What: A game show sketch that turns into a meta expression of utter despair.
Who: The team at Saturday Night Live, and host Jessica Chastain.
Why we care: As SNL has seen its ratings spike since Trump became president, the show’s writers have tried any number of ways to cover the constant chaos that defines the era. In one sketch from this past weekend, though, the team took a brand new approach: more or less throwing their hands in the air in collective exasperation. The sketch starts out as a game show called What Even Matters Anymore, hosted by Veronica Elder (guest host Jessica Chastain.) A first tip-off that something more than the typical game show sketch is happening is that none of the contestants look particularly happy to be there. The stated premise of the show is that Veronica describes something the president did or said, and the contestants say whether it matters anymore. It was a particularly turbulent moment for Trump–between the government shutdown, his comments on Haitians, and the whole Stormy Daniels thing–but really this game show concept would work in just about any week since November 2016.
However, as the game goes on, it becomes clear that this isn’t supposed to be a game show at all. (“Are there, like, points?” Cecily Strong asks midway through.) What we’re witnessing is “actually” Jessica Chastain having a breakdown and forcing the cast to pretend to be on a game show. Eventually, the other performers just try to comfort Chastain rather than keep up the charade. It’s a clever idea well executed, and a stark reminder of just how much our national norms have eroded in the past year.