How “Saturday Night Live” can hurt Mitt Romney, the Washington Post's Chris Cilizza posited over lunch today. The default show opener has been Mitt Romney, played by Jason Sudeikis, in a bunch of awkwards situations from debates to unfriendly dogs (you knew they'd pick on that) to this week's disconnected pandering:
Cilizza recommends damage control: "While Romney can’t control how they present him, he could take matters into his own hands and try to get on one or more of the shows. It’s always harder to make fun of someone who’s a good sport." I'll be honest, when the setting moved from the CSPAN podium to the stage, I almost expected the actual Romney to show up alongside Sudeikis and deliver the show's classic intro line... but instead we had Faux Romney botching the line as "Hey, New York, let's start the show."
Granted, this characterization isn't one for the ages. SNL spoiled us all last cycle, as Tina Fey's Sarah Palin may have been the most devastating comic characterization in TV history. I'll bet millions of people still think it was Palin herself who said "I can see Russia from my house." Still, it's still defining Romney as clueless, awkward and out of touch.
Romney may get lucky here. Sudeikis, who has a booming movie career, is widely expected to leave the SNL cast at season's end, taking his Romney and his Joe Biden with him. Perhaps he'll show up for a couple cameos; don't forget that Fey was a former SNL cast member when she protrayed Palin. In any case, I don't expect parodying Mitt Romney to be an important task in December anymore.
Now that I think of it, SNL viewers have only seen Fred Armisen's Brack Obama once all season. And if he's ever brought back, Armisen needs to get one part of the characterization down better: Obama laughs at his own jokes.