Alaska Gov. and Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin brought the best ratings in years -- and a lot of life -- to "Saturday Night Live." Beyond appearing in skits with "Weekend Update" anchors Seth Meyers and Amy Pohler, she even crossed paths with her dead-on doppelganger, Tina Fey, whose impressive impersonation of her has become a TV and YouTube sensation. (To see Palin's scenes, go here and here.)
To her credit -- and reflecting her "Sarah Barracuda" athletic ethic - Palin was a good sport, playing along as every stereotype and story line about her was played for laughs. And she was a good performer, unlike wooden politicians who previously have used satirical shows to play against type, such as Richard Nixon, who tried to punch up his popularity by saying "Sock it to me" on a memorable cameo on "Laugh-In."
The three key figures in the primaries - Senators Obama, McCain and Clinton - have also made appearances on "Saturday Night Live," just as other pols of both parties have used primetime or late night comedy to be - at least for a minute - more wacky than wonky.
Whether it will help Palin's ailing image, however, remains to be seen. Because unlike Al Gore, her perception problem isn't related to being all policy/no play. Indeed, if she really wants to shake the uncertainty many Democrats - and increasingly, some prominent Republicans - have about her presidential qualifications, she'll mimic her imitator Tina Fey and have the no-holds barred, unlimited question press conference the first skit suggested. Now that would be playing against type.