It's official: SNL loves politics, and loves being a player in the game. That's my impression from this week's cold open sending up the Petraeus hearings, which were momentarily a big deal on cable but had significantly less viewers than "Idol Gives Back." (Hey, Frank Rich thinks so, too.) Nonetheless there was Will Forte as General David Petraues, a chest full of medals and Supercuts hair, sending up the state of the Iraq war in some funny but grim satire, considering it was rooted in truth (Darrell Hammond as John McCain was eager for signs of good news: Petraeus: "The Sunnis and the Shi'its have agreed on a formula to share revenue from embezzled foreign aid and bribes paid to government officials." McCain: "So the skeptics were wrong. Sunnis and Shi'ites can work together!").
Those who feel like Hillary Clinton has gotten off easy will enjoy the pokes at her Iraq war vote, sniper fire story and now Gore-like rep for exaggeration; with Obama, it was a variation on the usual joke, namely that everyone loves him (Petraeus: "Senators, I've read both your books, several times, and I can't tell you how much I admire them." Well, he does have a rep for being a shrewd political operator.) No mention of bowling or bitterness anywhere. Watch below:
In other news, NBC is clearly the network of sexy older ladies between 30 Rock's "Milf Island" and a fairly hilarious sketch called "The Cougar Den" (and rather meta considering the involvement of host Ashton Kutcher, married to an older woman, and his recent co-star Cameron Diaz, formerly an older woman to Justin Timberlake). It also has the dubious distinction of coming up with the bluntest way to say/imply oral sex since Col. Angus.
What else? A forgettable digital short, though even the forgettable have their charms (they do nail the awfulness of DIY YouTube, though by nailing that awfulness they made it that much more painful to sit through); another tour de force weird-girl performance from Kristen Wiig (think Penelope on speed); and one of the greatest think-about-it-for-a-sec lines of late, from Jason Sudeikis: "Man, I love being a doctor." Also a killer line from Kenan Thompson smacking down Kutcher's star vehicle, That '70s Show, for having no black cast members. I did NOT like the "Death By Chocolate" mini-sketches (giant chocolate bar murders people gruesomely) though I laughed hardest at Casey Wilson's first real starrer as a paralyzed exotic dancer being put through the motions by the strip club manager (her tongue is decidedly not paralyzed). Someone at SNL's got a sadistic streak.
We'll have more videos for you as they come in but that 's the nutshell. The next show isn't for a whopping month — May 10th with Shia LeBoeuf. Who knows what craziness will have happened by then &mndash; we'll have had at least one debate and knocked off a few primaries and who knows, maybe even a candidate (but which one?). Good ep though. Wish Demi Moore had done more than just nag Ashton right before a sketch about how older woman aren't really all that hot, but it was more than made up for by Bill Hader as Robert Byrd (not to be confused with Bill Hader as Robin Byrd).
Update: Here they are, though alas not at all my top picks. See below:
Ashton Kutcher's Monologue:
Daiquiri Girl - Digital Short:
Jamie Lee Curtis For Activia Yogurt:
Kristen Wiig as Judy Grimes:
Death By Chocolate:
SNL now has a page just for embed codes! Wow, SNL, you've come a long way. Other networks! Take note!