Saturday Night Live's most recent episode was hosted by Martin Freeman, and unsurprisingly, was very on point. Besides a host of pretty solid sketches, like the Office/Hobbit mashup, the segment of Weekend Update came out swinging. Sasheer Zamata slammed the tech industry for its lack of diversity, and Cecily Strong killed it with her character "One-Dimensional Female in Any Male-Driven Comedy." She and Jost riffed in a segment dedicated to pointing out the absurdity of the total chasm between incredible and complex female characters in Hollywood and the flat, male fantasies of women that are just getting. so. old.
As "One-Dimensional Female," Strong describes herself to Colin as "the girl from work who he never notices because she wears glasses,but she might take them off later." The whole monologue, given by Strong in the perfect, flat tone, rips apart the idea of the "Cool Girl" that dudes just don't notice in the movie, usually, as Strong said, from the workplace.
It's important to take a look at all the incredible performances women have given in films of 2014; as the Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations show, there was a wealth of female talent this year that just changed the game. Reese Witherspoon gets to her rawest state in Wild, Julianne Moore is beyond heartbreaking as a professor with Alzheimer's in Still Alice, and of course Meryl Streep, Emma Stone and Jessica Chastain all showed up to work to give life to new characters.
But with the good comes the bad, one step forward two steps back. This year also saw the release of the abominable The Other Woman, A Million Ways to Die in the West, and Think Like a Man Too, among others — films in which the female characters are nothing but caricatures of tired tropes of women. Probably most offensive is The Other Woman, a film in which Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann and Kate Upton team up to get revenge on the man that is "triple-timing" them. I can't even imagine this film with the genders reversed because the concept is so inane, and does nothing for the assumption that women are, well, crazy.
Strong's bit is excellent, but it also makes me a bit sad, because SHE used to host Update with Colin Jost. It's great that Michael Che was given the opportunity to host; it's always important for Saturday Night Live to be aware of diversity, since they so often are not. But Strong's tenure on Update was tragically short, and there's more than a little sad irony in her appearing on the show as a faux guest talking about the narrowness of opportunity for women in comedy.