"Cougar Den" Skit Represents Everything That Is Wrong With SNL

Illustration for article titled "Cougar Den" Skit Represents Everything That Is Wrong With SNL

Want to know why we stopped having an SNL Live Thread? Because it's not quite worth it to stay up for skits like this mess from last night, with guests Alec Baldwin and Cameron Diaz.

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We're supposed to think this "Cougar Den" skit is hilarious, especially when Kenan Thompson, playing a middle aged man, insults the women repeatedly, reminding them how disgusting they are any opportunity he can. Because they're middle aged women! Going through menopause! And that is so gross right? Ugh.

The cougar phenomenon is dumb and played out and needs to die a quick death, and yes, there is opportunity to mock it in a really clever way, but here, the women are just set up to be really foul, awful, pathetic people who seem to be chasing teenage boys, setting them up to be more like pedophiles than 40 year old women who prefer dating younger men. And then comes Alec Baldwin, playing a gay man who also likes younger men, and Cameron Diaz, who, from what I could tell, was playing Charo on speed.

The point is this: there are clearly talented women in the SNL cast, but crap like this is not showcasing their abilities and just seems to further this season's choices to consistently make the women on the show the set up for everyone else's hilarious jokes. When Molly Shannon was playing her "Leg Up!" or Sally O'Malley characters, she was lightly mocking older women, but in a way that was both hilarious and had a sense of affection to it. It was a goofy, exaggerated homage to the quirks of aging rather than a skit filled with clear disdain for the subjects at hand. Perhaps SNL needs to review some tapes from the Tina Fey years to remember that women can be funny, and a source of laughs, without the joke always being on them.

The Cougar Den skit, if you dare:
Click to view

DISCUSSION

sarayufisher-old
SarayuFisher

SNL is having one of those moments where they can write political material and *nothing* else. The cold-open was fantastic; it's always nice to see Dan Ackroyd working, and I hope John Boehner feels his ass burning for days at least. And the Bernie Madoff solo piece a few weeks back was quality material, solidly in the tradition of that line SNL used to walk so well between snark and pathos. (Your textbook example: The 70s short with John Belushi walking through the graveyard pointing out all the other SNL folks who'd predeceased him. His last line, re why he'd outlived them all: "Because I'm a dancer." Looking back, you realize the writers knew then what the rest of us sadly found out in '83.)

Sorry, digression... but only so I could say that the social-phenomenon skethces, esp. where women are concerned, are as bad lately as they were back when you were wondering how Jane Curtin and Gilda Radner and Laraine Newman put up with it. I'm already amazed that the casting folk can't seem to find anyone but white folk to put on the show; how is it Lorne Michaels can only find frat boys to write it?

My solution, BTW, is to lock Michaels in his office with an *actual* cougar, then bring David Alan Grier in as his replacement. So far this year I've found more funny in under ten total hours of Chocolate News than I've seen in the entire SNL season.