Saturday Night Live RapeWatch: Gwenyth Paltrow Edition!

This week got off to a rocky start, with an opening sketch about Fox News' attempts to tone it down following the Tucson shootings, then quickly spiralling until the hosts were talking about how Health Care was raping America's freedom. Yes, the sketch was about satirizing Fox News' hyperbole, but the SNL writers could have toned it down slightly and still had the same effect.

The rest of the show was far less offensive, with the only other example of rape-themed humour being a joke about Will Smith's inability to express the correct emotions while filming a hypothetical episode of 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' in which Carleton was assaulted by a male teacher.

The only sign of homophobia-based humour was in a sketch that featured a questionable impression of Cher by Bill Hader. The only joke in that sketch? That Cher's daughter recently had a sex-change operation and became Cher's son. Which is apparently icky, and therefore funny.

The lack of truly offensive content gave me a chance to focus on the skteches themselves, which turned out to be something of a mistake, as they were by and large terrible. There were the truly mis-begotten, like a Bar Mitzvah sketch in which the characters sang Jew-themed versions of popular songs. A sketch about Spanish-language SportsCenter only featured half a joke - that the anchors speak flawless Spanish and then sound odd and discordant when using English names and terms. I say 'half a joke' because while the cast member playing the male anchor really sold the premise, Paltrow's accent was so weak that there was no measurable difference in her speaking voice when moving between languages.

Yet another visit to the set of 'Fake Password' reminded us why that sketch needs so badly to be retired. At least with celebrity Jeopardy there were new categories each week, the fun of seeing real celebrities try to be other real celebrities, and the escalating war of wills between Trebek and Burt Reynolds, then later Sean Connery. All Fake Password has to offer is Kristen Wiig saying she's not going to say the password, and then saying it. Mildly diverting once - majorly infuriating the sixth time. What Up with That (which was mercifully absent this week) understands the need to up the ante with each show - Fake Password is the exact same sketch every time.

When not even a cameo appearance by Pee-Wee Herman can save your show, it's time to rethink your priorities, SNL. Now, on to the numbers!

Rape-Themed Humour: 2
Homophobia-Themed Humour: 2

A fairly inoffensive week, as I mentioned above - while I'm not shocked to see them backing off of rape-themed humour (hopefully this isn't just a statistical aberration, and someone actually thought better of it), the downturn in homophobia-themed humour is heartening. With any luck the less awful SNL will become the new norm!

Oh, and if you're making a sketch about Will Smith's inability to act during the first couple of seasons of Fresh Prince, maybe you could drop in the most famous aspect of it: His habit of mouthing all of the other actors' lines while he was waiting for his turn to speak.

That stuff is gold every time I see it!

Also, what kind of world are we living in when Smuggy Smuggerson has the best line of the night? It's anarchy, people!

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