Reversal of Misfortune: Did Leslie Jones’ Objectification of Houston Astros Feel Weird to Anyone Else?
In a recent article for The Mary Sue regarding last weekend’s episode of Saturday Night Live, writer Vivian Kane argues that “it made no sense at all that in the midst of Hollywood’s sexual predator epidemic finally being made public, [Saturday Night Live] would choose to basically dedicate an entire episode to jokes about sexual harassment and assault.”
I agree. And there were many examples of such jokes. One even incorporated women in concentration camps, which must have been aimed at what I’m guessing is a relatively new and extremely small demographic of SNL viewers. But in her article, Ms. Kane made no mention of one particular sketch featuring cast member Leslie Jones, one of a long and growing line of (normally) hilarious women who helped SNL return to comedy prominence. In fact, her only praise for the entire show was a blanket endorsement of the Weekend Update segment on which the sketch appeared.
But before you watch it, imagine this.
It’s Saturday Night. You’re settling in on the couch ready to enjoy a brand new episode of a show that’s been entertaining us for over 40 years. The host is a proven comedy star sure to please, and there’s a musical guest you’ve actually heard of even though you’re over the age of 25. Unexpected bonus!
This is going to be good.
But then comes a surprising parade of relatively tasteless jokes, albeit highly dependent on your individual tastes. And just when you start thinking they might turn things around, a male cast member comes on Weekend Update as a “correspondent” and things get weird-to-even weirder. The cast member is doing a bit about how he’s recently become a new fan of women’s soccer, but for “all the wrong reasons.”
“I love to see those fine women in their tight little soccer shorts,” he says, falling just short of licking his lips.
The male cast member then shouts some examples of the catcalls he yells at the female players from the crowd, all of which involve flagrant invitations to have sex with him. He then shows a picture of himself at one of the games sitting in the stands with one of the players in the foreground facing away from him. “There’s one of the women who trained all her life to become one of the greatest soccer players in the world,” he says sincerely before adding, “and there’s me lookin’ at that ass!”
The crowd shutters, unable to fathom what they’re witnessing.
And it’s not over.
As you sit on your couch wondering whether or not you’re actually just hallucinating, three of the premiere players from the newly minted championship team of the National Women’s Soccer League are paraded out onto the set where, despite the indignities they’ve already had slung at them, they present the male cast member with several gifts that he immediately uses to makes sexually explicit jokes.
It’s still not over.
As a final indignity to these strong, talented and accomplished women, the male cast member then insists that the shortest of the professional female soccer players sit on his lap as he runs his hands over her body and says, “Good things do come in small packages.”
End of “comedy” bit.
If you haven’t already, I invite you to now watch the Weekend Update sketch featuring Miss Jones (embedded below.) Because as clearly outrageous and inappropriate as the sketch I just described must sound, that’s basically exactly the sketch they aired. All you have to do is replace the male cast member with Miss Jones, and the professional soccer players with three World Series Champion baseball players and you’ve got an actual aired sketch that, to borrow the words of Miss Kane, makes “no sense at all… in the midst of Hollywood’s sexual predator epidemic finally being made public.”
So why wasn’t this mentioned in the overall takedown of the episode?
Look, I realize men and women are different. It’s something I’ve been generally aware of since I was, oh I don’t know… about 5 years old. I also realize and believe that there is some validity and purpose to historically oppressed people (in this case women) turning oppression on its head. But redemption is not revenge, and revenge degrades redemption. True and sordid transgressions of the past should never be dismissed or forgotten, but the answer for actually moving past them does not lie in repetition of that behavior by those who’ve been wronged. Action is called for, but if we let clear thought and composed reason guide us, perhaps we can keep those actions from representing what Miss Jones very accurately called “all the wrong reasons.”
Watch the segment below courtesy of NBC.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.