When Jimmy Fallon returned to host “Saturday Night Live” this past weekend, America learned what the mainstream media use as criteria to evaluate today’s entertainment.
Apparently, the quality of writing, depth of material, delivery of lines, etc., are not as important to mainstream media outlets as whether the entertainment content in question sufficiently attacks President Donald Trump.
The same media pundits that praise Stephen Colbert and “SNL” for non-stop anti-Trump programming have found Fallon wanting for his apparent failure to hit Trump hard enough.
In a recent piece titled “On ‘Saturday Night Live,’ Jimmy Fallon stays soft on Trump,” the Washington Post castigated the “Tonight Show” host for having “stayed away from the kind of cutting political satire that has come to characterize ‘SNL’ in recent months and which his late-night peers have embraced.”
The newspaper added a subtitle that read: “Jimmy Fallon is still a comedian on an island.”
“SNL’s” cold open was a non-imaginative sketch that featured Alec Baldwin as the president dealing with the reported feud between advisors Stephen Bannon and Jared Kushner.
In the segment, Baldwin’s Trump hosts a “Bachelor” style competition between Bannon and Kushner. Strangely, the writers chose to use “The Bachelor” as part of the sketch rather than “Celebrity Apprentice,” possibly due to the fact that the latter may be a bit too close to its NBC home.
The Post criticized Fallon’s portrayal of Kushner, calling it “a pretty tame sketch that continues a pattern of Fallon handling Trump with care.”
Vanity Fair, which went after the “Tonight Show” host in a hit piece titled “S.N.L.: How Jimmy Fallon Sneakily Avoided Making a Single Political Statement,” is evidently also unhappy with the opening, during which, according to the publication, Fallon “somehow managed not to say a word against the president…literally.”
The Washington Post gave kudos to comedic actress Melissa McCarthy in her return to “SNL” as Sean Spicer. In a sketch that mocked the White House press secretary for his recent misstatements, McCarthy, dressed as the Easter bunny, offered faux apologies.
The Post also used praise for the comedic actress to take another swipe at Fallon, saying that “McCarthy’s performance was far more provocative than anything Fallon did.”
The paper concluded that “Fallon, who generally shies away from political commentary, is now an anomaly,” and it gleefully pointed out that Fallon’s “neutrality — theoretically an ideal quality for a broadcast network trying to appeal to a broad audience — is not reaping the ratings rewards it once did,” a reference to the higher ratings that Trump-bashing competitor Colbert has garnered of late.
“Anyone looking for Fallon to get tougher on the president was likely disappointed on Saturday,” The Post added.
Ever since Baldwin’s caricature first appeared on the show, “SNL” writers have attempted to get under the president’s skin, apparently hoping that he would respond on his now famous Twitter account.
Vanity Fair bizarrely claimed that “SNL’s” current obsession with bashing the president has been a “seven-month mea culpa” for having allowed Trump to be a host of the show.
“How, then, does perennial nice guy and political fence-sitter Jimmy Fallon fit into the show he once called home?” Vanity Fair asks. “The answer: by nimbly side-stepping the issue altogether.”
The publication piled on Fallon’s treatment of Trump as a guest of the “Tonight Show” during the presidential campaign, referring to it as “controversial glad-handing” and claiming that it “continues to haunt The Tonight Show host.”
Folks may recall the grief that Fallon received for the appearance. The comedian was sharply criticized for helping to “humanize” Trump, due to a funny spontaneous segment during which Trump good-naturedly allowed the host to mess the then-GOP nominee’s hair.
Fallon was also taken to task by Vanity Fair for failing during his “SNL” monologue to hit President Trump. Rather than getting political at all, Fallon instead sang a tribute to David Bowie and led the cast and musical guest Harry Styles in a dance party.
In reality the late-night host did what professional entertainers are supposed to do in high-profile situations such as this. He did what he does best by performing many of his trademark musical impressions, including the portrayal of two versions of John Travolta performing along with Styles’s Mick Jagger.
According to the mainstream media, however, in today’s entertainment world the only things of value are those that express antipathy for the current president and his team.