The latest incarnation of “Saturday Night Live” made one thing very clear: President Donald Trump has been a boon for the show, as ratings have been the highest in over a decade. As a result, the writers apparently feel anything Trump-related — anything at all — will do for sketches.
The lack of effort or meaningful content was apparent from the start in the newest episode to air last night, hosted by actress Scarlett Johansson. In the cold open, a group of “soldiers” were shown gearing up for an invasion by space aliens — when an announcement was made the president would address the troops. The live studio audience then erupted as actor Alec Baldwin arrived with the Trump impression he promised last week he would retire very soon.
“Hello yes what a beautiful day. Who here loves Trump? I know this guy here loves Trump,” Baldwin as Trump said — and pointed to a charred and still-smoking body.
Then the character said: “Here’s the deal: We are going to beat these aliens because we have got the best military, but we don’t win anymore. And the aliens are laughing at us. They’re killing us, and they’re laughing at us.”
The audience erupted as Baldwin arrived with the Trump impression he promised last week he would retire very soon.
Baldwin-as-Trump then declared, “We are going to bring coal back, OK? We’re going to have so much coal, you’re gonna say, ‘Where did all this coal come from? I never knew there could be so much coal!’”
Next he made a random mention of the popular vote — as if the writers were just checking off boxes on a list of subjects. In the end, the aliens arrived and asked to be “taken to your leader” — and the “president” tried insisting it was someone else.
Even more forced was a bit in which scientists presented a new invention that allows people to hear their pets’ thoughts. A dog had general comments about birds and food, but then began expressing support for Trump – to the horror of the participants. The owner was dismayed to hear the dog utter, “I don’t want to see your tax dollars going to immigrants.”
The bit wrapped up as the owner placed a tiny version of the infamous Women’s March hat on the dog and grumbled, “Let’s go for a walk, you dumb***.”
That’s not satire — that’s pandering.
Soon after, guest host Scarlett Johansson appeared in a perfume commercial as Ivanka Trump. The entire segment was merely meant to vilify the eldest first daughter — even USA Today called it “diabolical.” Promoting a perfume called Complicit, the ad stated: “She’s a woman who knows what she wants. And knows what she’s doing.”
The fake commercial also took aim at Ivanka’s support for women’s rights — “A feminist. A champion. An advocate for women. Like … how?” — before referencing that President Trump’s political controversies could potentially impact his daughter’s career.
The ad ended by saying, “Complicit: the fragrance for the woman who could stop all of this, but won’t.”
Of course, the lame attempt at satire and comedy used no real examples of actions or words to attack Ivanka Trump’s credibility.
The rest of the show also pandered to its usual left-leaning audience. “Weekend Update” ticked off Trump-related stories and made jokes America had already heard through social media. Kate McKinnon reprised her role as Attorney General Jeff Sessions — and there should be little doubt as to how that went.
“Saturday Night Live” seemed content to simply coast by delivering a requisite amount of red meat for its liberal audience. If the show wanted to be truly daring, it would spend a week without obsessing over the Trump presidency and the Trump family. If it gave true satire a shot again and left behind the blatant and lame biases, well, it might earn even better ratings — but even more importantly earn back the respect of a large portion of America.
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