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“Saturday Night Live” Total Recap: Kristen Wiig and The xx

November 20th, 2016 by Liz Brown

WARNING: Complete spoilers for the entire episode ahead

Kristen Wiig returned to the stage that made her a superstar as this week’s “Saturday Night Live” host with musical guest The xx. The episode was a delightful mix of character sketches, weird experimental skits, and political comedy, almost all of which worked really well. If we may borrow a line from one of her classic characters, Target Lady, we’d just like to ask the producers and writers of this week’s episode: “Do we have more of these?”

After taking the week after the election off, Alec Baldwin returned to the cold open as President-elect Trump with Kate McKinnon shedding her Hillary Clinton costume and taking on the role of Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway. Trump is now faced with the unfortunate reality that he’s supposed to kill ISIS, build a 2,000 mile wall between the U.S. and Mexico and make Mexico pay for it, deport 11 million illegal immigrants, and bring back coal mining jobs to every rural town in West Virginia.

Our favorite line of piece featured Trump asking Conway: “Is there something on your shoulder?”

“Yes,” she replies, wide-eyed. “All of this.”

We also loved Trump telling his VP Mike Pence: “I love you Mike. You’re the reason I’ll never get impeached.”
Baldwin has said he doesn’t plan on making his “SNL” role a regular thing, but honestly we can’t imagine anyone else playing him at this point. Sorry Alec. This is the price you pay for being good at your job.

Kristen Wiig owned the monologue stage in a sleek strapless black pantsuit and gold bandana and announced that she was psyched to be hosting the pre-Thanksgiving episode since she’s “a real turkeyhead.” Then she and the entire cast launched into a completely revisionist history version of Thanksgivings gone by that featured a totally inaccurate mishmash of historical “facts” about how the holiday really began. “SNL” alum Will Forte and bazillion-time host Steve Martin made cameos in this one. We have to say that we feel an eye-roll coming on whenever “SNL” rolls out another monologue musical number, but this one was actually really funny. We’re glad someone’s finally bringing attention to the important roles that aliens and Vikings on double decker buses had in Thanksgiving history.

This week’s commercial parody was for something called “The Bubble”—a planned community for progressive Americans who refuse to accept that the election of Donald Trump actually just happened. The Bubble gives “like-minded thinkers” a place to talk with people who agree with them on everything, and one-bedroom apartments start at the low, low price of $1.9 million each.

“It’s Brooklyn, with a bubble on it,” says the tagline.

Depending on how you voted, this commercial is either absolutely hilarious or really uncomfortably sad.

The first regular sketch of the night is a classic episode of the game show “Secret Word” from 1964, and it features one of Kristen Wiig’s classic characters: Broadway actress Mindy Elise Grayson. Grayson and her partner are up against an Italian film star (Cecily Strong) who can’t stop slapping her own partner. The joke of the sketch is that neither of the celebrities can stop themselves from blurting out the secret word and blowing the game, but our favorite moment was when Grayson performed a brief monologue from her tragic role as a legless grape picker which The New York Times apparently simply reviewed as “bad.” The premise of this sketch might not have been mind-blowingly funny but with Wiig’s hilarious performance, the story of the scene takes a back seat in this one and we’re totally fine with that.

The talking heads on CNN are still talking even though the election is over—and they’re still saying the exact same things, over and over and over again. In this sketch, Anderson Cooper reveals the latest updates on Donald Trump’s transition to the White House and each of the commentators blurts out the exact same line in response until Cooper gets a faraway look in his eye. Then two guys dressed up like the technicians from the HBO show “Westworld” show up and replace Cooper with a Jake Tapper robot and start the show back up again like nothing happened. We loved this one, and are relieved someone finally revealed what’s really been going on over at CNN.

The second commercial parody of the night promotes Target as the greatest place to go when you just desperately need to get away from your family at Thanksgiving. They’ve got a big empty parking lot where you can just stare into space and kill time and a toy department where you can just go lie down and eat cheeseballs for a while instead of getting into a political argument with your relatives. The tag line is: “Target: Buy yourself some time.” We’ll definitely remember this one when things get awkward around the dinner table, but have to call out the writers out on one thing: with Black Friday hysteria on the horizon, there’s no way that Target parking lot is going to be as empty.

This sketch features neighbors and frenemies Kristen Wiig and Cecily Strong producing dueling audition tapes to be QVC hosts, but really just revealing their dysfunctional overly competitive friendship. Strong eventually shows up in Wiig’s video with a fake gun sticking out of her pocket screaming at Wiig to stop stealing her ideas. The sketch ends with them hosting their own show together. This was probably the weakest sketch of the night, but only because pretty much everything else on the episode was so strong.

This groovy British pop band sounded great, but our favorite part of their performance was the super awkward guitar dance the two singers did during the chorus.

Co-hosts Colin Jost and Michael Che seemed less flustered than they did last week right after the election, and now appear to be settling in for four years of Trump-roasting. Pretty much every single joke was directed at the President-elect. Our personal favorite was Jost stating: “The only model we have for a Trump presidency is the movie ‘First Kid.”



The youngest member of the “SNL” cast doubled down on his recent insults towards his home town of Staten Island after revealing that almost the entire borough voted for Trump. He’s not happy about it, and if you feel the same way he does, he recommends letting your anger and outrage build up until you can release it at just the right moment: Thanksgiving.

Oh, and he had a few words for possible 2020 presidential candidate Kanye West: “We as a country need to agree if it isn’t over a sick beat, we don’t want to hear anything Kanye West says ever again.”

Kenan Thompson brought his painfully positive character of Willie back to the update desk to talk about some of his favorite Thanksgiving memories that are actually super heartbreaking. The piece was OK, but honestly we were hoping for an appearance from Kristen Wiig’s super nervous character Judy Grimes or her plain-talking “Aunt Linda” instead.

This is our favorite weird sketch of the night. It features two families gathered at an overpriced apartment in Manhattan that has an amazing close up view of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. We soon realize that the amazing view is a little bit too close up when the giant balloons pass by the window and stare in at the people with alarming intensity. Mikey Day plays a creepy Woody from “Toy Story” and Kristen Wiig plays Madeline. The best part comes when Bobby Moynihan shows up as a terrifying, gigantic clown who eventually rides poor Woody past the window in a completely inappropriate manner.

This one features Kate McKinnon and Kristen Wiig playing crazy cat ladies promoting their Thanksgiving Catacopia. Making fun of cat ladies may be an old bit, but McKinnon and Wiig make it new again with their sexually inappropriate comments towards each other. Honestly, if we had anything bad to say about this sketch we probably wouldn’t because we’ll forgive anything that features an actual box full of adorable kittens.

Wiig reprised another one of her recurring characters from her days in the cast as Sue—the woman who loves surprises so much she can’t help but spoil them. This sketch features Sue at a Thanksgiving party in which “Mom” is about to learn that her deployed son is returning home from the military for the holidays. Sue is so excited that she actually shoves an entire pillow in her mouth to try to keep herself from blowing the secret, and then throws the turkey through the window so she can break out of the room because she can’t keep it together. We know Wiig is a big movie star now, but can’t she please please please just rejoin the cast? We just feel so confident with her steering this comedy ship.

More groovy sounds. More awkward dancing. What else can we say?
[This clip is not available]

This sketch didn’t actually air on the episode, but we’ve got it here for you because we love you. A lot. It’s pure silliness, but features some funny moments including Wiig checking on her Thanksgiving turkey which is actually a live turtle, and Kenan Thompson sharing a drawing of a turkey that is based on a tracing of a body part that is not his hand. Oh, and yeah. It features one more dig at President-elect Trump.

“SNL” is on break next week and will rerun the episode featuring Lin-Manuel Miranda as host with musical guest Twenty One Pilots. The show returns live on December 3rd with host Emma Stone and musical guest Shawn Mendes.