‘SNL’ this past weekend we decided to add her departure to the conversation.
It’s not worth going into detail about how the season finale of SNL – and the season as a whole – was middling. The Mick Jagger-hosted episode was a hit-or-miss mixed bag which typifies nearly every episode and every season. As we’ve learned from several seasons of recaps and now over a decade-and-a-half of religious viewing, that’s the show. It will never be too far up or too far down, so just try to enjoy it. What is worth discussing, as all of the internet has been doing for the past two days, is the exit of Kristen Wiig after seven stellar seasons, leaving behind a body of work that positions her as arguably the strongest female cast member of all-time.
But if you’ve been a regular reader of Jumped the Snark (and why would you be?), you’ll know that while we freely admit that Wiig is ungodly talented, we’ve found the majority of her characters grating and one-note, irritating, shrill variations on that theme. Her ability is prodigious, but her tics and mannerisms wore awfully thin (for us at least). So while we salute her time on SNL, an indisputably fantastic body of work, we are not shedding a tear upon her departure (okay, well, maybe we teared up a little bit when she and Jason Sudeikis* took a turn on the stage). We will not miss her gallery of caricatures – Penelope, Gilly, Target Lady, Judy Grimes, Dooneese, Aunt Linda, Sue, Shanna, her Kathie Lee – but even more importantly it was time for her to move on.** She’s been carrying the workload for the bulk of her time on the show, even as they’ve added more and more female cast members around her, so it was it’s high-time she passed along the burden and ceded the spotlight. In addition, while we’ve been ready for her to exit for several seasons, the overwhelming draw of Hollywood stardom is now too much to ignore. Whereas had she left a season or two ago she might still be an unproven commodity, following Bridesmaids she is now a star. She had, for better or worse, grown bigger than SNL, so her graduation was not only sweet, it was appropriate. As we’ve enjoyed her more in her film work anyway, we look forward to her new roles, whether it be Bridesmaids Too: Bridesmaider or more serious fare like her turn in Friends with Kids.*** And, perhaps even more so, we look forward to the current female roster at SNL – Vanessa Bayer, Nasim Pedrad, Abby Elliott, Kate McKinnon – receiving more screen time and the opportunity to become stars in their own right.
We’ve always liked Kristen Wiig best when she’s less manic and plays it (close to) straight, so we’ll leave you with one of our personal favorite Wiig sketches, only available, as always, on a Russian YouTube:Vodpod videos no longer available.
* We were disappointed to see that Sudooks wasn’t given the same kind of special goodbye, but it was pointed out that he’ll likely be back at least part-time in the fall to resume portraying Mitt Romney and Joe Biden during election season, especially if SNL once again pulls double duty with “Weekend Update Thursday” (we’re assuming/praying Romney will lose in a landslide, thus Sudeikis’s tenure will end sometime around November). Hopefully Sudeikis, whose work we’ve enjoyed as much as we’ve disdained Wiig’s, will get a similar proper bon voyage (and we would be remiss if we did not mention the brilliant final Digital Short that brought the departing Andy Samberg’s stint full circle).
** Watching the finale and seeing yet another edition of “The Lawrence Welk Show” and “Secret Password,” we couldn’t help but imagine how much we’re going to hate the episode that Wiig inevitably hosts. It’s beyond a safe bet that show will feature an “all-star” line-up of her “best” characters, which means it’ll be an intolerable ninety minutes overflowing with the abhorrent characters we mentioned above.
***Also, when is Jon Hamm just going to make it official and become a full-time cast member?
P.S. How does this not make the show?