SNL’s Social Commentary on Kyle Rittenhouse

Although the specific topic of this SNL cold open is a bit old, it is still extremely relevant to recent events taking place in the country and the ongoing failures of the United States justice system (which ends up actually being the main point of this social commentary). Jeanine Pirro is a host on Fox News, which SNL is clearly parodying here, and although there are many instances where they are just straight up making fun of her (i.e. Robert Durst) there is also legitimate commentary here about the injustices of America and the racism that clearly influenced the Kyle Rittenhouse acquittal.

During Jeanine’s first interview with the judge that ruled on the case, there are clear examples of situational irony. This supposedly respected judge behaves unexpectedly and answers Pirro’s questions in such a way that the commentary is very clear: the system is rigged for white males and against anyone else who does not fit that description. Here, SNL is commenting on the unfair treatment Rittenhouse received at his trial. It was certainly undeserved assistance and leniency for a man that shot 3 people with an AR-15 who were protesting the murder of a black man, Jacob Blake, by a white police officer. The judge literally calls Rittenhouse “his client” in a little Freudian slip moment, which provides a sense of irony when you think about how the role of a judge is to be impartial and this judge couldn’t be any further from that. The judge is acting in the complete opposite way that you would expect a judge to be which highlights the absurdity of the special treatment that Rittenhouse was receiving on trail as a literal murderer.

The second interview Pirro conducts with a “democrat perspective,” employs dramatic irony in order to discuss the idea that though the Rittenhouse exoneration was disgusting, we should not be surprised in any way because as a country, this is who we are. Sandra Cummings provides the ignorant perspective of many white Americans while Samuel Fields provides a black perspective of the complete and utter frustration and almost resignation to the violence against black Americans. It is obviously not an acceptance of the violence but it has just happened so many times without consequences for the perpetrator that there is literally no way we can say “this isn’t who we are” anymore. Sandra Cummings keeps saying things along those lines though, talking about how shocked she is when both the audience and Fields know how ignorant and short sighted everything that she is saying is. This is a huge problem in America but I think that SNL’s point is how many times can we let this happen and do a little bit, but never enough to actually change anything because the voicemail goes “unanswered” and “the mailbox is full.” It is a sad reality that SNL is commenting on but by utilizing parody and irony, they are able to display the absolute absurdity that is the United States justice system and the rampant, unchecked racism that is running wild in the United States. It puts on display our failures as a country.