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Television

Kate McKinnon’s Greta Thunberg helps ‘Saturday Night Live’ ring in the holidays

‘SNL’
Musical guest Niall Horan, left, host Scarlett Johansson and “Saturday Night Live” cast member Cecily Strong.
(Rosalind O’Connor / NBC)

With the holidays fast approaching, “Saturday Night Live” set aside the week’s political news of the impeachment battle in the House of Representatives for a potentially more contentious setting: houses hosting family dinners across America.

Toggling between three geographic locations, “Saturday Night Live” offered a snapshot from Christmas dinner tables across ideologies, including Trump supporters, progressives and a black family in Atlanta. Although impeachment was the dominant topic along party lines for two of those groups, Kenan Thompson’s patriarch took a different tack, asking, “Who do you think is getting voted off ‘Masked Singer’ next week?”

While Chris Redd’s visiting son pleaded with his family to talk politics, Thompson’s father character made a compelling if more grounded case, asking, “Oh, you mean talk about how Trump is getting impeached but reelected? I don’t think so.”

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The sketch continued switching through its various political contrasts, including some hearty laughter about Pete Buttigieg’s appeal in Atlanta, Beck Bennett’s Trump-supporting dad earning a federal appointment after a presidential retweet and Thompsons’ toast for a year that saw “three black quarterbacks who have beaten Tom Brady.” But, in switching to focus on an all-knowing snowman that recalled Leon Redbone’s cameo in 2003’s “Elf,” “Saturday Night Live” offered a reminder that none of these opinions mattered because of their respective home states, thanks to the holiday “magic” of the electoral college.

Lest that cold splash of political reality threaten to end things on a discouraging note, Kate McKinnon arrived as recent Time magazine Person of the Year Greta Thunberg, who wished everyone a “merry last Christmas to all.” Later, referencing the petulant tweet from the president in the wake of the Person of the Year news, McKinnon’s Thunberg responded by saying, “I can’t believe I’m saying this to a 70-year-old man, but grow up.”

Current events turned up again later in the episode, which was hosted by Scarlett Johansson with musical guest Niall Horan. Referencing the actress’ role in Noah Baumbach’s Netflix drama “A Marriage Story,” Johansson played a therapist to contentious political power couple George and Kellyanne Conway.

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Recounting their divergent ideological viewpoints that often play out on social media, the couple were taken aback to realize they were in counseling and not speaking with the media. “What you say doesn’t leave this room,” Johansson assured them. The Conways looked confused. “Then why are we doing this?” they asked.


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