Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Militant Takes On SNL's 'The Californians' Skit

The Militant, ever the watchdog on all things in the mainstream media stereotyping or degrading Los Angeles or Angelenos, caught the social media buzz generated this past weekend by people on this side of the country over NBC's Saturday Night Live sketch, "The Californians," which depicts a faux soap opera about a bunch of outdated '80s-era beach-blonde surfer-talking So Cal stereotypes obsessed with driving directions involving a litany of freeways referred to by their route number, preceded by the article, "The."

Now, the Militant likes a good joke, and he knows, even though NBC is part of the great East Coast-based media hegemony which conspires to degrade us through its inaccurate media portrayal of our people, that the New York-based SNL is not just about a good laugh, but also pokes fun at their own regional quirks even more. Although every time an SNL skit comes on that involves characters talking in a thick Bwooklynesqe accent, he knows that every single joke will fly over his head and will not find anything funny about it whatsoever.



So now to "The Californians." He gets the surfer talk and the Valley talk but, dude (no pun intended), that's like three decades old already. Nobody talks like that anymore, unless they arrived in a time machine that looks like a telephone booth. And speaking of "like," they somehow kinda like glossed over that word which us Southern California locals unconsciously interject in a seemingly random manner to our colloquial speech pattern for the sake of maintaining a certain rhythmic flow to it. And what about uptalkers? Y'know, the people what make every sentence sound like a question when they talk? Everyone in So Cal knows someone who's an up talker? They weren't even considered?

The other problem with the outdated surfer/Valley talk, was that it was, like, really poorly executed. They sounded like their mouths were in pain trying to recite those lines. To the point where some of what they said was unintelligible. Apparently there was a Zankou Chicken reference in there. But after watching the skit several times, he still can't find out where it was. Oh well.

And as for the freeway directions, ha ha, The Militant gets it. It was funny, but not ha-ha funny. It just got old fast. And besides, the research was bad. San Vicente does not go to The 10. Beverly Glen does not reach Encino. The 105 does not have a Culver exit. Venice Blvd doesn't take you to Marina Del Rey all the way down (it takes you to, um, Venice?) Hanging a right on Alhambra doesn't take you to Sunset, and even if it does, it's a long way from Cahuenga.

And what was up with the maid? Was she supposed to be Latina? If so, why does she have a Swedish accent?

Was the Militant offended? No, not really. They could have pulled it off better and made it funnier, but it was just haphazardly done. The funniest part was cast member Bill Hader trying to contain his laughter. 
Worst of all, the best "inside" jokes were rendered unintelligible (The Militant finally found the Zankou reference after watching it for like the 4th time).  They had a chance to do something really good, even at our expense, but they just like kinda blew it, y'know?

And for a sketch called "The Californians," where does it leave the Nor Cal folks? Meh, The Militant hella don't care.

12 comments:

Evan said...

And there is no street parking in Marina Del Rey.

Mokannen said...

yeah...not impressed but was hoping he would be. :P and yeah...way too many blonds.

Militant Angeleno said...

Mokannen: Ironically, the most prominent Californians in the mainstream media at this moment -- the Kardashian sisters -- are not blonde.

Discuss.

Valleypinoy said...

I have to disagree with you, MA. I thought the skit was hilarious. Yes, they misrepresented the entire state of California (I "hella" don't care about Norcal either), and their LA geography was totally inaccurate, but I had to laugh at their mockery of those who speak "surfer-talk." Although you are right in pointing out that these jokes are decades old, they are very much relevant. There are plenty of Angelenos, mostly on the Westside and in the wealthier parts of the Valley (read: White) that continue to embody these stereotypes. They may be dwindling in numbers, but they still exist.

Militant Angeleno said...

Valleypinoy: Well then, The Militant doesn't have much exposure to these surfer-talking folks, as he's distanced by not only culture, but geography, from them.

He does hear a lot of up-talking hipsters though.

But then, hipsters all look and act the same no matter what city you're in, so their idiosyncrasies are not endemic to urban Los Angeles.

Will Campbell said...

Love it or hate it, the embed in your post was a mobile phone company ad not the skit clip.

Militant Angeleno said...

Will: The clip is there, you just have to wait a while, that's just Hulu for ya... [shrugs

Will Campbell said...

[shrugs back] I waited for it a while. twice. The ad ended and the window went black and all I got was the "replay" icon staring back at me. Both times. I pushed it once after about 30 seconds just to see if it was a glitch. Same thing happened again. So I went and found it on nbc.com. The skit had its moments, but went on a while too long for my short attention span.

Sha Nah Na Nah said...

A Year or two ago Alec Baldwin did the same type Soap Skit about Arizona, I live in Arizona, nobody wears Cowboy hats and bolo ties, but you cant help but laugh at the absurdity of the "character "they are playing

Anonymous said...

Not sure if you realize that pointing out all of the geographical errors in detail only validates the skit and makes it funnier.

Anonymous said...

To the last anonymous respondent. Hilarious!! I was going to say the same thing

Anonymous said...

SNL hasn't been funny in about a decade or so...