BC Review

"SNL" Starts Topically, Ends Flopically

3/09/2008 08:41:06 AM

Four days after Hillary Clinton scored resurgent victories over Barack Obama in three of four primaries, NBC’s Saturday Night Live opened its show with another strong political salvo. It presented Amy Poehler as Hillary, presenting a “dramatization” – a series of black and white slides, with dialogue from Poehler’s Hillary and Fred Armisen’s Barack – in which President Obama, in the future, makes a 3 a.m. phone call… to awaken Hillary and ask her for advice.

The questions cover everything from staving off a nuclear showdown to how to restart the White House heating system. No matter the topic, Hillary – covered in beauty cream and hair curlers – knows the answer, while Barack smokes nervously, swears vigorously, and complains, “This job is hard!”

He tells Hillary, “Once again, I am amazed by the range and depth of your experience.” And when the “dramatization” is over, Poehler’s Hillary returns to ask voters to avoid this “frightening future” by calling the Democratic National Committee and saying, “Wait, We’ve Changed Our Minds.”

Funny stuff. And finally, Armisen got to stretch as Obama, playing him – through this faux Hillary’s biased perspective – as a secret fumbler more in line with the common comic portrayal of George W. Bush.

But except for one “Weekend Update” joke in which Seth Meyers poked fun at Clinton’s “I’m just getting warmed up!”  remark after her Tuesday victories (“Hey, Hillary, how are you going to be ready on Day One if it takes you 31 primaries to get warmed up?”), the rest of this latest SNL was relatively devoid of political humor.

And, for the most part, devoid of humor, period. Poehler was a real work horse (Hillary, Christian the Project Runway winner, Bogdana the Bulgarian bride, “Update” co-host), and Kristin Wiig was similarly busy – but outside the opening skit, nothing really scored solidly.