As a historic 46th season of Saturday Night Live reached its half-way point over the weekend, Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids, Adventureland) brought some signature characters back to Studio 8H. A cast member from 2005 to 2012, Wiig was invited back to her alma mater to host the show’s mid-season finale, wishing good riddance to 2020 before the show’s holiday hiatus. Mindy Elise Grayson and Sue the Surprise Lady bookended Saturday’s episode that was “was full of the usual manic energy that Wiig brings on stage”, according to CinemaBlend.
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The New York Times asserts that “if you bring Wiig back to host [SNL], you’re going to have her revisit some of the distinct and idiosyncratic characters she so memorably played in her time on the show.” There was already speculation as to which characters would make appearances in Wiig’s episode as the actress is known for such recurring characters as the Target Lady, Gilly, Penelope, Doonesse, Judy Grimes, Aunt Linda and Kat of Garth and Kat.
Wiig has brought back at least one of her iconic characters each of the four times she’s hosted SNL, including an episode in season 42 where she reprised both Mindy Elise Grayson and Sue the Surprise Lady in the same order she did this past Saturday. The comedian and actress complimented the current cast and crew of the show, calling Saturday Night Live her “home” at the end of Saturday’s episode.
Almost an entirely new crew of performers got a chance to play alongside Wiig’s Sue and Mindy Elise on Saturday night. Featured player, Lauren Holt (Saturday Night Live, The Filth), got to play Mindy Elise Grayson’s frustrated partner on “Secret Word”, a sketch first introduced in 2008. The original “Secret Word” sketch was hosted by Bill Hader (Barry, Trainwreck), but the position of host in the recurring sketch has since been taken-over by SNL stalwart Kenan Thomson (Saturday Night Live, Kenan & Kel).
A year after the first “Secret Word”, the character of Sue was introduced in the 2009 sketch entitled “Surprise Party”. Wiig has since ruined surprises as Sue in many subsequent sketches, including a COVID-themed holiday surprise in Saturday’s appearance. For the second time in the episode, Wiig played a character that couldn’t seem to keep her cool around Holt, who was returning home for the holidays to surprise her father.
In addition to Wiig’s reprisal of classic characters, Saturday’s episode of SNL notable due to cast member Alex Moffat’s (Saturday Night Live, Holidate) first-time playing President-Elect Joe Biden after Jim Carrey (The Truman Show, Kidding) stepped down from the role. Moffat will return to the role when season forty-six of Saturday Night Live returns from hiatus in 2021.