Saturday Night Live at Home: Kristen Wiig & Boyz II Men

May 9, 2020

BY Vish KhannaPublished May 10, 2020

Soldiering through a bizarre finale, the cast and crew of Saturday Night Live produced content isolated from one another, welcoming host Kristen Wiig and musical guest Boyz II Men, featuring Babyface, for one last "at home" edition of an abbreviated season. Here's everything that happened on SNL this week.
The cold open
Kate McKinnon played Principal O'Grady, conducting an online graduation ceremony for high school students, seemingly via Zoom. In a disappointment to most of the class, the special guest commencement speaker was Alec Baldwin's President Donald Trump, who gave terrible life advice, chugged bleach, and alienated almost all of the students so bad, they left the group chat. All told, this was fine.

The monologue
For this Mother's Day episode, Kristen Wiig returned (or, well, appeared from her home) to host and conduct a mom-centric monologue. It started out high energy, with Wiig conjuring her kind of showbiz, Liza Minelli-style entertainer, then dipped down into earnest patter, and ended with a show-stopping "lullaby," all of which was just amusing enough. 

Deirdre and Ripley
Four hours into a remote company meeting, pompous world traveller Deirdre, as played by Heidi Gardner, finally dropped in along with her latest partner, Ripley, played eccentrically by Martin Short. The pair claimed they just returned home from Italy, adopting Italian accents and boasting about their heavily COVID-tainted exploits, which was pretty funny.

"Let Kids Drink"
A public service announcement quickly turns into a strange music video sung by exasperated parents, encouraging the powers that be to give in to the chaos and just let kids drink. Complete with cameos by Josh Gad, Pete Davidson's mom, humourous hype man Chris Redd, and a children's choir, this had a sensible message that many people in western democracies would plausibly support with little more thought about it. That's just who we are now.  

Masterclass Quarantine
Good lord, Chloe Fineman is a funny impressionist and here she conducted one of those Masterclasses, as Phoebe Waller-Bridge, which was thoughtfully spot-on. Likewise, Melissa Villaseñor brought her John Mulaney to students who need to know how to dress well. And then Fineman returned for a physically demanding and emotionally manic turn as Britney Spears, which was also very strong. 

Mt. Methusela Baptist Church Virtual Service
In an elaborate satire of the pitfalls of Zoom and people's inability to mute or not mute their microphones, Kenan Thompson played a flustered pastor whose congregation sucks. He can't conduct his service because of their inability to work Zoom, which was mildly amusing but, after a couple of months of work-from-home quarantine, also felt a bit stale to those of us who live through this every single weekday.

"Danny Trejo"
With a hot feature from Chris Redd, Pete Davidson kicked a decent rap about how prolific actor Danny Trejo is. Oh, and just how prolific is Danny Trejo? Danny Trejo appeared in this video for "Danny Trejo."

Bouncy Waves with PJ Charnt
Unlike previous "at home" hosts, Wiig actually appeared in a mid-show sketch, in this case playing a silly hair vlogger named PJ Charnt. Taking video calls and getting in a tiff with a recurring columnist, Charnt is an absurd and vintage Wiig creation/depiction. 

Boyz II Men
The '90s hit machines were joined by Babyface for a special Mother's Day version of "A Song for Mama," which included photos of SNL cast members' moms. This was just a nice, sweet tribute to moms, plain and simple. 

Weekend Update
Colin Jost and Michael Che discussed the COVID-19 pandemic from both distant and personal perspectives. After Jost joked about President Trump's mental capacity, Che invoked his recent "drunk uncle" version of himself, snifter in hand, discussing his own trials and tribulations above all other topics. 

Tina Fey returned to the show to discuss working from home, which included some password patter, groceries, the insanity of today's parents having to teach their kids like they run schools somehow, and Mother's Day, which was all very funny. 

Following up on a bit from last episode, Che was forced to read a dull joke written by a fan who donated money for charity, which quickly devolved into something better when Jost had to do the same. 

Cecily Strong appeared as a drunken, unhinged version of Fox News anchor Jeanine Pirro, which was amusing, and a step up for these "at home" Updates, which haven't brought in too many previously regular desk correspondents.

What's Wrong with this Picture?
Kenan Thompson's Elliott Pants is not a happy game show host but yet he keeps coming back to helm What's Wrong with this Picture? The contestants here, played by Aidy Bryant, Ego Nwodim, and Melissa Villaseñor, are total idiots who can't identify the little things wrong with pictures, which, somewhat amusingly, sets Pants off.

Eleanor's House
Hosting a children's show, Aidy Bryant's Eleanor tries to put on a fun, wholesome party but it all goes south when some CGI skids turn up and make it a shitshow. This all became dark and surreal rather quickly, with Bryant showing off some subtle, impressive acting chops. 

A young boy named Brandon pranks his dad, played by Mikey Day, to death, in a series of horrible but very funny tricks, all for the amusement of an internet audience. A Day invention, this was well done. 

Phineas Gale, Lighthouse Keeper
Kate McKinnon opted to go pretty weird, playing Phineas Gale, a lighthouse keeper with many years of isolation experience and almost as many tips for us about coping with it. A bit compelling but also a bit tedious, at least this was short. 

Beer Money
Kyle Mooney did something similar in isolation this season already but this was more elaborate. In a previous episode, he played each of the other characters in a scene, but here he was dating a version of himself and he and his two roommates strive to salvage the deteriorating relationship. Again, Mooney played everyone here, which gave it an odd tinge and it didn't exactly go anywhere but it was still something.

Cecily Strong ends a call with her mother and then dreams about what life was like before self-isolation. Soon we see every single cast member having the same kind of night visions about being out in the world and having fun or else having strange celebrity encounters, but all with the whimsy for the freedom we all once had. It was an artfully earnest way to end one of the strangest seasons in the show's history. Will it ever come back the way it once was? We shall see.

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