Friday, February 4, 2011
0:46 (wide-shot of character in pink women’s shirt and tight jeans walking through an airport security checkpoint. Camera shifts to closeup on character’s face as head spins around, revealing Bobby Moynihan with several days worth of stubble.) (*laugh*) I’m becoming the person I want to be. And without the hassle. Thanks, Estro-Maxx! (spins and walks through x-ray machine.)
From a pure script standpoint, this sketch is not at all anti-transgender and is actually rather respectful. In fact, some transgender people might agree with lines like “nature got in the way.” But the fact that the sketch gets all of its laughs from visual gags, aside from Brittain’s line, undermines that respect entirely. In fact, the respectful dialogue almost makes the sketch even worse, and here’s why.
By having the actors play these transgender characters more like straight men, this sketch is telegraphing how it really feels about transgender people; they’re actors, pretenders, and ‘men in dresses.’ Two of the characters even have obvious facial hair, one of whom has purposefully groomed his into a mustache. And by playing their appearances for laughs, the sketch is telling the audience that no matter how seriously transgender people take themselves, that doesn’t mean you have to take them seriously.
I guess GLAAD is a little upset at this commercial. It was definitely disturbing to watch. Their points aren't all off base, but they didn't mention how else SNL would have made the skit so funny. Giving straight men female body parts is the only way to make this so funny.
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