Palin is “mavericky” and Biden is McCain’s best friend: SNL spoofs the VP debate

Tina Fey was back on Saturday Night Live tonight to play VP candidate Sarah Palin in a spoof of this week’s 2008 vice-presidential debate. Jason Sudeikis played Joe Biden, and Queen Latifah played moderator Gwen Ifill.

Watch it here if you haven’t seen it yet (or hop over to NBC.com to watch in full screen):

I didn’t find this skit nearly as funny as SNL’s first two Palin parodies (watch them here and here), but the debate didn’t leave the writers much to work with.

The skit did manage to capture the gist of the event, though, and included some very funny moments — like Fake Biden’s constant referral to John McCain as a close friend, and his frequent references to being from Scranton, PA. (Did anyone else visualize Michael from The Office every time he mentioned Scranton?) Fake Palin’s repeated use of the word "maverick" in this skit, complete with drinking game reference, was fantastically spot on.

I especially loved that SNL made a point to skewer both candidates on how they handled the gay marriage question.

Fake Biden excused his anti-gay marriage stance by saying, "but I do think they should be allowed to visit one another in the hospital, and in a lot of ways, that’s just as good if not better," which pretty much sums up the ridiculousness of the all-rights-but-marriage argument. (I understand logically that no one can get elected by openly supporting gay marriage, but that doesn’t mean I don’t resent it.)

Fake Palin’s speech after explaining she was against gay marriage was the best part of the whole skit:

But don’t think I don’t tolerate gay people. Because I do, I tolerate them with all my heart. And I know quite a few, too. Not personally, but I know of them. I’ve seen Ellen. Oh and there was this one girl on my basketball team, she wasn’t officially a gay, but you know, we were pretty sure.

A very funny exposé of the intolerance at the heart of Palin’s "tolerance" of us, and delivered brilliantly by Fey.

The only joke I didn’t like (although I’ll admit it was funny) was the reference to Palin’s beauty-pageant past when she held up the flute and asked, "are we not doing the talent portion?" I’m all for making fun of Palin’s political inexperience and overall inability to think on her feet, because that is germane to the office she’s running for, but making fun of her past experience as a beauty queen just smacks of sexism to me, since being a beauty pageant contestant a few decades ago says nothing positively or negatively about her qualifications for vice-president, unless you’re buying into the stereotype that women can’t be attractive and have brains, too.

Lori thinks I’m wrong about this, though, and pointed out that everyone made fun of Arnold Schwarzenegger for being a bodybuilder when he ran for governor, and Ronald Reagan for being an actor, and says it’s really no different than that. I’m still skeptical.

What do you think? Am I right, or is Lori wrong? What were your favorite moments from the skit?

And is it just me, or was Queen Latifah kinda wasted in this role?

SUNDAY MORNING UPDATE: Fine, everyone just agree with Lori! But can she name all the pregnant lesbians on TV in the last 5 years? I didn’t think so. So by Sarah Palin debating rules, I win!

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