For better or worse, Saturday Night Live has always incorporated a heaping helping of political satire into its weekly dose of sketch comedy. Not all of it works for everyone, but such is the subjective nature of humor. Still, some of SNL’s most indelible impressions are tied to politicians such as Will Ferrell’s rendition of George W. Bush, Tina Fey’s exaggerated Sarah Palin, or the late Phil Hartman’s take on Bill Clinton.
SNL certainly got plenty of mileage out of the 2016 election, most recently via Kate McKinnon’s Hillary Clinton and Alec Baldwin’s ongoing impression of now president-elect Donald Trump. However, this week’s episode of SNL – hosted by WWE wrestler and actor John Cena – took a break from opening the show with a Trump sketch, at least to an extent. Instead of featuring Baldwin’s Trump directly, this week’s cold open resurrected an all-time great TV anti-hero: Breaking Bad’s chemistry teacher turned drug kingpin Walter White (Bryan Cranston).
In a clear parody of what many feel has been Trump’s tendency to pick the exact opposite type of people one would expect to serve in such cabinet positions as EPA chief or Secretary of Labor, Cranston’s White is being interviewed by CNN’s Jake Tapper (Beck Bennett), after having just been nominated by president-elect Trump to head up the DEA. While the sketch was a short one, Cranston did still get in some choice references sure to delight Breaking Bad fans, including a reprisal of the infamous “I am the one who knocks” line. The full sketch can be seen below.
Elsewhere in the sketch, White – along with Trump aide Kellyanne Conway (McKinnon) – reveals that he was recruited for the DEA job by Trump advisor Steve Bannon, after Bannon noticed White commenting on the political website he ran before joining the Trump campaign. Perhaps his best line though is as follows: “Donald Trump and I know it’s time to make America cook again. We want to fill this nation with red, white and a whole lot of blue.”
Whether one agrees with Trump’s politics or not, it sure is pretty cool to get to see such a legendary character like Walter White appear on-screen one more time. And hey, if nothing else, it looks like he didn’t die at the end of the series finale after all, he’s just been “off the grid.”