Weekly Wonderings – July 12th, 2021

So our house is currently in the process of having things fixed and being prettied up to sell. We’re very fluid on a departure date in August; such is life with selling a house. However, the housing market certainly looks good for sellers. We saw a house sold just a street over for a good amount of money last month. From what I gather in just reading the news, the materials needed to build new houses have increased in price due to some trade decisions made during the Trump administration. As a result, prebuilt homes have much more value, so I think we picked a good time to do this. If we can get what we’re asking for (or maybe higher?), we’ll walk away with a more than comfortable amount of money to set up a new life in a new country. I am looking forward to when we reach departure day and just relax a bit, and experience a society where people are shown more value.

Here is this week’s Spotify playlist

The new episode of the podcast is also up with our Top 5 Summer Movies and an in-depth talk about our feelings on the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

If you have been keeping up, you’ll see I’m working my way through every season of Saturday Night Live by looking at the highest-rated episodes for each season per IMDb user ratings. I’ve been noticing many things that have me interested in doing further writing about the series. First, I have been shocked at how transphobic the show seems to become from the Colin Quinn era onward. Second, I was curious about Lorne Michaels’ failed 1983-84 series The New Show, another sketch comedy venture.

The first episode I watched had one of the grossest transphobic sketches I may have ever seen on television. However, the sketch had a decent premise. It was a public access show hosted by a porn star/fitness guru, fitting for the 1980s. The joke is that Olivia Newton-John (played by Laraine Newman) is a guest and is very confused as she thought this was a fitness show. The host has also invited a porn director (John Candy) and a male to female trans sex performer (Valri Bromfield), making Newton-John more confused. The transphobic part comes when Bromfield’s character, sitting with a wide masculine stance, actually talks about her surgery, saying, “they left me little bits of this, and little bits of that,” with the entire joke being that this woman transitioned. There’s nothing else to the character, just a joke about her gender and body.

This same episode of The New Show also had a bit where Dave Thomas plays a Chinese convenience store owner talking in the exact exaggerated accent you can probably imagine. John Candy is trying to use his phone and plays into all the stereotypes of immigrant business owners being suspicious. The broken English is just so gross, and even in 1983, they knew better. Even as recently as 2013, I have seen jokes on Saturday Night Live that are transphobic, and they had Cecily Strong playing multiple Latinx characters. Strong is a straight-up white lady from Chicago who, I guess, had some vaguely Latinx features? It could never justify having her play so many. In the episode I saw, she played three different Latina characters.

As far as future pieces, I would like to focus on how SNL has addressed specific cultural and political issues. So it would be pieces on these things but also what the show has said about climate change. From the little research I’ve done, they have done a pretty abysmal job on that one too. My whole thesis would be that Saturday Night Live is a neoliberal program that exists to feign being “radical” while actually upholding capitalist values over everything else. You can see that in the skit where Steve Carrell plays Steve Bezos dunking on Trump, Weekend Update bits shaming New Yorkers for fighting against an Amazon Warehouse, and of course having Trump on the show while he was a political candidate and presenting zero criticism of him with that opportunity.

My biggest gripe with SNL, especially after binging through the new season of I Think You Should Leave, is that SNL has no point of view. It is a network television brand that refuses to stake down what it’s saying about anything. Look back at its presidential sketches. All they do is exaggerate a trait of a president and never really say anything about their policies or the direction they are taking America. I could get into more detail but want to save it all for that eventual series.

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