When is it not okay for a politician to make an appearance on Saturday Night Live during a campaign season? Surely, there are exceptions.
I propose that Sarah Palin’s appearance on Saturday Night Live where she starred in, not one, but two skits is that rare exception of an appearance on Saturday Night Live doing more harm than good.
Personally, I found this skit painful to watch. What Lorne Michaels and the writers of Saturday Night Live don’t seem to realize is that the fun of watching Fey illuminate and dissect the persona of Sarah Palin is in the simple fact that Palin was not in on the joke. Quite the contrary, her odd answers to journalists’ questions, crying foul when those answers are thrown back at her and the way the McCain campaign has sheilded her from any serious media scrutiny that any other vice presidential candidate would have to endure feeds the Tina Fey portrayal endlessly. It is as if, through Fey’s spot-on portrayal of Palin, we are being given a glimps into Palin that McCain’s campaign has denied us thus far.
She wasn’t completely horrible. She was just as wooden as most politicians who make an appearance on the show. But her skits fell flat because (i) it is offensive and a sign of mismanagement by the McCain campaign that they will not allow Palin to have serious interviews to answer real, hard-hitting questions that the American people have a right and need to know but they will, however, allow her to do sketch comedy on tv; and (ii) she is no longer seen by the media (and even respected members of the Republican party) as a serious, experienced candadidate who is qualified to be Vice President (much less President and leader of the free world), which makes her being on the show that highlights that very point just seems sad.
In the end, I think the best way to sum up her odd and cringe-worthy appearance on Saturday Night Live is: we have enjoyed laughing at the rediculousness of Sarah Palin’s candidacy but laughing with her… not so much. It’s just not funny anymore (and, for that matter, neither is her candidacy).