On last night’s episode of Saturday Night Live, the cast made it clear that they aren't going to let up on the new administration — and that, in fact, they are going to double down despite President Donald Trump’s tweets critical of the show and its portrayal of him. Just weeks ago, SNL was doing a clip or two an episode regarding the country’s new cast of political characters, but in recent weeks, ratings have steadily improved and the politically leaning sketches have multiplied.
Not only have the sketches become increasingly scathing, but they have also included a growing number of funny ladies, especially after Melissa McCarthy’s hysterical portrayal of irritable press secretary Sean Spicer. This week saw a reprisal of McCarthy in that role and Kate McKinnon playing a drawling U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Let’s take a look back at the standout moments from last night.
Tonight’s cold open did not start with Trump, as it often has in recent episodes. Instead, it was McCarthy stealing the show in drag, playing a delightfully ballistic, bombastic Spicer as he continues to deal with the press through confusing rhetoric, out-of-this-world explanations and an ever-fraying temper. McCarthy had her character chewing an enormous novelty-sized piece of gum (and then throwing it at a reporter), explaining the Muslim ban through dolls (Moana is not welcome here) and finally going off the deep end. Kate McKinnon took a break from her regular role as Kellyanne Conway to play Jeff Sessions, showing that the cast responded positively to the praise they received from fans (and rumors of criticism from the White House) for handing male roles to women.
Alec Baldwin wasn’t just hosting SNL last night; he also continued to play Trump on stage, this time as the president takes the three 9th Circuit judges to The People’s Court after their decision not to uphold Trump’s executive order regarding immigration from Muslim countries. Baldwin’s impersonation seems to be getting more and more exaggerated and cartoonish with each episode, his mouth opening into a wide "O" as his brow wags up and down. The skit plays on Trump’s lack of understanding of the judicial process as well as his strange love affair with reality TV. The best line, perhaps, was when the presiding judge said, "You understand that this is a TV court, right?" and Baldwin’s Trump answered with, "That’s OK. I’m a TV president."
Due to the particularly white and male administration, there isn’t much work for female African American cast members like Leslie Jones when it comes to political parody. But Jones found a hilarious way to get in on the fun this week in a short skit in which she tried to take the Trump impersonation job from Alec Baldwin. The piece managed to poke fun at SNL itself right along with Trump as Jones watches Baldwin’s every move and practices her Trump impression ("Drain the swamp of tremendous Muslims!").
A black woman playing Trump may push him over the edge.— Victoria Brownworth (@VABVOX) February 12, 2017
Especially with Melania picking up Leslie Jones.#SNL
The only possible misstep in the night was the show’s Kellyanne Conway skit, in which CNN’s Jake Tapper, played by Beck Bennett, refuses to have Conway on his show due to credibility issues only to have the counselor to the president show up at his house uninvited, à la Fatal Attraction. McKinnon’s portrayal of the truth-bending Conway is as on-point as it has been in the past, but the tone of the skit veered into dark, perhaps overly sexualized territory that had some on Twitter calling the scene sexist and inappropriate.
Something sexist about the Kellyanne Conway/Fatal Attraction skit, but I can't quite put my finger on it... #SNL— Robin Wright Gunn (@RobinWrightGunn) February 12, 2017
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