Tina Fey is just a heartbeat away from having to be on Saturday Night Live every week.
There were a lot of ways you could have gone with the first Palin skit—the ABC interview, the convention, something involving moose—but I’m glad they went the Hillary route since (1) “What must Hillary be thinking right now?” has been a constant question chez Tuned In ever since Palin’s nomination, and (2) it gave Amy Poehler one more shot at her character.
Much like Hillary, Poehler worked hard and doggedly prepared for her moment only to see it surprisingly denied to her. Poehler’s Clinton was an example of how SNL impersonations work when done right; it wasn’t about how much she looked and sounded exactly like her (Hillary doesn’t really laugh like that), but she created a character in her own right.
And now, like Hillary, she has to stand back and see the new kid (well, the old new kid) waltz in and take center stage.
Fey’s Palin was perfectly good enough; at heart, face it, you mainly needed someone who could wear the hair and glasses and say, “Hellooo, I’m SEERah PAYlinn!” But while Fey’s not exactly the actress that Poehler is, I think a couple seasons playing Liz Lemon has sharpened her chops. She gave just the right reading to “And I can see Russia from my house!” (Does Palin wear red jackets like that, by the way? It seemed a little more like standard Republican-woman red than anything I’ve seen her wear, but I may be forgetting.)
The skit itself did a good job of what SNL—which has lately cultivated a strong set of female comics—tried hard to do through Hillary’s campaign, which is try to address sexism without either simply going for the easy stereotypes or letting female candidates off the hook. The script took shots at the typecasting of women candidates while also sending up how these two different women candidates have played into, or off of them, themselves. It had its cankles and ate them too.
But if McCain actually wins the election and Palin is around for another four to eight years—and doesn’t slip into Vice Presidential limbo—eventually SNL will want to make her into more of a character and less of an impression. But as they say in politics, Fey met expectations for now.