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©2016/Will Heath/NBC

©2016/Will Heath/NBC

By Ellen O’Brien, Glenbard West

She’s back! “Saturday Night Live” alumnus – not to mention, my personal hero – Kristen Wiig hosted this week’s episode, bringing some Thanksgiving joy with her, along with a handful of other “SNL” greats. It was so fun to see her back at the show, gifting us viewers with a great episode as we head into the holiday season.

THE BEST

“MONOLOGUE”

Wiig and I are alike in our shared identity of being Thanksgiving freaks, which she reaffirmed through song. Although musical monologues are never my favorite, I let this one slide, because, well, it’s Kristen Wiig, and also, Thanksgiving deserves a song. Wiig was wonderfully misinformed about the origins of the holiday, which became even funnier due to appearances by Steve Martin and Will Forte. So many comedy legends, so little time.

“THE BUBBLE”

Smart bits such as these give me faith in the future of “SNL”. This clip featured a bubble meant for liberal, progressive Americans, upset at the results of the election, to live, free of Donald Trump. It reflected upon the irony of these supposed open-minded people being close-minded when it comes to the president-elect. The message is clear – there is nothing we can do about who is going to be the next president anymore, so we have to move forward with high hopes. A bubble is impractical. Bravo, “SNL”, for having depth. I’m impressed.

“ANDERSON COOPER 360”

This sketch, a spoof of Anderson Cooper’s show on CNN, included a real who’s who of political media moguls. In a series of breaking news segments, scandals about Trump emerge, and the reactions of those on the show were the same every time, claiming his actions are inexcusable, but doing nothing about it. “SNL” poked fun at CNN effectively, and in the end, confirmed many people’s suspicions – all of these people we see on the news are robots. Sounds about right.

“TARGET COMMERCIAL”

Looking to just kill time? According to this fake commercial, Target has plenty to offer for when Thanksgiving gets overwhelming, from a big empty parking lot just to sit in to aisles upon aisles just to lay in. The only bad thing? I’ll lay it out for you: Kristen Wiig was the host, one of her best characters is Target Lady, and this was a bit on Target. Not including her was a sin.

“WEEKEND UPDATE”

The Trump jokes on this episode’s “Update” were especially great this week, with my favorite pointing out how the soon-to-be president’s campaign was similar to someone trying to win over a girl – the chase was the best part of it. Now, he’s stuck. I was happy that the anchors covered some non-political news as well, with some awesome punchlines. Pete Davidson, as himself, showed up, bringing his perspective on Trump, weed, Staten Island – you know, the usual. Kenan Thompson’s Willie, Michael Che’s extremely optimistic neighbor, got a little weird for my taste, but that’s “SNL”, I suppose.

“WHISKERS R WE”

Wiig and Kate McKinnon are the ultimate duo. Playing total cat ladies, the two of them had outstanding chemistry. It just looked like they were having so much fun. They showed off each of the cats they had up for adoption at their store, with knee-slapping descriptions for each. I’m overjoyed to see two of the funniest women – nay, people – in comedy work together, making this maybe the best sketch of the night.

“SURPRISE LADY: THANKSGIVING”

I was so freakin’ excited (see what I did there?) to experience Wiig reprising one of her best characters from her time as a cast member on “SNL”: Sue, or the woman who simply can’t handle surprises. In this sketch, she was entrusted with the information that Davidson’s Paul would be surprising his mother by coming home from the army for Thanksgiving. The usual chaos ensued. Sue has been quoted countless times in my household, so seeing her again was quite the treat for me.

THE WORST

“COLD OPEN”

This was too…literal for me. Alec Baldwin’s Trump was in panic mode, faced with the promises he made during his campaign. And I wanted to say, “Well, yeah. Obviously.” The true Trump is undoubtedly in panic mode, too. This “Cold Open” wasn’t ridiculous enough to outweigh reality. Despite this, I was ecstatic about Jason Sudeikis’s cameo as Mitt Romney. Ah, it reminded me of simpler times in politics…and “SNL”.

“SECRET WORD”

This celebrity game show set in the 1960s was nothing special, just the contestants failing to follow the rules of the game, as usual. Wiig was still a delight, as was Bill Hader’s featured recording as the former host of this game show. This episode was like an “SNL” reunion!

“QVC AUDITIONS”

The premise of this sketch was gold – two passive aggressive neighbors, middle-aged suburban women, competing to become the next QVC guest hosts. But I was underwhelmed with how it was executed, since Wiig and Cecily Strong both obviously have the potential to do much, much better. Instead, the sketch mostly revolved around typical housewife accents and not much else.

“THANKSGIVING PARADE”

I’m not going to lie – this freaked me out. Thanksgiving Day parade balloons, with creepy grins on their faces, got eerily close to the apartment from which the characters were watching the parade. It was Chucky-esque, except a whole lot bigger. I’ll pass.

“Saturday Night Live”
10:30 p.m., Saturday, NBC
3.5 out of 4 stars

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