A commentary about sports, media, and interpersonal relationships encountered throughout everyday life.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

SNP: Saturday Night Politics

Tonight, the first Saturday Night Live since the conclusion of the Writers' Guild strike aired on NBC. As a twenty-something, the low expectations I hold for the program clash with the high standards my parents once possessed. Nonetheless, I tuned in because, well, it was a choice between that and Godzilla (yes, the one with Matthew Broderick) on ABC Family channel.

Upon changing the channel to NBC, I immediately recognized the opening set as the stage of Texas' Democratic debate between Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama that took place two nights ago. The role of Barack Obama, was played by Fred Armisen, who, at first glance, looked the part. The salt-and-peppered hair, slim build, and the slightly protruding ears all contributed to a living, breathing Obama caricature. However, one component of Armisen's Obama bothered me, and that was the omnipresent frown that he wore as he spoke and grunted in response to questions directed at him from the "CNN panel."
Now, Barack Obama is loved by the camera, yet this one characteristic was ignored by the SNL directors, producers, and, most noticeably, Armisen. In fact, not a single smile was cracked throughout the entire introduction to Saturday Night Live. This certainly isn't the Barack Obama that Democrats, Independents and (even a few) Republicans have come to know and love.
In fact, not that this was the sole decision of Armisen, but he displayed Obama as a quasi-awkward character. This was blatantly displayed as he reached to grab the rested hand of Hilary Clinton, played by Amy Poehler. During the awkward exchange, Poehler ripped her hands away from that of Armisen in disgust. The scene drew few laughs and, personally, made be wonder what politician the writers and producers of SNL had been watching over the past few months, because this depiction certainly was not Barack Obama (despite Armisen providing a really good caricature).

Later, during "Weekend Update" with Poehler and Seth Meyers, a surprise guest appeared on set. Governor Mike Huckabee appeared to Meyers' left, introduced as an unofficially official former Presidential Candidate. Huckabee, once again providing the great humor that debate viewers have come to expect, displayed charm and likability during the bit. In a micro-second of seriousness, Huckabee told his supporters and the American people that he would bow out "gracefully" when he "knew it was time." Meyers hinted that the time may be near as he was "mathematically eliminated" from Presidential contention.

Overall, the first episode of SNL was lackluster, but provided a decent look into the political atmosphere that the show had missed out on for so long. In the end, Mike Huckabee saved a sinking ship during the "Weekend Update" segment with his wit and charm. On the bright-side, at least the show can go nowhere but up in subsequent weeks.


mike's spot said...

yea SNL is kinda dead. I wouldn't take their political representation too seriously, they have never shown anyone positively. Bush senior, junior, Clintons, you name it-. I think they had a few Kennedy bits as well ( Ted if I remember)

Huckabee is a charmer. I wonder if he built enough steam to make another run in the future?

Fadds said...

Well... it depends what your definition of future is... if you mean "future V.P." then, yes, he definitely has enough steam.

Mike Plugh said...

SNL goes in waves. They are great when they have someone who can do the president very well (Carvey, Hammond, Farrell) and they do very well when the cast has a kind of collective charisma (meaning they make each other laugh). When it looks to "written" and "performed" it stinks. I think that's where they are now.

Improv is alive and well, but not at SNL.

Che-Jen (Peter) Chu 朱澤人 said...

I saw the YouTube video clip of Mike Huckabee's part on SNL. It's hilarious. But other parts of the show are hard to find on YouTube.

Katrina said...

You thought that the SNL episode was lackluster? I thought that the Hillary/Obama skit as well as the Huckabee skits helped to revive the show, but you may have a point about the show overall. I mean, besides those skits, I don't remember anything else about the episode.

Elizabeth said...

I can't remember the last time I enjoyed watching SNL. It just isn't funny anymore, and the fact that the skit represented a frowning, awkward Obama goes to show that they are desperate to get some laughs.

Elizabeth said...
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