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See this season's 'SNL' characters next to the Trump staffers they're based on

This season is the show's most watched in 23 years, and they're not holding back.

He’s not holding back — and no, we’re not talking about President Trump on Twitter. Lorne Michaels, the producer of “SNL,” is letting the cast of this season, the show’s most watched in 23 years, pull some serious (and political) punches with their “SNL” characters.

But the season, riddled with impressions of Trump staffers, didn’t set out to tickle just the sides of those who oppose Trump, according to a piece in The Hollywood Reporter. Kent Sublette, a staff writer, recounted what happened the day after the election, when the staff of actors and writers was down: Michaels reminded them all that, “Half the country voted for Trump, and our show's for those people as well. It's not just for people who didn't want him to be president."

Alec Baldwin even pushed to have Trump invited to the show for the episode that was his 17th time hosting, though the request was never made to the president, according to a show spokeswoman.

RELATED: Trump Cabinet member loves Alec Baldwin's Trump impression

The record viewership doesn’t mean everyone’s pleased with the portrayal of the White House, though. When Sean Spicer was forced to bow out of the daily press briefing for U.S. Navy Reserve duty, and Sarah Huckabee Sanders stepped in, “SNL” drew criticism for their portrayal of Mike Huckabee’s daughter.

Various outlets accused them of taking low swings at her weight. The former 2016 Republican presidential candidate himself came to her defense on the FOX Business Network’s "Varney & Co," calling the skit “a little bit silly, sexist, [and] misogynist,” and adding, “My daughter is certainly capable of handling a whole lot worse than that.” He went on to praise her for knowing “that she’s going to be judged by God, not by some not-so-funny comedy writers on ‘Saturday Night Live.’”

Despite the criticism, “SNL” keeps moving forward with a season packed with viral hits. Whether you’re a fan of Melissa McCarthy’s Sean Spicer impression — which set of a social media flurry when one sketch was filmed on busy New York streets — or wish they’d keep the jabs higher brow, there’s no denying the artistry of the makeup, costumes and studied mannerisms that go into the impressions.

Click through the slides above to see how all three come together, from a wardrobe choice to the smallest tilt of a head, to create spot-on political “SNL” characters everyone will be talking about for years to come.

 
 
 
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