This past weekend's "Saturday Night Live" had plenty of big names — Elton John hosted, with guest appearances from Tom Hanks, Jake Gyllenhaal and Carmelo Anthony — but commentators are calling it one of the season's "weakest" and "worst" episodes. (Watch a sketch from the show, below.) All the star wattage wasn't enough to make up for writing that relied repeatedly on John's sexuality for laughs. Was it really that bad?
Yes, it was consistently unfunny: This was, "without a doubt, one of the worst episodes this season," says Kelsea Stahler at Hollywood.com. While I love Elton, and "he did his best" with what the writers gave him, their reliance on "tasteless gay stereotype[s]" just wasn't funny, despite all the talent at their disposal.
"Elton John on 'SNL': The skits you missed"
And it was offensive: "The was something strange about this weekend's 'Saturday Night Live,'" says Drew Grant at Salon. "Every sketch Elton was in — from cold open to finish — revolved around the singer's homosexuality." Some of the sketches were quite funny, and "there is definitely room for gay humor on TV," but it's problematic and "disappointing" when the gay joke is the only source of humor. It seems late-night comedy is "still laughing at, not with, gay culture."
"'Saturday Night Live' hosted by Elton John's homosexuality"
It wasn't that bad: This episode "was hardly the worst or best of anything we've seen from 'SNL' this season," says Mike Ryan at Movieline. Yes, some of the gay-centered humor, like "The Old West" sketch where Elton John rode into town on a unicorn, was "a bit lazy." But hey, at least the legendary musician seemed to be enjoying himself out there.
"'SNL scorecard': Did a slew of cameos save Elton John's show?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The U.S. Marines are developing laser weapons. Here's why.
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Why the Supreme Court is allowing Texas to hold an unconstitutional election
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- Ban PowerPoint!
- How 1,000-year lifespans could remake the economy
- Gamergate has backfired spectacularly on its nincompoop perpetrators
- Rise of the machines
Subscribe to the Week