In a last ditch effort to combat the increasing political polarization that seems to be tearing the country apart, Saturday Night Live broke the fourth wall in its last cold open before the election to remind everyone to come together. Alec Baldwin and Kate McKinnon, who reprised their acclaimed roles as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, stopped playing their characters in the middle of a sketch and agreed to end their own fighting, even as it merely emulated that between the real Clinton and Trump. The newly united duo then traveled from 30 Rock to Times Square to make good with the electorate — Baldwin as Trump hugged an African-American man and a Hispanic family, and McKinnon as Clinton embraced two men wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat and a "Trump that bitch" t-shirt.
As great as the broken fourth wall segment was, it's almost a shame that the interrupted sketch didn't continue, because it was both hilarious and scarily accurate. Side-by-side fake CNN interviews focused on Clinton's emails while Trump literally kissed James Comey, Vladimir Putin, and a KKK member, mirroring Trump's real-life tendency to get away with almost everything. However, SNL's call for Americans to put down their ideological fists was an important way to address the nation ahead of the election. Since so much of the media coverage of this election has seemingly contributed to political polarization, a concerted and funny effort to bring people together was really necessary.
SNL's long history of political commentary has continued spectacularly this season, with help from unbelievable real life material. Larry David started the guest starring excellence as Bernie Sanders during primary season, and former cast member Darrell Hammond returned to the show to take his shot at a Trump impersonation. It's Baldwin though, a member of SNL's famed five-timer club, who earned the spot in the show's historic coverage of this election. His Trump impression has proved one of the only saving graces of this election cycle, but one can only hope that both he and the real Trump won't be making headlines for too much longer.
SNL's choice to break the fourth wall was a pretty atypical one that signals just how bizarre this election is. While the show usually devotes its political coverage to pure satire, the Clinton-Trump showdown has broken that streak due to the discord it's caused in the American electorate. Hopefully people will pay attention to this message from the staple comedy show and choose to come together after this election, rather than letting partisan politics continue to divide the country.
Image: Saturday Night Live/YouTube.com