Saturday Night Live, you need to know this comes from a place of love -- but the truth is we've grown apart.
When I was younger you were my first real taste of a grown up sketch comedy. In many ways you were the cultural arbitrator of much of my grown up comedic tastes. The problem is the country has changed and you have not.
Don't get me wrong, our friendship isn't ending because of "diversity issues." The truth is I don't want you to check diversity boxes with minority hires. That's great for headlines but it doesn't solve the problems plaguing your show. The real issue here is the America depicted on your show often bears little resemblance to the country we live in today.
Great satire only works if the world invoked in the art looks like the world we live in. The believability of your satire has declined with your inability to accurately represent America in the totality of our cultural experience. It is distracting to me as a viewer to watch a show which purports to be representative of America yet makes no effort to incorporate the stories of broad populations of our people.
The America you represent on your show looks a lot like 1975, the first year you went on air, and not like the America we live in today. In 1975 you provided cultural commentary rooted in the issues facing our country. Today you still claim to do that but the America you represent on your show does not look like our actual country.
It's not that you had one black person on your show in 1975 and now you have 3; it's that the sketches involving these characters are often reductive of race rather than inclusive. The Fred Armisen recurring character Fericito with his over the top exclamations of "Aye Dios Mio" is mildly funny until you realize that he is a grotesque caricature of Latino culture. Newsflash: in 2014 broad racial caricatures are boring and the definition of safe comedy. You know what would be revolutionary, depicting non-white actors in a funny way which didn't resort to stereotypes.
To be fair no show is doing this well right now, but SNL you are my oldest best friend, and I expect more from you. We go back, and all I am asking is for you to keep up with the times. Being inclusive would enhance the viewing experience of the general public. But then that would require you to change. Change is hard, but in refusing to change, I'm not really sure who you are anymore.
When we first met I thought you were a progressive, today I'm not so sure. Your struggle to represent a more diverse country actually reminds me of a more conservative person. The Republican Party is often criticized for being out of touch with broad spectrums of new voters because their policy is written almost exclusively by white males. SNL, most of your cultural commentary is filtered through the prism of white male writers.
The question facing the Republican Party is the same posed to you: can you remain relevant in an America in which your content is relevant only to increasingly small pieces of the demographic pie. The answer is no. I will give you props for hiring two new African American writers but that is not going to completely solve the problem. To remain relevant you're going to have to continue to broaden the sources with which you draw your humor from. Do you really want to continue to have such a narrow cultural focus at the expense of excluding large parts of the country?
Here's the thing SNL, right now you seem trapped in a time warp, you may have updated your wardrobe but you're still acting like you did when we first met. Truth is it's all gone a bit stale and I am starting to feel insulted. The rest of the country and I have changed, we are a more diverse nation. Interacting with you I am not so sure you agree. So, sorry it's not you it's me, I can't be friends with someone who doesn't acknowledge me or my friends.
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