Saturday Night Live: Presidential Bash 2004 (2004)

TV Special   |  Comedy


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1 November 2005 | Chip_douglas
| The lulling phase
The fact that SNL is one of the primary sources of political information for young Americans is to be applauded, but having a Presidential Bash every 4 years is getting to be rather repetitive. The first Bash in '92 was treated as a one off special and celebrated the first 17 years of political humor on SNL. The second, in '00 was special because of the involvement of both candidates and several former commanders in chief. But this one does not have much going for it at all. Add to this the smart idea to concentrate solely on the debates, and all we get is about an hour and a half of talking heads. I vote this Bash was contractually obligated to push viewers into the ballot box.

The repetitiveness is even apparent in the type of jokes they used over the years: as early as 1976 there were cracking wise about flip flopping and the difference in size between candidates keeps popping up too. Will Ferrells performance as Geoge W. Bush is very similar to Chevy Chase's take on Gerald Ford. The development of Dana Carvey's Bush Sr is interesting to watch: you can actually see him growing into it from a plain early bush to the famous rounded out version four years later. I can't decide which Clinton is better, Hartman or Hammond. Maybe Darrell Hammond is more accurate, but as with almost every celebrity impression on this show it can safely be said that Phil Hartman got there first.

As was to be expected, the two Bush-Kerry debates (less than two weeks old at the time of airing) get prominent placing (surely a record in SNL 'Best of' repeat-ism). Timeline-wise, we skip from 1976 straight to 1988. Apparently there was not a lot of political stuff during the Reagan years (or should I say the Dick Ebersol years?). No sign of Norm MacDonald as Bob Dole either. The new material with Hammond 'hosting'as Clinton is okay, but nothing special. Clearly this Bash lacks the originality and the variety of the first too and seems to be playing it safe ('cause the real candidates are taking notes). One last mystery is why they always include that one with Ross Perot leaving Admiral Stockdale in the woods. It's the only non debate skit in the show (though they do mention one). I guess nobody takes offense to making fun of Perot.

5 out of 10

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Release Date:

1 November 2004



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