May 17, 2006

Saturday Versus Monday Night Live



If you’re looking for evidence of the conservative meltdown, consider the strides the opposition has made lately in achieving visual parity.  This latest example involved some pretty strategic real estate.

It’s not often Rove gets shown up when it comes to staging, but Al Gore’s Oval Office routine on Saturday Night Live left Bush’s prime time immigration speech two nights later looking like sloppy seconds.  And it didn’t help that CNN cued Bush early, creating an awkward false start to the address.  (This frame is where Bush had to pull up.)

Content-wise, the two performances also show an almost complete reversal from 2000.  Now, Bush looks like the overly rigid, overly scripted, and overly self-conscious politician while Gore seems loose and comfortable in his own skin.

Policy-wise, Gore did his part to loosen some of the biggest screws holding together the Bush Administration, including tax cuts, energy policy and security.  He did so, however, with a kind of deft misdirection that characterized Stephen Colbert’s deconstruction of Bush at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner a few weeks ago.  With the friendlier venue, however, Gore achieved it as much with nostalgia as with parody.  As “the inventor of the anti-hurricane and tornado machine” pretends to review six years of a Gore Administration, who couldn’t dream (and even, pine over) how much better America might have become?

When these two frames are juxtaposed, there is really no sense the top shot comes from a comedy show  Even after you see the sketch, the images still achieve equivalence.  It’s the spectacular failure of the Bush Administration that puts these two image on par.  In fact, this Gore pic forces into the open the fundamental question people grow more uneasy about by the day, which is  — who’s competent enough for the seat?

See the Gore SNL sketch here.

See the Bush immigration “false start” clip

(image 1: NBC/SNL via iFilm. com.  image 2: CNN via

Post By

Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

The Big Picture

Follow us on Instagram (@readingthepictures) and Twitter (@readingthepix), and


A curated collection of pieces related to our most-popular subject matter.


Comments Powered by Disqus