So long, Kristen Wiig. That's the main takeaway from Saturday Night Live's jam-packed season finale, which was hosted, charmingly, by Mick Jagger. On the eve of the episode, rumors that the Bridesmaids star would be exiting Studio 8H after this season, along with fellow cast members Andy Samberg and Jason Sudeikis, still hadn't been confirmed. A poignant closing sketch essentially verified Wiig's exit, but the episode, which also featured a sequel to the Digital Short classic "Lazy Sunday," was less explicit about her male co-stars. Here, five talking points from the emotional SNL season finale:
1. Wiig's touching send-off
Without flat-out confirming Wiig's departure, the night's closing sketch, in which the Bridesmaids star was introduced as a graduating senior, strongly implied it, says Kelly West at Cinema Blend. And it "triggered the water-works for me." Jagger, joined by musical guest Arcade Fire, serenaded Wiig with "She's a Rainbow" and "Ruby Tuesday" as, struggling to hold back tears, she danced one-by-one with each of her SNL co-stars and executive producer Lorne Michaels. It was "the most touching, emotional sendoff that I've ever seen SNL pull off," says Mike Ryan at The Huffington Post. After seven years of fearless performing, Wiig "deserved every second of it."
2. The long-awaited "Lazy Sunday" sequel
Seven years ago, SNL cast members Andy Samberg and Chris Parnell essentially launched the viral video craze with the inaugural Digital Short "Lazy Sunday," a rap in which the duo describes innocuous, wholesome weekend activities with ridiculous swagger. It's now clear that the clip was conspicuously absent from a round-up of the series' past hits that SNL aired last week because Samberg had this bigger, better homage up his sleeve, says Natalie Zutter at Crushable. A hip-hop ode to a Sunday spent drinking mimosas and seeing Raven-Symone star in Broadway's Sister Act was "just as insanely quotable as the original digital short," and, if Samberg indeed leaves SNL, "a much more fitting conclusion to SNL's odd little franchise."
3. But are Samberg and Sudeikis leaving?
Despite reports that Samberg and Sudeikis are following Wiig out of Studio 8H, their exits weren't confirmed or directly acknowledged. Samberg did seem to bid adieu during "Lazy Sunday 2," rapping, "That's how it began, and that's how I'm going to finish it." But Sudeikis had no parallel opportunity, and analyzing his body language during Wiig's goodbye only raises more questions, says Jen Chaney at The Washington Post. He was clearly emotional while dancing with Wiig, but abstained from the "Ruby Tuesday" sing-a-long, walking offstage at the end. "Was he ticked off about not being acknowledged?… Verklempt because of Wiig's departure?" It's all unclear, but if this was his and Samberg's SNL swan song, "it seems unfair they didn't get a proper goodbye, too."
4. Jagger was a solid host
Jagger delivered a surprisingly strong hosting performance, says Ryan. His comedic chops shined during a karaoke-themed sketch in which cast members Fred Armisen and Bobby Moyniham delivered atrocious Mick Jagger impressions. His opening monologue, despite adopting a hackneyed Q&A format, was "actually kind of charming." If you look back at the season, he fared better as the show's host than comedy stars such as Ben Stiller, Sofia Vergara, and Anna Faris.
5. But what about that election song?
Jagger performed three times, accompanied by Arcade Fire, The Foo Fighters, and Jeff Beck. He introduced his song with Beck as "a blues that I wrote about the presidential election," and it featured lyrics like, "If you want to sleep in the West Wing, you wanna keep that private boat, yeah, you got to strategize a bit/ Yeah you gonna have to raise about 100 million dollars, or you're gonna end up so deep down in the shit." He also zinged Romney, singing, "He's a hardworking man, and he always says his prayers, yeah but there's one little thing about him, don't ever let him cut your hair." The whole thing was bit awkward, says Hillary Busis at Entertainment Weekly, mostly because it wasn't clear whether the song was meant to be funny.