In a parody of the PBS series “Film Classics,” Forte and McKinnon star as a bickering married couple in a black-and-white sendup of the 1944 Ingrid Bergman movie “Gaslight,” with Forte relentlessly deceiving McKinnon. Forte drives McKinnon to the edge of insanity by “slowly dimming the gas-fueled lights around her and then denying it.”
“Cinema Classics” host Reese De’What, played by Kenan Thompson, tells the audience that the definition of gaslighting, which is to “manipulate someone into believing a false reality,” is taken from this film.
“I have tried so hard to keep the fact that you have lost your mind a secret, but now I’m afraid all of London knows it,” Forte tells an anguished McKinnon.
In one last attempt to maintain her grasp on reality, McKinnon asks her husband of a week and a half to turn up the lights “as high as they’ll go.” Forte does the exact opposite, turning the lights off altogether.
“That was up? Because to me that seemed like not up,” McKinnon says in bewilderment, to which Forte replies: “I hope you’re happy. Our gas bill is going to be insane, just like your brain.”
In addition to telling his wife that a book she holds in her hands is a rat and that a potato with googly eyes is her puppy, Forte tries to convince McKinnon a pineapple is a steak dinner.
“Dude, I don’t care how crazy I am: This is a pineapple,” McKinnon says. “I feel like maybe you’re trying to drive me mad.”
As McKinnon begins to realize that Forte may not be being honest with her, she snaps at him and the emotional isolation she feels in their relationship. “I don’t feel love,” she says to Forte. “You don’t even kiss me anymore.”
Forte tries to soothe McKinnon with a tender kiss, only to peel away and kiss their 18-year-old maid at the last second. This deception pushes McKinnon over the edge and helps her see the reality of her husband’s deception. McKinnon then unsuccessfully tries to turn the tables on Forte.
“That’s not a tie you’re wearing – it’s a steak,” McKinnon says, to which Forte replies, “Grow up.”
“I guess I’m bad at it," McKinnon says. “Well, at least I know the truth now.”
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: SNL: Will Forte, Kate McKinnon spoof gaslighting on 'Cinema Classics'