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Writer's Viewpoint: 'Saturday Night Live' Replaces Two Cast Members

September 8th, 2009 2:59pm EDT | Eric Stromsvold By: Eric Stromsvold favorite Add to My News
Michaela Watkins - Casey WilsonStunning reports have come out recently regarding Saturday Night Live. Anonymous sources reported to Access Hollywood that SNL will be replacing Michaela Watkins and Casey Wilson with Jenny Slate and Nasim Pedrad and Yahoo TV! reports that Kristen Wiig will be joining Seth Meyers on Weekend Update.

I am certainly not privy of the details concerning the release of the two, so it is unfair for me to speculate as to the reason for their departure. That said, it seems as though they were on the show but for the blink of an eye and are being thrown out as if they were the drunken, err, cocaine fueled mistake (this is SNL we're talking about after all) of producers.

Personally, it's sad to see Watkins and Wilson go. I feel as though they never really had a chance to perform much on the show. When the show wasn't being the regular old boys club that it is it had most all of the female roles on air going mindlessly to Kristen Wiig. The few times that I can recall either Watkins or Wilson being in a sketch was when Wiig was already used in the same sketch. Sketches with only one female role in it appeared to go straight to Wiig and even the sketches with little roles that could have been played by someone who walked in to sit in the audience were given to Wiig leaving people to wonder each week, where's Watkins and Wilson (and Abby Elliott)?

In recent years Wiig has been all over the show to the point where it could have easily have been re-titled "Saturday Night With Kristen Wiig."

That's not to say that Kristen Wiig hasn't been funny, dedicated and talented. She is indeed all that, and is extremely wonderful to watch in roles that aren't on SNL, however, she was overexposed on the show, and she tended to do the majority of her characters in the same comedic voice of her "Target-lady" character. The "Target-lady" and comedic voice was funny by itself several years ago, what with the actual voice and the ever so erratic head movements. Yet it long ago became just a played out old gag voice that should have been limited.

Last season was so Wiig/"Target-lady" comedic voice heavy that people started taking to the SNL forum boards repeatedly with the wonders of why so much Kristen Wiig.

Kristen Wiig

Kristen Wiig © Chris Hatcher / PR Photos

Beating a joke to death is not new and is instead business as usual to SNL. Chris Farley and Molly Shannon did the old fall through the wall/table thing for months after it stopped being funny and more recently Horatio Sanz and Jimmy Fallon did the whole "we're going to laugh in this unfunny sketch to make it funny" for years.

One would think that after 30-something years of being on the air the producers of SNL would have figured out that beating a joke to death or overexposing one cast member is not the way to win over a bigger audience; if it were, then SNL would surely be getting 75% of the market share on Saturday nights (its audience doesn't come close to that).

The good news in all of this is that with Wiig moving over the co-anchor Weekend Update, this will hopefully allow for other female cast members the opportunity to shine as well while Wiig is tirelessly working to keep the bar of Weekend Update as high as it has always been and it will be entertaining to see Wiig finally get to act as the straight man in a duo.

In any event, whatever the reasons might be for there being so much Wiig and not enough any other female cast member last year, NBC and SNL's Lorne Michaels have apparently gotten the ball rolling and made these casting changes.

Hopefully new cast members Jenny Slate and Nasim Pedrad (and the returning Abby Elliott) will be given more on air time of comedic value than Watkins and Wilson were; but more than anything I can only hope that Wiig won't make us cringe with that "Target-lady" voice for a long, long time.

Sadly, these casting changes are for me most likely just the direct point in time of the inevitable - we all grow up and out of watching SNL, just like the Real World! I'm sure that some 13 year olds out there will tune in and fall in love with the Saturday Night Live, and the world will keep turning.

Eric Stromsvold
Story by Eric Stromsvold

Starpulse contributing writer



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