And Live From New York, It’s Saturday Moon Knight!
I do believe Lorne Michaels is pandering to me, and it's working.
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If any of you have had the honest (dis)pleasure of reading my undergraduate dissertation, you’d know that one of the very few topics I vaguely know how to talk about without preparation is Saturday Night Live.1
Last week, SNL announced their upcoming slate of hosts and musical guests; John Mulaney and LCD Soundsystem, Zoe Kravitz and Rosalia, and Mr. Waking Life and Dreams himself, Oscar Isaac alongside Charli XCX.
Typing all of that out is the first step in a Hyperfixate ritual I call “making everything about myself”. Those combinations of performers look like they have been pulled out of an algorithmic randomizer set to scramble my Spotify listens with famous people I’m obsessed with.
Lorne Michaels is pandering to me, to us as a community, and it is working.
Oscar Isaac with musical guest Charli XCX has been compared to “The SuperBowl for Gay People” or a “Big Day for Horny People”. Both are true. SNL has always been a great platform for promoting an upcoming film or record, and with the advent of the terminally online, there is no better way to rope people in to watch television live (even on their laptops) is to get a couple of hot people—regardless of whether or not they are funny—to do funny ha-has.
Isaac and Kravitz are first-time hosts, whereas Mulaney will be joining the esteemed Five-Timers Club, joining the ranks of a list of other white people and Dwyane ‘The Rock’ Johnson.
I have a very complicated relationship with SNL, as I do with most of the media I consume. I’ve always wanted to write for the show, a childhood pipe dream I may or may not still be manifesting. I have no training in sketch comedy, I just like to watch. And right now that’s more than enough for me. I wrote my dissertation on SNL and its relationship to the internet and political divisiveness. There is always the inklings of discourse on whether or not the show is “still good” or if it ever was “good” in the first place. Whose ever decision it was to book the likes of Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Andrew Dice Clay only had one goal: bad press. And nothing stirs up viewership numbers like controversy. They were once the counterculture, and now they’re the mainstream. And they’re worried no one really cares about their show anymore.
I’ve been enjoying the injection of Please Don’t Destroy’s refreshing digital shorts (I also have had a crush on Martin ever since his Shailene went Woodley Mode, maybe it’s because he looks kind of like an ex?) as well as writers like Celeste Yim; it’s just cool seeing people my age being funny without the voice of some older millenial trying to hold on to a “vibe shift”. Whatever that means.
The internet has made everyone obsessed with the currency of relevancy. Hell, sometimes I catch myself thinking about that writing this newsletter every week; what if my coverage is already outdated? What if someone is out there doing this style and better (and they are)? That article in The Cut that’s got everyone talking, including one of my fav newsletters, Haley Nahman’s Maybe, Baby—where she quotes Paul Verhoeven on the inadvertent and unfortunate shift to Puritanism in media—was an attempt to quantify a form of qualitative change. Things are changing fast and we are all getting older, and that means different things for each and every individual. But for the New York media scene, it apparently means a hell of a lot more. I think SNL had struggled with similar perception issues over the years, but might just be on the verge of finding their footing again.
Regarding Nahman’s discussion on the death of sex, SNL has almost always been sexless, aside from maybe that one time Ego Nwodim and Jason Sudeikis got it on. Or the Totinos Kristen Stewart sketch. Or any time Pete Davidson is romantically liked to a host. Sex has a place in comedy, but as material discussed as opposed to any appeal. On the other hand, I know a lot of sexy comedians. They’re called me and my friends. In her most recent Netflix Special, Don Wong, Ali Wong brought up how her male counterparts have groupies ("get fan pussy”), and she and her female colleagues have to deal with the much more terrifying “fan dick”. I’m about to become my version of the Joker (Pete Davidson) just to even out the playing field for us alphabet folks.
I bring sex up because Oscar Isaac has been the object of the internet’s desire for a while now, that he, his co-stars his team have been capitalising on that with the slow but steady return of whoresmanship in film marketing. Whether it’s Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain’s arm kiss at Venice or Oscar Isaac and Rebecca Ferguson’s intimate Entertainment Weekly cover, it had people gagging for more! It truly is all about attention. Perhaps putting sexy people on SNL may be what can “save” the show, if the people that are so worried about “saving” it are willing to open their minds.
It’s the same with that whole vibe shift thing, trying to keep up isn’t even in a lot of our vocabularies anymore. We can watch euphoria or we can opt out. But we can still tweet jokes and memes as if we’ve seen it. It doesn’t take a lot to vibe anymore. The Death of the Chic Writer from Dazed earlier this month is kind of emblematic of this as well. The rise of the sad girl and the fall of the chic girl are more attempts at defining niches and trends that will change a year from now. The timelessness of Babitz and Didion are, to me, what made them and especially their legacy chic.
Chicness and Sexiness cannot exist in a vacuum, these elements are at the mercy of time. And time has no mercy for the world we live in anymore. Time just is. It’s just there. I used to really struggle to wrap my head around time—this silly little manmade construct—but time is pretty cool. Time is that girl. Time is the only It Girl, the only chic icon. Playing catch up only sucks because you’re trying to catch up with time itself. But the cool thing about any media, especially online, is that it can capture time, even for a flicker.
When I wrote my dissertation three years ago, SNL didn’t just feel like a relic of time gone by, it felt like a victim of it. That fear of fading into obscurity that an almost 50-year-old television institution has is kind of life affirming. Sometimes from that obscurity comes something pretty nice. The pressure’s off. You get gems like Fiona Apple watching a video of slugs having sex. Isn’t that fucking amazing?
Ever since Oscar Isaac made an appearance earlier this season during a What’s Up With That? sketch to promote Dune, I knew it was only a matter of time before the PR gears started turning in Lorne’s head to get that Venice Film Festival menace to do some Star Wars-adjacent bits. Perhaps we’ll get Undercover Boss Kylo Ren 3: The Poe Dameron edition. There should be a Triple Frontier name drop for the real fans (but I want Pedro far, far away from Studio 8H for my own good). I hope they force Oscar to do a silly little British accent. Ethan Hawke should pop in and do something super normal. Or promote his new book, A Bright Ray of Darkness, instead of Moon Knight. I’m more than thrilled to see Oscar Isaac’s Juilliard training under the pressure cooker of a quick change and sitting in a room tolerating Colin Jost.
Hyperfixate presents: Mini Movie “Reviews”
I’ll think up a better title next week or something, but this past week instead of watching Criminal Minds with my mum in an unruly, Gubler-filled loop, I’ve been watching movies again!
Ron’s Gone Wrong (NOT A PRANK)
My eight-year-old cousin came round because he had a birthday party to attend nearby. After the party, we watched Ron’s Gone Wrong because he really likes robots and from the looks for the film, it is about a robot of some kind. It’s actually quite a sweet tale of friendship! It’s about a kid who gets a busted model of a popular robot companion for his birthday. Where he was first ashamed of his “best friend out of a box” and all his flaws, the two actually teach each other a thing or two about friendship! A cautionary tale of the internet being forever and how all tech magnates are evil. Decent stuff.
Licorice Pizza is What They Serve in Club Penguin
I adored this film. It’s a big vibe. Now that’s what I call a vibe shift. But also, why do white directors feel the need to sprinkle in some anti-Asian, orientalist gags to create an authentic depiction of early 70s California? The Mikado bits reminded me of the Bruce Lee thing from Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood. The music is perfect, Alana Haim is perfect, Cooper Hoffman is a superstar, and I would give my life for Skyler Gisondo. What a guy. That Life on Mars? needledrop is everything to me. Benny Safdie walking up a hill is everything to me. This is a film with a lot of walking and running and running out of gas. I would buy a water bed from Alana. I would do anything she asked me to. I’m obsessed.
Kimi By Your Name
Kimi made for an interesting double bill with Ron’s Gone Wrong. I watched them one after the other. I love speculative tech fiction that’s grounded, except this wasn’t exactly “speculative” outside of having real people fix AI oopsies. It’s tense, it’s timely, it’s fun, and it doesn’t try too hard to be Black Mirror. There’s a bit at the end that I thought was cool, and I love that everyone that’s seen it has compared it to Home Alone. I am in that camp of people. It’s Sodebergh doing his best under the constraints of our time, but also giving us the chance to address the times we live in head on. I’m obsessed with Angela's (Zoe Kravitz) apartment in the film.
King Knight and the Embarrasing, Predictable Gublerfication of This Mind of Mine
I have yet to finish this film. I am still at the 30 minute mark for no other reason than needing to take a breath after looking at Angela Sarafyan and Matthew Gray Gubler in faux-goth looks for long periods of time. They’re really doing it for me, y’all, this is dangerous. The film is about about a coven of witches led by Gubler and Sarafyan at the wake of a discovery about their leader’s past. King Knight is like if Mandy was quirky in a Zooey Deschanel way. That’s the only way I can make sense of it for now. Angela Sarafyan should do more comedies, there’s something about her that can really commit to a bit with the best of them. Just because I am not watching Criminal Minds at any given moment, I gotta get my fix somewhere. Cancel me, go ahead. I deserve it.
Sock It To ‘Em
I want to make it a habit to include something that isn’t about media consumption in this newsletter that’s more often than not is about media consumption.
I am learning how to knit socks. All my knitting projects so far have been done on 4.5mm+ needles and this time I’m taking on the teeny weeny 2mm ones. I love it. Knitting socks in a round is taking the training wheels off for me. So far, I’ve attempted to keep shape twice now, and this third attempt is looking better. My plan is to make a pair of mismatched Rumple Buttercup socks because I’m lame and I’m a nerd and I need to get a life. But in a nice way.
It’s a nice break from knitting my brother’s Demon Slayer cardigan, as soothing as knitting can be, sometimes the repetitiveness gets to me a little. Gets to me a lot, if we’re being honest. So this sock project has been quite refreshing as I’m also learning how to knit in a new way and at a different scale. Learning is fun. I like having fun again.
+ some gross promo I have a gig tonight :) the Funny Women Open Mic :) and would love to see you there :) I am trying out some new material :)
That’s all for this week! Hope you have fun!
Other topics include, obviously, NBC’s Community and One Direction.