Friday, January 8, 2010

Kristen Wiig vs Will Ferrell (an SNL editorial)

I have to agree with the critics that it gets a little annoying when SNL plays Kristen Wiig too much.

Part of what makes that annoying is that many of her characters and impressions are similar, and most of them are single characters. She doesn't team up enough. Her team-up characters include Kat and Garth with Fred Armisen (her recent Weekend Update skit, but she's really just trying to follow Fred's made-up song), Jackie Snad and Clancy Bachlerat (Will Forte's weird idea where they are country singers of songs about horribly weird, unfunny topics), Kathy Lee Gifford (against a rotating Hoda; this is really just about Kristen's character), the A-Holes (but they pretty much played it to death by doing it 7 times in two seasons), Jean and Neil (the night out skits with Will Forte; they're okay but not super memorable), and a few great one-time team-ups with hosts that deserve follow-ups (Fran and Freba with Neil Patrick Harris, Justin Timberlake's Classic Peg gives her Target Lady a run for her money, flight attendants with Megan Fox, and "Ode to Tracking Numbers" with Paul Rudd). (Vicky is in the McGruber skits, but that's just supporting Will Forte's single character.)

For example, I never thought Will Ferrell was played too much when he was on, and he was on a lot. The reason is that the vast majority of his characters (especially his most popular ones) were team characters where he played off of other cast members. It also gave his characters a wider variety than Kristen has, because some of his characters were explosive (like Spartan cheerleaders, Roxbury guys, and the yelling father), but some of his characters were implosive (like Dog Show, the Culps, Hot Tub Lovers, and Alex Trebek).

However, most of Kristen's characters and impressions are not team-ups (one woman shows) and are explosive: Trina, Gilly, Judy Grimes, Dooneese (Lawrence Welk Show), Aunt Linda, Michelle Dison (reporter who flirts with women), Penelope, Sue (suprise), the Target Lady, and impressions like Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Garland, Madonna, Nancy Pelosi, and Suze Orman. (And Virginia Horsen is a one-woman show, but I think it's an implosive character.)

Implosive VS Explosive: What's the difference? Basically, an "implosive" character falls apart on the inside and doesn't know how to deal with it. The result is quiet and often hilarious awkwardness. An explosive character loses control and often goes nuts. An explosive character is often "outgoing," extraverted, and doesn't hold back. Basically, it's the difference between being introverted and falling apart vs extraverted and falling apart.


1 comment:

  1. you can't compare them for two reasons:
    1. the times were different and
    2. will ferrell actually had a good cast to work with.

    which made "teaming up" a lot easier for him. during his run the entire cast was actually funny. kristin wiig is one of the few, and i mean i can literally count them on one hand, cast members on SNL today that is actually funny. i would make her the star too if i was a producer.


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