Just this morning, Time Magazine released the finalists for its Person of the Year. (Or as Donald Trump called it in a typically face-palmy tweet, “Man (Person) of the Year.”) Among the list of 10 are two women: Patty Jenkins and The #MeToo Movement. Jenkins is, of course, the director behind Wonder Woman, a record-smashing superhero movie notably indifferent toward the male gaze.
But while Wonder Woman championed a fictitious female crime stopper–and, yes, cemented the case for women directing $100M+ tentpole movies–#MeToo represents a moment where all women can feel a bit like a superhero vanquishing her foes. Women are speaking up and men are losing both their jobs and their good names. This movement has threatened to turn America into Wonder Woman‘s magical realm Themyscira–only instead of no men at all, it’s just an island with no prominent male predators left.
Anybody who watched this week’s Saturday Night Live has a solid sense which of the above options the cast and crew would pick as Person of the Year.
Although the two weeks since the previous episode have been roiling with endless political turmoil involving Roy Moore, the tax bill, and potential White House shakeups, it was the shadow of the #MeToo movement that hung over Studio 8H on Saturday night–even in the political sketches.
The cold open found Alec Baldwin’s Donald Trump in Dickensian Christmas ghost mode. He was visited first by Michael Flynn as a Jacob Marley figure (played by Mikey Day) and then three other visitors. You know the drill. The sketch begins with the now-formulaic ticking off of current event boxes that have made all too many Trump sketches feel more like exercises in trying to keep up. One of the eventual ghosts, however, ended up setting the tone for the rest of the episode. Christmas Past comes in the form of Billy Bush (Alex Moffat), who notoriously served as Trump’s sounding board in the Access Hollywood tape. After making a crack at the expense of Matt Lauer, Bush drops a warning on Donald Trump that could double as the eulogy for many famous men in the fourth quarter of 2017: “Remember, the past catches up with us.” Ironically, the actual Billy Bush wrote an op-ed for The New York Times the very next day, refuting Donald Trump’s reported lie that the Access Hollywood tape is not authentic.
Later in the episode, Weekend Update takes another swipe at Matt Lauer, and has a funny take on a performance of the play, Afterglow, in which both the cast and the audience are nude. (“It’s the play critics are calling ‘Maybe not right now?'” says Colin Jost.) But the real jewel of this section of the show is probably the segment featuring fictional couple, the Duncans.
Although not directly linked to the #MeToo movement, this scene features a woman (Leslie Jones) asserting profoundly violent sexual dominance over her husband, and laughing about it the entire time. Jones and Mikey Day play the Duncans, a couple working their way through the entire Kama Sutra. With the help of some hilarious and crudely drawn diagrams, they explain some of the new positions they’ve discovered during this sexual odyssey, including “You’re a Chair Now,” and the rather uncomfortable-looking “Stop Whining, Sandwich Boy.” Given the social climate lately, a sketch about women as gleeful, consensual sex aggressors feels right in step with the times.
The episode’s pinnacle in celebrating the subjugation of men, though, comes in the form of a musical sketch called “Welcome to Hell.”
Celebrated on social media throughout Sunday, “Welcome to Hell” isn’t quite an empowerment anthem so much as it’s a melodic itinerary of long-overlooked female grievances that men are just now discovering. The song covers a lot of ground, from commiserating about life as a game of Guess Who’s a Sex Offender, to the burden of having to answer the loaded question, “Why didn’t you say something until now?” to just generally explaining what life as a woman is like. For anyone lamenting that House of Cards is now ruined because of Kevin Spacey, this song offers a laundry list of things that men have ruined for women, which includes: parking, walking, Uber, ponytails, bathrobes, and night time.
“This been the damn world,” Cecily Strong says, correcting the misconception that sexual predation is suddenly everywhere. Well, it may be the damn world now, but if it somehow doesn’t remain that way in the future, we’ll have Time Magazine‘s probable Person of the Year to thank.