Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Kristen Wiig - Road to the Emmys SNL Season 37 - Episodes 1-3

To win an Emmy in her fourth (and probably last) nomination, Kristen has to serve up a regular reminder that she's awesome on SNL. She's at the top of the show (along with Andy and others), so they'll let her do what she wants (that's been the case for a few seasons now).

This is her (probably) last and best chance to win that coveted SNL Emmy (only won so far by cast members Chevy Chase, Gilda Radner, Dana Carvey, Andy Samberg, and Tina Fey).

So here's a state of Kristen Wiig so far this season. She's basically focusing on two big bits/hits per episode, which is similar to what Eddie Murphy and Will Ferrell did when they were big on the show (also Dana Carvey and other legends). It's also what Chevy Chase did (to win him an Emmy, get a second nomination, and launch his film career), but Chevy ended up lining up himself to be in every Cold Open and on Weekend Update each week, so he was guaranteed three big roles each week (genius).

Kristen's Season 7 (SNL Season 37):

Episode 1 - Alec Baldwin
1. Red Flag Commercial - Kristen starts us off with a new character, in the form of a commercial, who is attractive but crazy. (Similar concept to Shana, but obviously very different in the type of "attractive", the type of "crazy", and the form (commercial versus skit).) She's going with "new" to show that she's going to give us favorites, but she's also going to show that she's got range and new tricks up her sleeves.
2. Denise Fineman, news reporter - She keeps it going with a second new character; this one is a news reporter (she also has her gay news reporter who comes onto women and her publisher's clearing house reporter who tries to get the winners excited; all three have similar setups). This one's gags are that there's a time delay between the desk reporters and her and that she's had work done on her body so she can't feel the bugs and animals crawling on her awkwardly. Funny stuff!

Episode 2 - Melissa McCarthy
1. Lawrence Welk's Dooneese Cold Open - This is strange because it's the one character known by the man who hosts the show more than the name of character itself. Dooneese is such a favorite that they've done it 6 times now, and they moved it to the Cold Open starting with #3 (and continued since then). It was done twice a season for the first two seasons and only once last season. I think they'll do it one more time this season, in April or May because they did it early this season. This is probably her strongest character that's well known and not annoying (unlike Gilly and Penelope, who Wiig vowed she wouldn't do anymore; she's sick of the negative press).
2. Herself in the Monologue - She starred with Melissa McCarthy in the monologue as they put on a silly dance. This is good exposure for Kristen because she's making herself into a character (worked great for Chevy Chase; also worked well for Eddie Murphy's popularity, even though he didn't win his nominations).

Episode 3 - Ben Stiller1. Nan Washingtom - She unveils a new character on Weekend Update, Nan Washingtom, who awkwardly talks about pancake parties.
2. Shana - The fourth Shana skit. This one features Ben Stiller and is an office Halloween party.

Overall: Kristen's off to a great start! She's unveiled 2 new characters in episode 1 (Alec Baldwin), led with a hit character and played herself as a character in episode 2 (Melissa McCarthy), and gave us one new character and a hit character in episode 3 (Ben Stiller). She's been continuing the formula that made Chevy Chase, Gilda Radner, Eddie Murphy, Billy Crystal (Billy was a huge hit and did this formula, but it was only for one season due to management changes), Dana Carvey, and Will Ferrell huge stars on SNL.

Here's the breakdown of that formula (it might be obvious by now):
1 - Star in at least two big skits each episode.
2 - Focus on your biggest hit characters.
3 - Try to mix it up with new characters that show your range (you're not out of tricks).
4 - Try to get some bits in there where you play yourself so that the audience can connect with you better.

And then Kristen has a unique problem that she's tackling with her formula:

5 - Retire characters that are funny and hits, but that ulitmately backfired a little and caused negative press because they are a little annoying (which is the point of the skits: to annoy the other characters... but they also might end up annoying the audience too, especially if you repeat them often). Specifically: Kathy Lee, Gilly, and Penelope.

What do you think? Will Kristen earn her first SNL Emmy this year? (Notice I say "first" because Tina Fey won two SNL Emmys after she left the show, and she's also received a third nomination.)


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