Friday, April 28

Pop culture recap: ‘SNL’ continues political comedy, ‘The Bachelorette’ attempts at diversity


Beyoncé is one of several arts and entertainment figures who made headlines this February. Both her twin pregnancy announcement and loss to Adele at the Grammys stirred the entertainment community this month. (Creative Commons photo by California Cow via Flickr)

Beyoncé is one of several arts and entertainment figures who made headlines this February. Both her twin pregnancy announcement and loss to Adele at the Grammys stirred the entertainment community this month. (Creative Commons photo by California Cow via Flickr)


Many news stories broke in February across the United States. And while most of the national attention has focused on the Trump administration, American pop culture has also stirred up controversy in the past two weeks. Daily Bruin A&E recaps some of the biggest entertainment news of the month so far.

“SNL” trolls Trump

The American political landscape under President Donald Trump has been a wellspring of controversy, from the Muslim ban to the nonexistent “Bowling Green Massacre.” However, one issue seems to infuriate and perplex Trump above most others: “Saturday Night Live.”

Other bastions of cultural satire like “South Park” have decided to refrain from making jokes about the Trump presidency, claiming that it’s too hard since satire has become reality.

“SNL” continues its tradition of political lampooning. Despite having hosted the show himself, Trump continues to express his dislike for the show, calling it “really bad television,” and according to reports from his staff, has become increasingly infuriated with each episode.

Yet Trump had to have known this was coming, from the introduction of “alternative facts” into the public vocabulary to Trump’s relationship with Russia.

With the president and his aides like Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer coupled with “SNL’s” history of successful political spoofing – remember Tina Fey’s take on Sarah Palin? – the only question was which actors would star in the comedic cabinet.

Those stars are Alec Baldwin as Trump, Melissa McCarthy as Spicer and Kate McKinnon as Conway and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Baldwin’s caricature captures Trump’s breathless and often monosyllabic speech. McCarthy not only captures Spicer’s look but also channels his unabashed aggression in the White House press briefing room. McKinnon demonstrates her versatility and comedic skill by conveying different brands of empty headedness in Conway and DeVos.

With Trump’s battle against the media and his continued accusations branding news organizations like CNN and The New York Times as fake, it is heartening to see “SNL’s” courage and humor in such unstable political times.

If he really wants to put a stop to the skits, Trump should get off Twitter, govern according to the will of the people and boost his approval ratings.

Almost everything the administration has done in its short tenure is low-hanging fruit from a comedic standpoint. If anything good has come out of the election, it’s the political comedy.

– Matthew Fernandez

Lady Gaga slams body shamers

Lady Gaga flew around the football stadium during the Super Bowl halftime show, belting her most epochal hits and even adding a soulful piano number to balance the spectacle. Still, one of the public’s loudest responses focused on her bare midriff during her last costume change.

After the show, Lady Gaga was disparaged online for her physique – a phenomenon quite common predominantly among female celebrities. Anonymous internet bullies clamored that Gaga’s “flabby gut” was inappropriate for national television – even though she got in shape to prepare for the intense cardio.

With several of her lyrics promoting messages of the growing body positivity movement, the “Born This Way” popstar did not hesitate to respond to people who tweeted that she should “do some crunches if she wants to show her flabby belly.”

Lady Gaga posted a picture of her performing in her white-and-silver cropped ensemble with a caption that encouraged her fans to drown out the hate, be comfortable in their own bodies and “be relentlessly you.”

Gaga’s message has instigated a bandwagon of fitness stars to show off their stomach rolls and spread the message of body positivity, including Instagram health accounts like Clara’s Clean Eats.

As for the body shamers, next time they should listen to the inspirational messages of performances instead of fixating on the performer’s inch of exposed stomach.

– Adrija Chakrabarty

Beyoncé’s babies

Hold Up, Beyoncé’s pregnant with twins?

Not even a protruding baby bump can stop the pop singer from going above and beyond in the music world. A veiled Beyoncé rang in the month of February with an Instagram post welcoming twins – it depicted her holding her swollen belly in front of a wall of vibrant flowers. And it sent Beyoncé fanatics into a frenzy Feb. 1.

The Instagram post was just one part of a series of artistic maternity photos created by Awol Erizku. The pop star was pictured against a yellow backdrop, naked, with painted flowers on her body. She lounged in her intimates with her firstborn, Blue Ivy Carter.

Beyoncés pregnancy photos emphasized her continual concentration on aesthetics and visual aspects, following her visual album “Lemonade.”

The release of the flowery pregnancy photos set the tone for her equally extravagant Grammy performance Sunday, in which she glided across the Staples Center stage in a flowing gold gown with a shiny headpiece. The singer opened the performance with a script about motherhood, cradling her belly as holographs of Blue Ivy ran around her on stage.

The performance left me in awe. Hopefully the pop singer brings her aesthetics to the Coachella stage in April when she headlines.

– Alexandra Del Rosario

“The Bachelorette” brings on diversity

Rachel Lindsay, 31, will be the first black bachelorette on ABC’s hit romance reality show, “The Bachelorette.”

Having people of color on the show at all has felt so rare that the program’s oversaturation of white people almost stopped registering in my mind.

So when the announcement came Monday, it felt unexpected – though not unwelcome – that the show would be graced with a black female star, who attended law school at Marquette University.

It’s saddening and uplifting that the show, whose counterpart “The Bachelor” has been airing since 2002, is making its first woman of color the star of “The Bachelorette” on its 13th season.

As the only black bachelorette, Lindsay is put into the spotlight for her race, which puts added pressure on her and the network to have good ratings.

Though nobody is forcing her to be a spokesperson for black women, she is going to be looked at differently by viewers and has already been asked by media outlets, such as Good Morning America, to address her race, rather than her position on the show.

Though #OscarsSoWhite trended in recent years, reality shows remain more untouched. Reality shows, as the term suggests, should feature real people instead of actors and actresses. They are not actors in high-profile roles and therefore reality shows are vital in portraying real-world diversity.

ABC should be an example for television networks to bring more women of color into the spotlight not just on reality shows, but in all facets of Hollywood.

– Sidra Rashid

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