TV

‘SNL’ Gives The Jeff Sessions Russia Controversy The ‘Forrest Gump’ Treatment

The major political news of the week the past seven days was of course the connections between US Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Russian contacts. The news cycle has not yet forgotten that breaking story and the endless possibilities of corruption or espionage that could stem from a meeting between Sessions and the Russian ambassador. So naturally, that story was the center of Saturday Night Live‘s cold open on Saturday night — and the skit sure was a doozy.

In the cold open, Sessions chats to various people while he sits on a bench, slowly admitting to various levels of involvement between the Trump administration and the Russian government. The skit mixes references a little too much with minimal payoff, with Jeff Sessions as Forrest Gump sitting on a bus bench being the main thrust of the sketch and shoehorning in a reference to The Help since the show had Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer to utilize. The Help isn’t a truly recent movie and it also isn’t one that has references which are likely to stick in the public’s mind for multiple years, so whether audiences are likely to latch on to the poop pie joke is hard to say.

While the sketch didn’t have quite the punch it could have (“run Jeffy run!” being both too easy and too outdated a reference), it mostly served to have Kate McKinnon portray Sessions again on the first episode back from a weeks-long hiatus, which is as good a reason as any to choose it for the cold open. If nothing else, McKinnon continuing to play multiple members of the administration from week to week is worth a few middling political sketches, as her performance makes the whole thing worth it. She could just sit on a bench and mimic Donald Trump’s mind-boggling lack of handshake abilities and it would be worth an entire episode of mediocre political jokes.

Plus, everyone gets to imagine what it would be like if Beck Bennett’s Putin or McKinnon’s Sessions were actually inserted into Forrest Gump and taught Forrest about things like the rise of communism in the East or government-enabled marginalization. Probably would have made for a more entertaining movie, come to think of it.

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