Although the entire season has been solid gold so far, Inside Amy Schumer may have hit a series high last night with a major deviation from the normal format–an episode-length parody of 12 Angry Men in which an all-male jury determines whether the show’s star is “hot enough to be on TV.”
Building off of last year’s sketch in which a focus group debated Schumer’s attractiveness, and a recent ode to female “fuckability,” the latest episode goes even further in dismantling the frank and ruthless way women are routinely sized up. A star-studded supporting cast including Jeff Goldblum, Paul Giamatti, Vincent Kartheiser, and Dennis Quaid gets very meta in the episode, which uses the beats of the 1957 Sidney Lumet film to shine blinding light upon the male gaze.
It’s long been clear that Schumer can have a laugh about herself, and that she wants viewers to do the same, but only on her terms. When her 12 Angry Men script–and she did indeed write and co-direct this episode herself–calls for Giamatti to say that Schumer is “built like a lineman and she has cabbage patch-like features,” she’s articulating the kind of critiques on her physicality lobbied her way on Twitter each day, only in a much funnier way. Where the episode really feels necessary is in shutting down those with even louder megaphones, like gasbag critic Jeffrey Wells who felt free to declare of Schumer, “There’s no way she’d be an object of heated romantic interest in the real world.” The point of the episode is that it’s ridiculous for men outraged about famous women who are comfortable in their own skin to feel comfortable in publicly critiquing them on it.
Watch a clip from the episode below, and watch the full episode here.