Amy Schumer is a comedic genius; she's probably one of the greatest comedians of our time. No, I will not back that statement up with any sort of evidence, because if you're familiar with her work you already agree, and if you're not familiar with her work, that's your problem. The third season of Schumer's often-sex-and-gender-skewering sketch show Inside Amy Schumer premiered last night, and as usual, it expertly pulled apart some of the worst and weirdest aspects of modern life.
One good example is the sketch "Hello M'Lady," which advertises an app that keeps women updated on the lonely, quietly pining men nearby, who can be relied on for compliments and gifts. As a bonus, the app lets women know when their "hello m'ladies" are about to angrily turn on them. I would love to be able to use that particular feature of this app. Someone please give seed money to a company willing to create that.
By far the most-talked-about sketch from last night's show was a parody of Friday Night Lights in which Josh Charles plays a new high school football coach with one simple motto: Clear eyes, full hearts, don't rape. Charles throws his team and, indeed, the entire town for a loop with his unheard-of anti-rape policy, and Schumer's tipsy wife (complete with increasingly large white wine glass) stands by her husband and his unorthodox ways.
So far, most of the praise for the sketch has gone to the two things mentioned above: Charles' demand his players not rape anyone, and Schumer's goofy wine glasses. And while those things are obviously very funny, one piece of satire seems to have eluded the many people singing the sketch's praises. In Charles' climactic half-time speech, he gets upset with his team for allowing their constant interest in rape to get in the way of the game.
"How do I get through to you boys that football isn't about rape?" he asks the dumbfounded team. "It's about violently dominating anyone that stands between you and what you want. Now you gotta get yourselves into the mindset that you are gods, and you are entitled to this! That other team, they ain't just gonna lay down and give it to you! You gotta go out there and take it!"
In just 66 words, the writers at Inside Amy Schumer manage to distill the essence of the link between sports stars and sexual aggression, one reason why so many athletic heroes at all ages and levels of sport are also sexual predators. The entire sketch is a clear poke at the connection between sports and sexual violence, of course, but this speech is one of those satirical moments that could easily go over someone's head if they're not aware of the issue at hand; the rest of the sketch is much more upfront.
This particular scene struck me as the best in the sketch, but it hasn't been getting as much attention as, say, the wine-glass gag (which deserves attention, to be sure). Why is that? Maybe because it's easier to make fun of specific groups of people, like small-town yokels and sexually transgressive athletes, than to consider that an entire, very common mindset might be conducive to sexual violence.
The other objects of mockery in this sketch aren't safe, necessarily, but there's a big difference between recognizing that some discernible aspects of the world around us are problematic and accepting that violating others is so deeply pervasive in our way of viewing the world that a simple sport is basically perfectly analogous to rape.
On the other hand, it's entirely possible people just want to laugh when they're watching comedy.
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