Not surprisingly, Wigg, 39, was at her best during the opening monologue, which had to be all her own material.
She played off the oddity of her return to the show only “11 months and 30 days” (as she put it) after she left with a back stage tour to show she was still one of the gang.
But she proceeded to get everyone’s names wrong, takes more than a few wrong turns, mistakes a broom closet for her old dressing room and tasers Kenan Thompson .
Oh, did we mention the rousing dance number? She sang the monologue to the tune of “I’m So Excited.”
Kristen Wiig Visits Old Friends on SNL
The opening was encouraging, and Wiig scored with her 1-800-Flowers. It played off the tensions between mom and daughter on Mother’s Day. Kate McKinnon, as mom, had the best line when she told Wiig should keep the flowers because her “apartment is so sad.”
But almost every hit was matched by a miss. Wiig reprised her role as Karina on “The Californians,” which is supposed to lampoon Southern California’s banal suburban culture. But this skit would only work if the characters took themselves totally seriously.
At more than six minutes, it was too long and too pointless to watch. Wiig didn’t really add much as Karina, who returns after driving off the Santa Monica pier and being given up for dead. Why she comes back disguised as a Mexican gardener is a mystery.
“The Lawrence Welk Show” also fell flat. Wiig played one of four back-up dancers, while Jason Sudeikis sang about trying to find a girl to take to the beach. Wiig, put on sort of a Lucy Ricardo act, using sight-gags, like a crab hanging off her crotch, to generate some laughs. Ouch!
Fortunately, the skits weren’t all clunkers. Wiig was hilarious in a take-off on Disney’s inane childrens’ shows in “Aw Nuts! Mom’s a Ghost.” In the show’s opening, mom has an affair on a business trip to South Korea. Her lover a government bigwig drowns her because he’s afraid she’ll blab.
So, she comes back as a “Mool-Gwishin,” or Korean water ghost. Now her two inane, bubbly kids have to put up with her walking on the ceiling, popping out of the television, zapping the school’s science teacher and sliming their father. Hilarious.
Wiig also reprised her role as the acerbic Target check out lady, who makes snide comments about her customers’ purchases and was funny as a desperate 30-something on a double date with Bobby Moynihan and Tim Robinson, who played sixth graders.
Since her breakthrough 2011 hit “Bridesmaids, Wiig, 39, has been working almost non-stop and on a slew of movies. So it’s hard to read why she decided to subject herself to the slings and arrows of hot and cold comedy writing. Sometimes it’s better not to go home again.