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Melissa McCarthy’s Poignant, Possibly Premature Farewell to Sean Spicer

Melissa McCarthy’s Poignant, Possibly Premature Farewell to Sean Spicer

The best political impersonations may begin with the basic mannerisms, or even in an agenda of outrage, but if the performer inhabits them properly, as a true acting role, they can become almost their own thing. Saturday Night Live viewers, over the years, didn’t necessarily tune in to see direct imitations of, say, George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton; they tuned in to see Dana Carvey as Bush, and Darrell Hammond as Clinton. They were clearly recognizable as caricatures of the real thing, but their own adventures as detached from reality were almost as compelling.

In both this past Easter’s episode and last night, Melissa McCarthy‘s Sean Spicer went to that level. The White House Press Secretary’s job has been rumored in trouble for a while, and with Saturday Night Live‘s season ending next week, the show decided to give him a proper dramatic arc on which to end the story…for now.

McCarthy’s Spicer impersonation debuted on the show as an exaggeration of defensive anger at perceived fake media; here, that anger turns into self-reflection and existential fear, the kind you might imagine someone in such a high-pressure job would feel. Fleeing a press briefing, Spicer goes on a road trip to find Donald Trump, and learn once and for all if they really are friends. And this is why you may have seen video earlier in the week of McCarthy driving her press podium on the streets of New York City.

The fact that Spicer has been a relatively good sport about the impression helps. Someday when he is no longer in that job for whatever reason, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him show up as himself on the program. The sketch seems to assume that’ll be sooner than later, but even if that’s not the case, the writers have all summer to figure out a way for Spicer the McCarthy character to return.

Will you miss him, or did they push the bit too far? Let us know what you think in comments.

Image: NBC

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