by Julian Spivey
This week’s episode of “Saturday Night Live” hosted by “Fifty Shades of Grey” actress Dakota Johnson caused quite the stir when a fake commercial for ISIS was deemed offensive by many of the show’s viewers, who took to Twitter to show their outrage.
The commercial was a parody of a recent Toyota ad where a teary-eyed father drops his daughter off to leave for the Army.
In the ‘SNL’ parody the father, played by Taran Killam, is dropping his daughter, played by Dakota Johnson, off at an airport and is nervous about his daughter leaving. He tries to talk her out of going. She leans down inside the window and tells him ‘thanks’ and then he looks over and says, ‘looks like your ride is here.’ Just then a pickup truck with men equipped with larger weaponry and an ISIS flag on the driver’s side door pulls up. The studio audience mostly laughs, but it’s kind of a half-shocked laugh from the sound of it. The father tells his daughter, “you be careful, OK.” To which she responds, “Dad, it’s just ISIS” and gives him a wink. The dad looks at the main ISIS guy and says, “take care of her” and the ISIS terrorist responds, “death to America.” The teary-eyed father looks into the camera as the commercial tagline pops across the screen, “ISIS: We’ll take it from here, dad.”
This commercial sent Twitter into an uproar with the majority of people seeming to believe that it was done in poor taste and that ‘SNL’ had crossed the line of decency.
Tweets like: “SNL has gone too far with the ISIS skit they just did... An all time low....they lost me as a viewer” and “#SNL ISIS ski… I’m done. #BoycottSNL” were prevalent directly following the airing and many posters claimed they would never watch the show again.
Comedy is no stranger to pushing boundaries – some would even say it’s the job of comedy to push boundaries – and the fake ISIS commercial definitely does this. It’s for every individual to decide for themselves whether they are offended or not, but I don’t believe that ‘SNL’ did anything too egregious in airing a skit mocking ISIS. It’s not like this was a pro-ISIS commercial or anything. It’s ultimately just a comedy bit that shouldn’t be taken as seriously as people are taking it.
ISIS is a horrific terrorist organization that commits unspeakable atrocities and some people don’t believe that comedy should be made of a group that does such things. However, if you’ll remember back 13-14 years ‘SNL’ was making fun of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban shortly after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, as well, and those attacks hit home for the show as they happened in the very city where the show airs. Why should the show treat ISIS any differently?
Comedy knows no bounds. If you have strict boundaries as to what you find funny and don’t or rather what you think should be joked about or not then maybe you should be spending your Saturday nights watching something different.