The Power of Reaction Shots

Let’s start showing reaction shots when Trump speaks

Thoughts from comedian/writer Matt Ruby. Want more? Sign up here to get my newsletter.


One takeaway from this #WHCD hubbub: We should think about the power of reaction shots.

Because Wolf actually did make a really mean joke based on someone’s appearance — and it was Mitch McConnell and his turkey neck. Also, she called Chris Christie a barrel. Yet no one seems to give a damn about that. I think this is, in part, because we didn’t have reaction shots of them.

But with Sanders, we all got to see the look on her face. And that’s when people feel empathy. They see a person with hurt feelings and they feel bad for them. Even if she’s a liar who is furthering the agenda of an egomaniacal narcissist. We respond to people’s faces. It’s an animal thing.

So here’s my big idea: Let’s start showing reaction shots when Trump speaks. Not the crowd of mooks in the room with him. Show the people he’s talking about.

When he mocks a disabled person, let’s cut to a bunch of disabled people watching it and show their faces. When he calls Mexicans drug dealers and rapists, let’s cut to an immigrant family watching with their kids. When he refers to an NFL player as a son of a bitch, let’s see Richard Sherman mean mugging in response. Just imagine Trump doing his “no one respects women more than I do” thing and then we cut to Tiffany Haddish, Maya Rudolph, and Cardi B to see their reactions. (Please lord, make this last one happen.)

America responds to visuals. We need to see the hurt. It’s the only reason we’re paying attention to police shootings now. It’s because there is video evidence.

We’re all disconnected and looking at our phones and fighting on Twitter. Genuine human interactions are an endangered species. A lot of America doesn’t see how Trump’s cruel words impact those he talks about. Let’s show ’em.

Maybe then these people will get as much sympathy as the 35 year-old Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Yes, that’s how old she is. Her D.O.B. is August 13, 1982. Google it. Beyonce is older than her! How insane is that? Man, those jokes could have been so much more cruel. In hindsight, we should actually be praising Wolf’s restraint.


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