With Kristen Wiig hosting, viewers naturally had hopes for this year’s final original episode of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.”
Instead, they got a show that looked remarkably similar to Wiig’s previous guest appearances.
First, the good news:
Jim Carrey is out as Joe Biden.
Carrey’s impersonation was typical Carrey, a lot of energetic mugging. Thankfully, we don’t have to watch that anymore.
On Twitter, he stated, “Though my term was only meant to be 6 weeks, I was thrilled to be elected as your SNL President… comedy’s highest call of duty. I would love to go forward knowing that Biden was the victor because I nailed that shit. But I am just one in a long line of proud, fighting SNL Bidens!”
SNL got lucky with Alec Baldwin, who was willing and able to give us four years of a deranged Trump, but the show really needs to be giving work to its ensemble players.
In the cold open, Alex Moffat took over as Biden, hobbling out on a cane, then dropping for a somersault.
“You look different somehow,” Mike Pence (Beck Bennett) says.
Bennett’s Pence, here wanting to take his vaccine shot up the butt and afraid his Spotify list will be leaked to the public, remains a gem.
The sketch’s best burn:
“How did you even get into the White House?” Pence demands from incoming Vice President Kamala Harris (Maya Rudolph).
“I won more votes.”
Watch for yourself:
Wiig’s opening monologue, in which she mangled the lyrics to “The Sound of Music’s” “My Favorite Things,” was promising.
But bringing back two of her recurring characters – failed actress Mindy Grayson in “Secret Word” and nutty Aunt Sue, who suffers a spaz attack every time someone has a secret – amounted to diminishing returns.
We’ve seen these characters and sketches several times before. These bits added nothing to what we’ve seen before. The actors could have been reading from old scripts for all the originality.
The highlight of the night: “Christmas Morning,” in which a dad and his two kids celebrate the gifts Santa brought them – while Mom (Wiig) got a robe.
Moms everywhere probably felt that one sting.
Dua Lipa turned out to be a disappointing musical guest, apparently lip-syncing to two of her songs.
SNL typically turns in bracing hot seasons during an election year. In 2020, the show was off, at best a mediocre distraction.
Here’s to 2021 and SNL getting its edge back.