Saturday Night Live: Jeff Sessions as Forrest Gump and those Russia connections

Kate McKinnon as the attorney general eats through a box of chocolates at a bus stop – and a very special pie served by The Help’s Octavia Spencer

In so many ways Saturday Night Live is a tradition-based show – it very rarely breaks format, mixes live and pre-taped elements, or toys with “meta” comedy.

But this week, the show played with expectations – and people who only watch sketches on YouTube – by inserting Kate McKinnon as Kellyanne Conway into the mid-commercial live-shots, where viewers get a peek at the actors setting up for their next scene.

Sitting on her knees and playing on her phone, McKinnon/Conway never looked up or was acknowledged by anyone, despite a couple references to “couchgate” throughout the show.

It seemed the show was trying to emphasise the obvious – that it was a funny photo and nothing else, certainly not enough to hang an entire sketch on.

Another possibility is that the show may have found itself bound by its reliance on McKinnon, who did her Jeff Sessions impression in the cold open, thereby ruling out a Conway appearance.

McKinnon’s Sessions is among the weaker of her impressions, with an impish quality that feels a bit off. This time, we saw Sessions in Forrest Gump-mode, chatting to strangers on a Southern park bench.

“I always say life is like a box of chocolates,” he explained to Leslie Jones. “Sure are a whole lot of brown ones in there.” It was an unforgiving take on the attorney general that ended with a clever appearance by the episode’s host, Octavia Spencer.

Minny Jackson has a special delivery for Jeff Sessions. #SNL pic.twitter.com/cB3ak6U9mm

— Saturday Night Live (@nbcsnl) March 5, 2017

"Being in the government is so fun." #SNL pic.twitter.com/EW3zNiMO6A

— Saturday Night Live (@nbcsnl) March 5, 2017

"This is my best good friend Kellyanne." #SNL pic.twitter.com/wPrT3ym4oU

— Saturday Night Live (@nbcsnl) March 5, 2017

Spencer proved to be a very skilled host for episode that was otherwise fairly average. Other notable sketches included:

  • A fake movie trailer for a biopic of the heroic Republican who stood up to Trump, despite what it meant for his career, in the thrilling blockbuster “TBD”.
  • A recording session for an animated movie that was a flimsy, plot-less excuse for a couple of the show’s newer cast members – Melissa Villasenor and Alex Moffat – to do their best impressions.
  • The best part of Weekend Update: a visit from Donald Trump Jr., played with slick, plate spinning gusto by Mikey Day, and Eric Trump, portrayed as a childish simpleton by Moffat.
  • Another example of the show playing on a guest’s name – see Peter Sarsgaard’s SARS Guards and Hamm and Buble with a five-to-one sketch based on the premise that Octavia Spencer is the heiress to the Spencer’s Gifts empire.

Contributor

Elise Czajkowski

The GuardianTramp

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