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Is Palin writing for SNL or vice versa? Who are this election’s screenwriters?

Remember when Sarah Palin gave her infamous 2008 Katie Couric interview? Palin’s disordered responses were so Miss Teen Carolina that Saturday Night Live writers didn’t have to wring out a parody. Instead Tina Fey brought down the house by repeating Palin’s folksy schtick verbatim. Essentially SNL added a laugh track. Every week the entire country tuned in to SNL in anticipation of Fey’s mimicry act. Eight years later Palin has come out of the wood paneling to endorse fellow freak Donald Trump. Immediately everyone is salivating for the SNL instant replay. Hmm.

It seems Sarah Palin has reprised her role as fount of Ugly Americanisms and I have to wonder. Maybe SNL’s humorists hadn’t caught a break after all. Maybe they had been hard at work in preproduction. Working on Sarah Palin as season pilot. Gag writers didn’t have to write a Palin parody because they drafted the original jokes.

We like to think of our comedians as authors of their own brilliant wit, yet we know their TV talk shows employ gaggles of writers. It’s true from Comedy Central to the Tonight Show. Why do we give a village idiot like Sarah Palin credit for her seamlessly funny imbecility?

Or Donald Trump for that matter? Trump has yet to miss a single sour note or plumb an inoffensive punchline with his every gutterance.

If we recognize the American two party system and its lesser of bogeymen false choice as an unchanging melodrama, we must consider the show has its screenwriters. Palin and Trump and Hillary and Bernie are reciting lines already tested on focus groups, seasoned to our taste, to manufacture consent for political continuity.

And how about casting directors? Somebody is deciding who gets the screentime. Why is anyone asking Sarah Palin’s opinion about Trump or anything for that matter. What qualifies Palin to opine at all? She’s been neither public figure, candidate, governor, nor mayor of Alaska’s meth capitol, since she came and went two elections cycles ago.

Political kingmaking is frequently attenuated by media gatekeepers but clearly the casting decisions they make are based on viewership ratings.

If there’s a show with cast and crew, there’s a showrunner. Elsewhere in TV-land the spotlights is regularly turned on them. I’m not talking about campaign managers or party heads, they are the stage managers or Don Pardos at best. Showrunners are the real auteurs, if that word doesn’t lend excessive dignity to their oeuvre, which is crap.

Team Obama 2008 won advertizing’s most prestegious award for that brand’s successful campaign. The Cleo is an industry award, generally outside the public’s viewshed. Of course the awards should have been Emmys.

If you want to see the real wits behind the scenes, it’s time to unmask the twits. Exile them to Reality TV where they belong. Let us accept or reject the showrunners if you’re going to pretend this is a democracy.

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