When it comes to presidential elections, many TV shows develop political sketches solely for entertainment purposes. Some question if these sketches based on our presidential candidates will influence voters this coming November. “Saturday Night Live” and “South Park” are two shows that have recently spoofed the presidential race and started conversations about this election.
The entertainment business capitalizes on the hype of politics with a series of sketches, exaggerating the different gaffes and idiosyncrasies in the presidential race. Whether or not it’s commendable for them to do entirely depends on the viewer. Politics should obviously be taken seriously. Therefore, some people may be offended by these sketches, while others accept them as they are.
Many people criticize Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for her robotic nature and lack of enthusiasm. On the other hand, many people condemn Republican nominee Donald Trump for his ill-mannered comments to certain minority groups and lack of experience in politics.
A long-standing cartoon, “South Park,” is well known for its profanity. The show’s sketch, “My Opponent is a LIAR,” spoofs the first presidential debate. The sketch features Mr. Garrison, a caricature Trump, alongside Clinton in the presidential debate. As the debate starts, Mr. Garrison reveals that he should not be the next President of the United States, and says to vote for Clinton. In response, Clinton says, “My opponent is a liar, and he cannot be trusted,” a phrase that her advisors told her to say when Mr. Garrison appeared to mess with her head in preparation for the debate.
The “South Park” version of Trump expresses that he doesn’t know what he’s doing, and he would make the country worse. Even though many Trump supporters believe that he would Make America Great Again, many people against Trump imitate the same sentiment as the cartoon, that a Trump presidency would be a disaster. On the other hand, although Clinton was well prepared for the debate, it’s hard for some people to relate with her as she seems to merely echo her advisors.
The SNL sketch of the first presidential debate features much more than the South Park sketch. It makes fun of certain moments of the debate, as well as the personal characteristics of Trump and Clinton. For example, before the debate was held, Clinton was sick and diagnosed with pneumonia at the 9/11 memorial. In the sketch, Kate McKinnon, SNL’s resident Clinton impersonator, acts as if she is sick, walking to the center of the stage, but then somersaulting and saying that she’s better than ever. Another scene made fun of Trump saying, “I have the best temperament,” in comparison to Clinton. Trump, impersonated by Alec Baldwin, repeated that line, but then continue to list descriptions of Clinton as if he were describing himself. The sketch also exaggerated the little moments, such as Trump’s pronunciation of the word “China” and Clinton’s phrase “Trumped-up trickle down economics.”
I see these sketches as satire on American politics and nothing more. People who don’t educate themselves well within the political realm, however, may not see it this way. These sketches may not faze the strong supporters at each end of the spectrum; however, these sketches may influence the independent and undecided voters this November. Some people may be too busy with their personal lives to dive deep into the election, so whether they’re registered as a Republican or Democrat, they may not know which candidate is the best fit for president. Political satire is meant to exaggerate for entertainment, but these exaggerations can confuse people and may tip some onto the wrong side.