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Gut Check: A Fast and Sloppy Review of Trump’s Saturday Night Live

Donald Trump’s hosting gig was neither a big win or a horrible loss for DT–which ultimately makes it a victory for him. Some thoughts:

-If you haven’t watched SNL in a while, you might have been confused. After decades of practice, you’d think it’d be a well-oiled machine, but it’s still a slapped together mess–proof that they write and rewrite the sketches up till the end. The only polish comes in the pre-produced segments. Everything else seems chaotic and rushed…

-Until Donald enters, and slows it all down to a stilted manufactured cameo. It’s not the fault of anyone in particular. Watch the show, and you can sense the deal that was made: Donald will appear briefly in skits, get to review of script, there will be no heavy lifting, only a bare minimum (if any) of rehearsal, and Ivanka gets invited. Which makes perfect sense: He is running for President, after all. But it was clear Donald loomed larger than the ensemble – in fact, the show. Which is why…

-The actors at times seemed awkward or distracted. Generally, everyone can be caught once in a while reading the cue cards, but here, it was constant. Perhaps because…

-The writing seemed deliberately muted. As if no one wanted the show to be great as the show could be–because it might help Trump. On twitter, I compared it to the cook at a restaurant seeing someone they hate (maybe a hated celebrity or politician) enter his dining establishment, so he spits in the food. Could the writers have tried to produce sub-mediocre pap to sabotage Trump’s gig? Who knows? But maybe it’s a better excuse for the writers, than saying they suck. Because some of the material given to Trump (and the other actors) was astoundingly bad.

-Sadly, on Twitter, hardcore Trump fans, tricked by that mentality you find in sports fan who call into radio shows at 2 am, maintained everything that DT did was “hilarious!” But again, that’s a disservice to their guy. The whole show was a downer because Trump was kept on a leash (perhaps one he provided through a strict page of restrictions he provided, and a defiant writing staff), when we all know Donald is way better just winging it. He’s funnier, on his own, than even the stale scripted impersonations, which merely marry parroting catch phrases to exaggerated mannerisms. But point out that the show was at times insufferable, and Trump fans wail–not knowing that the joke is on them for blindly accepting an endeavor calculated to harm their idol. Trump only gets better under the heat of criticism.

-The only thing trending about the show on Twitter wasn’t Donald or SNL, but Larry David, for the line of the night. We don’t know if Larry meant it when he said the “you’re racist” line–it was, after all, playing off the heckling challenge premise. But his befuddled but disappointed look at the end of the show implied something other than joy from a job well done. But, then again, that’s how he always looks.

-The upside is that finally Republicans have candidates (not just Trump) who can swim through the pools of pop culture without looking like idiots–even when those providing the water try their darnedest to make it appear that way.

Trump walked away without a bruise–and those at home watching went to bed unencumbered by that pleasant exhaustion brought on by laughter.

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