Saturday Night Live’s sometime Donald Trump, Alec Baldwin, took another week off, leaving the show to make its satirical bones elsewhere. Kate McKinnon was a suspiciously Forrest Gump-ian Jeff Sessions, and Weekend Update continued to come hard at the Trump administration, (plus McKinnon’s KellyAnne Conway kept turning up with her feet on all the furniture). But the sharpest political material came in the form of a movie that has never existed—and might never exist.
Impeccably crafted as one of those “based on a true story” movies about a principled, defiant, real-life figure who bucks tradition, fights the odds, and does what’s right, dammit!, the necessarily untitled movie about the first Republican lawmaker to take a stand against what the sketch presents in stark terms as Trump’s racist, divisive, compromised, and crooked administration centers on… no one. (The drawn-out reveal of just who this brave soul turns out to be stops right below the face.) Meanwhile, the suitably sonorous narrator must interrupt his mellifluous flow for a hastily ADR-ed “TBD” every time the so-far nonexistent person’s name—or any specific, courageous action they will take—is mentioned.
“So you want to speak out against the president? Aren’t you scared?” asks Kyle Mooney’s congressional colleague, to which the unseen Republican responds… something. (“Brave response TBD,” explains the voice-over.) Adoring, worshipful, multi-ethnic crowds gather to stare at an electronic billboard flashing “Rallying cry that speaks to all people TBD.” Cheering throngs hold up blank placards with handy green squares so their theoretical hero’s name can be added in later. Glowing reviews (including one from The A.V. Club) extol the virtues of, as our unnamed reviewer puts it “whoever it ends up being about.” (Rolling Stone makes it clear that it will not be Paul Ryan.) And, in the end, episode host Octavia Spencer shows her granddaughter the statue of the great man—including the block of unchiseled granite that will form his head. You know, should a single Republican ever step forward to pose for it.