Still from Saturday Night Live (Season 42, Episode 6, 2016.)
The results of the past week’s election has left many of us feeling battered, defeated, confused, and even afraid. The future feels uncertain, and no one really knows what to expect. There has been an immediate spike in hate crimes and protests have erupted in cities across the nation. What will happen to America in the next four years? Or maybe even the next eight? In reaction, I did not think that sitcoms such as Saturday Night Live would be able to make light of the issues that are facing every American in the wake of the election. They did not.
Dawned in her recently iconic Hillary Clinton outfit, Kate McKinnon came onstage for the cold open and sat at a piano. No jokes, no stage setup, and no extraneous cast members. Just Kate and the song “Hallelujah.” If you have not watched it, do so (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XZu64okmw8). I seriously got chills. For one, who knew Kate McKinnon could sing so well? When the song goes, “…love is not a victory march / It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah,” I could not help but feel strong emotion. At the end of the song Kate McKinnon (Hillary Clinton) looks at America and declares, “I’m not giving up, and neither should you.” The impact felt profound, and it served as a rallying cry for every American.
This scene shows why Saturday Night Light is timeless. The show is there to make us laugh and to make us feel. The show is about what it means to be an American, through the good and the bad. When terrorist attacks killed 129 people in Paris, there was no funny cold open either. Cecily Strong came out solo onto the stage and said, “Paris is the city of light, and here in New York City, we know that light will never go out. Our love and support is with everyone there tonight. We stand with you” in English and in French. The message was clear: America understands your pain, and we are here for you for the fight. While Saturday Night Live pokes fun at the differences in us, it shows we can come together through a sense of humanity and decency. The show reminds us that fortunately, and unfortunately, we are all human.
by Andrew Guido