Poor Saturday Night Live. At one time, it was so cutting edge, as the incredible original cast proved. And there were so many funny years in the mid 70s, the late 80s, and even in more recent years.
But it seems like SNL may have jumped the shark this season: witness Kate-McKinnon-as-Hillary-Clinton’s mournful take on Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” right after the election. Now, as the Obama years are finally behind us, this past weekend’s show featured the ultimate example of Obama sycophancy.
Picture it: cast members Cecily Strong and Sasheer Zamata stand under a portrait of the outgoing president warbling the 1967 classic “To Sir, With Love” (pretty poorly) with no trace of irony. The two women even break down the fourth wall and present Obama with a mug that reads, “World’s Greatest President.”
I don’t mean to split hairs too much, but the fawning tribute just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Of course, we’re not meant to expect the president to “take [them] from crayons to perfume,” but some of the lines in the song’s second verse should give us pause.
Are Strong and Zamata really meaning that they’ve counted on an elected leader – especially Obama – to teach them right from wrong? Or to show them what it means to be strong? (That second one should really get the feminists in an uproar if you think about it.)
Of course, Obama deserves a measure of respect for holding the office of president, and even those of us who disagree with him can understand the importance of his being the first black president. But for SNL to treat him as a beloved teacher, as the song literally suggests, or as some sort of father figure just goes too far. By the way, it’s far from funny.
Seeing is believing, so check it out for yourself: