Well, that happened. With the much-anticipated, Paul Rudd-hosted final Saturday Night Live of 2021 being turned into a sweatily but admirably scraped together clip show thanks to a reported major COVID outbreak at 30 Rock, there was precious little new material on offer last night. Luckily for viewers not looking forward to a repeat of a so-so 2012 holiday pageant sketch starring Martin Short and Paul McCartney or that time host Ryan Gosling dressed up as a naughty Christmas elf (or “Dick In A Box,” for the thousandth time), Rudd and company had managed to complete three filmed sketches before almost everybody got sent home.
In the first, and best, Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant teamed up (always a good thing) as a pair of dedicated Home Goods holiday shoppers whose seemingly simple testimonials go off the rails thanks to a serious case of wanting grandchildren—right now. With Rudd as the increasingly frazzled director attempting to get the two grandchildren-less friends to just plug some nondescript holiday purchases, the two ladies became only more and more focused on the inconvenient fact that their progeny have stubbornly refused to breed.
As everybody prepares to visit their own variously dissatisfied parents this holiday season, the sketch acted as a primer for dealing with would-be grandmas and grandpas. Not only in their singleminded, passive-aggressive hinting about the immediate need for grandkids to swaddle (“A cake stand... with grandchildren on top,” McKinnon’s matron suggests), but for all the ways in which adult children will have to cope with their elders’ ofttimes trying opinions. As McKinnon’s mom anticipates, “I wanna say something weird that makes them consider having a confrontation with me, and then do the math on how much I have and decide not to bother!”
In the end, no power in the universe can resist a mother’s laser-focused badgering, with Rudd’s director eventually coming around to imagine a world where he, too, can praise his nonexistent granddaughter’s cartwheels, and, like Bryant, “take them to the science museum and buy them a necklace in the gift shop that’s got a little bug in it.” So, as we all gather this holiday season (or not, as SNL’s empty Studio 8H suggested, ominously), just remember that your sainted mother is harboring fantasies of using that nice pair of crafting scissors you bought her to sabotage your condoms.