Longtime readers of Premium Hollywood surely just said something along the lines of “Whaaaaaa?” when they read this blog’s title, given my 2005 mash note to Ms. Wiig when she made her mid-season debut on “Saturday Night Live.” But enough is enough: she’s become wildly unfunny, and must be stopped.
It doesn’t have to be this way, you know. Wiig is still a fabulous impressionist, as she displayed last week with her spot-on Bjork imitation during Weekend Update. The problem is that the majority of her skits involve her playing the most annoying characters imaginable, as if she’s a female George Costanza with Multiple Personality Disorder. It all started innocently enough, with Target Lady (that’s pronounced “Terruget,” thank you very much) running off every time someone brought something she liked to the counter. Those skits aren’t great but they’re harmless enough, and in one case was redeemed by Justin Timberlake, who’s funnier than half the “SNL” cast, but that’s a post for another day.
From there, we got Amy Poehler’s Aunt Linda, a rubber-faced crank whose reviews consisted of making funny faces. Again, relatively harmless, though less amusing than Target Lady. Wiig still had Poehler to compete with for stage time then, and our guess is that since Wiig knew that Poehler was always going to play the cute girl or the clever girl, Wiig carved out a niche for herself as the oddball, the nut job. Since Poehler’s departure, Wiig has become the alpha female of the cast, but instead of dialing things back a touch, she seems to be trying even harder to irritate people. That has to be the explanation for why they keep bringing back a skit that I can’t fast-forward through quickly enough: Penelope, the passive-aggressive nervous nelly that cannot be topped.
For years, we on the Bullz-Eye staff have thrown around the idea of doing a piece on the best and worst recurring skits in “SNL” history, and at this moment, Penelope would be in the top five, if not Number One. Is there anyone besides the “SNL” writing staff who thinks Penelope is funny? I bet even the cast members hate doing those skits. Ricky Gervais probably finds her funny, since he lives for the awkward pause, but there is style to Gervais’ uncomfortable humor. Penelope, meanwhile, has the grace of a sledgehammer. Hot on Penelope’s heels for the prize of Most Annoying Recurring Skit are the Today Show skits, where Wiig, as Kathie Lee Gifford, spends the entire skit humiliating Hoda Kotb (a very patient Michaela Watkins, my favorite newbie) and making more funny faces. We get it, guys; Kathie Lee’s obnoxious. Can we move on?
Meanwhile, the one recurring skit of Wiig’s that I liked, the Two A-Holes, has mysteriously been shelved. What’s the matter, guys, they’re not annoying enough anymore? And what about those dead-perfect impressions of Judy Garland and Megan Mullally she used to do? I’m not saying that Wiig should completely abandon her gonzo tendencies – though if I’m being honest, I would be perfectly happy to never see any of the above recurring skits again – but would it kill her to take it down a notch? If she doesn’t watch it, she’s going to turn into Melanie Hutsell. Man, if that doesn’t put the fear of God in you, nothing will.
Post Script: My wife added the following comment: “Don’t forget that ‘Just Kidding’ woman and the woman who can’t keep a secret.” Man, this is worse than I thought.
UPDATE: It appears that, 21 months later, my prayers have been answered. Click here to read the follow-up piece, “Kristen Wiig update: SNL got the memo.”