12 December 2008 | Chip_douglas
Last call for McCain - Palin
Although Saturday Night Live has been accused of diluting John McCain's chances of winning the 2008 elections - mainly because of Tina Palin's Sarah Fey (or vice versa), to be fair, Lorne Michaels did invite both parties to appear on the show as well as this Bash, an invitation the McCain - Palin team gladly took while Obama - Biden stayed away (Obama did cameo during the Halloween '07 show, a skit also presented here). If it does seem like a bit of a desperate last plea on the part of the Maverick and the Hockey mom from Alaska, it's only because everybody knew Obama was far ahead in the polls anyway. Now the big question is, how much of the popular McCain Palin material will be remembered and shown again in four years time. Not much judging by the opening credit sequence, as this is the only part of the show to feature material from the 2004 election (Will Forte's Bush vs Seth Myers' Kerry).
The show's go-to performer, Amy Poehler returns from a short maternity leave (Lorne Michaels just can't seem to do without her, despite hiring two new comediennes to fill the gap left by A.P.). Doing her Hillary Clinton impression, Poehler is wearing the same outfit she wore while carrying her baby boy Archie, thus making it appear that her version of Hillary is still very much in the family way. It's either that or her monologue was filmed a couple of weeks in advance, which this reviewer doubts. There is further new linking material by Jason Sudeikis as Joe Biden, Kristen Wiig as Nancy Pelosi, Will Forte as John Edwards, Fred Armisen as Barack Obama and SNL's longest running cast member in the history of ever, Darrell Hammond playing three parts: John McCain, Hardballs' Chris Matthews and Law & Order's Fred Thompson. This last one just so that they can do another sound effect gag with the L & O chime. As if they hadn't driven that joke into the ground enough times on Weekend Update already.
Of course SNL got an enormous ratings boost this current season (34 to be precise) because when John McCain picked a female running mate who just happened to be a dead ringer for SNL's former head writer Tina Fey. As Tina was busy writing & starring in her semi autobiographical sitcom (also produced by Lorne Michaels) that is produced at the very same 30 Rock address as SNL, it was a no brainer that Tina could and would cameo as Sarah Palin. Add to this three Weekend Update Thursday specials that focused almost exclusively on the election, means there's more current political content than ever to edit into this bash. Over the course of this 2 hour special we are reminded off the incredible amount of cameo's that have spiced up the last few seasons, from former cast members and hosts to Obama Girl. The inclusion of the Obama/McCain debate skit from the first W.U. Thursday show even means that the entire current cast gets to be featured briefly (sans the aforementioned two girls who came in later to replace Amy). However, in this compilation nearly every skit ends with an abrupt fade as most of them were cold openings (and you just can't have someone shouting 'Live From NY' every 15 minutes, now can you?)
The classic historical skits that have made up the past 3 Presidential Bashes are not shown in their entirety again, but used as lead ins to the commercials. This does include a rarely seen 1988 'Michael Dukakis ad' supposedly paid for by 'Pupeteers for Dukakis' that has Robert Smigel's signature all over it that was new to me. The show is capped with a montage of favorite political moments. Notice that Will Ferrell is presented here as the quintessential embodiment of George W. Bush, while the other 4 actors who essayed the part (Hammond, Chris Parnell, Forte and Sudeikis) are ignored. Then again, the same thing could be said for Ronald Reagan. A record number of 7 actors played old Ronnie at one time or another (Chevy Chase, Harry Shearer, Charles Rocket, Joe Pscopo, Randy Quaid , Phil Hartman and host Robin Williams) but only Hartman (whom I believe only did him once) is shown - this sketch, Masterbrain remains a classic though. Archive footage of Darrell Hammond is shown doing his famous Bill Clinton impression and man did that guy look different back in 1995! Well, here's to the next four years f Obama leadership, only time will tell what kind of laughs SNL will bring by the time the next Bash comes around.
7 out of 10